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The Digital Temperature Alarm

Press the 7 key to enter an alarm temperature.

Most digital controllers include a temperature alarm. (We have even added the alarm to our small Sentry Xpress 4.0 3-key controller.) The temperature alarm is similar to an alarm clock except that it sounds at a temperature instead of a time.

The alarm is sometimes a source of confusion. People call us because they are worried that their new kiln is beeping and ALAR is flashing in the display. To turn off the alarm, press any key except STOP.

Here are some of the reasons to use the alarm:

1) You want to watch glass slump through a drop ring so you can manually turn off the kiln when the glass has perfectly slumped. Set the alarm for 100 degrees before the glass will begin to slump. When the alarm sounds, watch the glass through the kiln’s peephole.

2) Once you know the best shut-off temperature for a particular type of glass, you can program the kiln to automatically shut off at that temperature. But you have not quite perfected a glass fusing program and want to be near the kiln to turn it off. Set the alarm for around 100 degrees before you think the fusing will end. When you turn off the kiln manually, write down the shut-off temperature and program that into your next firing.

3) You have propped the lid of your kiln to vent fumes in a ceramic firing. Set the alarm to remind yourself to close the lid.

4) You are heat treating high-carbon tool steel. Set the alarm for the temperature at which you remove the steel from the furnace for quenching.

5) You are enameling on copper. Set the alarm for the enameling temperature. When you hear the alarm, you will know that the kiln is ready for your first enameling piece.

6) The witness cone on the shelf didn’t bend quite far enough in your last ceramic firing, so you added 15 minutes of hold time. Set the alarm for the cone temperature. When the alarm sounds, watch the cones through a peephole during hold. Make a note of the hold time needed to bend the witness cone. Program that much hold time for the next firing.

It is difficult to hear the alarm from another room. If you are ordering a new kiln, you can have an AOP (auxiliary output) receptacle installed on the switch box. Plug an external alarm into that receptacle.

Or you could place a baby monitor near the kiln. It will allow you to hear not only the alarm from another room but also the clicking of the relays. Judith Levinson of Rockville, Maryland uses the Fisher Price Safety First baby monitor. From the clicking, she can tell how fast the kiln is firing and therefore where it is in the firing schedule. (Judith jokes that so far she has not heard hissing or growling from the kiln.)

I am interested in hearing about how you use the temperature alarm. Just press Reply to send me a message.


Barbara Hausman is looking for a book on making slumped glass sinks. Does anyone have a suggestion?


Tony Rodriguez of GSM Enterprises in San Antonio, Texas wrote, “The lid air intake holes in top-loading kilns should be close to the walls of the kiln to prevent thermal-shock problems. Position the vent holes 1/2" to 1" at the most past the inside edge of the kiln wall. (For instance, if the kiln wall is 3” thick, position the vent hole 3 1/2” – 4” from the outside edge of the lid.) This will allow the colder air to come into the kiln alongside the elements, which will heat the air as it enters the kiln.” Thanks for sharing that insight, Tony.

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

Feel free to email this Kiln Pointer to friends. To read back issues Click here or go to, select “Support,” and then “Kiln Pointers” from the drop menu.

To respond to this Kiln Pointer, press Reply. Your email will go directly to Arnold Howard.

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Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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