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Snow, Fog Bubble Machines LOR...


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Hey all,
Just trying to work out what sort of Snow, Fog & Bubble machines to save my $$$ for as I want to use atleast one bubble machine, one fog machine and 2 snow machines in my next Christmas display.. I intend to use LOR for most of my control and maybe some x10 stuff if need be.

My question is this, can LOR control these devices with LOR boards? I know it can turn the power on & off but do they go off when you turn them on or do I need to sit there and press a button? Can it make the snow or bubbles for example go off at a certain time in a musical tune or do I need that DMX thing I read about somwhere?

If I need DMX what do I need to make LOR control DMX? And can I just get DMX for the whole lot and not use LOR? If I need to get it for the machines why not just do the whole lot or isnt it a good system for xmas lights??

Finally is there any particular brand of machine I should look at or steer clear of?


THANKS
Adam

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I am familiar with fog machines and did some tests with some of my Halloween units with LOR and everything seems to work fine.

You'll need a manual control for your fogger that can be plugged in via AC. You can also get your manual fog controller modified by Haunt Masters, in case you don’t want to do it yourself. http://hauntmasterproducts.com/remotemod.html (they also make nice ECT and haunt controls). You could also go via DMX but this will require higher-end gear.

Another consideration for a fogger is that you will need one capable of producing continuous fog. If you don't have this you might run into a situation where the heater element of the fogger is cycling and when you trigger it it will not fire. Lite FX has an inexpensive continuous fog unit (<$50) that would work perfectly for home haunts or displays.

I do not have any experience with bubble or snow machines but I bet that it is the same principle.

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I use bubble machines, snow machines, and in the past had smoke machines in the display. Since LOR is only intended for incandescent lights I have used X-10 modules, controlled by LOR, to run these. This year I did do a quick test to see what happened if I hooked on of these machines with a motor to a LOR controller. The motor started making an unnatural humming sound and I quickly ended the trial.

I have endured several problems with X10 control this year and would like to have everything run by true LOR controllers. I need to learn a little more about the Modular Control Processor and SSR's to run these motors. This is one part of LOR I really don't know much about. Teach me!

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Marty Slack wrote:

I use bubble machines, snow machines, and in the past had smoke machines in the display. Since LOR is only intended for incandescent lights I have used X-10 modules, controlled by LOR, to run these. This year I did do a quick test to see what happened if I hooked on of these machines with a motor to a LOR controller. The motor started making an unnatural humming sound and I quickly ended the trial.

I have endured several problems with X10 control this year and would like to have everything run by true LOR controllers. I need to learn a little more about the Modular Control Processor and SSR's to run these motors. This is one part of LOR I really don't know much about. Teach me!

We will have new stuff next year that will make motor control better. A new relay card that is designed specifically for motor/inductive control... It is based on the MCP (which will be replaced next year with a new/better model).

The CTB08 is not a good choice for motors. The CTB16D and CTB08D with the latest firmware will handle a number of motors pretty well. They also do ok with transformers.
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Ok, the best solution would be to make sure that your fogger, bubble machines, and snow machines are DMX capable. To do this, if it is not already, is to contact the manufacturer and see if they sell some sort of DMX adapter. Then buy the LOR-->DMX card from LOR and use that to control them. Put each device on a master relay. Then LOR will turn on the devices before they are needed and then LOR could tell them exactly when to start dispersing fog, bubbles, or snow. If you want you could just leave the machines on all the time. My concern with that is that the heat form the machines might start to evaporate the fluid in the tank. Or that moisture could short out the electronics inside the machine and start a fire or explode.

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Good points.

I agree that DMX would be the easiest way to go but it would also be the most expensive option. If you plan on doing this in a professional setting or want a rock-solid solution go DMX. Otherwise, I think you could use one of the other options for a temporary home display.

Another issue is making sure the fluid canisters are kept above minimum levels so that you don't burn out the pump. You could easily have to refill a low-volume fog machine two or three times per night with a five second burst every 30 seconds. During halloween I go through about two refills per unit per night.

Last issue is outdoor exposure. The fog units I have are all indoor units and would not hold up to snow/rain exposure. You might have to consider an enclosure or outdoor unit if you plan on having it exposed to the elements.

I am looking forward to the new LOR enhancements so I can start planning this year's Halloween haunt. ;-)


-Bill

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Plano Christmas wrote:

Good points.

I agree that DMX would be the easiest way to go but it would also be the most expensive option.


-Bill



How so? If Dan's DMX card is cheap enough, it would't be. The adapter for non DMX foggers, bubble machines, and snow machines made by Chauvet costs $25. And since most people(PC'ers) spend over $200 per season, you could spend money for a couple DMX adapter's.
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Ok, thanks for all the replies!! I know kinda what I need now! I am looking at a couple second hand snow and fog machines from a stage hire company. The snow machine has a wired remote and the fog a wireless remote. Both are ex hire pro quality machines with large easy to get to liquid but I am unsure if there are DMX

Manual will do for now as I am having MAJOR problems trying to sync just my lights to music in a LOR (I am using just the demo) because I have not a musical bone in my body, smoke and snow machines would just make it worse.. lol

With that said, I've been thinking about this and with the wired remote, could I just hook a seperate relay to short the control wires and just have that trigged by LOR? Its hard to explain what I mean but instead of controling it directly, LOR would simply be wired to the coil of the relay and when the LOR channel is turned on it would simply trigger the relay and in turn that would short the control wires... make any sense and could this work? :)

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I agree that a DMX adapter (like the DMX-3F) and a LOR DMX card would not be very expensive but considering you can get a lite f/x contious fog maching for $25 and do the controller mod for under $10 this is still cheaper.

