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Possible Reasons for E-1 (or Err1)

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

Elements
  • 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 the circuits. A Paper Test, an Ohms Test and a Voltage test can tell you which it is. 
  • Non-standard elements from an unauthorized supplier have too much resistance, or you did not hook them up properly (leaving the jumper wire out of a J230 section will double the resistance in that circuit and only one of the two elements will be used. Always use a ohms meter to check the element and circuit ohms.)

Under normal circumstances, relays will last many years even when the kiln is fired every day. It is not unheard of to hear about a relay failing, just not very common. If relays are failing often, usually there are other variables involved.

  • The biggest contributing variable to why a relay would fail is the environment, specifically heat. If it gets hot in the kiln room, the relays will not last as long. If it gets really hot, the relays can fail quickly. Salt air compounds this problem too. Even just a fan pointing at the control box can help this.
  • The next biggest contributing variable is a poor quality connection at the relay. This can take on a couple different forms. For example, if the relay overheats and fails and one of the wires got hot and was not replaced, that overheated wire can cause the next relay that is put in to overheat and fail too. It is important to replace anything else that has gotten hot when replacing a relay. Another example of

Firebrick cracks as it is heated and cooled- it is to be expected. When the kiln is hot, all the cracks fill in from the expanding brick. The biggest firebrick slabs are made with ceramic fiber expansion joints to accommodate this natural occurrence. Not every brick or slab cracks right away, but it seems that all bricks in the kiln, especially the slabs, will crack eventually.

  • Keep the stainless steel bands around the slabs and the sections tight.
  • Have a solid floor kiln stand like recent L&L stands, or add a 14ga galvanized steel or aluminum/ stainless steel plate between an older hollow-center stand and the slab.
  • With bad cracks, fill with NON-RCF ceramic fiber- not too much- just full, not stuffed!
  • Use a top shelf in the load to block falling brick chips and to secure a very cracked lid for a little while.
  • Re-gluing slab pieces with high temp cement and water may work well for a while too, or they may crack again right away.
  • With air moving through the garage, you will minimize the corrosive effects of clay/ glaze fumes on exposed metal in the garage and on the outside of the kiln. There will still be fumes, though, and to see the beginnings of corrosion on the outside of an unvented kiln after the first firing is not unusual. With the kiln vent properly installed, ALL the fumes are exhausted, which makes for a lot less corrosion on and around the kiln. Additionally, without the kiln vent, fumes are left to leak slowly out of the kiln. The extra time they spend inside causes the heating elements and the thermocouple to deteriorate more quickly than they would with the vent. Some people get 40% longer element life when they add a kiln vent. While it is not a necessary accessory, we highly recommend it as it pays for itself in overall longer kiln life.

    See this link for more information on corrosion in kilns.

  • Normally it is best to have elements that are all the same age. That way it is easier for the kiln to fire more evenly top to bottom.
  • If an element gets glaze on it and fails, the other elements in the kiln may not be that old. In this case it is ok to just replace the failed element.
  • If you examine the other elements and see them standing up nice and evenly in the element holders with even spacing between the individual coils of the element, then these elements have a lot of life left on them. If the other elements are leaning over to the right and left with uneven spacing between the individual coils of the element, then these elements do not have very long until they fail anyway- so it is best to just replace them all.
  • You can download an Excel spreadsheet that will generate any program (with graph and times) based on a particular cone number.

    Download the Excel Spreadsheet here

    When in doubt it is almost always better to fire slower than faster.

    A slower firing allows for more time for water vapor, fumes and gasses to escape from the body of the clay body.

    A slower firing minimizes the differences in temperature from the inside to the outside or across the surface of a piece of pottery. Bigger differences in temperature in the same piece of pottery can result in cracking or explosing.

    The thinner your ware is the faster you can fire; conversely the thicker it is the slower you should fire.

    Also - if the standard programs don't work don't be afraid to use the Vary-Fire programs.

    The power supply cord originally supplied with K18 kilns is only a three-wire cord. The third wire is actually a "neutral" wire, not a ground wire. The original literature for these kilns said to ground the kiln by running another copper wire from each section of the kiln case to a cold water pipe in your home.

    With today's electrical standards, the grounding is done through the same power cord that the power comes in on. If you have not already done so, you should replace your power cord with a 4-wire power cord, either hardwired to the supply or with a NEMA 14-30 plug- outlet configuration. You may need to hire an electrician.

