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Testing a Thermocouple with a Paperclip

The thermocouple connections on the back of the temperature controller.


Testing a Thermocouple with a Paperclip

Reader Response: E6000 adhesive



The thermocouple senses the temperature inside a digital kiln. It is the rod that extends into the firing chamber.

The thermocouple is made of two dissimilar wires welded together at the tip. When exposed to heat, the tip produces a very small voltage, which varies with the temperature. The controller reads that voltage and converts it to a temperature.

A crack in the thermocouple’s welded tip can cause the temperature display to bounce wildly or show FAIL. Loose thermocouple wires can cause the same problem.

Suppose you replace the thermocouple, and the display still shows FAIL. Here is a simple thermocouple test that you can perform yourself. It works with most brands of controllers and will help you determine if a display problem is due to the thermocouple or the controller:

1) Unplug or disconnect the kiln.

2) Remove the controller board from the switch box. On Paragon kilns, remove the four corner screws from the controller faceplate. Lift the faceplate out of the switch box.

3) Look at the back of the controller circuit board. You should see two thermocouple wires connected to the bottom of the board. Disconnect those two wires. (The older controllers have screw connectors; the Sentry versions have lever connectors or push-button connectors.)

4) Insert a thin piece of wire such as a bent paperclip in the thermocouple connectors.

5) Place the controller faceplate onto the switchbox with a couple of screws.

6) Plug in the kiln/connect the power. If the board reads room temperature, replace the thermocouple. If it reads FAIL, you will need to have the controller checked.


Last week I mentioned E6000, which is used to glue findings to glass or silver jewelry. John Morton of The Glass Addict in Redding, California wrote, “My daughter tried her hand at making jewelry last summer. She used E6000 and Superglue to attach her earring posts.

“Last October we had a marathon here in Redding. The women's winner wore a set of my daughter’s dichro earrings. After her victory, all that was left of her earrings were the posts. The dichro pieces had disappeared sometime on the 26-mile race. She sweated during the race, and E6000 is a water-based adhesive. These weren't expensive pieces, but I warn customers about swimming, water sports, etc. when wearing jewelry made with E6000.”

John, thanks for sharing your experience.


Laura Lemons works in customer service. Today is her last day at Paragon. She is always industrious and always cheerful. We will miss her. We are very pleased to have Raquel and Chris as promising new customer service reps.

All of us wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you,

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 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2007, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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