Before replacing parts, label the wires. Taking a picture of the old part also helps to prevent errors.
Labeling Switch Box Wires
Reader Response: Vice-Grips used to tighten element connectors
Recent Q&As: Flaking thermocouples
A Kiln Story: Buying a Used Kiln
LABELING SWITCH BOX WIRES
Before replacing electrical parts inside a kiln, label the wires so you can connect them correctly to the new part without guesswork. Draw a simple diagram on paper, numbering the wires. Wrap masking tape with corresponding numbers around the wires in the switch box.
You could also take a picture of the switch box before replacing parts. Refer to the picture if you have questions about how the old part was connected. You can take the picture with even a cell phone.
As an alternative, unplug the kiln and remove the old part, such as a switch, with the wires still connected. Transfer only one wire at a time from the old part to the new one. Then install the new part in the switch box.
Replace wires that have been damaged by heat. And make sure the connections are tight. Loose connections generate enough heat to ruin a new part.
Tony Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas wrote, “Your article ‘Use the Right Tools’ refers to locking pliers to tighten the element connectors, but the photo shows diagonal cutting pliers. For those of us who are knowledgeable on tools it is okay, for someone new it could be very misleading as they could try to use the cutters.”
Thanks, Tony. I have inserted the correct photo in the archived newsletter:
(Please scroll down to “Use the Right Tools.” You can find all the archived Kiln Pointers here, too.)
Q. Where are your kilns made?
A. Our kilns are made in America by skilled craftsmen. Some of our employees have been with us for over 20 years. 25% of them have been at Paragon for over 10 years.
Q. Should I replace the thermocouple when it starts to flake?
A. It is normal for the stainless steel sheath on the Type-K thermocouple to blacken and flake. The sheath is a high-nickel stainless steel and turns black above 2000 degrees F. Wipe the thermocouple with a paper towel before firing. This will remove any loose particles.
A KILN STORY: BUYING A USED KILN
Karen Sousa in Marion, North Carolina wrote, “When I bought my used kiln, I was misled about how recently it had been fired. When we picked it up, we couldn't turn it on because the home was having a major remodel and there was no electricity. I know, buyer beware.
“Only because of the detailed wiring diagrams available online were we able to determine that the owner had mis-wired the kiln. With a couple of short calls to Paragon, my local electrician rewired everything, we replaced the elements and several bricks, and now it runs like a dream.
“Although I would ask different questions if I were to purchase a used kiln again, it was a real learning experience. I know a lot more about how my kiln works than I would have if everything worked from the start. It was reassuring to know that if we have questions, the folks at Paragon are not only available to answer questions but enjoy sharing information and educating their customers.”
“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” --Helen Keller
I recently finished reading “Success is a Journey,” by Brian Tracy. The author describes how he crossed the Sahara Desert as a young man. The experience taught him about achieving goals, and he shares what he learned. I recommend this book; it is worth re-reading.
It reminded me of an experience my father had while working deep in the Libyan Desert as a geophysicist. One afternoon he took a walk in the desert. Before long he became disoriented in the undulating sand dunes. He staggered back into camp an hour later and never told anyone how close he had come to dying--just a short distance from camp.
I hope you have a great weekend.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 email@example.com / www.paragonweb.com
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Copyright 2009, by Paragon Industries, L.P.