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I'm a total novice where kilns are concerned so you're going to have to be patient with me...

I recently got my first kiln (Arterial Engineering Works Ltd. 1AS 1 phase - front loader) with an Ipco 3300 controller.

The controller is showing the 'open' error message. 

I believe this is an error concerning the thermocouple. If so, would any replacement thermocouple do or do I need to find something specifically for my kiln model?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks 

Edited by Ceramics.np.04
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You'll need whichever type of thermocouple the controller is set up for- type K, R, S, etc. Do you have a manual for the controller that says what type to use? Easiest thing would be to contact the manufacturer and get it from them, if they're still around. You could also post a pic of it here and we may be able to help identify it. Plus not all thermocouples of each type or acceptable. For instance, the little thin type K they sell on Amazon are not good for kilns, but other type K are fine.

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I haven't been able to get in touch with the manufacturer so far.

I know the thermocouple is 12" in length and have found something I believe is similar online: https://www.bathpotters.co.uk/type-r-thermocouple-with-cable-and-plug

What difference do the various types (K, R, S etc.) make?

Sorry, I really am new to this kiln business :huh:

Here is the damaged thermocouple:

20210803_201133thermo1.jpg.ae834d2d1f2bd7471c2432490a943934.jpg

Thank you!

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Hi @Ceramics.np.04  I'm assuming you are in the UK ?

I was in a similar position 2 years ago.  Same type of error with a Stafford controller.  When we removed the thermocouple it was broken, but still working sometimes!

I did a lot of research into replacements.  The kiln companies either couldn't supply, or wanted stupid money, so I bought from Peak Sensors.  I think I sent them a photo of the offending part.  (It was 2.5 years ago, and I've slept since then!)

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On 8/4/2021 at 2:56 PM, Ceramics.np.04 said:

What difference do the various types (K, R, S etc.) make?

You have to have whichever type your controller is set up to use or it won't read correctly. Some controllers can use more than one type, but you have to make sure it's set up for that type either via programming or changes to the circuit board. Type K are use in most US kilns. Type S are platinum, super expensive and not necessary for most potters. I don't know what's common in your part of the world.

On 8/3/2021 at 7:35 PM, Dick White said:

It indicates that the thermocouple type initially programmed by the factory is the prefix letter in the serial number.

@Ceramics.np.04 Find the serial number on the controller and see if it has an indicating letter.

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On 8/4/2021 at 2:56 PM, Ceramics.np.04 said:

I haven't been able to get in touch with the manufacturer so far.

I know the thermocouple is 12" in length and have found something I believe is similar online: https://www.bathpotters.co.uk/type-r-thermocouple-with-cable-and-plug

What difference do the various types (K, R, S etc.) make?

Sorry, I really am new to this kiln business :huh:

Here is the damaged thermocouple:

Your controller appears to support k,r,s,n which all vary in accuracy and of course expense. I think your manual is here https://manualzz.com/doc/35384479/ipco-studio-3000-controller-manual and if correct, in the parameter programming it is configurable So you have the option of seeing what it is set to and can even contemplate switching to more economical type K if you like. Of course carefully changing parameters is solid advice.

 

2889F7EC-AEE8-40F5-9099-2E91B4E91A27.jpeg

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@Ceramics.np.04 That looks like an industrial thermocouple setup, which may be costly to replace.  The protection tube is broken, but you could just put the tube in the hole and get a new thermocouple with a simple mounting block and get rid of all the other metal parts. But first figure out which type you're going to use. Does the thermocouple wire have any markings on it that tell which type it is? The wire has to be the correct type for whatever TC you're using. If you can open up the back of the mounting hardware and see where the thermocouple wire connects, what color are the two wires in there?

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Thank you so much, this has all been really helpful! :)

UPDATE 

The controller is set up to use an 'R' type thermocouple.  I took the back off to check how it's connected:

Screenshot_20210806-111705_Gallery.jpg.2fd6bdba4f1f50c74544eb4ef29d9993.jpg

I can only seem to find thermocouples with plugs online. Would it be as simple and removing the plug,  stripping the wire and connecting it up?

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This is what I bought, also R type.

image.png.496f9c611fb9c5191e2958d3df94bca8.png

I've put some pics in my gallery, you might find helpful.  Don't seem to have a picture of the new one, but it arrived identical to the old, without the break!!  We also, while we were in there, replaced the wire between the thermocouple and the control box.
 

https://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/album/1530-kiln-stuff/

 

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Not exactly related but...

