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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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Old 2012-09-20, 1:18pm
Hot Panama Glass Hot Panama Glass is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 05, 2009
Location: Panama
Posts: 5
Default Ideas for alternative electrical kiln power sources?

Hello - This is my first post on this forum and I'm looking for your suggestions.
I live in the interior of Panama', and our electrical power supply tends to have frequent brown-outs and frequent total power interruptions. (Yes, we pay our utility bills.) I'm trying to use my AIM Kiln with electronic controller to anneal my beads, but with these interruptions the kiln shuts off and my beads all end up cracking. We've managed to put the electrical program on the kiln on a battery back up device, but the battery back up won't power the kiln to hold the programmed temperatures.

We have a diesel powered generator to back up the power for the 'frig/'reezer, but the addition of the kiln is too much of a power draw.

Propane is inexpensive/readily available and I'm almost desperate enough to build a new gas kiln, but I'm hopeful you might have an easy solution to recommend. Look forward to hearing your suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 2012-09-20, 2:19pm
Alaska Alaska is offline
Alaska Boro
Join Date: Dec 10, 2009
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 1,065

A gas fired kiln could be one solution as you have pointed out. If standard fire bricks are used in place of IFB the kiln will hold heat better and there may not be a need for a PID controller. As the kiln will very slowly decrease temperature that will match annealing needs. But it will take some research to find out how well this works and a proper design for the kiln.

If auto or truck batteries are in the mix, then it could be possible to use a bank of say 10 in series to run only the kiln elements. Some calculations will have to be made to determine if the amp hours of the batteries match your needs. Then the output circuit of the controller will need to be modified to handle DC in place of AC.

If the kiln is in the range of 1000 to 1500 watts then the purchase of a small generator for kiln use would be the simplest solution. In terms of generator power this is not very much. And if propane is less costly than gasoline then consider a propane powered generator.
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Old 2012-09-21, 11:25am
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cheng076 cheng076 is offline
Curmudgeon Engineering
Join Date: Feb 15, 2006
Location: Near Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,723

Nothing works like electricity for an electric kiln... yeah, OK, sorry for that!
Sounds like you have thought of all the alternatives; more standby power or go gas
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Old 2012-09-21, 8:32pm
fusionboy69 fusionboy69 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 16

You might think about running your kiln at night when the fridge is less likely to turn on. Depending on the temp there you might even be able to unplug the fridge overnight when the door wouldn't be constantly be opened up. To figure out how much power the kiln draws, divide the voltage (120/240) into the wattage. Eg.. 1500w/120v=12.5amps 1500w/240v=6.25amps. Batteries in parallel or series would require an inverter and a calculation for the system size. Batteries are rated in Amp hours. Let me know if you decide to go the electrical route and I could figure out the load for ya

Last edited by fusionboy69; 2012-09-21 at 8:33pm. Reason: Spelling
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electricity outages, kilns

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