Sunday, 13 July 2008

Fog Machine

This is one of those Now-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-it problems.

I picked up a box with a fog machine (Antari F-160) and fog fluid in it from a recent council clean-up. Since it was being thrown out I doubted that it would work. And it didn't.

Apart from a blown fuse, the fog machine heated up but the fluid pump would not work. The pump would hum when power (240VAC) was applied but it would not pump so I decided it was seized and set to dismantling it in order to clean it.

There didn't appear to be anything wrong. Nothing was blocked, it was clean and no part seemed damaged. If I loosely assembled the pump it would work, but if it was tightly assembled the pump would just hum.

I decided that someone on the net would be able to verify that I was assembling it correctly. I searched for the part number "SP-12A" and "Fog" and I came across this page which had a link to a picture showing the order of the parts.

In my pump, the washer/seal (part 5) was in a different place. I corrected my assembly and it worked nicely. With this seal (perhaps it is a spacer) in the wrong place, a little orange seal is compressed too much and grips the piston so tightly that it no longer can move and the pump can only hum. With the seal in the correct place, the piston moves freely and all is well.

The machine uses a remote control to turn the heater on and it has a switch to operate the pump. It was clear that the remote control cable was damaged so I repaired it, but the pump would not operate when the switch was depressed. I found that the remote control socket had 3 broken solder joints which I repaired.

The fog machine now worked.

Apart from entertaining the kids, what can you do with a fog machine?
  • Fill the house with fog and run a fire drill (get down low and Go Go Go!)
  • Check for air conditioner ducting leaks (but I don't have air conditioning)
  • Look for drafts around doors and windows
  • Cool party feature
  • Find exhaust leaks?
Maybe someone else has some thoughts.