The Glass Kiln Controller
it and why you should want one
Although the term "controller" is commonly used
to refer to any electronic device that can be used to regulate how a
kiln fires, it's important to realize that a kiln controller really
has three main parts: the thermocouple, the relay, and the
The thermocouple is a long coated wire (actual
two wires) that runs from the actual controller to the kiln.
In some cases it is installed permanently and juts into the kiln
slightly; in other cases it's moveable and slips through the kiln's
porthole or a similar hole in the kiln brick. The location of
the thermocouple in the kiln is critical; after all, it's the
thermocouple that gathers the actual temperature inside the kiln.
The relay is an electronic component that turns
the kiln elements on and off in response to instructions from the
controller. There are many different types of relays; some are
whisper quiet, while others click on and off as they turn the kiln
elements on and off. Relays sometimes fail, but they're
generally quite reliable and can last a good while.
The controller is the device that contains the
set of instructions (the "program") that tells the kiln what to do.
Properly programmed, it's what determines how quickly the kiln will
fire, whether it will soak at a particular temperature, and how the
kiln will turn off when the schedule is done.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker. All rights