I just installed the new Bartlett Genesis LT-3140 kiln controller in our kiln and are validating the first firing with "witness cones".

If anyone has any questions on the Genesis Cone Fire controller I've played with it enough to know what it can do.   The Genesis is a pretty impressive advance over the Bartlett V6-CF controller, let alone more primitive controllers like the RTC-1000 or the 3-key Model 3K.

Fortunately our kiln controller in our outdoor kiln died one week ago after 7 years of use, which was a Cress modified V6-CF. This provided us the opportunity to upgrade to the new Genesis controller for $329

Bartlett Genesis Website

The Genesis is pictured with "Novice Mode" off. In Novice Mode the "Edit" button becomes "View".

We also purchased this $34 amperage detector from Bartlett which is a tiny circuit board you connect to the kiln controller and has two white leads connecting to a ferrite ring.

You thread one 220 volt power lines from each relay to the heating elements through the ferrite ring, which measures the power being consumed.  This allows the controller to compare your current power draw to the original power draw when you installed the elements or in our case when we installed the controller.

The controller tests the elements for about 60 seconds prior to each firing.  A decline in amperage used is charted to determine your element aging and any sudden decline indicates the failure of an element.

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The Genesis controller also has an attached WiFi card to download new operating system updates from the Bartlett website adding new capabilities to the controller. We don't have WiFi at our studio so I  set-up a hotspot on a mobile phone and connect the Genesis controller to the hotspot - the WiFi password is usually your mobile phone number.

Dave Bartlett told me the first update will add copy and paste to program entry, the second update will give you the ability to choose any slow-cool program to a cone fire. Currently the slow-cool option is 150 F per hour between 1,800 and 1,500 F as suggested in "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes".

All programs are editable with "Novice Mode" off. Switching to "Novice Mode On" makes it very easy for less experienced people to fire the kiln perfectly without much more than 60 seconds of training. The limitation is you cannot change the hold time or slow-cool for a firing in Novice mode, it remains what it was the last time you saved that program with Novice mode off. In Novice mode you can add pre-heat time and also fire now or delayed.

If you're familiar with previous "Custom User Programs", to load them you had to tediously press Enter as each step was displayed, leaving you pressing enter 26 or 36 times until the kiln was in ready mode. With Genesis you click load, choose the program name, then fire. You can give each of your custom firings their own name, rather than "User 32" which happens to be is the maximum number of custom programs you can store.

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Genesis Controller installed with extra aluminum plate to cover hole from original kiln controller.

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A closer view of the Genesis controller while firing a bisque

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Rear View of Kiln Controller - wired for one Type S thermocouple and One Zone Control

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220 volt power wires from each of two relays threaded through the Amperage Sensor

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A satisfied kiln-repair technician

This is fantastic Norm. I really like the upgrade that tracks element usage. 

You can add the amp sensor to the older V6-CF Bartlett as well. The amperage test is in the "hidden menu" (choose Reset, 443, gets you NOTC) then scroll through menus to Amp.

The advantage of the Gensis is it keeps track of the original "new elements" reading and charts to change.

We entered our "Cone 6 Glaze with a 2 hour preheat, 20 minute hold at the top and a 6 hour slow cool between 1,800 and 1,500" stored in Custom User 1 as "Cone 6 Glaze - Slow-Cool".  The firing ramps are laid out like a spreadsheet where you can insert, add or delete ramps and touch each number in each ramp to change it.

For any ramp in a custom program, you can either enter a "target temperature" or choose "Cone" and select a cone number which the controller will adjust the final temperature for to achieve that amount of "heat work"

This way we can keep the controller in "Novice Mode" which makes it tough to make a mistake,

"Load": Bisque; Glaze; Glass; or Custom

Use the slide bar to choose a cone, then choose a speed on the next screen,

Then it asks if you want to do a pre-heat, with each choice explained for 0, 4 hours 8 hours etc.

The Start: Now; Later; or Remote

Then enter a code number (the number 1 in our case because it's easy to remember) and Start.

Take it out of "Novice Mode" (with Menu, Customization, Novice Mode, Off, Save) and everything in the each firing can be easily changed. Tap "Chart" to see a graph of the proposed firing, then tap Table to see the program as a series of segments. So it can either be real easy and fool-proof, or you can enter up to 32 of your own programs - and each Custom Program can have up to 32 Segments. During the firing you can switch between three screens, one of which shows only the current temperature in large numbers.

It's finally a kiln controller which truly operates like a modern appliance.

In tunnel kilns they used to use "Bullers Rings" and I guess some still do because they're still being sold - and that contraption is even more Rube Goldberg than a Kiln Sitter.

Bartlett not only makes the kiln controllers and customized controllers for every brand of kiln, they also have a nice business in making controllers for farm greenhouses adjusting the temperature and moisture growing vegetables and flowers.

Way to go, Norm.  As always - informative, thorough, insightful writing.  Thanks for sharing.

Years ago, I inherited a manually-controlled oval.  It was a big, ol' hunk of junk, but valuable for it's sheer size.  I was determined to make it work.  I always had trouble with it, but a snap meter, testing amperage, turned out to be invaluable.  I hooked that bad boy to a line right off the bus in the breaker box (dangerous/dumb).  Being able to see how many amps were being pulled in real time, though, really helped me to diagnose trouble.  I relied on it heavily.  Very useful.

