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How do I know what thermocouple I need for my kiln?
Skutt makes it easy to replace your thermocouple because almost every kiln uses the same Type K 8 Gauge Thermocouple. Even if you have an older style M1 type thermocouple you can replace it with a new style 8 Gauge.
The only thing you really need to determine on your Skutt kiln is whether you have a type K or Type S Thermocouple. If the jacket around the wire leading from your thermocouple is yellow, you have a Type K and if the wire is green, you have an S Type. Type K is MUCH more common than Type S.
What is the difference between a Type K and Type S Thermocouple?
All thermocouples are made of two different metals that are welded togther at the tip and the difference in electrical properties between these two metals produces a small electrical current when heated. Lucky for potters the amount of electricity is very precise and can be measured and correlated to a temperature to be interpreted by a computer controller. Different types of thermocouples are made from different metals. Most kilns used by home and studio potters use what is called a Type K Thermocouple which are made from chromel and alumel and are inexpensive and fairly accurate. Type S Thermocouples are made from platinum and rhodium and are more expensive but more accurate.
Do I need to replace the porcelain block and wire if I replace the thermocouple?
No. As long as the wire and block are not damaged or corroded you will not need to replace them.
Which wire is positive and which is negative?
On a thermocouple the red wire is negative and the yellow wire is positive.
Help! I replaced my thermocouple and now the temperature is going backwards....
If you reverse the red and yellow wires the temperature will start at room temperature and then start going down rather than up as you start the kiln. You will eventually trigger an ERR D (ERRD) message and the firing will stop. To fix this problem just swap the wires. Make sure the polarity is correct all the way through the thermocouple circuit.