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Using A Fog Machine With Lor Ac Controller


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Im looking for a way to use an 16 channel LOR AC controller to turn on the fog and turn it off without turning off the fog machine completly off . I was plainning to use a ac relay and wire up the fog switch with a wire or some type of audio plug on the fog unit to the relay box. Now I have 3 Chauvet Hurricane 1300 and 2 Chauvet 700. This year i would like to control all the fog machine to have them go off at differant times so i can have maximum fog in the yard. I thought I've seen something on the LOR forums but i don't recall where. Looking for some help on a diagram or if someone has something for sale that would work.

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If you're going to use a relay to drive the switch on the fog machine, I believe you should be able to use any of the outputs on a standard LOR controller. Just get a relay with a 120v coil and use the outputs to drive the fog machine switches.

I do something similar on my donation box(link to the thread below), where I use one of the channels to pull a relay to drive a switch input on another circuit board. 

Using the relay should also help to isolate the fog machine from the controller. I've had a few issues in the past when trying to drive various types of inputs from the LOR AC controller that were solved by inserting a relay.

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Note that the above suggestion is more of a DIY option, but still pretty straight-forward. i.e. No "audio plug to the relay unit" as you mention above.

Assuming you're using channel 1 to control the switch in the fog machine, your connections would be: channel 1 output to relay coil input. Then, you would connect the relay output to act as the fog machine switch.

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.

Edited by Aaron Maue
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I know you can't do this with a standard 16 channel controller, but another option is to use the DMX interface and control your smoke machine from LOR with DMX...

D.T.

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My bad. I didn't realize the OP was trying to control via DMX. I should have guessed that, given his mention of the audio cable.

I thought he was just trying to see ifitwould control a standard AC relay. Again - my bad.

Edited by Aaron Maue
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Thank you all for the info. The Fog units do not have DMX on them. Its a option with the DMX add on but its discontinued and cost some $$$. I did think about using a DMX 3 channel device to control the Manual Fog button on the forgers. but it will come down to if the switch is a AC voltage or DC 12V. I have not checked that out yet. I’m just looking for a way to use my LOR software to control the fog this year. I have switch most of my yard do 12V LED spot,strips and using DMX for all led lights for this years Halloween haunt and show.

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  • 3 months later...

You can use any non-dmx fogger with a LOR AC controller. The fogger has to be modded with a relay to trigger the pump, to replace/piggy-back the handheld push button switch. I've modded four non-dmx foggers (three 400w, one 1000w) doing it and they work perfectly, by using a LOR channel to energize the relay line, which turns on the pump. Costs $9.99 for the relay from radio shack, (part 279-217), a couple dollars for a C9 socket and bulb (for the relay load) and abt a half hour work.

I posted in Chauvet Fogger thread, how to mod a non-dmx, it's here: http://forums.lighto..._35#entry208923

Edited by TJ Hvasta
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Just keep in mind fog machines have to heat / re-heat up so having fog on demand 100% of the foggers sequenced time might not be reliable.

Unless you have a charge box (slave tank) full of fog 100% of the time then discharge it when you require it in your sequence, I could see that being more reliable.

Just my two cents.

Edit: just saw TJs post so maybe the heat issue isn't a problem without the pushbutton controller.

Edited by Santas Helper
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Good point Tom, the normal power cord keeps the heater going, it cycles on'off as it's supposed to with normal power, the triggering line (the one thats modded) is the one that would go into the LOR channel.

Before you try to use it for a show, you will have to fill the tank, plug it in, allow it to heat, then turn on the pump channel. Start the timer to see how long the pump runs before cycling off. With that time documented, you can now plan for how long the channel would be on.

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I don't know anything about fog machines, but, I was wondering if the ambient temperature might be a factor? Would the ambient temperature affect the time it takes to get another batch of fog ready?

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The duty cycle of a fogger is pretty much dependant only on it's heater, not so much the OAT. The lower the heater (400w vs 1000w) the longer it's going to take to heat back up to triggering temp. The 1000watt-er versions, because they heat to a higher temp, can fog On for a longer duty period. As the temp begins to fall off (as the juice runs thru it), it hits the low-end temp at which the pump cant atomize the juice, and it shuts off the pump (stops fogging). Once it recovers/heats back up to it's high setting, it turns on the Ready light, telling you to "Hit th' switch" again.

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(quote from TJ) The duty cycle of a fogger is pretty much dependant only on it's heater, not so much the OAT. The lower the heater (400w vs 1000w) the longer it's going to take to heat back up to triggering temp. The 1000watt-er versions, because they heat to a higher temp, can fog On for a longer duty period. As the temp begins to fall off (as the juice runs thru it), it hits the low-end temp at which the pump cant atomize the juice, and it shuts off the pump (stops fogging). Once it recovers/heats back up to it's high setting, it turns on the Ready light, telling you to "Hit th' switch" again. (un-quote from TJ)

Ran out of "Like This Button" feature (wish LOR would bump it up to at least 6 per day, geeze....)

So here it is. "Check Mark, Like This"

Edited by Santas Helper
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As the temp begins to fall off (as the juice runs thru it), it hits the low-end temp at which the pump cant atomize the juice, and it shuts off the pump (stops fogging). Once it recovers/heats back up to it's high setting, it turns on the Ready light, telling you to "Hit th' switch" again.

The cheap Gemmy fog machine has a single temperature sensor. When it's hot, it turns on the Ready light (and enables the pump); and when it's not hot enough, it turns on the heater. This means it can't heat and pump at the same time.

