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Joël Mercier

Electric kiln WIP

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*Disclaimer* if you don't have knowledge in AC/DC and/or don't feel comfortable wiring your kiln, just ask a professional electrician!

I decided to post a WIP of my 100$ kiln project. I paid 35$ for the furnace which had a burnt element and no real temperature control. I bought a cheap PID and SSR combo(the same I use in my tempering oven) and also 16 gauge NiChrome wire from Amazon. 

The element should arrive in July. I will probably try and repair the old one to test the setup until then.

 

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Posted (edited)

Looks pretty reasonable so far. It looks like you are using the terminals on the PID controller to carry the full element power with 2 wires in each? 

If so, I would suggest a minor wiring change to keep the big currents off the PID terminals: incoming power directly to the SSR and a second small wire in the SSR terminal to take power down to the PID controller.  It's probably easiest to use a big terminal block to join the power wires on the other leg, with a small wire from that terminal to the other PID power terminal. 

The PID controller terminals are unlikely to be rated for high current and they can get pretty warm once serious Amps start flowing. It's not unknown for them to get hot enough to melt the plastic and lunch the PID controller. 

The DC to the input side of the SSR only needs little wires and they don't get hot (switching the SSR usually takes about 30 mA max at 3-32V). I usually try to use obviously-different wire for mains and low-Voltage control circuits in any enclosure. My experience is that stuff usually goes wrong when I'm tired and anything that might help me to avoid confusion and a mains jolt seems like a good idea.

Caveat: American wiring is something of a mystery to me. I've built about 8 HT ovens so far, but they have been on European 230V mains supplies with one 230VAC hot leg and a Neutral at Earth (Ground) Potential.

Edited by timgunn
Caveat

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Taking the load off the PID terminals sound like a good idea. Thanks! I'll fix that

I had bought high temp wire a while back when I built the tempering oven so I figured I'd use it for the SSR control. That's why it's all white...

 

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Posted (edited)

I powered the PID to play with the settings and found the max temp is 1000°c. Looks like I won't be doing any stainless with this one... Not that I really care though...

Edit: the idea just popped, I'll switch PIDs with the one in my tempering oven which is 1300°c max. "Problem" solved

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Edited by Joël Mercier

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I'm not sure whether it applies to your controller, but I've come across some that are initially set for 1 decimal place, limiting the maximum to 999.9 degrees. Changing to zero decimal places gives access to the full temperature range. Worth a try?

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I've read the instructions and couldn't find a way to. <_<

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What a score on the 35 dollar kiln! As far as the PID goes, if you're not having any luck with getting it to read over 999, id recommend swapping it for a Mypin TA-4 SSR PID. I have it on the oven I built and it will read out four digits. It also has a pretty handy auto tuning feature, which i've found to be pretty useful for switching between quenching temps and tempering temps. I think it was 18 bucks or so on amazon.

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had a similar issue with an auburn instruments not reading high enough gave them a call and the guy on the phone talked me threw setting it up to read higher see if you can get a call in to ink bird

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