    The danger is that if the kiln is ran with the 3-wire cord, and a wire in the control box somewhere comes off it's connection and touches the inside of the metal box... nothing will happen until you touch the box and become the pathway to ground for the electricity. Once the kiln is properly grounded, the circuit breaker will trip as soon as

    This is caused by a loose or not fully connected plastic ribbon on the back of the keypad that connects the keypad membrane to the electronics.

  • Turn all the Power OFF to the kiln.
  • Open the control box so you can see the back of the DynaTrol.
  • Locate the curling, striped, plastic ribbon at the bottom of the electronic circuit board.
  • Pull the plastic ribbon out of the long black plastic slot, wipe it with something clean- like a tissue, then push it fully back into the long black plastic slot- the plastic ribbon will stay connected at the other end of itself underneath .
  • Close the control box back up and try it.
  • If it still does not work double-check it or replace the DynaTrol.
  • See this video
  • EASY-FIRE TEMPERATURE PROFILES

    These charts tell what the EASY-FIRE programs do to your kiln when you choose one of them. These charts will also be good reference points for writing your own programs in the VARY-FIRE mode. These charts are for cones 07 through 04 and cones 5, 6, 7, and 10. Other cone numbers will work as well in your own programs.

    NOTE: No delays, preheats. or final soaks are shown. When these programs are fired the actual final temperatures will vary as the Dynatrol adjusts itself based on how quickly it is climbing to that final temperature. This would not be the case for VARY-FIRE programs that you develop and input yourself.

    Also note that all these programs end on Seg 7 rather than start on Seg 1. This is due to the way the Orton feature works in the EASY-FIRE mode and is not relevant to your own programming in the VARY-FIRE mode. (Seg #7 in the EASY-FIRE mode is a special Seg that incorporates the Orton software and so it must be the last

    Assuming that the loading is even and the TC offsets are set equally, uneven temps in the kiln can be a simple programmable setting issue: L&L Kilns with the DynaTrol 12-key controller made from 1/06 until 9/08(?) have their PID setting set to 100 rather than the factory setting of 65. This is not a really big deal but it can add to an existing problem. When the kilns were fired before the PID setting existed, the center zone of the kiln only had to be on 30% to 40% of the time to keep up with the top zone and bottom zone- when the top and bottom zones were at 100%. In order to get the kiln to heat more quickly at the upper temps, the PID setting was added. It allows you to set the middle zone to come on at a set percentage- higher than 30%- 40% just to add more heat to the load when the bottom and top fire at 100%. With the PID set to 100, the middle stays on 100% when the bottom and top stay on 100%. Because there is no top or bottom slab in the

    The first and easiest thing to do is to change the cycle time of the contactors.

    This is done in the "Hidden Menu" . See the DynaTrol Instruction Manual (look for "Hidden Menu" and "Cycle Time")

    4.4.10 CYCL: Cycle Time: The cycle time is the length of time between an element turning on two consecutive times. Using a short cycle time may improve temperature control, while using a long cycle time may improve relay life. Cycle time can be programmed anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds. The default setting from the factory is 14 seconds.

    It is possible to install rubber washers under the mounts of the contactors.

    It may be possible to retrofit the kiln with Solid State Relays. Contact factory for more information.

    Question: I do a controlled cooling to get even cooling rates. I've been using the User 6 program for the cooling cycle after using the Fast Glaze to fire up. I've been doing a 2 step cooling, with step one going 200 per hour to 1900 degrees, then step 2 going 150 per hour to 1600 degrees. Whenever I start another firing, step one in the cooling program has changed to 9998 per hour to 2250 degrees, and I have to reprogram it back to 200 per hour to 1900. What's up with that?

    Answer: To use USER 6 as a cool down program attached to the end of Fast Glaze, there needs to be one extra segment in the program before the cool down begins. When you add this program to a cone-fire program, the easy-fire program takes the place of the first segment of the cool down program.

    Your USER 6 needs 3 segments, the first one should be set to something like 200°F per hour to 2000°F, 0 hold. Remember it will not matter what the first segment is set to because the cone fire program

    You may have been programming the cone number by pressing 000 first, then the 5 (or 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 or 10) for the cone number.

    This results in entering a cone number of 005 (or 001, 002, 003, 004, 006, 007, 008, or 010) which the control will not accept.

    No need to zero out the cone # first, by pressing just the number 5 (or 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 or 10) the DynaTrol automatically erases the old cone number and replaces it with cone 6.

