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The higher amperage requirements of the PK series kilns dictate that it must use a contactor capable of handling the increased amperage and the most reliable type is a mercury contactor.
The PK series kilns use a different style relay than all other kilns. Instead of using a 12v dc signal to drive the main relay, all PK kilns use a 240/208v ac signal to drive the main relay. Unfortunately the computer control board is not able to put out a signal with a high enough voltage to drive the main contactor, so a small signal relay is used as well.
A few cautions about mercury relays:
Mercury relays do contain a small amount of liquid mercury. During normal operation the mercury is completely contained and will not leak out of the relay. If you see mercury leaking (mercury is a silver metalic liquid at toom temperature) call Skutt for instructions about cleaning it. DO NOT attempt to clean or remove it without the propper materials and instructions.
If you are replacing a relay, the old relay must be recycled at an approved mercury recycling or disposal facility.
Mercury relays use liquid mercury becuase it is a liquid at room temperature and it is an exellent conductor. Because of the design of mercury relays, if they are tilted from a 90 degree position, the relay will close. If there is power applied to the relay (if it's installed in a kiln) the relay will complete the circuit. When servicing any kiln with mercury relays be absoluetly sure the power is turned off and locked out so there is no chance of electrocution.