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electric kilns (tight connections)

updated tue 19 dec 00


Arnold Howard on mon 18 dec 00

Rick's advice is great.

If you ever remove the kiln switch box, look for corrosion on the
element connectors. The corrosion will turn the connectors white or
greenish. Corrosion is usually due to a loose screw holding the
connector, and sometimes due to a loose wire terminal. A corroded
element connector will slow the firing, even if the element itself
is okay.

Loose connections can cause havoc with a kiln. I have seen a kiln
switch box with a 1/2" hole blown into it due to a loose
connection. Someone had replaced a switch and brought the kiln in
for servicing after the box blew.

A number of years ago, some of the lights in my house flickered,
but only every few days. One evening I heard a crackling noise
inside a receptacle cover. The flickering problem was due to loose
wires under a receptacle screw terminal. I shut off the breaker,
tightened the screw, and solved the flickering problem. As an
electrician once told me, most electrical problems are due to loose

The employees in our electrical dept. are undergoing special
training. One of the things we are emphasizing is the importance of
tight connections. Recently I examined the terminals on the ends of
lead wires. I was delighted that they were the best crimps I have
ever seen in the factory in all the years I've been here.

Arnold Howard

--- rickmahaffey wrote:
> I second Mel's post.
> Often the element is not the problem. We have had several
> incidents
> where the connection between the element and the feed wire is
> burned in
> two. Same result as the element being broken, except that this
> one is
> easily repaired.
> Buy insulated wire that connects the supply with the elements and
> also
> buy some high temperature connectors. Also buy a real good
> crimping
> tool since the connectors are very hard. If you are real flush
> (have
> the money) buy one of each kind of element (some kilns have
> different
> elements in the top and bottom rings) that your kiln uses.
> Having
> these things can keep you on schedule as they always burn out at
> the
> wrong time.
> Keep a kiln log book even if you have a computer control so that
> you can
> note the length of the firing that it will show when it is done.
> THat
> way you can tell when the elements are getting tired and need
> replacing.
> Rick Mahaffey
> Tacoma, Community College
> Tacoma, Washington, USA
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