    L&L element holders require no pins so the elements can expand over time on their own without bulging out between pins. However, elements do fall out of the holders sometimes. Because of grain growth in the element wire after being heated many times, or sometimes when the kiln is new and the elements have not settled into the grooves, the elements will "jump" out of the holders. 

    The elements can probably be saved if they have not stretched out.

  • Get heat resistant gloves.
  • Turn the kiln on for a little while to heat up the elements so they are slightly soft.
  • TURN THE KILN OFF! (Or you could be electrocuted and killed.)
  • Using needle nose pliers or other pliers pick up the element in two places. Stretch as needed but try not to change the shape too much.You may have to compress the element slightly if the length has grown.
  • Place the element back in the holder.
  • If you have some bits of fired
  • HIDDEN “Other” MENU

    This menu contains the programmable settings for the rest of the features in the Dynatrol. To find this menu, first IdLE, tC2, and the current temperature must be cycling in the display.

    Press Other once to see RSET displayed

    Press 4, 4, 3, and see NOTC (this is the first option in the hidden “Other” menu)

    To exit the menu press ENTER twice when you see PCt. You will then see CPL, and then IdLE, tC2, and the current temperature cycling in the display again.

    WARNING: ‘OPTION A’(OPA), ‘OPTION B’(OPB) DO NOT PRESS ENTER HERE. These options are currently programmed to operate with different equipment than our powered bottoms and are therefore not recommended as options for controlling them. If you accidentally press ENTER on OPAor OPB you must then re-enter the hidden Other, 4, 4, 3 menu and press Other, Other, Other ( a total of three times to scroll to

    The hinge piece that attaches to the lid has two "ears". These must go on the outside of the hinge piece that attaches to the body of the kiln. 

    Electrical NoiseExternal
  • Sometimes there is electrical "noise" in your incoming line. This is hard to see (except with an oscilloscope). However, this can wreak havoc with the control and cause it to operate unpredictably.
  • The best way to deal with this problem is to put your control circuit on a 120 volt line and power it with a filtered computer power supply. All the control transformers that we use can have 208-240 or 120 volts incoming. Normally we power the control circuit with the line voltage. (Note that 480 or other higher voltages use different transformers). However, it is possible to change the wiring and power it with a 120 volt home circuit and then plug that into an external computer power surge protector. Get the best that you can with plenty of filtering.
  • Another way to deal with this problem up-front (or potentially as a retrofit) is to get our noise filter. This is not available on all models.
  • Internal
  • The discs are placed in the element holders to keep the elements from coming out during shipment.
  • it is a good idea to keep them in place during at least the first firing.
  • Once the elements heat up they will seat themselves in the element holders properly. Then they can be removed.
  • What they are, how to find them, and when to use which setting.
  • Thermocouple Offset and Cone Offset are two different settings that allow you to control how much heat-work develops in the kiln by the end of the program. Basically they accomplish this by allowing you to raise or lower the final temperature that the DynaTrol calculates to shut itself off.
  • The Thermocouple Offset setting allows you to add or subtract degrees from the kiln’s final temperature.
  • The Cone Offset setting allows you to add or subtract degrees from what the DynaTrol determines the individual cone’s final temperatures to be.
  • They are both located under the OTHER key. When the display reads IDLE, press OTHER again and again.
  • Cone Offset:

    First up is Cone Offset which looks like CNOS. Press ENTER here to first set which cone you want to offset, then set how much of an offset you want to have. Very early versions of the DynaTrol only came with +/-50

    The amperage rating of the fuse or circuit breaker needs to be 125% higher than the full load amps of the kiln. This is according to the National Electrical Code.

    You then need to bump this calculated amount up to the next standard size fuse or circuit breaker.

    Examples:

  • A kiln has a full load amp rating of 60 amps. 60 x 1.25 = 75 amps.  The next closest standard size breaker is an 80 amp breaker.
  • A kiln has a full load amp rating of 48 amps. 48 x 1.25 = 60 amps. A 60 amp breaker is a standard size.
  • The fuse amps are typically mentioned in the kiln electrical data located on the wiring diagram.
  • Always use copper wire to bring power to the kiln, NEVER use aluminum wire.  Near heat, aluminum oxidizes much more quickly than copper.

    Wire sizes associated with the different size breakers.

