Kiln Pointer from Paragon: Detecting a Broken Element
When an element burns out, it can sometimes fool a continuity test.
A continuity test determines if the element can carry electricity. You can perform this test with an ohmmeter, which measures electrical resistance. You can also check continuity with a small test light available from auto parts stores. The test light includes a battery and two lead wires. The preferred method to check continuity is with an ohmmeter.
When an element breaks, it should no longer be able to carry electricity. Sometimes, however, a broken element will show continuity when tested with an ohmmeter or a test light, because as the element cools, the broken ends sometimes touch. If the ends touch, electricity can still travel through the element. Yet when you fire the kiln, the element will produce little, if any, heat.
To test an element, find out the ohms of resistance that the element is rated for. You can get this information from the kiln’s wiring diagram. If an ohmmeter test gives a resistance that is close to the correct resistance, the element is not broken. If the resistance is much higher than the rated resistance, the element could be burned out.
If you suspect that the element is burned out even though you are still obtaining a resistance reading, check the element grooves with a flashlight. You should be able to see the break.
This pointer is from kiln technician Manuel R. A. Tony Diaz Rodriguez.
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. email@example.com