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Controllers

Can I continue to use my kiln-sitter with the controller?

If your kiln is equipped with a kiln-sitter, this device can be used as over-temperature protection. The timer (if equiped) on the kiln-sitter should be set for some time longer than expected to complete the firing.

Use a pyrometric cone in the kiln-sitter that has a deformation temperature two or three cones higher than your actual firing as over-temperature protection. A single cone should last many firings before needing replaced.

The Kiln- sitter will shut off the kiln only in case of an over firing.

And….Dont forget to engage the kiln-sitter pushbutton switch!

My controller display shows dashes and IdLE and will not start a firing. What does this mean?

4 dashes normally appear on the controller display for just a few seconds when first turned on. The four dashes appear on the display until a valid temperature reading is detected from the thermocouple.

If the 4 dashes remain on the controller display, it is likely that the controller thermocouple is disconnected or defective and may require replacement. The controller will not allow a firing to be started wihout a valid temperature reading from the thermocouple.

My controller display shows PF. what does this mean?

PF is an abbreviation for ‘Power Failure’. The controller detects any power failures that may occur during the kiln firing and determines if it can continue after the power is restored.

If the kiln firing can be resumed, the controller may display the message PF to indicate that a power loss occurred during the kiln firing.

If the kiln firing cannot be resumed, the controller will display a message of PF1, PF2 or PF3 to indicate why the firing was terminated.

My controller display shows FtL. What does this mean?

FtL is an abbreviation for ‘Firing too Long’. This alarm is displayed when the kiln temperature has stalled during heating or cooling. The rate of temperature change must be slower than 27°F/hour and the actual firing time for the active ramp segment must be 2 hours longer than anticipated.

When FtL is activated, the kiln firing is terminated. This prevents the kiln from sitting at a stalled temperature for extended periods of time with no chance of completing the firing program.

The most common cause of FtL during HEATING is the lack of heating power from the kiln elements. This can be the result of a defective heating element, a defective control relay or a loss of supply voltage.

The FtL alarm can also be the result of programming the controller for a set-point temperature that cannot be achieved by the kiln design.

To prevent FtL alarms during COOLING, it is not always necessary to program the kiln to cool completely down to room temperature at a programmed rate. Setting a higher final cooling temperature between 300F-500F should allow the controller to complete the program cycle without slowing down enough to activate the FtL. The kiln will continue to cool naturally to room temperature after the firing is complete.

Why does the controller display show IdLe before I am finished programming it?

The AutoFire ® will change the display back to IdLe automatically if no buttons are pressed for an extended time period. It is sometimes necessary to enter your program changes without waiting too long between button presses to avoid this. If you determine the program settings beforehand, there is sufficient time to perform all programming changes without interruption.

Can the controller LED displays be repaired if they no longer light up?

Orton can repair all types of controller defects. Replacement LED displays will normally cost much less than a replacement controller.

How do you clear a PLoG alarm for Autofire2000?

To Clear a PLoG alarm, first try pressing the ENTER button to see if the controller will automatically reset the alarm.

If pressing ENTER does not clear the alarm, perform a 2button reset. Turn the controller power off, press and hold the START/ENTER button and the #7/ALARM button, keep the buttons pressed while turning power on to the controller.

If the 2button reset does not clear the alarm, perform a 3button reset. Turn the controller power off, press and hold the START/ENTER button and the #7/ALARM button and the #4/USERPROG button, keep the buttons pressed while turning power on to the controller.

After performing the 2button or 3button reset, Always check the thermocouple option for a correct setting before your next firing.

If your Autofire2000 controller is a multizone controller with more than one thermocouple, it will be necessary to reconfigure the controller for multizone. Contact Orton for multizone setup information.

How do I change the AF Express program settings while the kiln is firing?

Program settings can be changed during the firing with the options HLdt and CHGt. These options allow you to change the hold time and target temperature for the active program step.

Press the Increase button during the firing until the display shows the option you want, then press the decrease button to edit the active hold time or target temperature. After the settings are changed, press the Program button to return to the normal kiln firing display.

My controller display shows PLoG. What does this mean?

PLoG messages are diagnostic alarms. PLoG is an abbreviation for ‘Problem Log’.

The controller monitors performance and will indicate a PLoG message if a problem is detected. The controller can no longer function until the problem is resolved.

If your controller displays a PLoG 0011, PLoG 012 or PLoG 13 message, the controller thermocouple may require repair or replacement. These PLoG alarms can be caused by loose thermocouple wires or defective thermocouples.

Press the Enter button to clear a PLoG message. If this does not clear the alarm contact Orton technical support for additional troubleshooting. PLoG alarms should alternate on the display with a code number. This number will represent one of many diagnostic alarm conditions.

My controller display shows FtC. What does this mean?

FtC is an alarm for ‘Failure to Cool’. This alarm is displayed when the kiln cools slower than the programmed cooling rate. This alarm is only active above 500F.