    20 amps
    12 gauge copper30 amps10 gauge copper40 amps8 gauge copper50 amps6 gauge copper60 amps6 gauge copper70 amps4

    Pyrometers are very useful for monitoring manually fired kilns. L&L used to sell only analog pyrometers (now we sell only digital pyrometers). An analog pyrometer has a needle and a printed scale under the needle to interpret the needle's position. Most clay and glazes will mature over at least two cone numbers and these pyrometers are at least that accurate. In time however, they loose their accuracy. They can be calibrated by using a large cone visible in the kiln. Compare the pyrometer reading when the cone melts to a cone table temperature equivalent for that cone number and adjust the calibration screw on the front of the pyrometer accordingly. We now only sell digital pyrometers now because of their superior accuracy.


    Tru-View Pyrometer System

    L&L's TRU-VIEW pyrometer systems can have as many as five thermocouples connected to them. The pyrometer can only read one at a time, though, so a thermocouple selector switch is wired into the yellow side of the TC

    See this link for an article in Clay Times by Stephen Lewicki, President of L&L Kiln Mfg. Inc., on the many factors that affect element life.

    The motor extends 7" off the wall. Motor dimensions are 8" x 7". Wall plate dimensions are 10" x 8", and the tube through the wall is 4" Diameter x 12" long.

    General Information on Thermocouples
  • The pyrometers and all of the electronic kiln controllers for L&L kilns work with a “Type K Thermocouple”. (Although we do make available a Type S platinum thermocouple).
  • There are all different “types” in the entire range of thermocouples available to the consumer and to industry.
  • All thermocouples, regardless of the "type", are made of one kind of wire on one side if the circuit, and another kind of wire on the other side of the circuit. The point at which the two kinds of wire meet is right at the end of the sensor - the thermocouple probe's tip in the kiln. This is where the temperature is read. All types of thermocouple circuits are set up this way, with two dissimilar metals making up each half of the circuit.
  • Type K Thermocouples
  • Type K is just one type covering the
  • Control
  • Our DynaTrol automatic control with Dynamic Zone Control is the state of the art way to do this.
  • Loading
  • In addition, the way you load the kiln will help promote good uniform firings.
  • You must keep enough space in the kiln to allow air to circulate.
  • Make sure your shelves do not block elements.
  • Kiln Configuration
  • If you are firing dense loads (such as tiles) you may want to consider one of our powered bottoms.
  • Venting
  • A powered downdraft vent such as out Vent-Sure system will also help.
  • Maintenance
  • Make sure all of your elements are working and are radiating heat evenly.
  • This is a rare error in the DynaTrol that indicates a problem with the memory chip.

    A typical scenario:

    I set a program up on User 1, ProgReview worked ok, and the kiln test fired ok for several minutes.

    I set a program up on User 2, ProgReview worked ok, but then after the IDLE/oC cycled a few times E—A came up on the display. When I pressed STOP the display showed TimeRun then ROR then 69 then IDLE. When I then stepped through the program, the settings had been scrambled. I then recalled the User 1 program and found the settings in that had also been scrambled.

    What to do:

    • E- A or Error A is the result of having too high a number programmed into one or more of the segments of the Vary-Fire program you are trying to fire. 
    • It is pretty rare, but it can happen in Segments 7 and/ or 8 of the User 2 program. 
    • Even if your User 2 program only has 1 or 2 segments, all 8 segments
  • Overfires are NEVER covered under the warranty.
  • It's best to mine all of the clay and/or glaze out of the kiln and see what you have left. Put together a list of parts you will need to replace and get the brick repair kit for the parts that are not too badly damaged. Always replace the kiln-sitter tube assembly and carefully inspect the kiln-sitter on overfired manual kilns. Automatic kilns rarely overfire except if the wrong program is entered by accident.
  • L&L will sell parts at cost if the kiln is still under the warranty period (Cost is 60% off things like relays or element holders. 50% off for things like floor slabs that have to be made by L&L). We do not seek to profit from that sort of misfortune, at the same time it is not our fault, so we do not want to lose on it.
  • If the kiln is out of warranty (and the customer is nice) we can offer discount just to help out. 20% off parts needed to fix the problem is a good amount.
  • First, all the peepholes must be plugged, the lid adjusted properly, and any other holes into the kiln plugged as well for the vent to work properly.
  • There is a sliding piece of metal on the by-pass collection box attached to the bottom of the kiln stand. This sliding metal piece covers a hole. If you can smell fumes, be sure the hole is covered up by the metal slider. While you are under there, be sure the flexible aluminum vent pipe is in place all the way around the connection point to the by-pass collection box under the kiln. A large open place in the ducting can allow the kiln to leak fumes into the room. Follow the flexible aluminum pipe all the way to the vent motor inspecting the pipe the entire way for holes or tears. Inspect how the pipe connects to the motor.
  • If the kiln is cold and off check the holes in the bottom of the kiln. Should be roughly one 1/4" hole for every 4 cubic feet of kiln interior- up to 5 holes. Poke something all the way
  • On/Off Switch
  • Make sure the On/Off Switch is turned on. Turn it on and off.
  • Control Fuse
  • Check control fuse in side of control box. Twist open the fuse holder and physically check the little fuse. You can see if the metal element inside is melted if it is blown. You can also use your digital multimeter to check continuity across the fuse.
  • Branch Fusing
  • Check the branch element circuit fuses inside the control box. All kilns with more than 48 amps and many 3 phase kilns have branch fuses.
  • Plug & Cord (if you have one)
  • Make sure the power cord is plugged into the receptacle. Reseat plug.
  • With power off examine the electrical cord. Look for burned or melted areas and breaks or pinched sections. Look closely at the head of the plug. If there is an internal problem with the wires and the plug parts you won’t be able to see it but you may detect a softening or melting of the plastic at the plug head.
  • With power turned on and panel open check
  • Programming
  • Make sure you have programmed the kiln properly and it is supposed to be firing. Do you have a Delay Time or a Preheat Time in your program? (Hit Review Prog button to find out).
  • Wiring
  • Unplug kiln or disconnect from live power by turning off circuit breaker or fused disconnect switch. Open panel. Check all power wires for firm connections.
  • Visually inspect the power wires coming from the Power Terminal Block to the inputs of the Power Relays. Reseat all the spade connectors to rub off any oxides and to ensure a good connection.

  • Control Board Outputs
  • It is possible that the internal switches on the control board could be bad. You can test that by checking to see if you find voltage (12 volts DC) between any of the output contacts on the control board to ground (any green wire). CAUTION: This test should only be done by an experienced person familiar with electricity and its dangers.
  • Bad Power Relays
  • You should be able to hear contactors
  • Check many of the same things in the above section on Automatic kilns - power supply, branch fuses, short circuits, cord, etc.

  • Make sure the infinitely variable zone input switches are turned on (if included on your kiln). There is a "click" in the "off position at "12 O'clock". Full on is the "click" position just to the right of this (1 O'clock).
  • Infinitely Variable Zone Input Switches may have failed.
  • Check to see if Dawson Timer is set properly. (If it is at "0" the kiln will not fire)
  • Check to see if the Dawson plunger is not pushed into place.
  • Voltage
  • Check your voltage. Some people may have high voltage like 245 volts where you should nominally have 240 volts.
  • Make sure you don't have a 208 volt kiln hooked up to a 240 volt circuit. This is dangerous because the kiln will draw more amps than it is rated for which will overload the power wires and other components and could cause a fire.
  • Elements
  • Check element ohms and compare with factory values. (See CHECKING ELEMENT OHMS).
  • If for some reason the thermocouple wires touch the hot kiln case, they may melt and fail. The result of this is that the kiln can “stall out”, say CPLt prematurely or display any other number of other random error codes. It may refuse to increase in temperature, and the kiln will just run on and on. If it is re-started, it may work fine for a while. What happens is that the millivolt signal in the TC wire goes to ground, or the two wires in the TC wire are “electrically” connected by the stainless steel melting through the insulation and the “temperature” is then taken right there, not in the kiln. However, the signal received can be so foreign to the microprocessor that the kiln will just stall. The specific Thermocouple Lead Harness needs to be replaced.
  • Thermocouples close to end of their useful life can cause some of these same problems.
  • Sometimes excessive ambient temperatures (over 125°F) around the control can cause stalling too.
  • Corroded connection
  • The only way to figure this out accurately is to have a kilowatt meter installed in the power supply line. Each firing is different depending on how the kiln is loaded and the age of the elements.

    The next most accurate way would be to sit by it and time it. This will be tricky though- it will require 3 different stop watches and perhaps 2 assistants. If you press the #8 key while firing an automatic kiln, the display will indicate which sections of the kiln are on. It does this by flashing a different dot on the bottom of the screen for each section that is on, top, middle, bottom; the dot on the far left is the top, the dot next to that is the middle, and the dot next to that is the bottom. So one stopwatch for each dot- just keeping track of when each dot is on... you could time it for 10 minutes every hour and get a pretty good idea...