Not trying to discount DMX. I think It is a great way to go if you plan on having several units or want to have a more professional approach to your display. I have limited experience with DMX. I looked at it for some haunt projects and couldn't justify it for my one week a year haunt activities.

Certainely would recommend looking at DMX especially if you plan on using fog, snow and bubbles machines in a display since several of the units on the market come with DMX capabilities standard.

-Bill

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Ahh ok, I think that remote mod thing is sorta the same thing I was talking about :) I should click the links before I post lol

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G'day Adam,

I've used a similar concept to your diagram for my fog machine, for the last few years, except instead of LOR controlling the relay, it is done with a 555 timer kit. As you are in Australia, I built up a simple kit from Dick Smith Electronics, which allows me to determine the relay switch on / switch off ratio via a series of dip switches. At the moment that it allows me to have definable bursts of fog for 5 seconds, every 30 secs. The mains power to the fog machine is switched via a digital timer, but as one of the previous posts suggested, you need to keep an eye on fluid level in case it runs out. With my DSE fogger, a tank will normally last approx 4 hours. The use of fog, for my display, is to create a haze for the lasers to beam through.

I've read elsewhere that future enhancements for LOR might contain switchable relays. If this occurs, I'll replace the 555 circuit, so that I have better control of the timing.

Hope that is of some help,

davidt,

www.daves-portal.com/xmas2006

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Adam, yes that would work but there is an easier way. Eliminate that loop and have the other side just go straight to the fogger again. Use a SPST coil relay.

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Sweet!!!! Thats my plan of attack then!! I won't bother with all the DMX stuff when a $10 relay and a pair of wirecutters will do the same job!! Thanks again for all the help!

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The only real reason for DMX in this case, since you don't have multiple devices, is to accurately control when and how much fog is dispersed.

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Yer, sorry I didn't mean to sound rude or offend or anything in my last post and I wasn't saying DMX wasn't the better option.

I also gathered that DMX could also control the amount of fog / snow dispersed but at this stage I can just set it manually and don't really need to invest in DMX just yet. I can spend that money on LOR boards instead as at this stage all I need is for it to go off at a certain time in a song.. :) Later down the track I will go DMX as I can see the avantages but as a cost saver for now, the wire snips and $10 relay will do :)

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Dan,

I would like to add some amusement park type lights to my display. Most of these are
in a track which is 24v.

How would I go about configuring them to work with LOR?

Charles

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Charles Belcher wrote:

Dan,

I would like to add some amusement park type lights to my display. Most of these are
in a track which is 24v.

How would I go about configuring them to work with LOR?

Charles

One thing that I think you could do is use supply 24VAC to the left side (chanels 1-8) of a CTB16D. The outputs for channels 1-8 would then be 24v. On/Off should work OK but you may need to play around with fades and limit them to start and end at percentages other than 0% and 100%... The issue with the fades is that the zero-cross will be skewed by the transformer a bit and will not match exactly with what the processor thinks that it is.

The other thing is to plug a 24V transformer into a LOR channel. Folks in other countries have had good luck controlling transformers with LOR.
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Dan,

Yes, I do want to use transformers if possible. I thought that might be a problem, but it sounds like you think it will work well??

Charles

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Charles Belcher wrote:

Yes, I do want to use transformers if possible. I thought that might be a problem, but it sounds like you think it will work well?

A fellow in the UK did a lot of testing with transformers. He watched the tempurature of the transformers and said that lots of continious on/off caused an small increase in temperature and fading did not seem to affect the transformers. I believe that results will depend a lot on the transformers used but the results of the test seem to show that they can be used successfully.

We have also tested transformers and did not measure temperature increases but did see that they worked continiously for weeks with no problems.
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  • 10 months later...

My wife is insisting on snow machines for the display now. I'm not familiar with using relays, etc...So I have some questions....

If I run 2 snow machines on one channel of my LOR, I understand the load from the motors could possibly cook my controller and/or channel. I've gathered this is from the excess power that has to go some where when the motor is switched off correct?
Can I add a spot light/strand of lights, etc to this channel to absorb this? Or is this not how this will work at all....?

Is there a "plug and play" relay I could get or some other option here? I have some DMX gear here (not for the display), but the snow machines are not and I dont want to convert them.

Anyone willing to send me some part numbers and instructions for the relay maybe?

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I've adapted several foggers to work with LOR, but the method is different depending on the operation of the remote. Most of the lower end foggers use a 120v remote, and are fairly simple to make a relay for. The higher (more powerful) units use a 12v remote, and they are a little more complicated. We are using 2 V950 super foggers this year, and they have 12v remotes, and they will be controlled by LOR. Figure out which unit you are going to buy, then find out if remote is 12v or 120v. Either way they can be controlled with a simple relay and LOR, you just have to wire them differently.

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