Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The paper clip test

Well, I took the paper clip test today. It was easy, but not fun.

The studio has been a distant memory for me lately. I had my daughter and grandchildren up from NC the past two weeks and we spent five days with them when we took them back. Needless to say, they came first (most of the time) so I didn't do much jewelry making. But, today I finally made it to the studio. I stopped by in the morning to take some things up for my class and do a firing for one of my students. All went well.

Then I went golfing with my girlfriend. Again, all went well. I had a 48 which was only the second time I've ever been below 50. (Wish I could say that was for 18 holes, but it was for 9.) We had lunch, it was good.

After lunch I went back to the studio, to sand some pin pieces for Foxburg. They sanded up well. Not one broken piece. I loaded the kiln and proceeded to turn it on. Here's where it gets ugly. An unusual message came up.... ERRP. Do you think I could find that message in the list of error codes? (You probably already know the answer to that one.) For a while I couldn't do anything. Then finally, it allowed me to set a program. It went through PRO-1, PRO-2, PRO-3, PRO-4, PRO-5 and then started at PRO-1 again. Now I usually use a single speed firing which should have appeared after the PRO-5. It did not. I kept turning the darn thing on and off. (It worked once before, several months ago. That should have sent up a red flag!) Anyway, the darn thing wouldn't cooperate no matter what I did. No matter how many times I turned it off and on it wasn't going to make it to the single speed mode.

I hate talking on the phone, but there wasn't any other choice. I called the Paragon company (who must have thought I was an idiot for the way I was describing my problem. But, they were very nice.) She told me to unscrew the plate on the front of the kiln. First problem, I needed a Phillips screwdriver, mine was not a Phillips. (And I was battling the time element as this all happened close to closing time.) It took a little longer to get it unscrewed with the regular screwdriver but I did it. (Good thing I wore my screw earrings and ring today.) Then she told me to get a paperclip (second problem.... and then I remembered I had paper clipped the bills I mailed this morning. Lo and behold, it was still in my pocket! Good thing too as I didn't know where I was going to find a paper clip by closing time. I was starting to panic!!) I had to hang up the phone when I began all this. Luckily the Paper Clip test is explained in the kiln's manual. Imagine that!

Basically, you cut the clip in half creating a U-shaped piece of wire. Pull out some wires from the controller that lead to the element inside the kiln and insert the clip where the wires use to be. (Obviously the kiln should be unplugged when doing this. I learned the hard way that you don't lick an electric cord that has fallen into frosting. Don't ask!) Plug the kiln back in, turn it on, push the start button, and if it reads "Fail" you have a defective controller. Guess what......
my kiln "Failed" the paper clip test. A new controller costs $225. Guess I'd better get busy. Got a new bill to pay.

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