Paragon kilns are now shipping with updated digital controllers engineered by the Orton Ceramic Foundation. The new Sentry 3.0 12-key and Sentry Xpress 5.0 3-key controllers can be customized by the kiln owner in many ways. The Sentry 12-key has 35 Ramp-Hold programs, and the Sentry Xpress 3-key has 25 programs. Each program has 20 segments.
The Circuit Board
The memory chip on the new controllers has improved protection from electrical noise and heat. Ferrite beads are built into the circuit boards to protect the thermocouple wires from electrical interference. The new controllers have twice the memory of the previous ones.
On the new controllers, you can disable the audible buzzer by removing a jumper on the back of the circuit board. Temperature selection between F and C is now through Options on the 3-key controllers instead of removing or adding a two-pin jumper on the back of the earlier 3-key controllers.
Wiring harnesses and mounting hole patterns remain the same, so the new controllers are backward compatible with all previous Sentry and Sentry Xpress models.
Thermocouple wires are connected to the circuit board with small slotted screws rather than with the pressure buttons used on the earlier controllers. The new connections are more secure.
The Sentry 12-key and Sentry Xpress 3-key have a lid safety circuit that flashes LID when the lid or door is open. This is for kilns that have a lid safety switch. A diagnostics LED light on the back of the circuit board, when lit, indicates that the controller is receiving enough voltage. The controllers emit a short beep instead of a long squeal when booted up.
The Sentry 12-key and the Sentry Xpress 3-key give the electrical cost of a firing. This was added to the 3-key. The TC option is password protected. You will have to enter it to change from one type of thermocouple to another. If the kiln is equipped with an amp sensor, the controller can check the amperage at idle or during a firing.
In Options, you can turn off the Delay prompt, keep it as a prompt before every firing, or set it to retain the delay time in memory for future firings. You can add or remove the Cool prompt (Slow Cooling) from Cone-Fire programming through Options.
Select the firing rate as degrees of temperature change per hour, degrees of temperature change per minute, or a temperature reached during an elapsed period of time.
Individual Ramp-Hold programs can be locked in the Sentry 12-key and Sentry Xpress 3-key so that you can’t inadvertently change them. This is especially useful in a classroom setting where students have access to the kilns.
In Cone-Fire, the Slow Cooling target temperature was 392F/200C on previous controllers. It is now 800F/426C.
As with earlier controllers, everything begins from IDLE.
Paragon’s new Orton controllers are backward compatible with earlier ones.
Thermocouples wires connect to the board with screw connectors.