Controller problems are often easy to diagnose once you know how.
Trouble-Shooting a Digital Keypad
Reader Response: Selling your ware with hang tags
Recent Q&As: How to avoid arcing across the Kiln Sitter contacts; the difference between kiln cement and Paragon Liquid Kiln Coating
TROUBLE-SHOOTING A DIGITAL KEYPAD
Recently a customer reported that the digital keypad on her controller stopped working. She was about to leave for a conference and faced deadlines; she thought she needed a new controller. After she tried suggestion #3 listed below, she wrote, “Problem solved!”
1) When a keypad stops working, turn off the power for a few seconds and restart the controller. Check the keypad again.
2) Low voltage from the kiln's transformer can make the controller lock at a particular temperature. When this happens, the keypad will not respond to key presses. Changing the transformer should correct this. The voltage from the kiln’s transformer to the controller should be 20 – 30 volts AC. This video shows how to test the voltage:
3) If the voltage from the transformer is okay and the keypad will still not operate, remove a couple of mounting screws from the keypad. Then peel back the plastic overlay until you have uncovered the keys. Try to operate the controller with the keys uncovered. If the keys start to work again, all you will need to replace is the plastic overlay.
4) On the back of the Sentry Xpress 3-key controller board, you will find a pair of pins labeled PS. A jumper on the PS pins disables the keypad and puts the controller into pyrometer mode. This will make the keys stop working. Check the PS jumper to see if the pins are pressed together and shorted out. This will cause the keypad to stop working.
The last Kiln Pointer was entitled, “Selling Your Ware with Hang Tags.” David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas wrote, “Since I make art for sale, I have to remind myself that a little part of me is being invited into a home by a customer who doesn't know me. The effort involved in making a tag or paper that is as creative as your work is worth your time, because you are introducing yourself to these families and thanking them for allowing a piece of you to come live with them. Every time your art is looked at or used, a remembrance of the message you sent home with that piece surfaces, producing a good feeling or even a private little smile.
“What are some of the best types of artist hang tags I have seen? Sometimes, the information is in the form of a ‘coaster’ that fits under the art,” David continued, “or as a personal letter written to the new owners, fit into the wrapping. The best for us is when the artist's statement, which is important, is blended with a personal greeting and thank you.”
Lydia Piper of Albuquerque, New Mexico wrote, “Thanks for sharing the tip about hang tags. I have been developing a brochure to go with my fused glass pieces explaining the inspiration and process. I thought that it might be overkill, but this article shows that the brochure may make a difference in sales.”
Q. Is it okay to leave the kiln switches turned on and use the Kiln Sitter to turn on and shut off the kiln?
A. Before pressing the plunger to activate the Kiln Sitter, the kiln switches must be turned off. If the switches are turned on when you press the Kiln Sitter plunger, electric arcing will eventually degrade the Kiln Sitter contacts. You might even be able to hear the faint crackling of electricity between the contacts as you press the plunger.
Q. What is the difference between kiln cement and Paragon Liquid Kiln Coating? Can a lid be coated with a thin mixture of kiln cement?
A. Kiln cement thinned with water will work as a lid coating. The Liquid Kiln Coating that we offer is a mixture of kiln cement, fine brick dust, a gumming agent, and water. We are currently coating our lids with the Liquid Kiln Coating.
“What I love about my late life conversion to ceramics is how it's improving my character. My poor long-suffering parents couldn't improve it. Decades of sermons couldn't do it. But lids, and my unaccountable desire to make them fit, are making me confront what my lovely daughter calls my ‘wing it’ attitude.” --Margaret Flaherty
Frances Darby and her husband founded Paragon in 1948. When I started working here, she still owned the company. Recently her granddaughter, Margaret Darby, sent us an email. “I teach second grade and had to explain what a kiln was today,” she wrote. “My class had fun looking at your web page. I especially enjoyed your history of Paragon.
“The company was sold when I was in elementary school,” she continued. “I remember that Gram got around the factory on a giant tricycle with a basket big enough for small children to ride in.” I remember that tricycle too.
Frances Darby exuded confidence and personal power. You could sense it immediately. But she had a softer side, too. One time Carol, the bookkeeper, told her that someone who couldn’t read was applying for a job. Frances said he sounded promising. This surprised Carol. “I thought you wanted to hire college graduates,” Carol said.
“But we can help educate the people who work here,” Frances said. Education is still important here. Paragon reimburses employees for attending and passing courses.
I hope you are enjoying the summer.
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 2012, by Paragon Industries, L.P.