Most Likely Cause

Although the steps below are comprehensive, in most cases, the reason for an Err1 or E-1 are aged elements. You can almost be sure of this if the kiln has been slowing down gradually. At some point in the process of aging the elements just don't have enough power to do their job. The second most common reason is a worn out relay. This is easy to diagnose with the paper test linked below.

Possible Reasons for E-1 (or Err1)

NOTE: E- 1 errors read as "Err1" on controls manufactured before 2006

  • If you see an E-1 or Err1, then for some reason the kiln could not generate enough heat to counter the heat loss. If one of the elements or one of the circuits in the control fails while the kiln is at a high enough temperature, then it will probably display an Err8 code (which means temperature is falling when it should be rising)
  • Err1 or Err8 can mean either you need new elements or a new component in one of
Incorrect Loading
  • If your kiln is loaded unevenly it can cause the 3-zone control to slow the kiln down to compensate.
  • Try evening out the load. A common mistake is to put too much heavy work in the bottom of the kiln.
  • Also try to space the bottom shelves so that there are two elements inbetween the shelves. This allows as much of the heat to be transmitted to the work.
  • Bad or Wrong Voltage
  • Check your voltage. Do this at the kiln at the Power Terminal Block with the control panel open or check it at your fused disconnect box. CAUTION: This test should only be done by an experienced person familiar with electricity and its dangers. You need to see what the voltage is when the kiln is firing. Low voltage will make the kiln fire considerably slower. For instance a kiln designed for 240 volts will have 25% less power when operated on 208 volts. Check voltage at your panel and where the kiln is connected. Check the voltage when the kiln is
  • How the DynaTrol is Supposed to Work

    All of the DynaTrol controlled L&L Kilns have similar control circuits.  Basically, a wire from L1 on the main power block goes to a 1/2 amp fuse, then to a toggle switch, then to the transformer.  Another wire goes from L2 directly to the transformer.  This brings 240 or 208 volts AC to the "line side" of the transformer.

    When the transformer is energized by the voltage, it produces about 24 volts AC with a center tap.  This power goes to the DynaTrol on 3 wires.  The two outer ones will give you about 24 volts AC when tested with a multi-meter.  The inner wire gives you about 12 volts AC.  DynaTrol is powered by two 12 volt AC circuits.

    What to do if it doesn't work
  • First, be sure to leave the toggle switch on for 30 seconds without pressing anything.  If the pre-2006 controls are running a program and the toggle switch is turned off without having pressed the STOP key first, the
  • FAIL usually just means a thermocouple is broken. It will read FAIL, TC3 or TC2 or TC1- telling you which thermocouple is out.
  • When you inspect the thermocouples often, you can see that they can look old, corroded and even cracked at the tip.
  • If all thermocouples are the same age, or close to it, replace them all.  The kiln will fire best when all the thermocouples are the same age and style.
  • FAIL actually means that one of the thermocouple circuits is open- or not connected somewhere.
  • A complete thermocouple circuit is the DynaTrol or other control, the thermocouple wires, and the thermocouple itself.
  • The thermocouple could be fine and just the wires got pinched in the control box cover. Or the connection between the thermocouple wire and it's wire terminal could be loose. Or it could just be the thermocouple itself, just worn out from old
  • The wire gauge recommendations in our "Wire Gauge for Connection" specifications are based on relatively short lengths of wire up to about 25 feet. If you have to run wire longer than that you need to take into account voltage drop and upsize the wire accordingly. Voltage drop can significantly affect the performance of a kiln by making less power available to the kiln. This can result in Error 1 issues, slow heating and shorter element life.

    It never hurts to upsize the wire gauge if you want to err on the side of caution. It is a lot cheaper in the long run to do this while you are running the wire.

    Here is a voltage drop calculator that can also help you figure out the voltage drop with precision. Click on this link. 

    Here are some actual formulas for voltage drop.

