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buying a stand alone controller

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SandyS
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buying a stand alone controller

Postby SandyS » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:10 pm

Hi,
My kiln controller has finally died and I"m not sure what to buy. this is my first kiln and I"m a bit of a novice. My kiln is a jen ken gs-24-e 240 volts. my current controller is a stand alone/hand held bentrup with a separate box to plug the kiln in. I'd like a decent set of features like being able to skip to the next segment and add time to the current segment.

Any suggestions?
Thanks!
Sandy

Kevin Midgley
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Kevin Midgley » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:25 pm


seachange
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby seachange » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:58 pm

Hi Sandy

I use this one from Bartlett http://www.bartinst.com/KILN/rtc1000.html. We built our kiln, had a Fuji controller first, then replaced it with the Bartlett.

It is easy to use, keeps 6 user programs in memory with 8 segments each. You can add time to the current segment, or even change it, let's say set a higher temperature, and also skip to the next segment.

We bought just the bare unit (in Australia) and my husband put it all together, but I think they are reasonably priced even if you get them ready to plug in.

Best regards, seachange

bob proulx
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby bob proulx » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:54 pm

I use the Bartlett rtc 1000 and love it, I have two kilns, one of them for over 5 years and never had a problem, they are easy to use. You can buy a stand alone if you want.
Bob

Bert Weiss
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Bert Weiss » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:31 pm

bob proulx wrote:I use the Bartlett rtc 1000 and love it, I have two kilns, one of them for over 5 years and never had a problem, they are easy to use. You can buy a stand alone if you want.
Bob

Bartlett sells the RTC 1000 as only a circuit board and display. I have bought this, added a power supply, mounted it in a box, requiring cutting a rectangular hole in some steel. One could easily add a stove plug for a plug and play kiln controller. This only requires a basic idea of how to wire stuff and cut steel.

Centre de Verre used to sell this as a stand alone controller, but they are out of business. I am not aware of another that you can just buy and use. THey had to charge a fairly large mark-up to be able to offer customer service along with the hardware.

The Bartlett and Orton controllers are quite similar, and used on most commercially available kilns, some with proprietary labels. So, most people who post firing schedules here, are doing them the way these controllers are configured.

Digitry is used by many schools and glass blowing shops. It programs quite differently. Good though.
Bert

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Lynn g
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Lynn g » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:37 pm

Not sure who actually makes the Evenheat Rampmaster, but I have a stand-alone which can do all the things you want. It's been totally reliable for several years. What I like its that's it's wall-mounted, so I don't have to crouch down to program it (I don't crouch s well any more) and I can read it from across the room. It's easy to program.

My other kiln has a Bartlett controller, which also works well, but to program it you have to scroll through the numbers to get to the time and temperature you want (on the Rampmaster you just enter, say 300 dph or 9999 for full speed)...that's kind of annoying.
Lynn g
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seachange
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby seachange » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:16 am

Lynn g wrote:My other kiln has a Bartlett controller, which also works well, but to program it you have to scroll through the numbers to get to the time and temperature you want (on the Rampmaster you just enter, say 300 dph or 9999 for full speed)...that's kind of annoying.


Hmm, wonder if there are different models, or perhaps newer ones are different? We got mine end of 2010. On my Bartlett RTC100 I just enter the numbers on the screen, no scrolling necessary. Also we have it hanging on the wall, at eye level in a position where, as you say, is easy to read from anywhere in the room.

We bought it like Bert, bare bones, but put it in a plastic box instead of a metal one.

Another good feature is the alarm (perhaps all controllers have it, I don't know). Would like it to be louder, for when I am out of the room, but this is the only part I'd like improved, the rest works all very nicely. Of course, if it would store 16 programs, all for the same price, well :wink:

Hope this helps.

Cheers, seachange

Lynn g
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Lynn g » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:31 am

I got it with the kiln a little over a year ago. It is not, however, a stand-alone controller; I just mentioned it because I find the non-scrolling type easier to program, and thought it was a point to be considered.
Lynn g
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Bert Weiss
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Bert Weiss » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:18 pm

Lynn g wrote:I got it with the kiln a little over a year ago. It is not, however, a stand-alone controller; I just mentioned it because I find the non-scrolling type easier to program, and thought it was a point to be considered.
Lynn, they make a 3 key controller and I think it is a 12 key controller, where you can enter the numbers. The 12 key ones are worth the extra money in my estimation. Some companies will cut every corner they possibly can to keep their prices low.
Bert



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seachange
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby seachange » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:18 pm

Bert Weiss wrote:
Lynn g wrote:I got it with the kiln a little over a year ago. It is not, however, a stand-alone controller; I just mentioned it because I find the non-scrolling type easier to program, and thought it was a point to be considered.
Lynn, they make a 3 key controller and I think it is a 12 key controller, where you can enter the numbers. The 12 key ones are worth the extra money in my estimation. Some companies will cut every corner they possibly can to keep their prices low.


Hi Lynn, I very much agree, definitely an important point. Remember using a scrolling one at a school once, one had to press a button to get to the number, it was for ever shooting past it.