    Another Estimation Method
  • First look for the watt or kilowatt rating on the kiln. For example an
  • If power goes off during the Delay countdown, the controller will remember where it was when power shut off. When the power comes back on, it will continue with the countdown from this point.
  • If the power goes off and the temp is below 140°F, the display will read PF when the power comes back on and the kiln will not be firing.
  • If the power goes off and the temp is over 140°F, when the power comes back on the kiln will continue the firing so long as it has not cooled more than 250°F.
  • If it has cooled more than 250°F the display will read "PF" when the power comes back on and the kiln will not be firing. Press ENTER, then START to continue firing. Press REVIEW PROG to check the program.
  • If it has not cooled more than 250° F the display will flash "ERRP" while it fires. Press ENTER to remove the "ERRP" code.
  • A thermocouple (TC) is a temperature sensor. It reads the temperature in the kiln and gives the information to the DynaTrol or pyrometer. A TC is made from 2 different metals. Type K TCs are alumel (-) and chromel (+). Alumel is magnetic, chromel is not. Also, when examined closely, alumel is a bit more copper colored and chromel is a bit more silvery. Type S TCs are Platinum and Platinum with 10% Rodium. Once the two metals are welded together, a small millivoltage is actually generated from the welded joint. This millivoltage changes degree by degree as the kiln gets hotter/ colder. The millivoltage can be sensed by the DynaTrol or by a pyrometer, and each different amount of millivoltage is assigned to a different temperature. The DynaTrol can translate the millivoltage signal into a recognizable temperature. Because the signal is in millivolts any point of resistance in the circuit will change the millivolt value and the corresponding displayed temp reading. Old

    Similarity of Automatic Control Box with Manual Control box
  • The similarities between the automatic controls and the manual controls are most easily seen in the power circuits.
  • Just like in a large manually-controlled kiln with contactors controlled by switches, all the automatic kilns contain contactors which are controlled by the automatic controller.
  • Early controls just had one output which turned all the contactors (as well as the elements) on and off together.
  • Later controls (used after September 1998) typically have 3 inputs and outputs, which allows each contactor, and the element circuit connected to it, to be turned on and off individually as needed, based on the various inputs.
  • Signals from the thermocouples tell the control what to do
  • The control knows when to turn the contactors on and off because of the signals it receives from the inputs.
  • The inputs are the thermocouples (TCs), also known as the temperature sensors.
  • Facing is meant to penetrate into the brick 1/2" or so. When it is fired, it makes that part of the brick harder and more reflective. Be sure not to use too much! Too much in the proper consistency will penetrate too deeply, hardening too much of the brick. Hardening takes away some of the heat-retaining ability of the brick so you just want a bit of it on the inside layer. Too thick and it will harden and fall off after a few firings, taking a bit of the firebrick with it.

  • It comes concentrated- mix with water until it is about the consistency of milk.
  • Keep mixing it as it will settle out quickly.
  • Do a test spot to be sure it is not too thick somewhere on the brick- after it dries in a minute or two you should see no sign of it except a faint milky residue in the pores of the brick.
  • Paint/ spray the lid with it- nice even and just one coat. You should be able to see through it - it isn't like a paint.
  • 220 volts, 3 phase
  • If you have 220 volts and 3 phase power available, the kiln will come with a 3-wire powerblock for the 3 hot wires that give the 3 phase.
  • Between each hot wire, 220 volts can be measured.
  • There is no need for a neutral wire to come to the kiln in this case, just an earth ground wire in addition to the 3 hot wires.
  • 380/220 volts, 3 phase
  • If you have 380/220 volts and 3 phase power (like a lot of foreign countries), the kiln will come with a 4-wire powerblock for the 3 hot wires that give 3 phase and one neutral wire.
  • Between each hot wire, 380 volts can be measured.
  • Between the neutral and any of the hot wires, 220 volts can be measured.
  • The kiln circuits are connected to the neutral line and one of the hot lines for each kiln section to provide 220 volts for each kiln section.
  • In addition to the 3 hot wires and the neutral wire, an earth ground wire is needed as well.
    • E- A or Error A is the result of having too high a number programmed into one or more of the segments of the Vary-Fire program you are trying to fire. 
    • Bartlett says it is pretty rare, but it can happen in Segments 7 and/ or 8 of the User 2 program. 
    • Even if your User 2 program only has 1 or 2 segments, all 8 segments are looked at by the part of the controller that checks for faults like that. 
    • To fix it, just go into User 2 and set it for 8 segments. 
    • Then as you go through the program, check the set points; the degrees F or C number in each segment. 
    • Probably the degrees F 7 and degrees F 8 are set to numbers that are a lot higher than the maximum temperature of the kiln. 
    • Set them to a number below 2300 and finish going through the program. 
    • Lastly go back into User 2 again and set it back to the original number of segments.  Then try to fire it again.

