The Kiln’s Electrical Data Plate
Reader Response: Fear of kilns
A question about digital temperature display
Moving a Kiln Sitter to a different kiln
Announcement: A workshop in the UK
THE KILN’S ELECTRICAL DATA PLATE
When I first started working at Paragon, the information on the kiln’s electrical data plate was stamped one letter or number at a time. When you passed by the inspection station, you would hear the ringing of a small hammer as the inspector tapped out the data plate. That seems primitive now; the data plate on new Paragon kilns is computer-engraved.
Few people know the model number of their kiln. The model is not the number shown on the digital keypad or the Dawson Kiln Sitter. The model is on the electrical data plate mounted on the side of the switch box. (On some kilns, the plate is on the back or side of the case.)
You must have the specifications from the data plate when you order parts or call for technical help. That information is so important that the plate is permanently riveted to the kiln. It is a good idea to copy the kiln specifications to the cover of the instruction manual for quick reference.
Look at the data plate when you buy a used kiln. The plate lists the electrical data and the kiln’s maximum temperature, which will help you to determine whether to buy the kiln. Ask if the wiring has been altered since the kiln was new. Sometimes a kiln is converted to a different voltage. The used kiln that was converted to 208 volt operation may still have 240 volts listed on the data plate.
Similarly, if you convert a kiln to a different voltage, ask the manufacturer to send you a new data plate listing the new voltage. Otherwise, years from now someone may order the wrong elements for that kiln.
Some kilns have a removable section, or “collar,” that plugs into the main kiln. The removable collar often has its own data plate. When ordering elements or other parts, be sure to supply the information from the correct data plate.
The last Kiln Pointer included a question about fear of kilns. Hollie Trow of Franktown, Colorado wrote, “It's funny that this week's newsletter included someone who was afraid to fire their kiln. I can so relate. I have had my kiln for almost a year. I would get it all prepared and then either couldn't find the time to study it or was just plain scared to attempt to fire it.
“Finally,” Hollie continued, “this past week I got ‘fired up.’ Once we set the kiln up, it was pretty easy. The first thing I learned was that the kiln wouldn't retain the programming unless the Start button was pushed, but I was afraid to push the Start button until I was sure everything was correct. Then I learned I could start the kiln and stop it with no negative effect. It sounds simple now, but it was very frustrating in the beginning because I keep losing the programming.
“I found the book ‘Introduction to Glass Fusing’ by Petra Kaiser to be one of the more easy to read and understand instructions to glass fusing.”
Paragon’s recommended reading list
Dr. Judy Fisher of Mitchellville, Maryland wrote, “I really enjoyed this about the customer being afraid to fire their kiln for the first time. That's so cute...and true. That happened to me, too!
“My problem now is giving my Paragon SC-2 kiln a break! I am addicted to my baby, and I find every reason in the book to stay with her and fire her up with a load of glass! I just had my Comcast Internet extended into the same room with the kiln so that I can spend more time with her (the kiln).”
Q. I thought the ramp-ups on my digital kiln would be linear in their temperature change. Example: for every minute, the temperature would increase 5 degrees in a program set for 300 degrees per hour. It appears that the temperature change is more stair stepped, i.e. heat to a certain temperature, then hold for a period of time, then go up in temperature, hold, so that the overall rate of change during the hour is 300 degrees. Is that correct? It seems especially so in the lower temperature range.
A. In theory, the heating ramps of a digital controller are linear. A rate of 300 degrees per hour will raise the temperature 300 degrees in one hour, or 5 degrees per minute. But instead of showing a perfectly linear rise in temperature, the display window will show the ‘stair step’ that you describe. It has no effect on firing results, however.
The stair step pattern is due to relays cycling the heating elements on and off to control the heating rate. As you observed, the stair step effect is most noticeable at low temperatures.
Q. Can I take a Kiln Sitter off my small kiln and install it on my large Paragon kiln?
A. The Kiln Sitter has a ceramic block that contains the electrical contacts. The Kiln Sitter contact block comes in two ratings: 50 amps or 75 amps. Most Kiln Sitters have the 50 amp contact block. Before transferring your Kiln Sitter to another kiln, make sure the contact block can handle the amperage of the new kiln.
You may also have to change the porcelain tube if the new kiln has thicker walls than the old kiln.
ANNOUNCEMENT: WORKSHOP IN THE UK
The Silverclay Studio is happy to welcome Michael David Sturlin, the acclaimed American goldsmith, for two master classes in silver crochet work.
Michael David Sturlin will present two two-day master classes on the fabrication of his signature-style hand-crochet chain, using just a needle and fine silver wire. The workshops are process oriented and suitable for any level student. No previous experience in crocheting, metalsmithing, or jewellery making is needed.
Email for information
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com
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Copyright 2007, by Paragon Industries, L.P.