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Sunday, November 23, 2008

November Bowl

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After 9 months, Paragon Kiln Company finally decided to help "fix" the kiln situation !!!
A brief history: the kiln was brand new, straight out of the box, last October when it was first plugged into a dedicated circuit. It worked properly for a couple of months.
But ........
3 months later, the kiln (with a digital programmer) fought for its life to reach a temp of 2167°F usually stalling out with a "fail" notice around the temp of 2144°F. (The kiln is rated to temps of 2300°F.)
So! i called Paragon and emailed and called. Finally, a month-and-a-half ago they got back to me.
My goodness!!! xx I've never run into a company before that has such a multitudinal stockpile of excuses!!! xxx Most of them pertained to electricity.
They tried to tell me old houses won't carry a 110/120 volt load.
I replied: this is a brand new house .........
They tried to tell me that the plug-in receptacle was too far from the breaker box.
I replied: The receptacle is 20 inches below the box.
They tried to tell me about "power surges" and that you couldn't expect the kiln to function if everyone in the neighborhood turned their electric appliances, etc. on all at once.
I replied: Not too many people use their electricity between the hours of midnight and 6am.
You get the picture: a lot of excuses . . . .
The result? They sent me a "control board" for the programmer which arrived Friday. All i had to do was install it. I would-a been more grateful if they had included directions !!! Like: exactly how does one accomplish this?
You can't imagine the fear level i had managed to scare myself with. After all, the kiln functioned minimally as it was. If i did this installation wrong -- would it work at all?
OK. Screwing my courage to the maximum, i started dis-assembling the existing control board. And much to my amazement, the procedure was as simple as sin. It's a plug-in connector assembly much like attaching computor cables to the back of a tower.
Whew! I could do this.
xxx
That was Friday. Didn't sleep much that night in anticipation of firing first thing Saturday morning. Up at 6am and kiln started by 6:03am. Checked that puppy every 15 minutes throughout the day.
It fired 100 degrees (per hour/segment) lower than "normal", but hey! what the heck. If it worked, i'd not complain.
However, it didn't wait til 2144°F to fail. Shut itself off around 2123°F. Restarted it. It hung up at 2142°F. Restarted it. It quit several more times but finally reached 2167°F at 1:06am.
Boy! That was a long day. Just 5 hours short of 24 hours!
It's actually a pretty little bowl, but i'm not sure it's worth the 19 kiln-hours it took to produce it !!!
May all your firings be easy and short!
Chae

4 comments:

cynthia said...

Oy Vey - sounds like a big headache!

Have you had an electrician over to your home to add amps for your kiln? I had additional dedicated amp circuits installed - 1 50 amp one for my ancient manual paragon and another 60 amp one for my new digital Skutt. It's an expense, but worth it.

That said, your bowl is gorgeous!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Chae, Have you contacted Arnold Howard. I think he is president of Paragon. I can't believe he would not be very responsive to your problems. His email address is: ahoward@PARAGONWEB.COM
Send him this post and ask him what he can do to help you. Good luck, Gay

Arnold Howard said...

Hi Chae,

I just happened to find your blog site. I work at Paragon in communications (John Hohenshelt is the company president), and I am happy to help.

I'm sorry you've had problems with your kiln reaching temperature. This is usually due to low voltage or worn elements.

Can you test the voltage of the wall outlet? The test should be done while the kiln is firing. An amperage test would also be helpful. It is done with an ammeter.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

chaetoons said...

Good Morning Cynthia
And a great and glorious morning it is too. The sun is shining here! Amazing how much difference a little sunshine can make in one's attitude !!!
On the kiln: Did have an electrician in to wire the dedicated circuit here. The Paragon manual calls for a 20amp circuit (this is not a large kiln like the one i think you have -- had gone the route of a smaller 110/120volt electric to compliment the larger gas kiln purchased at the same time from Olympic).
In order to run this kiln on a 30amp breaker, the wiring (plug-in)of the kiln would have had to have been rewired. Since this Paragon kiln wasn't rated for the higher amperage figured i'd best stick with the manufacturer's recommendations.
Thanks for the compliment on the bowl. It's not one of my better efforts. Figured if the new control board didn't work, it wouldn't break-a my heart to lose this one.
Good Mornin' Gay. Yes. Arnold is the fellow at Paragon who finally contacted me 7 months after i'd emailed him.
Hugs
Chae
My goodness Arnold! Your post just popped up!
In the many emails you and i have exchanged this past 2 months, the questions you ask above have been answered extensively.
We've discussed the "low-voltage" theory in detail in those emails. On the "worn element" rationale -- surely the elements would not have been "worn" (or disfunctional) after only 3 months usage, when the kiln was "brand-new" and this problem first started occurring?
Sincerely
Chae