    A customer asks: I have a question regarding this first test firing. For my previous kiln, I remember I fired the first firing up to one cone higher than I was working... in that case it was cone 6 - so I fired it it to cone 7.... I am going through the instruction book and videos (which are great and extremely helpful) and the recommendation for the first firing is to cone 5. I plan to work up to cone 6 again with this kiln - possibly higher. My question is: Should I do the first firing as instructed to cone 5 and then a second firing to cone 7 after? Can I fire the first firing to cone 7? I want to season the kiln properly - I certainly don't want to jeopardize it for the future.

    Answer: The Cone 5 temperature target is somewhat arbitrary. We want to accomplish three things with the first firing: 1) fuse the hardening coating we apply to the surface of the brick (which is one reason L&L kilns stay so durable over time) and 2) seat the elements in the holders and 3)

  • Getting glaze on the element can cause that to happen.
  • It can also happen sometimes from a combination of things, not involving direct contact with glaze. For example, the elements in the photograph look pretty worn out. Over their lifetime they are possibly getting different types of glaze fumes and carbon etc. on them. Anything on the surface of the element drives up it's surface temperature. Combine a lot of that with some pottery set too close to an element, reflecting the heat back on to the element right there, and you can get it hot enough locally to melt the element into the element holder.
  • Glaze fumes can condense on the elements. Good venting can help prevent this.
  • Be sure to vacuum out element holders to remove any dirt, clay, glaze, etc. that may have settled in there.
  • An electric kiln atmosphere rich in oxygen will make elements, kiln-sitters, and thermocouples last as long as possible. All the materials used in L&L kilns like to be in oxygen. Fumes are generated by carbonaceous materials in clay, china paints and glazes containing oils, glue from decals, and certain glazes and other miscellaneous products. Fumes include carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, hydrogen fluoride and metal vapors. These fumes are unhealthy and can adversely affect your work. You MUST VENT YOUR KILN if you are doing ceramics.

    Installation Codes

    See this for more information on venting and codes.

    General Room Ventilation

    Your kiln room should be dry and well ventilated. Never operate in an enclosed space unless you have good ventilation. Aside from issues of ventilating the fumes from the firing, the heat build up in an enclosed room could present a

    We have had several improvements in our element holder designs over the years and have been able to increase the interior size of the holder to accommodate a larger element.

    The first change was in January 1996 when we started using a slightly enlarged holder. Then in June of 2004 we introduced an even large holder. Those redesigned element holders have a larger opening for the element to be inserted into. The back of the element holder remains the same so that it fits in the same routed groove in the firebrick of all K and J kilns. MAKE SURE THAT ALL THE ELEMENTS IN YOUR KILN ARE OF THE SAME STYLE. The various types of holders can be mixed without problems, however.

    See this entire page for information on Jupiter, J Series, Econo-Kiln, Easy-Fire and DaVinci element sizes and types.

    Except for custom elements all Doll kilns only have one size element.

    Dura-Fire, eQuad-Pro, Hercules, Renaissance

    The pliers to get for grabbing the wire and bending it around the bolt are called Linesmans Pliers.

    Click here to see photos of Linesmans Pliers

  • The idea is to bend the wire around the bolt, not use the bolt to bend the wire. Holding the bolt steady can help this, but be careful not to crush the threads.
  • Instead, grip a nut that is left out at the end of the bolt with another pair of pliers. This will help to keep the bolt from bending.
  • Be sure to wrap the element tail one time only around the bolt, with no overlap.
  • Be sure to squash the element tail between stainless steel washers on either side of it where it wraps around the bolt.
  • It is difficult to get the cutters on these linesman pliers close enough to where
  • 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 firing and when it is not
  • 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
  • BASICS
  • 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