09 August 2015

PART ONE: 3-Key Controller Tricks

Everyday prospective buyers ask me which type of controller is better; the 3-key or the 12-key. What I tell them is "There is no better... it reallly comes down to what you have or can afford."

A 3-key controller can do almost everything a 12-key can do, but it just takes longer to get the programming done. And, it doesn't matter if it's a Paragon, Olympic, Evenheat or Jen-Ken kiln... all 3-key controllers work the same way. If your impatient or easily distracted, like me, a 12-key might be the right choice for you.  Either way the digital controller, either 3-key or 12-key can be your friend if your know these simple tricks.  So, this week I'll share 3-key controller tricks you might not know about.

3-Key Controllers - COOL OPTIONS THAT ARE HIDDEN!
During an active firing, the INCREASE button will activate an options menu and scroll through the available options with each button press. These options allow you to make adjustments to the firing program without stopping the firing. The available options follow...

SKIP STEP During an active heating, cooling or hold time, it is possible to skip ahead to the next program step. Press the INCREASE button to display the skip step prompt SStP. Then press the PROGRAM button to display the current ramp or hold segment. Press the PROGRAM button again to initiate the skip and the controller display returns to the normal firing mode. If the DECREASE button is pressed, the skip step function is canceled and the controller display returns to the normal firing mode.The skip function can be used to end a hold time early or to skip from any heating/cooling step to the next heating/cooling step. The skip function does nothing during the final program step. To end a final program step, simply press STOP.

ADD MORE HOLD TIMEDuring an active heating, cooling or hold time, it is possible to add more hold time to the current program step. Press the INCREASE button until the hold time prompt HLdt is displayed. Then Press the PROGRAM button to display the current hold time. Press the INCREASE button to add five (5) minute increments to the original hold time. Then press the PROGRAM button to return to the normal firing mode. If the DECREASE button is pressed while the HLDT prompt is displayed, the controller display returns to the normal firing mode.

CHANGE HEATING OR COOLING TEMPSDuring an active heating, cooling or hold time, it is possible to change the heating or cooling temperature of the current program step. Press the INCREASE button until the change temperature prompt CHGT is displayed. Then press the PROGRAM button to display the current temperature setting. Adjust the temperature setting with the INCREASE or DECREASE buttons. Then press the PROGRAM button to return to the normal firing mode. If the DECREASE button is pressed while the CHGT prompt is displayed, the controller display returns to the normal firing mode.


THRESHOLD ALARM- During the firing, it is possible to set an audible alarm and display alarm for when the actual temperature reaches a specified value. The buzzer will sound (for 30 seconds) and the display will show the alarm code ALAR.To set the alarm, press the INCREASE button during the active firing until the alarm prompt ALAR is displayed. Then press the PROGRAM button to display the current alarm temperature setting. Adjust the temperature setting with the INCREASE or DECREASE buttons. Then press the PROGRAM button to return to the normal firing mode. If the DECREASE button is pressed while the ALAr prompt is displayed, the controller display returns to the normal firing mode. The alarm is disabled (turned off) when the alarm value is set to 32°F (0ยบC). The alarm value can be reset or changed many times during a single firing. To silence an active alarm, simply press any button.

I hope these few tricks up your sleeves with help you get even more out of firing your kilns!  Stay tuned for next week's PART TWO: 12-KEY CONTROLLER MAGIC!

Your Kiln Gal,
Gail