This means that if it's just sitting there, the heater will cycle, leaving times when it's not ready, even though it hasn't been making fog.

I would imagine that an expensive fog machine might have multiple temperature sensors: One could sense when it's hot enough to turn on the Ready light, and a second that could sense when it's starting to get cooler, and turn the heater on before it gets too cool to make fog. Does anyone with an expensive machine know if this is true?

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The cheap Gemmy fog machine has a single temperature sensor. When it's hot, it turns on the Ready light (and enables the pump); and when it's not hot enough, it turns on the heater. This means it can't heat and pump at the same time.

This means that if it's just sitting there, the heater will cycle, leaving times when it's not ready, even though it hasn't been making fog.

I would imagine that an expensive fog machine might have multiple temperature sensors: One could sense when it's hot enough to turn on the Ready light, and a second that could sense when it's starting to get cooler, and turn the heater on before it gets too cool to make fog. Does anyone with an expensive machine know if this is true?

Actually any brand, not just Gemmy has this same set-up (one heater) and has been this way since they were designed for public sale. I purchased my first one back in 1990 and it was $350 back then (an upper class version)

Yes, they advertise as constant foggers but they aren't.

And unless you have a C02 fogger or dryice fogger, you're going to run into the same issues of reheating.

Not to forget, if it had two heaters, it would probably require 220Vac. Something most households wouldn't spend money on.

Edited by Santas Helper
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  • 10 months later...

Well this is an update to my first post.  what i did was build a small control box that had an RCA jack a power cable, a 120V Relay, and a 120V case light.  put it all together and BAM i now have a interface for the 16 channel 120V LOR controler. now i did have to modify my fog units control box. sence all my fog units are chauvet fog machine 2 1300 amd 2 700 i just added a RCA jack on it and soder the connection to the manueal on botton. I also used a small fan and a expandable tube to run the fog to whatever point in the yard i needed. this gave me the ability to keep the fog machine out of the yard and hiden in the planter bed. also helped with the noise that the fan and fog machine makes out of the haunt.  after testing the units i found that small short burst with the fan going off and on would allow the fog to stay in the chiller longer and perduce thiker low laying fog and when there was allot of fog i just turned the fan on full speed and it would push all the fog to the yard. I did have the 2 main fog machine run at different times so that i could have one heat up as the athor was doing it job. and the 2 smaller one had no chiller they were used to give me a light fog above the low laying fog for the laser i had going.  It worked out great. This year if i have time i will try to make a DMX version to control the Fog machines which will help sence i have converted most of the Halloween lights to 12v RGB and controled with DMX i could just use Cat 5 cable to turn on the DMX fog Machine Controler box insted of 120v.

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Im looking for a way to use an 16 channel LOR AC controller to turn on the fog and turn it off without turning off the fog machine completly off . I was plainning to use a ac relay and wire up the fog switch with a wire or some type of audio plug on the fog unit to the relay box. Now I have 3 Chauvet Hurricane 1300 and 2 Chauvet 700. This year i would like to control all the fog machine to have them go off at differant times so i can have maximum fog in the yard. I thought I've seen something on the LOR forums but i don't recall where. Looking for some help on a diagram or if someone has something for sale that would work.

 

The Chauvet 1300 fogger does not have DMX; only a push button. Same for the Chauvet 700 fogger.

 

You need to build a simple relay circuit as others on this forum have done: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/13968-chavuet-fog-machine-1300/?p=123384

 

and: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/13968-chavuet-fog-machine-1300/?p=208013

 

and: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/15683-large-fake-flames/?p=150253

 

and Tracy West built one also: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/26793-the-wests-area-3522-2013-halloween-display/?p=253472

 

 

To get low lying fog: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/22104-fogger-chiller/

 

 

There you have it: detailed instructions, videos and who actually made it work. Keep us posted on your progress.

 

And if you really want DMX control, use one of these to control both power to the fogger and when it fogs: http://www.northlightdmx.com/DMXtoRelay.htm

Edited by Ken Benedict
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The cheap Gemmy fog machine has a single temperature sensor. When it's hot, it turns on the Ready light (and enables the pump); and when it's not hot enough, it turns on the heater. This means it can't heat and pump at the same time.

This means that if it's just sitting there, the heater will cycle, leaving times when it's not ready, even though it hasn't been making fog.

I would imagine that an expensive fog machine might have multiple temperature sensors: One could sense when it's hot enough to turn on the Ready light, and a second that could sense when it's starting to get cooler, and turn the heater on before it gets too cool to make fog. Does anyone with an expensive machine know if this is true?

 

Steven - yes, the expensive ones have multiple sensors and can pump out fog all day long until the tank empties.

 

I you're not going to use your fogger for a while, you might consider running cleaning fluid through the nozzle to keep it clean.

 

You can also add an interesting scent to the fog juice: http://www.frightprops.com/fog/scents/scent-additive-for-fog-haze-snow-bubble-juice.html

Edited by Ken Benedict
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Steven - yes, the expensive ones have multiple sensors and can pump out fog all day long until the tank empties.

 

Ken,

 

The one you posted is actually two foggers in one. Two different nozzles going thru the heat exchanger so chances of having "ready" fog has increased. I like the idea but looks like it can go thru some fog juice pretty fast too. For my foggy imagination I would hook a 5 gallon bucket to it :)

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