    A suggested way to

    Keep in mind that you run the risk of over-firing if you re-start while the kiln is very close to the final temperature. A pyrometric cone melts with the proper combination of time and temperature. Add more time and you don't need as high a temperature, go to a higher temperature and you don't need as much time. When an error code shuts down the kiln near your final temperature (within about 50 degrees) and you do not know exactly how long it has been cooling, or what temperature it reached before the error code appeared, you run the risk of having too much time in your time-temperature equation. The DynaTrol calculates this equation automatically after determining how many degrees per hour the kiln is climbing (time) and to what temperature it is climbing to (temperature). However, it cannot do this accurately after a high temperature re-start.

    If you have cones in the kiln that you can see through the peepholes, then use these after you re-start and turn off the kiln

    The Vent Instructions are in every Instruction Manual for every kiln that could potentially use a vent. They are not packed in the box unless a vent is ordered separately. You can download these here.

    Two Zone Kiln (2 sections)

    TC1 is the top and TC2 is the bottom.

    Three Zone Kiln (with 3 sections)

    TC1 is the top, TC2 is the middle and TC3 is the bottom.

    Three Zone Kiln (with 4 sections)

    TC1 is the top, TC2 is the top middle and TC3 is the bottom, nothing on the second section from the bottom.

    Three Zone Kiln (with 5 sections)

    TC1 is the top, TC2 is the middle and TC3 is the bottom, nothing on the second and forth rings from the bottom.

    We have never subscribed to the idea that holes in the lid are a good idea for venting. Other kiln manufacturers do that but L&L's thinking is that there are already more than enough holes and spaces in the kiln and they are evenly spaced to provide enough inlet opening for the vent. Some people like to open the peepholes in the beginning of the firing as well when severe moisture is being generated. We also believe that holes in the lid weaken it structurally.

    There is a glitch in User 2 program in the 3-button Bartlett. Normally, there is no segment 4 in User 2, but there can be if you program it in, and if there is, and if it is a cooling segment that goes on for more than one hour, the TC-- code will appear and shut down the program. Normally TC-- means the TC is wired in backwards, so if the kiln has ran fine before and no one just changed or messed with the TC, start checking the User 2 program for a long cooldown in segment 4. The way to deal with it if it is programming is easy. Make segment 4 just drop a couple degrees, then add another segment as segment 5 to take it from there down the rest of the way.

    If a DaVinci is installed on a smooth floor and the lid is opened a lot, or left open for long periods of time, the weight of the lid will cause the counterbalance to want to lean forward. When this happens, the top section of the kiln slides forward and the bottom section slides backwards- slowly, over time. To counter this, the kiln needs to be anchored. You must bolt both the bottom of the counterbalance to the floor and the top of the counterbalance- where the safety chains hang- to the wall. If you just anchor one or the other, the kiln will still migrate over time.

    We use stainless steel element terminal bolts. Stainless steel bolts have weaker threads than plated bolts but resist corrosion much better (which is more important in high temperature environments with corrosive fumes).

    On a new kiln the factory tightens the nuts on the bolts for a good connection. It is hard to cross thread on a new kiln bolt easily as a cross threaded nut will not turn on the bolt more than 1/2 a turn or so.

    There is a fine line on the element connections between tight enough and over tight. It is possible to break bolts when replacing the elements even ones that are relatively new. Part of this can be attributed to the relative lack of strength in stainless steel.

    Heat, vibration and element stress can wear the thread on the bolt.

    Generally it is easy to replace a bolt.

    We suggest changing all the stainless steel terminal hardware when changing elements.

    When this happens, it almost always means the hinge is out of adjustment or set too low on the back of the kiln.

  • When the kiln is cold, remove the spring tension if there is a spring (spring removal step-by-step in the assembly instructions in the kiln manual) and just loosen all of the screws that hold the hinge to the kiln body.
  • Then raise the kiln body part of the hinge until starts to pick up the back of the lid.
  • Lower it down until the lid barely touches the top kiln section and tighten all the screws again.
  • If this does not fix it try a firing without the hinge spring on the kiln.
  • Try a firing with the hinge not connected at all just to see what is causing the problem.
  • How to adjust the spring hinge properly:

    When this happens, it almost always means the hinge is out of adjustment or set too low at the back of the kiln.

