[Clayart] an electric kiln experience

Arnold Howard arnoldhoward at gmail.com
Mon Oct 11 13:26:52 UTC 2021


The greatest number of mistakes I have found in kilns is with relays. People are busy and rush through their maintenance tasks. Perhaps they think, “This is easy. Anyone can do it.”

The latest example from last week: A jumper wire to the relay coils was disconnected. The wire had been repaired and was so short that the wire worked its way out of a push on terminal. 

The light switch for the studio had been maintained with the same rush for time. Bare wires stuck out from the wall where a switch had been. Since the switch was missing, the customer turned on the lights by flipping a breaker. Whenever the breaker was flipped, the porch light and studio overhead lights came on together. 

Sincerely,
Arnold Howard

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 27, 2021, at 8:50 PM, William Schran <wschran at twc.com> wrote:
> 
> Every time I change elements in my or others programmable electric
> kiln I also replace the relays at same time. Relatively inexpensive
> part that like elements also have a limited life time off switching on
> and off.
> 
> Bill
> 
> William Schranwschran at twc.com703-505-1617
> 
>    -----------------------------------------From: "Gregg Lindsley" 
> To: "Clayart"
> Cc: 
> Sent: Monday September 27 2021 1:43:35PM
> Subject: [Clayart] an electric kiln experience
> 
> I have just had an experience with one of my kilns, a paragon tnf273,
> that was really interesting. I have never had a kiln respond to
> maintainence like this one did, starting because i changed out 5
> bricks
> on the top row where element one was.
> I replaced element one and two, brand new, after i replaced the
> brick. I
> replaced the brick because i realized that the elements do not work
> well if
> they do not have the support of the brick, i.e. if they are hanging
> out in
> space. why? don't know.
> This change brought more demand on the other parts that apparently
> were
> also not functioning well, getting old, and gave up the effort. The
> breaker in the disconnect was the first to go, immediately failing to
> carry
> the load after 1400 degrees F. It tripped twice.
> Then, after replalcing it, it wouldn't climb more than 100 degrees an
> hour. The bottom element tested at 16 ohms, right at the 10 percent
> range
> that paragon says is too much. I would have left it, because 16
> didn't
> seem to be that bad. But, I decided to change it, to see if that was
> the
> problem. Nope. So after talking with Mike at Creative Ceramics in
> Santa
> Rosa, very experienced with electric kilns, I got 3 relays and put
> them
> in. There wasn't much more to replace.
> I tested the relays already in there before I changed them, and they
> all
> tested at 240V. cold. Doesn't mean they won't fail at temp. Which I
> guess
> one or more of them did, as now the kiln is running just fine, able
> to
> keep up with the ramp entered.
> I think the lesson here for those who fire electric is to keep up
> with
> the maintenance of the kiln, as performance can deteriorate without
> you
> realizing it.
> --
> Gregg Lindsley
> Earth and Fire Pottery
> 10325 Brookside Drive
> Middletown, Ca. 95461
> 707-490-7168
> Function and Beauty
> in the Mingei and
> Bauhaus traditions
> www.earthandfirepottery.net
> 'At home among the lost and found'
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