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Smoke Machine Repair

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Category: General
Forum Name: Electro Frying Forum
Forum Description: Talk about drivers, processors and mixers
URL: https://forum.speakerplans.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=103108
Printed Date: 19 June 2019 at 10:42pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Smoke Machine Repair
Posted By: citizensc
Subject: Smoke Machine Repair
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:50am
Hi Guys

Had a smoke machine stop working, opened it up and found a blown fuse.

Is it as simple as replacing the fuse or is this symptomatic of a bigger issue? 

The machine is an AF-250, one of the Thomann ones.






Replies:
Posted By: efinque
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 4:25am
It looks very modern compared to the ones I've seen/serviced (Eurolite, Antari, Chauvet etc)

If it doesn't work (turns on, makes noise but doesn't generate smoke) usually it helps to disassemble the pump and blow the fluid out of it.


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Posted By: AM55
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 5:25am
The guy has a blown fuse and you are advising him to look at the pump. Confused

Op, obviously the fuse is blown and that very well could be a symptom of a problem elsewhere but your first port of call would be to replace the fuse, making sure it is the exact rating including if it's short blow or fast blow, and see if it blows again. Maybe you will get lucky.

efinque, you keep offering anecdotal advice in threads that is really not very helpful and because of this you are rubbing people up the wrong way e.g. the scopex thread. If you didn't have all the social media accounts behind you I would think you are a troll and a clever one at that. I am sure a guy that can build his own rotary mixer has something to offer the forum but please think before posting else you will continue to catch flak for it. There a people from all over the industry on this forum, people that really know their stuff as it is here day job. There are also very knowledgeable DIYers so if you give bad advice it will get called out. I don't want to see you receive a load of negativity for what I am sure are well intentioned posts .


Posted By: mini-mad
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 5:32am
Originally posted by AM55 AM55 wrote:

The guy has a blown fuse and you are advising him to look at the pump. Confused

Op, obviously the fuse is blown and that very well could be a symptom of a problem elsewhere but your first port of call would be to replace the fuse, making sure it is the exact rating including if it's short blow or fast blow, and see if it blows again. Maybe you will get lucky.

efinque, you keep offering anecdotal advice in threads that is really not very helpful and because of this you are rubbing people up the wrong way e.g. the scopex thread. If you didn't have all the social media accounts behind you I would think you are a troll and a clever one at that. I am sure a guy that can build his own rotary mixer has something to offer the forum but please think before posting else you will continue to catch flak for it. There a people from all over the industry on this forum, people that really know their stuff as it is here day job. There are also very knowledgeable DIYers so if you give bad advice it will get called out. I don't want to see you receive a load of negativity for what I am sure are well intentioned posts .
Hold up... I had this problem. Switched out the fuse. Found the pump had been over worked. Replaced it.. THEN Found out it was the fact it all needed blowing through as the heating block was clogged causing this cascade of errors that lead to the fuse blowing.

Yes he says some silly things BUT sometimes people can slip up and end up right.

Replace the fuse to start and work backwards from there. I strongly advise having a cleaning fluid (home made or bought at the ready for when it does burst into life.


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If it sounds like a gorilla is trying to escape, turn it down.


Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 5:52am
Originally posted by mini-mad mini-mad wrote:

Originally posted by AM55 AM55 wrote:

The guy has a blown fuse and you are advising him to look at the pump. Confused

Op, obviously the fuse is blown and that very well could be a symptom of a problem elsewhere but your first port of call would be to replace the fuse, making sure it is the exact rating including if it's short blow or fast blow, and see if it blows again. Maybe you will get lucky.

efinque, you keep offering anecdotal advice in threads that is really not very helpful and because of this you are rubbing people up the wrong way e.g. the scopex thread. If you didn't have all the social media accounts behind you I would think you are a troll and a clever one at that. I am sure a guy that can build his own rotary mixer has something to offer the forum but please think before posting else you will continue to catch flak for it. There a people from all over the industry on this forum, people that really know their stuff as it is here day job. There are also very knowledgeable DIYers so if you give bad advice it will get called out. I don't want to see you receive a load of negativity for what I am sure are well intentioned posts .
Hold up... I had this problem. Switched out the fuse. Found the pump had been over worked. Replaced it.. THEN Found out it was the fact it all needed blowing through as the heating block was clogged causing this cascade of errors that lead to the fuse blowing.

