How to Repair a Broken Kiln Element
And Associated Kiln Controller Information
The straightened ends are heated and twisted together and trimmed with side-cutting pliers.
A re-creation of the genesis of the problem. A folded vertical test tile decided to unbend during a firing, and came into contact with an element, transferring glaze to it. It took many, many firings before the glaze burned through the element.
fact that I was able to get a successful firing, even though an element had
failed, is a testament to Bartlett Instrument's SMT 700 series controllers with
Zone Control. Zone Control means that each kiln section has an individual thermocouple,
and each section cycles on and off independently of the other sections. My kiln
is a Skutt 3-section, 10-sided model, with 6 elements and 27" of interior
height. The failure occurred in the third element from the top.
Zone Control kilns come with Pilot lights that indicate which kiln sections
are "on" at any given moment. In the above example, all three pilot
lights (on the right side of the controller) are lit, which means that all three
sections are firing.|
The Bartlett 700 series board also is capable of indicating which zones are firing via decimal points on the numerical display. In the above photo, the decimal points to the right of the numerals 1, 3, and 4 indicate that sections one (top), Two (middle) and three (bottom), are all on. The display is reading: "1,345 degrees, Fahrenheit."
order to activate the decmal-point zone-indicator display, it is necessaries
to momentarily press "8" on the touch pad during a firing. This is referred
to as a "hot key." In the above photo, The two top pilot lights are
lit, meaning that the top two kiln sections are "on." The decimal point
to the left of the "6" on the display indicates that the top section
is on. The decimal point to the left of the "3" means that the Middle
section is on. The lack of a decimal point to the left of the "5" indicates
the bottom section is "off."|
The decimal point on the far right means that the display is reading in degrees Celsius. The display is reading "635 degrees, Celsius."
previously mentioned, I knew that something was wrong, I just didn't yet know
what. One indication was the pilot lights. The top two sections of the kiln were
working like crazy, trying to keep up with the bottom section, which was hardly
"on" at all, as indicated by the pilot lights.
of the above pieces were fired in the kiln with the failed element.