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Artist Mom NC

Need help with which Thermocouples to get for L&L JD230

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Greetings, I am a complete newbie to kilns. We purchased a used kiln and were able to run it once successfully with a small test load. When we tried for a second load we filled her up a little more, but only 3 shelves and a couple things on each shelf. We kept getting the Err5 - Error 5 code and we would stop and start and it would continue heating up, and then code again. This was on the heating up of the kiln, not the cooling off. With what we knew and a little research, we figured the thermocouples needed replacing. One of the 3 has a crack in the cover and you can tell they are quite old. I was told I needed to replace all 3, and that I should replace with L&L Type-K 8 Gauge Thermocouple. 

I have looked at lots of YouTube videos on changing the thermocouple, and none have the thermocouple on the outside of the box on the side of the kiln, so I'm wondering if the K kind is the correct type for us. As you can see in the pics below, the thermocouples I see are not behind the metal boxes on the front of the Kiln. ANY ideas, suggestions, straight up explanations are SO very welcome. I truly know so little - my daughter is in art school in Maryland and is the potter. 

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@Artist Mom NC What you have there are not the original TCs that came with the kiln. Someone has used an after-market TC and rigged up a way to hold them. The easiest thing to do would be to replace the TCs and the ceramic blocks that hold them with the ones that L&L has. It will be easier to source and replace them later that way. HERE is the part you want, the standard 8ga TC with block. It just takes two #6 panhead screws in the metal case to hold them in place. In the future, you only need to replace the thermocouple itself, not the ceramic block. If you want your TCs to last longer and not shed in your kiln, you could also install protection tubes. For those you'll also need the spacers kit.

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One other note is your floor-if you everb getb that kiln up put another layer of tile backer board under it. It looks like you only have one layer then a piece of plywood on a (rolling stand?) More tile board will help as that wood can get cooked.

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Good catch, @Mark C.! Even if you put two layers of cement board, since there's no air gap between the kiln floor and the boards, that wood is going to get mighty hot. Not a safe situation. You should either put the kiln on a proper stand or on a layer of cinder block with them oriented so that air can flow through horizontally.

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Great information. Thanks so much, @neilestrick  Neil and @Mark C. Mark.

Regarding the TC, are the spacers for the TC or the Protection Tubes? I guess we should be able to figure that out once we receive all the bits.

Regarding the stand for the kiln, is it best to have the kiln on the cement ground? Or we can add the cinder block. Which would be preferred?

REALLY appreciate the information. Will get the order in so we can get this thing going again!

Monica

Edited by Artist Mom NC

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55 minutes ago, Artist Mom NC said:

Great information. Thanks so much, @neilestrick  Neil and @Mark C. Mark.

Regarding the TC, are the spacers for the TC or the Protection Tubes? I guess we should be able to figure that out once we receive all the bits.

Regarding the stand for the kiln, is it best to have the kiln on the cement ground? Or we can add the cinder block. Which would be preferred?

REALLY appreciate the information. Will get the order in so we can get this thing going again!

Monica

The spacers are needed if you use the protection tubes, as the tubes have a collar that stick out on the outside of the kiln. If you use the tubes, you'll have to drill out larger holes for them.

Do not set the kiln on the ground, even on cement board. Get it up on cinder blocks set so there is air flow between the kiln and the floor. Take the time to get everything set well, so the floor doesn't rock at all. A rocking floor means that it could flex and crack. Or a new kiln stand is $87.

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@Artist Mom NC, in the first picture you posted it looks like the peep/spy holes are not lining up with any holes in the brick. Are there peep/spy holes that have ceramic or soft brick plugs to go in them on the other side of the kiln? Should look something like the image below. Some kilns cover the holes with a swinging ceramic or stainless cover. Not all kilns have peep/spy holes but if there isn't a vent on the kiln you do need them.

image.png.f5a9f7dbf699b3e9e998f5c7ca769b1a.png

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I would use the stand or cemmet blocks and also the tile baker board as well for more even stand. I like the whole floor and walls supported in my stands.