Yes he says some silly things BUT sometimes people can slip up and end up right.

Replace the fuse to start and work backwards from there. I strongly advise having a cleaning fluid (home made or bought at the ready for when it does burst into life.

Okay, so update.

I bought a new fuse (5 actually, they were 35c each) Machine heated up fine, seemed to work until I pressed the smoke button. Fuse blew immediately. I then unplugged the pump and tried again with a new fuse. When I pressed the button nothing happened, so it's for sure the pump. The pump is unbranded and at first, I had trouble finding anything similar. 

Then I stumbled across the 'Ulka EP-5' which is a coffee machine pump. It looks exactly the same apart from the colours and branding. You can see the pump above in one of the images. 

This is the pump I'm thinking of getting. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ULKA-EP5-Coffee-Machine-Pump-48w-230v-15-bar-for-home-espresso-coffee-machine/181956891442?epid=11024400603&hash=item2a5d79d332:g:LasAAOSwB4BaFTV3:rk:1:pf:0

Think this will work or is this a bad idea?

As far as cleaning goes, I have used the machine 3 times and I had cleaned it out after the second. What I think may have happened is the machine ran non stop, while dry for a while. It was new years and I left the controller sitting on the DJ table for the DJs to use, on one of the smaller stages at a festival. The machine ran dry, and rather than refill it they just turned all the knobs to the max and left it on auto hoping that would make smoke come out. 



Posted By: efinque
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 6:06am
Originally posted by AM55 AM55 wrote:

The guy has a blown fuse and you are advising him to look at the pump. Confused

Electric motors and pumps burn fuses very easily esp. when they're blocked from functioning properly. I burnt a fuse from my car wipers when I had left them on, started engine and they were blocked by snow.. no fun driving home in the rain.

I don't recall any of the smoke machines I've used having a fuse.. a pump/hose that's clogged could be the cause for burning one.

But as the saying goes any device can be a smoke machine.


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Posted By: AM55
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 6:19am
That may well be but there is no part taking things apart if you haven't replaced the fuse first to check, just in case.

OP, The pumps in these tend to be very generic I wouldn't be surprised if it works.


Posted By: Earplug
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:02pm
I was just about to offer you a pump, as I have a few spares lying around - then saw where you are!  Smile

The voltage & wattage of the ebay one looks right - so should work. 





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Earplugs Are For Wimps!


Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:19pm
Originally posted by Earplug Earplug wrote:

I was just about to offer you a pump, as I have a few spares lying around - then saw where you are!  Smile

The voltage & wattage of the ebay one looks right - so should work. 




Would any variation in flow rate matter? 


Posted By: Earplug
Date Posted: 08 January 2019 at 3:38pm
Originally posted by citizensc citizensc wrote:

Originally posted by Earplug Earplug wrote:

I was just about to offer you a pump, as I have a few spares lying around - then saw where you are!  Smile

The voltage & wattage of the ebay one looks right - so should work. 




Would any variation in flow rate matter? 


That´s obviously related to the power, but should be more or less the same. As noted above, these pumps are pretty much generic devices.

You could also replace with a larger pump, but then may damage the control circuitry. That usually uses either a relay, or triac to fire up the pump. It looks like yours has a relay, which can be a bit more 'robust', in that the pump will draw 5 or 6 times it´s run current on startup, so risks blowing an (undersized) triac - especially if you´re constantly switching the pump. The problem is that the relay contacts will spark & pit over time, so 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. 
 



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Earplugs Are For Wimps!


Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 09 January 2019 at 2:55am
Just purchased the pump, will report back with my success or failure. 


Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 5:36am
Pump arrived, I put it in and it made a horrible noise, produced no smoke. Opened the 'new' pump up, and looked at the assembly diagram for it online. Turns out it was missing a part... Anyway, the pump was slightly different to the one it was replacing. I suspect the stairville one is some Chinese copy of this coffee machine pump. 

I took the mechanism out of the burned pump and put it in the coil of the 'new' one, took a bit of brute force, I suspect they are not intended to go together. 

Tested the machine and it works perfectly now. So there you go, if you burn the coil of a stairville smoke machine, you can replace it with the coil from a coffee machine pump. 


Posted By: efinque
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 6:25am
Originally posted by citizensc citizensc wrote:

Pump arrived, I put it in and it made a horrible noise, produced no smoke. Opened the 'new' pump up, and looked at the assembly diagram for it online. Turns out it was missing a part... Anyway, the pump was slightly different to the one it was replacing. I suspect the stairville one is some Chinese copy of this coffee machine pump. 

I took the mechanism out of the burned pump and put it in the coil of the 'new' one, took a bit of brute force, I suspect they are not intended to go together. 

Tested the machine and it works perfectly now. So there you go, if you burn the coil of a stairville smoke machine, you can replace it with the coil from a coffee machine pump. 

Cool.

Usually when you disassemble electronics/mechanical parts you'll be left with some extra bits.. I recall my smoke machine is missing a part or two from the pump after taking it apart and cleaning it, it produces thicker smoke now.


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Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 6:44am
Originally posted by efinque efinque wrote:

Originally posted by citizensc citizensc wrote:

Pump arrived, I put it in and it made a horrible noise, produced no smoke. Opened the 'new' pump up, and looked at the assembly diagram for it online. Turns out it was missing a part... Anyway, the pump was slightly different to the one it was replacing. I suspect the stairville one is some Chinese copy of this coffee machine pump. 

I took the mechanism out of the burned pump and put it in the coil of the 'new' one, took a bit of brute force, I suspect they are not intended to go together. 

Tested the machine and it works perfectly now. So there you go, if you burn the coil of a stairville smoke machine, you can replace it with the coil from a coffee machine pump. 

Cool.

Usually when you disassemble electronics/mechanical parts you'll be left with some extra bits.. I recall my smoke machine is missing a part or two from the pump after taking it apart and cleaning it, it produces thicker smoke now.

There are no parts missing, its just a hybrid of two different pumps. 


Posted By: concept-10
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 7:02am
Originally posted by efinque efinque wrote:

Originally posted by citizensc citizensc wrote:

Pump arrived, I put it in and it made a horrible noise, produced no smoke. Opened the 'new' pump up, and looked at the assembly diagram for it online. Turns out it was missing a part... Anyway, the pump was slightly different to the one it was replacing. I suspect the stairville one is some Chinese copy of this coffee machine pump. 

I took the mechanism out of the burned pump and put it in the coil of the 'new' one, took a bit of brute force, I suspect they are not intended to go together. 

Tested the machine and it works perfectly now. So there you go, if you burn the coil of a stairville smoke machine, you can replace it with the coil from a coffee machine pump. 

Cool.

Usually when you disassemble electronics/mechanical parts you'll be left with some extra bits.. I recall my smoke machine is missing a part or two from the pump after taking it apart and cleaning it, it produces thicker smoke now.

Maybe if I was 8 years old.



Posted By: JonB67
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 8:43am
Originally posted by efinque efinque wrote:

Originally posted by citizensc citizensc wrote:

Pump arrived, I put it in and it made a horrible noise, produced no smoke. Opened the 'new' pump up, and looked at the assembly diagram for it online. Turns out it was missing a part... Anyway, the pump was slightly different to the one it was replacing. I suspect the stairville one is some Chinese copy of this coffee machine pump. 

I took the mechanism out of the burned pump and put it in the coil of the 'new' one, took a bit of brute force, I suspect they are not intended to go together. 

Tested the machine and it works perfectly now. So there you go, if you burn the coil of a stairville smoke machine, you can replace it with the coil from a coffee machine pump. 

Cool.

