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Bought a Paragon A88B kiln and could like a controller

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I just bought my first kiln, an old Paragon A88B, which only has a cone sitter and settings of low, medium and high. I would like to know if anyone can suggest a manufacturer of a good controller I could use with it . I would also like to know what is involved in retrofitting the kiln to be used with a controller.  It has been very difficult finding a kiln to buy, and I hope I haven't made a mistake by buying a kiln that doesn't have a controller.  Big thanks to anyone who can help me in my clay journey.

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Hi Christy Ann!

Among the choices, a standalone box that your kiln and a pyrometer plug into might be simplest, and also serve for another kiln (within the amperage rating).

Kiln Master Wall Controller ~$650

AF3P Controller ~$600 (see image, below)

Amaco Select Fire

Skutt Touch Retro KilnMaster (perhaps not a standalone box)

Orton AutoFire Express Controller ~$475 (15 amp)

...try search string "Wall Mount Kiln Controller" 

My (somewhat ancient) kiln is also fitted with a kiln sitter and three switches with choices low, medium, high; I bought cones and a pyrometer, and started out watching cones through the peep holes (with kiln glasses on, o' course) and watching the pyrometer readout. A few years later, I still watch the pyrometer readout, and place cones on each shelf, but I don't check the cones whilst firing. 

That to say this: one can fire manually, just takes time and attention. Even with a controller, take lots of notes and stick around whilst firing.

Be sure to manage the heat and fumes - especially the fumes - don't breathe the fumes!


like that.JPG

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Thank you Hulk for taking the time to help me out! It's pretty amazing and daunting to have a kiln. First steps will be building a shed for it in the yard vs. putting it in my basement studio. In the meantime, thank you for helping me search for the controller.

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Just make sure the controller you get can handle the amperage of the kiln. Some are only made with one size of relay (50 amp), others are available in specific amperages for various size kilns. It doesn't matter if the controller has a larger relay than needed, it just can't be smaller. The benefit of a 50 amp setup is that it can be used on most studio sized kilns in case you ever upgrade to a larger kiln.

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I like the Olympic Electrositter. Pop off the Kiln sitter: put this where the kiln sitter was, connect a couple wires: pretty easy!

By default it comes with the capable Bartlett 3 key controller but for small money you can select the 12 key version: much friendlier or even the newest Bartlett Touch wifi enabled controller:  Electro Sitter | Kiln Controller | Sheffield Pottery (sheffield-pottery.com)

Edited by timbo_heff
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