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Finding an Electrical Short in a Kiln

Wire connectors must be tight. Otherwise they can burn out later.


Finding an Electrical Short in a Kiln

Recent Q&As: Applying kiln wash to walls; firing metal clay in a microwave kiln; turn tables and the microwave kiln; programming a hold

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If the circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows when you first turn on the kiln, unplug the kiln and look for a short. Here is where to look:

Remove the main control panel or switch box from the kiln and look for a pinched wire. It will be under one of the switch box mounting screws. A screw that breaks through the wire insulation will cause a short.

A cord set connection that touches the kiln case can burn and cause a short. This will shut off the breaker when you plug in the kiln. Look near the cord set for the damaged connection or burned cord set insulation.

Most kiln brands have porcelain insulators under the element connectors. The porcelain insulators, which look like small mushrooms with a hole in the center, must be pressed all the way into the heat shield. A porcelain insulator sticking out from the heat shield can cause a short.

The excess ends of the element that extend past the element connectors must be cut off. Bending the twisted element ends to the side or leaving them sticking out straight can cause a short in the kiln's switch box.

Do not use electrical tape inside the switch box. A wire can short against the kiln case when the tape burns off.

Make sure wire connections are tight. A loose connection can overheat and burn off a wire, which can short out against the kiln case. Look at the kiln’s element connectors. If one is missing, it has probably burned off and fallen into the switch box, which can cause a short.



Q. Is it okay to kiln wash the kiln walls? My kiln is a glass kiln that has no sidewall elements.

A. No, do not apply kiln wash to the walls. The kiln wash can flake off and land in an element groove or onto a piece of glass. However, it is okay to apply kiln wash to the bottom half-inch of walls. This will help to protect the wall bricks from molten glass.

Q. Is it okay to fire metal clay in the MagicFuse microwave kiln?

A. We have included glass fusing instructions in the kiln’s manual, because firing glass is controllable. You can check the glass visually. It would be more difficult to fire metal clay than glass in the MagicFuse, so the instruction manual does not cover that.

Q. Does the MagicFuse microwave kiln require a turntable in the microwave oven?

A. You can fire the MagicFuse with or without a turntable. The turntable gives more even heating inside the firing chamber. The only disadvantage to using a turntable is that the movement may disturb the glass pieces before they have had a chance to fuse together.

Q. Should a hold time be programmed as total number of minutes, or hours and minutes?

A. Program a hold as hours and minutes rather than the total number of minutes. (i.e., 90 minutes is programmed as 1:30.) You can program a hold up to 99.99 hours.



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We are holding a video contest with kiln prizes. You can find more details at the home page. There is an excellent chance that you could win a small kiln.


Do you ever think about how time becomes distorted? I spent a day in Chicago recently. I stood outside at 4:00 a.m. in front of my house. It was quiet and dark when a shuttle picked me up and took me to the airport. I returned late that evening, grateful to be home. I had been gone for only a day, but it felt like three.

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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