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How to Interrupt a Digital Firing

This kiln has a door safety switch. If yours does not, turn off the elements before opening the door or lid to manipulate the glass. Photo courtesy of Washington Glass School.


How to Interrupt a Digital Firing

Recent Q&As: Buzzing sounds from the kiln; mercury relays; Pyrolite

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Someone asked me, “I have a Pearl 22 and would like to comb glass. How do I turn off the kiln to open and comb, and then resume the controller program for the cool down?”

Glass combing requires opening a hot kiln to manipulate the glass. The ideal way to turn off the power for glass combing is to have a safety lid switch on the kiln. The switch turns off the power to the elements when you open the lid, yet the controller continues to run. If you do not have a lid switch, you can turn off the elements manually. First, have a copy of your firing schedule in front of you, with each segment numbered. When you are ready to open the lid to comb the glass, press 5, or Present Status. This will give the current segment number. Press Stop. The heating elements will shut off, and the controller will return to IdLE. Open the kiln just a crack; wear a safety face shield and long protective gloves.

After combing the glass, close the kiln. Press the Start button on the controller keypad. The controller will resume firing and will begin the first segment that matches the current kiln temperature. Press 5, Present Status, to be sure you are in the correct segment. If necessary, press 9, Skip Segment, and Enter, to advance to the next segment.

These instructions are for Paragon's Sentry 12-key controller, but the principle works with other brands, too, though the programming steps will differ. Please see your kiln manual.



Q. My digital kiln has started to buzz loudly (so much that I have to yell over it when teaching). Any idea what causes it and how to quiet it down?

A. One of your relays is about to fail. When the electromagnet inside the relay weakens, it can no longer squeeze the relay contacts tightly together. This causes a buzzing, or chattering.

Q. My kiln has a mechanical relay. Is it interchangeable with a mercury relay?

A. A mercury relay is not interchangeable with a mechanical relay, because the mercury relay also requires a mechanical relay to drive it. The power from the controller is too low to drive a mercury relay directly. So, the controller turns on a mechanical relay, which turns on the mercury relay.

Q. Can Pyrolite be used to repair the sidewall elements of a ceramic kiln? A. You shouldn't need Pyrolite for sidewall grooves. They can usually be repaired with element staples or by shrinking the bulging element back into the groove. (Please do not attempt to move the element without first reading instructions.)



"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use." -- Earl Nightingale (selected by Gordon K. Uyehara, jeweler)



I have just added eight new product videos to our website. You can see them at this link:

I hope you enter our kiln video contest. You may have an excellent chance to win a Paragon kiln. Send a video of yourself making something that will be fired in a Paragon kiln, or even tell a story about an interesting kiln you’ve owned. The contest rules are on our home page.


I recently listened to an audiotape of the late philosopher Earl Nightingale during a bicycle ride to Paragon. I hadn’t heard him in years. His gravely voice came alive through my headphones as I sped past the shade of overhanging trees.

In his grandfatherly way, he defined success as working toward a goal. As you work toward that elusive perfect stoneware mug or copper enameling pendant, you are already a success--because you are working toward an exciting goal.

Thank you,

With best wishes for a great weekend,

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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