This one has 12 keys, as Bert mentions.

Best regards, seachange

Havi
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Havi » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:05 am

I use a more developed model of BENTRUP, and I am very happy with it!
the model is DC 405/30
I can compare, as I have an Orton on my Jen Ken 24" , and had a more limited Bentrup on my other kiln. It was not enough for me, it had only 8 segments and very miserable. I think the model was 8/60............ not sure.
You can check on
www.bentrup.de
Bentrup is a German company - very exact etc. it is quite common here, as we are closer to Europe, than to USA. However, I guess they have some USA distributors.

Good luck,


Havi
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Pat K.
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Pat K. » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:41 am

I currently have two Skutt kilns (120 v., Hot Start Pro and Skutt Square 14") with the three button controllers. Is is possible to change the controllers out for one of these programmable 12 button ones. I truly get tired of scrolling to the correct number, often shooting past what I want. Would it be difficult to change out? Thanks for any info. A very useful thread.

Patty
Patty

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Bert Weiss
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:02 pm

Pat K. wrote:I currently have two Skutt kilns (120 v., Hot Start Pro and Skutt Square 14") with the three button controllers. Is is possible to change the controllers out for one of these programmable 12 button ones. I truly get tired of scrolling to the correct number, often shooting past what I want. Would it be difficult to change out? Thanks for any info. A very useful thread.

Patty

Patty. Technically, yes it is possible. Both controllers use the same signals to make the relays open and close. Your challenge will be to build a new box that can house the controller, relays, controller power supply, and whatever else is in there. Bartlett sells their RTC 1000 as a board and display only. You need a power supply and a place to mount it.

When I think of a stand alone controller, I am picturing a metal box that contains the controller, relay, power supply, an appropriately sized female electrical outlet, a power cord connect to the 240v house current, and a thermocouple with a wire long enough to reach the kiln wall. This can be mounted anywhere as long as the thermocouple wire can reach the kiln, and the power cord that feeds the elements can reach the control box. There are some outside the box things one could do with a rig like this, for instance, place 2 relays in series. This is because it is highly unlikely that both relays would fail at the same time. There are other more complex alternatives.
Bert



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Kevin Midgley
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Kevin Midgley » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:49 pm

Just go to Digitry. They work. May be expensive but so is wasted glass.

Bert Weiss
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:28 pm

Kevin Midgley wrote:Just go to Digitry. TThey work. May be expensive but so is wasted glass.

http://digitry.com/complete.html
Digitry makes a good product. they were designed by a collaboration between glass blower and electronic temp control engineer.

Doing this yourself with a Bartlett RTC1000 can save an awful lot of money!
Bert



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Kevin Midgley
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Kevin Midgley » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:58 pm

From the RTC manual;
Cannot program kiln while running
If the user tries to program a kiln while it is already firing, KISS will display this message instead of the programming screen. The user should go to the status screen and stop the current firing before trying to program the kiln.

I can change a program any time I want to adjust a particular firing on the fly with a Digitry unit.
I'd say that ability is worth any additional costs.
You pay for what you get.

Marty
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Marty » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:41 pm

Digitry has 10 programmable schedules of up to 15 steps each and the schedules can be linked (if you have a long or complicated schedule). As Kevin said, you can program on the fly. Tech support is incredible. You can do it cheaper but only you can decide how you want to spend your time.
Once you get used to the elapsed time programming, the 999dph or the 3 button stuff seems like Yugo.

Bert Weiss
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Bert Weiss » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:46 pm

My controller, if bought today would be Eurotherm, which is the Mercedes of controllers.

I like Digitry, and I like Watlow. I have built the Bartletts for clients when they wanted inexpensive. I don't care much for them, myself. However 98% of people reading this board are using either Bartlett or Orton. Most posted schedules, except mine are notated their way.
Last edited by Bert Weiss on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bert



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Brock
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby Brock » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:14 pm

For me, it's always been about the food, not the oven . . .

seachange
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Re: buying a stand alone controller

Postby seachange » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:43 pm

Kevin Midgley wrote:From the RTC manual;
Cannot program kiln while running
If the user tries to program a kiln while it is already firing, KISS will display this message instead of the programming screen. The user should go to the status screen and stop the current firing before trying to program the kiln.

I can change a program any time I want to adjust a particular firing on the fly with a Digitry unit.
I'd say that ability is worth any additional costs.
You pay for what you get.


Hi Kevin,

Not sure what you mean. On the manual page 16 it explains how to change the program on the fly. On the Bartlett this means changing dph and/or temperature and/or hold time on the current segment being fired. Since at present I am doing a lot of testing, I use this facility often.

Perhaps the difference with the Digitry is that on the Bartlett this applies only to the segment being fired, not to the previous segments or those yet to be reached? May be in yours all the segments can be reprogrammed, independently of which segment is currently on? Would be interesting to know.

These are details that are not inmediately obvious when one buys a new controller, specially as a novice...after using it a while one tends to develop a mental wish list. My wish list is short, a louder alarm and 16 storable programs instead of 8. Perhaps a Bentrup or a Digitry are in my future :wink:

Best regards, seachange


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