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Kiln Pointers

The Inner Workings of a Digital Kiln

A digital kiln is not complicated. When you understand how it works, you may find greater satisfaction in firing the kiln, because it won’t seem so intimidating. Knowing how it works will also simplify the maintenance on your kiln. This information applies to basically any brand.

The first item in the digital circuit is a 1/2 amp fuse, which helps protect the controller from power surges. This fuse is usually located on the side of the kiln’s switch box. If the controller display ever stops working, the first thing to check is the 1/2 amp fuse.

The next item in the circuit is a transformer, which converts the power to 24 volts AC. The transformer is easy to recognize. It is a square block wired between the power cord and the controller. The transformer is needed because the controller operates on 24 volts.

Wired to the controller is a heat sensor, which is a small rod that protrudes into the firing chamber. We call this sensor a thermocouple. It is made of two wires of dissimilar metal joined together in the thermocouple tip. When heated, the thermocouple actually produces a small voltage. The controller is a computer that converts that voltage to a temperature.

The controller is a switch that turns on the heating elements to maintain the correct temperature inside the kiln. But the controller cannot turn on the elements directly. It uses an electromagnet called a relay. When the controller needs to raise the heat, it sends a 12 volt signal to the relay. That energizes an electromagnet inside the relay, which pulls electrical contacts together. This, in turn, sends power to the heating elements. When the controller senses that the heat is about to rise too far, it shuts off power to the relay. (Some kilns have more than one relay.)

Hoping you are having a great fall season,

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 972-288-7557 / 800-876-4328 Fax: 972-222-0646 arnoldhoward@att.net / www.paragonweb.com



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