The sides of the kiln are rusted through - you can see through to the brick on both sides. I was wondering how much of an issue this is (would it cause heat loss, is it dangerous? etc.) and how easy to fix it would be.

How hot is the outside of the kiln likely to get? Could I repair it using heat resistant glue and steel sheets?

Also thank you so so much, @Chilly for recommending Peak Sensors. They've been absolutely brilliant so far!

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Hi NP!

Other side, indeed - looks like rusted through from within; if that jacketing is at all structural, there may be integrity problems in the offing.

Does the kiln have any provision for venting the interior atmosphere whilst firing (to control build up of caustic/corrosive gasses ...and moisture)?

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1 hour ago, Hulk said:

Does the kiln have any provision for venting the interior atmosphere whilst firing (to control build up of caustic/corrosive gasses ...and moisture)?

Just a hole in the door:

20210811_201024.jpg.9a58a9c34fcdabc87bfe23b7b005478b.jpg

As for the sides they seem like pretty thin sheets - I don't think they have any structural use. They're welded on to a much more substantial frame:

20210811_201038.jpg.31bcc455bf1df5c6f9908c596eec0baa.jpg

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7 hours ago, Ceramics.np.04 said:

 

Not exactly related but...

The sides of the kiln are rusted through - you can see through to the brick on both sides. I was wondering how much of an issue this is (would it cause heat loss, is it dangerous? etc.) and how easy to fix it would be.

How hot is the outside of the kiln likely to get? Could I repair it using heat resistant glue and steel sheets?

 

The outside of the kiln can get quite hot, so I doubt that a glue will hold up long term.  High temperature epoxies are typically rated to around 500-600 Fahrenheit.  If you don't have a welder, you might want to try attaching a sheet metal patch using pop rivets or sheet metal screws.  

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, @Ceramics.np.04I am in the exact same boat! Its so daunting, so much to learn! I have recently purchased a second-hand kiln from someone who gained the kiln when they moved into their house. I have no clue where to start. I have the exact same kiln Arterial Engineering Works Ltd. 1AS 1 phase - front loader. What thermocouple did you purchase in the end, as I am in desperate need of a new one. I am soo happy that you have posted about this as I do not have the original, so I really have no clue what I am looking for :)

Also cheeky question.... I don't suppose you got a manual with yours? as I have tried looking online but cannot seem to find one anywhere. Nevermind if you don't, just thought I'd ask! 

I guess the important question is.... How is it going? is it working and have you made any wonderful creations? 

 

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Hi, @AmberLauren! I can't believe we have the same kiln. I've not been able to find any one else who's even heard of 'Arterial Engineering Works' so far! 
I didn't get a manual for the kiln but I found the manual for my control panel (IPCO 3300) relatively easily and that's all I've really needed so far. Did your kiln come with a control panel? I was reallllllly lucky as mine came with the panel, the (damaged) thermocouple and an industrial circuit breaker. 

When I was sorting out the thermocouple (I'd only learnt what one was ten minutes before my original post!) I ended up sending photos to 'Peak Sensors' and explaining what I needed and they worked out the rest. I posted my old thermocouple to them and they reused all the parts of it they could salvage but I think it probably cost me about the same as if I'd bought a new one in the end, including postage etc. I know it's an industrial Type R but it also has a ceramic sheath around the wire - that can withstand the top temps of the kiln - and is the right length so as to reach but not be too in the way (can you tell I had a lot of fun trying to figure all this out with them? :wacko: They were SO helpful...and patient). I'll attach a photo of my order so you can swot up a little bit but what I WILL say is the diameter of the ceramic sheath was sliiightly too big so I've had to make the hole a bit bigger (just the fire brick at the top) to allow it to drop down all the way to the flange/collar and sit flush with the top of the kiln.

1582377728_ScreenShot2021-10-08at16_22_41.png.922606a7eac27a319285803fc77eb765.png

 

And here's the diagram they sent me:

thumbnail_RM_Ceramic_ALA_rmc.jpg.fbe4b31595cabe0df62fc61c4e21b35b.jpg

Am I making this less or more confusing? :lol: 

As for wonderful creations...none yet. Life's been a bit hectic recently BUT it works! I've switched it on and everything seems to be in working order. I've just ordered myself some cones to monitor heat work and see just how hot it'll go (the elements are OLD) which, knowing my luck, will reveal a whole host of new problems and things to learn about but fingers crossed we'll be making stuff in the next couple of weeks.

I hope some of this was useful and not completely overwhelming. Hopefully we can help each other out in the future now we've found someone with twin kilns! 

Good luck! Here to (try to) answer any other questions you have. 

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