The most common cause of the FtC alarm is when the kiln is programmed to cool down faster than the kiln can naturally loose heat.

To avoid the FtC alarm during cooling, program the cooling rate at a slower speed or program a higher shut-off temperature and allow the kiln to cool naturally to room temperature.

The FtC alarm can be disabled if it becomes a nuisance to your application. FtC is disabled by setting the TEdE option value to zero.

How do I erase an entire USER PROGRAM in the controller?

To erase an entire user program, set the first program segment labeled ‘rA1′ to zero and press the Enter or Program button.
Every saved value of the user program will be reset to zero.

My controller display shows tCL. What does this mean?

tCL is an abbreviation for ‘Thermocouple Lag’. This alarm is displayed when the thermocouple is not heating but the controller expects it to be heating.

The most common cause of the tCL alarm is the lack of heating power from the kiln elements. This can be the result of a defective heating element, a defective control relay or a loss of supply voltage.

The tCL alarm can also be the result of a thermocouple that is not properly installed in the heating chamber of the kiln.

The tCL alarm is only active at low temperatures below 300F.

How do you program the Orton controller for a cooling step?

Cooling steps for a USER PROGRAM are programmed the same as heating steps. A ramp rate is required and a target temperature and a hold time. The controller will interpret any program step with a target temperature lower than the previous target temperature as a cooling step.

For Example; To program a heating step of 500F/hour to 1000F with no hold time, followed by a cooling step of 250F/hour to 200F with no hold time, set rA1 = 500, oF1 = 1000, HLd1 = 00.00, rA2 = 250, oF2 = 200 and HLd2 = 00.00

Cooling steps for CONEFIRE PROGRAMS are only possible if your controller has the COOL option that appears during normal programming. The COOL option sets only the Cooling rate up to 180F/hour. The cooling temperature is fixed at 362F and the hold time is zero.

My controller display shows a rapid flashing light. What does this mean?

The 3 small LEDs on the Autofire display indicate when power is applied to a specific heating zone. If the controller is a multi-zone controller, these LEDs can also indicate if a specific zone is receiving FULL POWER.

When a heating zone is receiving FULL POWER, the LED for that particular zone will flash rapidly. The most common cause of the flashing LED is the lack of heating power from the kiln elements. This can be the result of a defective heating element, a defective control relay or a loss of supply voltage.

My Autofire controller completed a firing cycle but the kiln appears to have not heated at all. What could cause this?

The controller THERMOCOUPLE OPTION ‘tC or ‘TC’ is most likely set to Type S instead of Type K.

This can occur if the controller memory is reset. After a reset, this option defaults to the Type S setting for safety purposes. Since the majority of kilns utilize a type K thermocouple, the temperature reading will not be accurate on the controller and the controller will complete the firing at a much lower temperature then expected.

To correct the problem, use the controller option menu to find the THERMOCOUPLE OPTION and adjust the setting from S to K.

How do you clear a PLoG alarm for Autofire Plus?

 To Clear a PLoG alarm, first try pressing the ENTER button to see if the controller will automatically reset the alarm.

If pressing ENTER does not clear the alarm, perform a 2button reset. Turn the controller power off, press and hold the START/STOP button and the OPTION button, keep the buttons pressed while turning power on to the controller.

If the 2button reset does not clear the alarm, perform a 3button reset. Turn the controller power off, press and hold the START/STOP button and the OPTION button and the ENTER button, keep the buttons pressed while turning power on to the controller.

After performing the 2button or 3button reset, Always check the thermocouple option for a correct setting before your next firing.

My controller display shows tCdE. What does this mean?

tCdE is an abbreviation for ‘Thermocouple Deviation’. This alarm is only active for multi-zone controllers which have more than one thermocouple.

When the temperature difference between 2 thermocouples is greater than 180ºF the tCdE alarm is activated and the kiln firing is aborted.

The most common cause of the tCdE alarm is the lack of heating power from one section of kiln elements. This can be the result of a defective heating element, a defective control relay or a loss of supply voltage.

tCdE alarm can also be the result of installing the thermocouples into the wrong sections of the kiln. The top thermocouple most be in the top section of the kiln, Middle thermocouple in the middle section and bottom thermocouple in the bottom section.

After resetting the controller memory as instructed the temperature on the display is no longer accurate. What happened?

When the controller memory is reset, the controller options are set back to the factory default values.

One of the controller options is the thermocouple type selection. This option defaults back to a Type S setting for safety purposes. Since the majority of kilns utilize a type K thermocouple, the temperature reading will not be accurate on the controller until the tC option is manually set back to Type K.

My controller display shows FtH. What does this mean?

FtH is an abbreviation for ‘Failure to Heat’. This alarm is displayed when the kiln is heating slower than the programmed heating rate.