As to the spy plug holes-maybe the jacket is new? or does L&L have multiple holes in same level?

Neil will will know about that.

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@Min  The older L&L kilns peep hole plugs look like rods without the larger head as shown in your picture.  Yours is the newer model.

@Artist Mom NC The plugs should be flush to the inside when installed, from your image it looks like the plugs are flush to the outside of the kiln

@neilestrick How do you feel about the Type-K Pyrocil Sheathed Thermocouple

Edited by Smokey2

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1 hour ago, Smokey2 said:

@Min  The older L&L kilns peep hole plugs look like rods without the larger head as shown in your picture.  Yours is the newer model.

Oh I wish I had an L&L! Not my kiln in the picture. I thought it looked like the holes in the kiln aren't lining up with the holes in the jacket.

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One last note is the lid is propped up with a stilt.You shopuld never use hard objects. This should be a piece of soft brick so the wall and lid do not wearout. When ordering parts order a soft brick wedge to prop lid open. It will save wear and tear on both surfaces.You can make your own as well.

like this one

http://www.kilnparts.com/skutt-venting-prop-brick-wedge-brick.html

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3 hours ago, Smokey2 said:

How do you feel about the Type-K Pyrocil Sheathed Thermocouple

I don't like them because you can't visually tell if they're wearing out, and they cost more. L&L did a test a few years back and determined that the 8ga type K in a ceramic tube was the best combination of price, accuracy, and longevity.

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Okay, really good info. I have more questions/thoughts.

First, are the thermocouples okay where they are? Not in the metal boxes.  First pic below is of where they are, a closeup.    @neilestrick

Second, there are holes on the outside frame of the kiln on the right side for peep holes, i assume, but the actual drilled out peep holes are on the left side. Pic below. @Min

Third, i started to take the metal boxes off because I really wanted to see if maybe the TCs were supposed to go behind them, but it doesn't come off easily, but that is why you cna see the front box is off in the last pic.

Fourth, we are getting another backerboad and will be adding cement blocks. Thanks for the suggestions @Mark C. @neilestrick @Smokey2 @Min

Again, THANK YOU!!!! I have no idea how these things are supposed to work. I do have another question, before I go, when I do use the thermocouples are they supposed to go ALL the way in? Or just the tip? From the outside. Maybe that is just another thing we've been doing wrong. 

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52 minutes ago, Artist Mom NC said:

Okay, really good info. I have more questions/thoughts.

First, are the thermocouples okay where they are? Not in the metal boxes.  First pic below is of where they are, a closeup.    @neilestrick

Second, there are holes on the outside frame of the kiln on the right side for peep holes, i assume, but the actual drilled out peep holes are on the left side. Pic below. @Min

Third, i started to take the metal boxes off because I really wanted to see if maybe the TCs were supposed to go behind them, but it doesn't come off easily, but that is why you cna see the front box is off in the last pic.

Fourth, we are getting another backerboad and will be adding cement blocks. Thanks for the suggestions @Mark C. @neilestrick @Smokey2 @Min

Again, THANK YOU!!!! I have no idea how these things are supposed to work. I do have another question, before I go, when I do use the thermocouples are they supposed to go ALL the way in? Or just the tip? From the outside. Maybe that is just another thing we've been doing wrong. 

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The spy holes are fine on the right side-I assume you have the plugs

Great on the cement block and full size backer board

do not forget a soft brick wedge for kiln prop as well-I mentioned in above post

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artist mom, where do you live?  i assume North Carolina from your name.   there are spots in north carolina where if you toss a rock in any direction, you will hit a neighboring potter.    you might want to check out ClayClub:NCPotters.    lots of very good potters in that group.   there is an ad for a kiln, wheel, giffin grip and lots of other stuff for $1000 right now, june 12, 2020.  a bargain, i think.

Edited by oldlady

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