Our electrician double-jacked the main before the breaker-box, live to install our box because my optometrist didn't want to have a power interruption to his business. It's hard to say no to someone offering you free electricity. After the electrician had completed that he had to lay down for fifteen minutes to recover, even having worn thick rubber soles.  Not something I would have done myself.

Holy cow!  I can just imagine the look on your electrician's face when he heard how this install needed to go down....  Poor guy. I'm sweating for him, even after the fact!  Rough day at the office.

One of the best things about the new Genesis Kiln Controller is being able to download the csv format Firing Logs from the kiln using a WiFi connection which you can easily read in Excel.

This is the connection screen.

You can download the Temperature Log showing every 30 seconds what the Set-Temperature, the Kiln Temperature and what Percentage of Kiln power the controller was asking for. The Error Log shows each firing step issued and any errors this generated.

I'm really impressed with Dave Bartlett's improved temperature control with the new Genesis Controller. I love our new toy!

The controller freely changes the amount of heat our Cress E23 kiln puts out during each 30 second interval to achieve a temperature which is never more than 4 degrees F cooler or hotter than the Set-Point temperature. We're using a platinum Type-S thermocouple which has already outlasted the combined lifetime of the two preceding Type-K thermocouples we had previously.

With this program the firing temperature only varies more than 4 degrees from set-point when heating and the power is at already at 100% or when cooling and the power is already at 0%. Pretty nice! When I've done this firing without the Slow-Cool, a perfect Cone 6 is created in the Witness Cones.

These are two charts I created from the Log Files for one of our Cone 6 firings with a pre-heat and slow-cool.

After the 2 hour pre-heat to dry the glazed ware, the smooth Green curve of the Cone 6 firing temperature following the pink set-points I created with my User-1 program.

The controller holds the temperature at 2,211 for 11 minutes to produce a perfect Cone 6 - then cools naturally until the temperature reaches 1,800 F and our Slow-Cool controls the cooling to 50 F per hour until a temperature of 1,500 is reached.

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The second chart shows the percentage of the Kiln's Power the Genesis controller is calling for in Orange each 30 second period, and the temperature variance from set-point.

When our kiln temperature reaches 1,300 F, the kiln was now putting out 100% of the heat its designed for and the Temperature Variance from Set-Point shown in Green, falls behind my more demanding 400 F per hour heat ramp by as much as 250 degrees before it reaches 1,982 F where the controller has been holding the set-point, shown in Aqua, waiting for the kiln to catch-up.

From this point the heat output is varied between 95% and 100% until the controller calculates (correctly) that enough heat-work has been done to accumulate a perfect Cone 6. Having achieved a Cone 6 with an 11 minute hold at 2,211 F, the controller shuts-down the heating elements until the temperature is close to 1,800 where our slow-cool starts.

Having asked for a 9,999 degrees per hour cooling ramp, the naturally cooling kiln is understandably at one point 200 degrees hotter than the set-point created by my 9,999 cooling request. From that point on, the controller holds the kiln temperature to the 50 degree F per hour slow-cool within 4 degrees F by varying the heat output between 65% and as low as 45% of the kiln's capability as the set-point slowly declines.

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Below are the actual CSV Firing Logs converted to Excel format with my analysis.

Attachments:

I love this. SO amazing. I really want to upgrade my controller now. Might do it next year.

I have the Genesis controller and had trouble with the way it way controlling. When I called Bartlett saying I wanted to return the controller, I was immediately put thru to Dave Bartlett, and after giving him the information off the controller, which showed it had the latest updates, he started to really pay attention to what I was trying to tell him seemed to be going on.  He said he wanted to check one more thing.  He walked me thru how to get to the PID setting and asked me what it was,  It was set to 1, he said change it to 18 and he thought that would solve the problem. He was right and it now is working perfectly.

David

A PID program working correctly varies the heat output constantly to keep the measured temperature as close as possible to setpoint - as you can see in the squiggly orange line in the graph of power output produced by the current Beta software for the Genesis. It used to be a bit less squiggly and thus less accurate.

Our studio and Bartlett kept doing test fires of new Betas to get the PID wicked accurate. You will probably want to download and try it out. It also fixes a few other display items.

Working with Dave Bartlett and their programmer Steve Wilson was a pleasure, not forgetting to mention Tech Support head Steve Isaacson and marketing manager Meagan Wagner who is updating the Manual

Press Menu, scroll to and press Factory Config, then enter, 935 and Save. The Beta is now downloaded and asks if you want to install it.

If you want to revert back the current software, choose Menü, Configuration, then Download Firmware.

PID = proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller or three term controller) is a control loop feedback mechanism widely used in engineering.



David Woodin said:

I have the Genesis controller and had trouble with the way it way controlling. When I called Bartlett saying I wanted to return the controller, I was immediately put thru to Dave Bartlett, and after giving him the information off the controller, which showed it had the latest updates, he started to really pay attention to what I was trying to tell him seemed to be going on.  He said he wanted to check one more thing.  He walked me thru how to get to the PID setting and asked me what it was,  It was set to 1, he said change it to 18 and he thought that would solve the problem. He was right and it now is working perfectly.

David

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