    • When the kiln is cold, see if the hinge rod with the collars on either end is loose and able to move back and forth a little- it is supposed to be able to move at least a bit.
    • If it is not able to be moved, first loosen one of the collars and pull it out a bit. It is possible that the collar is just pushed on too far.
    • Loosen the three hose-clamps at the left back corner of the hinge assembly. These hose-clamps hold the left hinge rod support in place.
    • With a pry bar between the metal foot and the bottom of the hinge rod support pole, pry the pole upward until you can see the back corner of the lid lifting off of the top ring.
    • Lower it until it barely touches and tighten the hose-clamps
    • Do the same to the other side- the right hinge rod support at the right back corner of the hinge assembly. <

    Corrosion on a kiln is perfectly normal... mostly because it is a kiln! Hot-to-cold-to-hot environments, plus all the water vapor, not to mention sulfur, fluorine, carbon etc. coming out of the clay all work to create a very corrosive environment for metal.

    Corrosion In Different Materials
  • Corrosion to untreated steel will happen overnight, even when it is not part of a kiln.
  • Corrosion to galvanized or aluminized steel- like chimney flashing, or like your kiln's stand, won't happen as quickly, but it will happen.
  • Stainless steel, like the kiln casing, is better- it can take many years to rust it, but it will blacken or pockmark rather quickly near the heat.
  • On a kiln everything discolors and corrodes pretty quickly. How soon this happens will depend entirely on several factors.
  • The #1 reason why kilns corrode is for lack of down-draft ventilation. We highly recommend installing a down-draft type vent (the
  • It is possible to confuse the Hold Time in the original program with the Hold Time for the Preheat Option.  In the original program, the Hold Time happens at the top temperature.  When you add a Preheat to a program, it is holding at the preheat temperature of 200F for the duration you enter.  Pressing Review Program will tell you whether a Hold or a Preheat was programmed.
  • Assuming it was programmed correctly, the only way you can jump the preheat is if, when the kiln is started, one of the thermocouple temperatures is hotter than the preheat temperature.
  • Older models have 150F preheat temperature, newer ones 200F.
  • Press 1, then 2, then 3 before firing to check the TC temperatures.
  • If any one thermocouple reading is hotter than your kilns preheat temperature, the firing will skip the preheat and fire the rest of the program as if it had already finished the preheat.
  • NOTE:  Kilns with

    The work is overfired but there is no error code. Here are some things to look for:

  • Cones placed wrongly in cone pack- angle is off
  • Small or wrong cones used
  • Fired to the wrong cone
  • Firing with a hold time at the end
  • Firing a Vary Fire program to too high a temp for the rate of climb
  • TC offset adjustment needs to be set higher
  • TCs reading unevenly (from age or loading unevenly or too close to TC) make it take longer to even out(must be firing and hot to see this; press 1,2,3),
  • Old elements have more and more trouble responding to uneven temps- (from TC age or from uneven loading or loading too close to the TC) this makes the kiln take longer and can make cones look like an overfire
  • Kiln-sitter (if used) out of adjustment
  • Kiln-sitter (if used) blobs the cone instead of bends it- replace kiln-sitter tube
  • Lid/ Hinge out of adjustment- opens a bit in the front when hot.

    If your kiln underfires with no error code:

