The thermocouple must extend into the firing chamber by at least four times its width.
Look for the Simplest Repair Solutions
Recent Q&As: Aging switch box wires
A Kiln Story: Is It Celcius or Fahrenheit?
News: Paragon’s Flickr Photo Page
LOOK FOR THE SIMPLEST REPAIR SOLUTIONS
A friend accompanied her husband on a service call to repair a digital kiln that would not turn on. After they arrived, they noticed that the kiln was unplugged. Everyone laughed, and then they left.
We sometimes assume the worst when something goes wrong with kilns or other appliances. I recently almost threw away an electric tooth brush that wouldn’t recharge. Then I noticed that the GFCI for the wall outlet had tripped, shutting off the power to that outlet. I pressed the red reset button on the GFCI, and the tooth brush began recharging. (The GFCI is a type of circuit breaker used on outdoor, garage, and bathroom circuits.)
Before buying kiln parts, look for the simplest repair solutions.
1) Before changing a dead element, check the switch-to-element wires. Do you see a loose wire? Has the element burned off at the element connector? If so, you probably don’t need to buy a new element; just reconnect the old one.
2) In many cases, cracked or broken firebricks can be left alone. The damage is typically only cosmetic.
3) If the controller won’t turn on, check the kiln’s switch box fuse. (The fuse holder is mounted on the kiln.) Don’t assume that you need a new controller.
4) If the temperature on your controller is suddenly inaccurate, you don’t necessarily need a new thermocouple. Check to make sure the old one hasn’t been pushed into the kiln wall.
5) A Kiln Sitter that is firing inaccurately may need only an adjustment with a firing gauge rather than a new porcelain tube.
The last Kiln Pointer was on aging kiln switch box wires.
Q. I have been looking all over for kiln wires to replace the ones on the old A-66 kiln I'm trying to revive. The insulation on the wires looks brittle, so I am going to replace them to be safe. But you didn't say in your article where I can get these wires. All the ones I've found have plastic coating and would not be suitable for a kiln.
A. Paragon sells the replacement wires. You are right--the wires in kilns are designed for high temperatures and should not be replaced with household wires.
A KILN STORY: IS IT CELSIUS OR FAHRENHEIT?
Elena Wright of Wilmington, North Carolina wrote, “My first kiln for glass fusing was a small ceramic kiln with a broken Kiln Sitter. I used a pyrometer and a couple of alarms to do manual ramp-holds.
“One day I was going to a full fuse and was getting tired waiting for the kiln to get to 1430 degrees,” Elena continued. “I finally gave up thinking something was wrong with the kiln. It was then that I noticed I had set the pyrometer for Celsius--not Fahrenheit.
“The glass melted way beyond the Thinfire paper and down the side of the kiln shelf, which was ruined. This was an important lesson and a real impetus to get a digital kiln and make sure there was no way I could change it to Celsius by mistake. I now have a Paragon Janus-27 and it is a wonder. Without going through that steep learning curve in the early days, maybe I would not fully appreciate this fine machine.”
Raku is surrounded by an aura of drama. At a pottery convention, a high school teacher said, “Raku is scary as hell.” I asked if his students liked it. “They LOVE it!”
NEWS: PARAGON’S FLICKR PHOTO PAGE
Paragon has a new flickr.com page. You can see new pictures of the Paragon factory and the 2011 Bead and Button Flame Off.
Something to try if you are traveling for July 4th: On returning to Dallas from the Glass Art Society Convention last month, I found an empty gate at the Seattle airport. I did 10 minutes of stretching exercises and a moment later boarded my flight. Because of those relaxing stretches, I actually enjoyed the 3 1/2 hour flight.
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com / www.facebook.com/paragonkilns
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Copyright 2011, by Paragon Industries, L.P.