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How to Measure Voltage Under Load

Testing voltage under load.


How to Measure Voltage Under Load

Reader Response: Refiring fused glass

Recent Q&As: Firing glass in a ceramics kiln

A Kiln Story: A New Definition For Kiln Wash



A kiln can fire slowly because of worn out elements or low voltage. The best way to check the voltage is “under load,” or while the kiln is firing. This gives the most accurate measurement, because voltage can drop when the kiln turns on.

Please do not touch the voltmeter probe tips or the plug prongs while you check the voltage. Only a qualified person should perform this test, because improper use of a voltmeter can result in shock to the user.

To check the voltage under load, pull out the plug about 1/8" so that you have room to touch the prongs with voltmeter probes. Then turn on the kiln. Measure between the two flat blades on the plug.

If you have low voltage, schedule your firing during off-peak periods. The voltage may be higher at night.



Several weeks ago Diana Chase wrote a Kiln Pointer entitled “Reworking Fused Glass,” suggesting ways to repair a disappointing piece. Dr. Judy Fisher of Mitchellville, Maryland wrote, “I hardly ever have to throw away glass that I've fired. I just put it back in the kiln, and out comes something different and unique. Hey, it's the only one of its kind in the entire world!”



Q. Is it possible to do glass work in a ceramic kiln?

A. Yes, you can fire glass in a ceramic kiln. The smaller the glass pieces, the easier they are to fire. Paragon held a glass fusing seminar in 1984. Other than books, that seminar was my first exposure to glass fusing. Boyce Lundstrom taught the two-day class here in Mesquite, Texas. We used A-82B kilns to fire projects that were approximately 10” wide. (The A-82B is a side-fire, 8-sided kiln, 17.5" wide x 22.25" deep.) The pieces turned out beautifully. Boyce Lundstrom knew how fast to fire and how to space the shelves. Those are two of the critical aspects of firing glass in a ceramic kiln.

Begin by experimenting with small test pieces. You may have cool spots in your kiln. Learn to arrange the shelves to avoid those spots, or use them for pieces designed for a lower stage of fusing.



(This story first appeared in the Potterybasics Yahoo discussion group.)

By J. Thomas Mount Laurel, NJ

While I waited in line to check out at the local ceramic supplier, the woman ahead of me was talking to the guy behind the counter (who is also the company's kiln tech) about a kiln she had just obtained from Craigslist. She was asking many questions, and then the subject of kiln wash came up.

The conversation went on for a few minutes, and the newbie woman asked more questions. Then it became painfully clear to me that the woman thought kiln wash was some kind of detergent used to clean the kiln. She asked him how often she should "wash her kiln" and how much water she should use while washing it, and the guy behind the counter was answering the questions as if she were asking about how to use kiln wash. This went on for at least three minutes.

Eventually, the tech figured out that this poor woman meant to use "kiln wash" to wash her electric kiln out with a hose and brush, and thereafter followed a great blank look. And then the tech went on to explain that, um no, one shouldn't scrub and rinse out one's electric kiln with water before each firing like it were a piece of barware.

Ordinarily, being trapped behind someone like this in a line would have made me insane, but the entertainment value was fantastic. What was worse, she left without buying anything except a pound of kiln wash, for a buck.

So, don't be afraid to ask silly questions... it beats rinsing out your kiln with a hose!”


Last Sunday I attended a memorial service for Lucille O’Neal, who passed away at age 87. She worked with me at Paragon in 1989. I will always remember her laughter, which delighted everyone around her.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 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 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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