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When a New Part Fails

Push-on connectors must be tight. A loose connection can ruin a replacement part.


When a New Part Fails

Reader Response: A powdered “lubricant” for glass fusing

Recent Q&As: Advice for a beginner; a power failure while you are away from the kiln

Memorable Quote

News: New Plasma Cutter at Paragon



When a new part fails each time it’s replaced, then replacing that part may be solving the wrong problem. Here are reasons for repeated failure of replacement parts:

1) Connectors to a switch or relay are loose. This will result in burned switch terminals and melted plastic, because the loose connectors cause the new parts to overheat.

2) The wrong element has been installed, subjecting the switch or relay to too much amperage. Please make sure you install the element that was designed for your kiln. Elements from different kiln models are usually not interchangeable.

3) Contamination is hidden inside an element groove. After you remove a broken or worn element, check the groove with a small mirror, especially where the element broke. Dig out any discolored areas in the groove.

4) The ambient room temperature is too high. This can cause the kiln’s switch box components to fail prematurely.

5) Sand or kiln wash from a shelf filters into a switch or contaminates an element. Do not brush kiln wash from glass or pottery while standing over the kiln.



The December 22 Kiln Pointer topic was “Reusing Thinfire Paper.” Tony Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas wrote, “Unique Glass Colors has a product called Free, which is a fine powder that acts as a ‘lubricant’ on fired glass. Hold a piece of nylon stocking on top of the jar with a rubber band. Lightly sprinkle the powder onto a mold or kiln shelf before loading the glass or bottles. Tilt the mold/shelf and tap the excess onto a sheet of newspaper to reuse. This ‘lubricant’ powder allows the glass to move freely over the shelf/molds. The powder cannot even be noticed on the glass after firing.”



Q. I have just purchased a small digital Paragon kiln. What suggestions do you have for a beginner?

A. First, read the manuals. If you don't have time to read all of them, at least read the sections on operation and skim through the rest. The covers of the Sentry Xpress and Sentry 2.0 manuals are visual indexes of all the controllers’ features. If you ever wonder how to set the alarm, adjust thermocouple offset, or review a program, just look at the cover.

Second, feel free to adjust firing schedules. You may need to customize a schedule to better suit your kiln and the materials you are firing. Published schedules may have been designed for a kiln of a different size than yours.

Third, visually check the glass, especially the first few times you fire a particular type of glass. Use witness cones in ceramic firings.

Q. The power failed while I was away from the kiln. Instead of showing CPLt after the firing, my Sentry Xpress display showed PF2. Is it possible the kiln fired to completion before the power failure? Could another error message have appeared before PF2?

A. PF2 can appear only during an active firing cycle (before the kiln reaches CPLt). Since PF2 showed in the display, the power failure occurred before the kiln could complete the firing. There were no other terminating error messages before PF2. Otherwise, the first error message would remain in the display instead of PF2.



"It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." -- Millard Fuller



Last December Paragon acquired its third plasma cutter. It is a computer-controlled device that uses electrically charged, high temperature gas to cut through steel. You can see photos at Paragon’s Facebook page:

Paragon’s Facebook page

The new plasma cutter is helping us to reduce kiln delivery times.


I drove to work this morning in the dark. A traffic light cast long shafts of green over the rain-soaked street in front of me. I love the way reflected lights shimmer on wet surfaces in the early morning.

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 2010, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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