[Clayart] an electric kiln experience

Arnold Howard arnoldhoward at gmail.com
Sat Oct 16 12:09:52 UTC 2021

Electric kilns are hardy—even the rusty, flooded ones. 

I received a mild shock from a kiln that had been left out in the rain. It was on a back porch. I had to crouch under a big electric cable to get to the porch from the driveway. The cable supplied electricity for the backyard workshop and was draped over the gate to the backyard. The owner had done her own wiring. 

Another kiln in the workshop had been abused. Kiln parts and tools were scattered on the floor amidst old car seats, shelves, and power saws. 

Arnold Howard

Sent from my iPhone

> On Oct 14, 2021, at 12:14 PM, Taylor Hendrix <wirerabbit2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Kiln maintenance is for sure a must with electric kilns. I used to love the
> old Paragon I purchased second hand. Three 4-position switches, kiln sitter
> with timer. So easy to maintain. Purchased a second hand L&L computer
> controlled kiln and was very happy to not have to take the walk out to the
> studio at 2 am for the final turn up.
> That L&L is going strong in the new studio after having 3 feet of water
> over it from Harvey. I replaced the board and that was it! The relays were
> all below the water line but are doing their job. I've heard stories of
> relays being such fragile things, going out on a whim and others that
> lasted for the life of the kiln. Hmm. This tells me relays are mysterious
> creatures who do not give up their secrets easily. Best to replace them on
> a regular basis if this is your day job.
> Taylor, near Jeddo TX
> wirerabbit1 on Skype (-0600 UTC)
> @mrwireabbit on instagram
> https://www.facebook.com/Wirerabbit.Pottery/
> <http://wirerabbit.blogspot.com>
> http://wirerabbitpots.blogspot.com
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/wirerabbit/
> https://youtube.com/thewirerabbit
>> On Mon, Oct 11, 2021 at 4:08 PM Arnold Howard <arnoldhoward at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> 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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