  • Cones placed wrongly in cone pack- angle is off.
  • Small or wrong cones used
  • Fired to the wrong cone
  • Firing a Vary Fire program to too low a temp for the rate of climb
  • TC offset adjustment needs to be set lower
  • Kiln-sitter (if used) out of adjustment
  • Kiln-sitter (if used) blobs the cone instead of bends it- replace kiln-sitter tube
  • Lid/ Hinge out of adjustment- opens a bit in the front when hot.
  • Start by pressing 1,2,3 (or 1,2 on a two ring kiln). Look for which thermocouple is lagging behind.
  • Assuming there is one thermocouple lagging: In DaVinci and Jupiter kilns, just disconnect that thermocouple wire from the lagging thermocouple and see if it starts to climb again. In an Easy-Fire, shut the kiln off, allow it to cool, remove the wire between the lagging thermocouple and the thermocouple terminal strip, fire again. If that lets it fire, replace both the thermocouple wire(s) and the thermocouple in the bad circuit. If it still does not fire, either a bad relay or bad element/ element connection is to blame.
  • If you press 1,2,3 and temperatures are even (still clicking/ no error code), check the LAG setting (pre '06 DynaTrols). It should be set to 25, AutoLag- AULG should be ON. On kilns built Jan '06 and later, stalling with even temps (still clicking/ no error code) is very rare.
  • Breakers can trip on the kiln for a couple different reasons. What is important to know is, when does it trip?
  • Does it trip as soon as you turn the toggle switch on?
  • Does it trip as soon as the relays engage?
  • Does it trip after the kiln has been on for a while?
  • Another important thing to know is what happens when the breaker is reset.
  • Does it not let you reset it at all?
  • Does it immediately trip again as soon as you re-start the program?
  • Does it wait a while, like 20 minutes, and then trip again?
  • Does it trip as soon as you turn the toggle switch on? This means there is a short to ground in the control circuit.
  • Does it trip as soon as the relays engage? This means the short to ground is somewhere after the relays. Often it can be where the element wire passes through the wall of the kiln. On older kilns there are ceramic bushings on the outside of the hole the element wire
  • In order for temperature readouts to be close to each other, the two devices need to use the same type and style thermocouples. Additionally, they need to be put into the same area and to the same depth in the kiln. 
  • The type of thermocouple is "Type K" or "Type S".  In this country, type K will use red (-) and yellow (+) leads.  Type S in this country uses red (-) and black (+) leads.  Type S and K thermocouples are not interchangeable, except by replacing all the thermocouple wiring and resetting or replacing the kiln controller.
  • The style of a thermocouple has to do with things like the thickness of the wires in the actual thermocouple, if there is a ceramic or metal sheath over the thermocouple, or no sheath at all, etc. In other words the thermocouples need to be identical. For example, a thicker wire thermocouple will read a given temperature as being cooler than a thinner wire thermocouple. The reason for this is that
    • If the kiln were 3 sections with wires running to N, L1, L2, and L3 all 3 amp readings (L1, L2, and L3) would be the same.
    • On a 2 section kiln the wires run only to N, L1 and L2. The amp readings on L1 and L2 are the same and lower than the amp reading at N. The engineers do not list amp readings at N only L1, L2 & (L3).

    When you first turn on a kiln and the elements are cold the amperage is higher. Once the elements heat up the resistance changes by about 4% and the amperage goes down. That is the meaning of "Hot Amperage" and "Cold Amperage" and "Hot Resistance" and "Cold Resistance".

    What normally matters is the "hot resistance" because the "hot amperage" is what a kiln normally draws so this is what the electrical circuit normally sees. The "cold resistance" only lasts for a few minutes - normally under the time that a fuse or circuit breaker might trip.

    Electrically speaking, all the elements in most L&L kilns are the same (exceptions are front-loaders with door elements, B models, J/K18R kilns, JD/J230PB with HD Series wired elements, and possibly other older or custom kilns as well). The channel the element sits in on a powered bottom is often longer than the channels on the sides of the kiln for the side elements. Powered Bottom elements do not come pre-stretched, so you have to stretch them longer to make them fit correctly. Be careful not to overstretch the element.

  • Slow bisque is the safest to use and ensures a better firing to get out fumes and water vapors.
  • The more carbonaceous materials you oxidize during the bisque firing the less potential you have for outgassing during your glaze which will cause pitting in your glazes.
  • For very thin work or for certain clays you can use the Fast Bisque - or if it just works fine for you. Start with Slow Bisque and experiment later.
  • Remember: Heat-work is always a function of time and temperature. You achieve the same cone firing if you fire slower for a longer time to a lower temperature.
  • See this post for an even slower bisque program to use if the standard SLOW BISQUE Easy-Fire program does not work for you.