The most common cause of the FtH alarm is the lack of heating power from the kiln elements. This can be the result of a defective heating element, a defective control relay or a loss of supply voltage.

The FtH alarm can also be the result of programming the controller for a rapid heating rate that cannot be achieved by the kiln design.

To avoid the FtH alarm, try programming a slower heating rate that you know the kiln can maintain.

The FtH alarm can be disabled if it becomes a nuisance to your application. FtH is disabled by setting the TEdE option value to zero.

Why does the kiln make loud clicking noises?

The clicking noises from many electric kilns are normal.

This is the sound of the mechanical relays turning on and off to regulate the amount of electricity to the kiln heating elements. Relays turn on and off many times during each kiln firing. The frequency of the relay cycling is determined by how fast or how slow you program the heating and cooling rates.

My controller display shows tC. What does this mean?

tC is a thermocouple alarm. If your controller is displaying tC, tC 0, tC 1, tC 2, or tC 3 the controller is no longer receiving a signal from the thermocouple sensor.

These alarms are the same as the FAIL alarm except the kiln was not firing when the problem was detected. Check the thermocouple wire connections and inspect the thermocouple for defects.

Replacing the thermocouple may be necessary. The thermocouple is the part of the kiln or controller that passes through the kiln wall to measure the inside temperature. It can usually be seen inside the kiln sticking out from one of the side walls about 1 inch.

My controller display wont turn on. What could be the cause?

Check your Electric supply. It may be a circuit breaker has tripped, the kiln has come unplugged or a fuse has blown.

If your kiln is equipped with a kiln-sitter device, it may be necessary to reset the kiln-sitter timer or on/off switch to power the controller.

Why does the kiln firing complete at a lower temperature than expected when using Conefire?

AutoFire® is designed to automatically adjust the final firing temperature for ceramic CONEFIRE PROGRAMS. This assure a proper amount of heat- work is achieved based on the actual kiln performance. The final firing temperature is automatically lowered if the kiln is not heating as fast as desired. This unique feature allows the kiln to duplicate firing results even if the kiln performance changes over time.

My controller display shows CPLt at the end of a firing. How do I clear this message?

Press any button on the controller to clear the message CPLt. CPLt simply indicates that the firing is complete.

The message CPLt will alternate on the display with other messages which include Total firing time, Final firing temperature and the Current kiln temperature.

If the controller is turned off with the CPLt message showing, the CPLt message will return when the controller is turned back on.

How do I restart a 3Button controller program without having to go through all the program steps every time.

If no changes are needed to the saved firing program, select the program so that it shows on the display, while the program title is shown on the display, press the Decrease/Review button instead of the Program button. This will bypass the programming mode. the display will automatically review the selected program and go directly to the start prompt. Then press the Program/Start button to begin the firing.

My controller display shows tCr. What does this mean?

tCr is a thermocouple alarm that means the ‘thermocouple is reversed’ or connected backwards. When new thermocouples are installed, they need to be connected with the proper polarity. Like a battery, they have a positive and negative terminal. If the thermocouple is connected backwards, the temperature response on the controller will go backwards and this will result in the tCr alarm.

To correct the tCr alarm, the thermocouple connections should be rewired correctly.

Note: Most kiln manufacturers use type K thermocouples with the controller. Replacement thermocouples may not be color coded to easily identify the yellow/positive and red/negative terminal. Any common magnet can be used to identify the two terminals of an unmarked Type K thermocouple. The yellow/positive terminal is not magnetic while the red/negative terminal is magnetic.

To verify a reversed thermocouple installation, observe the temperature display on the controller while applying heat to the thermocouple sensor inside the kiln. Heat the thermocouple with a match, lighter or other heat source. The controller temperature display should go down in value if the thermocouple is connected in reverse.

What is the difference between the Orton Autofire controllers and the Paragon Sentry controllers.

These controllers are the same products. Sentry controllers are Autofire controllers that are privately labeled by Paragon Industries. Both controllers have the same functionality.

The Paragon Sentry controller has a slightly larger front panel and the mounting screw holes are in slightly different positions. Otherwise, they are drop in replacements.

My controller display shows FAIL. What does this mean?

FAIL is an error message indicating a failed thermocouple sensor.

This message should only appear if the thermocouple fails during an active kiln firing. The FAIL alarm aborts the firing.

For controllers with multiple thermocouples, FAIL indicates that all thermocouples have failed.

If the thermocouples are known to be good, it is possible that the wire connections to the controller are loose or disconnected.

Replacing the thermocouple may be necessary. The thermocouple is the part of the kiln or controller that passes through the kiln wall to measure the inside temperature. It can usually be seen inside the kiln sticking out from one of the side walls about 1 inch.

About Orton Ceramic

Fulfilling the directive of our founder and benefactor, the Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation deploys its profits to support studies and research at the university level to promote and advance the science of materials processing.