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How to Use a Voltmeter

Checking a wall receptacle with a voltmeter. This photo is from our new video “How to Use a Voltmeter.”


How to Use a Voltmeter

Recent Q&As: Converting an SC-2 kiln to European voltage; When a kiln with safety switch stops heating without apparent reason

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Use a voltmeter to measure the voltage of a wall receptacle.

1) First, select the voltage type on the meter. To measure the voltage of a battery, select DCV. Since we are measuring voltage in a building, select ACV. (AC is represented by a small wavy line, and DC is represented by straight lines.)

2) Your meter may have a voltage range setting. If so, select the range of volts that is the next higher range than you expect to measure. (i.e., to test 120 volts, set the meter to 200 volts.)

3) The meter has two test probes. Plug the red probe into the positive connection and the black probe into the negative connection on the meter. Touch the probes together. The meter should read 0 volts.

4) Hold the probes by the insulated handles. Do not touch the bare metal probes, or you could get shocked. Do not use a meter that has cracked insulation on the handles of the probes.

5) Place the voltmeter probes into the two rectangular slots in the wall outlet. This will give you the voltage reading of that outlet.

We have produced a video of the multimeter. You can watch it from two locations:

Multimeter video at

Multimeter video on



Q. I am moving to Europe. Can I rewire my 120 volt, 60 Hertz SC-2 for 220 volts, 50 Hertz?

A. The earlier Paragon SC-2 kilns had one element. Later we redesigned the kiln, and it now has two elements. This improved the kiln's heat distribution. Provided your SC-2 kiln has two elements, you can rewire it to fire on 240 volts, 50 Hertz. Then you will not need a voltage converter to use your kiln.

The two-element, 120 volt SC-2 kiln is wired in parallel. You will need to rewire it in series and change the cord set. That will convert the kiln to 240 volts, which will also fire on 220 volts. It will operate on both 60 or 50 Hertz.

If your kiln is the earlier design with one element, it cannot be converted to 220 volts unless you change the ceramic fiber muffle. Return the kiln to the Paragon factory for the upgrade. Once you upgrade to the newer two-element muffle, you can convert it back to 120 volts if you ever return to the United States.

Q. My kiln stops firing without apparent reason. I hear a click, and then the elements turn off. I have a door safety switch.

A. A door or lid safety switch that is out of adjustment can turn off the elements. The run light on the controller will stay lit even though the elements are not heating. Sometimes the safety switch turns off the elements partway through a firing due to expansion of the door or lid at high temperatures.

We have three types of door or lid safety switches. For instructions on adjusting them, go to and click on Support, then Instruction Manuals from the drop menu. Publications are listed in alphabetical order. Scroll down the list of manuals to Safety Switch Adjustment.

Safety Switch Adjustment



"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt


We have had three days of rain and cold, which add to the holiday spirit here in Mesquite, Texas. Christmas lights shimmer in the raindrops on my windshield as I drive home from work. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

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 2009, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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