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Kiln controller help PLEASE

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  • Kiln controller help PLEASE

    Hello everyone. I'm going to sound really stupid by the end of this post!

    Some time ago a ceramic cafe opened in our town. I took my daughter and, as time went on, became a regular. A gentleman (M), the owner (C), my sister-in-law (K) and I have become good friends, meeting at least once a week. M has terminal cancer. C uses under-glaze paints, and has a large kiln.

    M introduced me to the variety of other glazes on offer, some of which mean individual pieces have to be fired separately. C will not do this, especially since some of these glazes need greater care in handling due to toxicity. A very small kiln was advertised, for the bargain price of £50, and I jumped at the chance. It was a very limited time offer as the owners were moving in a matter of days, but there are no instructions and neither C nor I understand the controls. I emailed the manufacturer, but a fortnight has passed with no response.

    The kiln is a Kilns and Furnaces Limited TSF25 with a Fire Aid controller. It was first sold in 1988. It is spotless inside, and the controller lights up when plugged in. There is a temperature gauge with a red needle which moves on the dial and a green needle which can be set to a particular temperature. There is a dial which can be turned, which C assumes is to control the speed at which the kiln heats up. Her own kiln, and every other one she has seen, have had computerised controls, this one does not.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance to any who try.

  • #2
    As far as I know, the heating may be times ie the controller is not a thermostat but a switch that turns the electricity to the heating elements off and on so at number 1 on the dial it will heat the kiln very slowly and at 10 will turn the element on full constant heat.

    What people do is they turn the heating rate up until they reach the temperature they want then they turn it down to maintain that temperature.

    If its new to you I would get a pyrometer or borrow one this will accurately measure the temperature of the inside of your kiln.

    Warm the kiln slowly to dry it out in the beginning as to stop the risk of cracking and bring to kiln up to desired temperature and turn the dial down to maintain that, if you have a good pyrometer then you can use it to calibrate your kiln.

    I hope I helped, I am new to kilns my self.
    Last edited by Lord farquhar; 09-04-2009, 05:10 PM.

    My (new) blog


    • #3
      Ok, so you've got an oldish kiln but it will work fine once you get used to it

      Ok, so you've got an oldish kiln but it will work fine once you get used to it.
      I would think the red needle indicates the temp in the kiln. The green needle sets the top temp and may, repeat may, switch your kiln off or it holds the temp at that temp chosen (the soak).

      Yes the dial/knob most probably controls the amount of power which you have to turn up periodically as your firing progress. presumably it is marked from 0 -10? or 0 - 100? Can you tell me how it is marked?
      Is it a 13amp plug in?

      Give me a ring if you want to chat 01952 813203 I'm at my desk till 7pm
      regards Robin


      • #4
        Now I've had a night to think about it here is a testing regime for your kiln.

        Set the green needle to 200 (I'm presuming here that the scale is in centigrade). Now if your knob is a power regulator set it to 10 if it is on a 0-100 scale or 1 if it is 0-10.

        Note the temp and time now switch on your kiln
        Record the temp and the time every 15 mins for the next hour. Draw a line graph time against temp.

        When firing bisque firing depending on various factors generally speaking you are looking for a increase in temp of 100 - 150centigrade per hour upto 600.

        After an hour try the dial at 20 or 2. Note the temp and time again over the next hour. Hopefully this will give a reasonably smooth temp increase.
        If you have not reached 200 increase again and watch what happens. Does the kiln switch off ? Or does the temp remain constant (soaking)?

        Let me know what happens



        • #5
          Further information and thanks

          Thanks for the help so far, very useful. I'll try the test when I have time, possibly tomorrow. I've not got a lot of room, so C has it in the back of her shop as she has the room to spare, and that's where I paint.

          I asked her to have a look at the controller for further information. The dial in question is marked 'Energy regulator', is marked 0-100 in tens, with the last segment marked 'all on'. The temperature control is indeed marked in centigrade, and plugs in using a 13amp 3-pin plug. On the control box there is an orange light which came on when we plugged it in, and the temperature needle began to rise, so power does go through okay.

          Thanks again, I'm very grateful for all your help. I'll let you know how the test goes.