Usually when you disassemble electronics/mechanical parts you'll be left with some extra bits.. I recall my smoke machine is missing a part or two from the pump after taking it apart and cleaning it, it produces thicker smoke now.

If you are left with extra bits after you've put electrical or mechanical machinery back together you have done it wrong and are incompetent and more importantly NOT SAFE. 

Anyone reading that should not accept that as normal.  

You need to be more careful, more methodical and logical and take more notes/pictures. Lay components / fittings / fasteners out in a pattern or different pots or on paper or card, number them. Whatever it takes to make sure you havent missed something. 


Posted By: kedwardsleisure
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 11:22am
Brand new pumps like that will make a horrendous clatter until they're primed.Then they go quiet once the fluid goes through.

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K. Edwards Electronics Engineers

North Staffordshire



Posted By: MarjanM
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 1:32pm
Sorry, could not resist. :-)



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MM-Acoustics
www.mm-acoustics.com
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Posted By: citizensc
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 2:30pm
Originally posted by MarjanM MarjanM wrote:

Sorry, could not resist. :-)


cant see the image :(


Posted By: MarjanM
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 2:43pm
Fixed the link :-). Not helping much, i know :-)

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Marjan Milosevic
MM-Acoustics
www.mm-acoustics.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/MM-Acoustics/608901282527713


Posted By: norty303
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 4:33pm
I WANT that shirt!!
Don't seem to ship to UK though

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Posted By: kedwardsleisure
Date Posted: 17 January 2019 at 5:57pm
I should hope not with grammar like that.

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K. Edwards Electronics Engineers

North Staffordshire



Posted By: mini-mad
Date Posted: 18 January 2019 at 12:35am
Originally posted by kedwardsleisure kedwardsleisure wrote:

I should hope not with grammar like that.
But that adds to it's authenticity!!! LOLLOL




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If it sounds like a gorilla is trying to escape, turn it down.


Posted By: norty303
Date Posted: 18 January 2019 at 12:42am
Exactly
It’s like the “Education is important but [insert hobby] is importanter” shirts


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Posted By: kedwardsleisure
Date Posted: 18 January 2019 at 2:25pm
SO much for attempting to gain the moral high ground!

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K. Edwards Electronics Engineers

North Staffordshire



Posted By: njw
Date Posted: 19 January 2019 at 9:45pm
Whilst we're on the subject, I've got a 1500w smoke machine here with an o/c heater block, I can't get an exact replacement but can get a generic 1500w heater block, if I was to stick one of those in the machine and refit the thermal switch in the same position on the generic block as it was on the original heater block would I burn a venue to the ground or would it work....?













Posted By: mini-mad
Date Posted: 19 January 2019 at 10:45pm
...for this, and anything else your unsure of, I would get a tech to repair it and sign it off for insurance purposes. I'm confident when I can source parts and make the correct repair and have at minimum it pass PAT. But if you you are EVER unsure, get it don't by somebody qualified so that you are inline with you liability insurance and any other paper work that you COULD fall foul of by "bodging" or "hacking" away at and it be the downfall of your company. 

Don't play games with your life or anybody else's. And insurance companies don't pay out on stupidity.




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If it sounds like a gorilla is trying to escape, turn it down.


Posted By: njw
Date Posted: 21 January 2019 at 5:21pm
Originally posted by mini-mad mini-mad wrote:

...for this, and anything else your unsure of, I would get a tech to repair it and sign it off for insurance purposes. I'm confident when I can source parts and make the correct repair and have at minimum it pass PAT. But if you you are EVER unsure, get it don't by somebody qualified so that you are inline with you liability insurance and any other paper work that you COULD fall foul of by "bodging" or "hacking" away at and it be the downfall of your company. 

Don't play games with your life or anybody else's. And insurance companies don't pay out on stupidity.


  

Quite right, I'll be honest, it doesn't sit right with me fitting a non original heater block but was just wondering if anyone had done it with any success. Looks like the dead smoke machine can go in the spares pile then. Smile


Posted By: MattStolton
Date Posted: 21 January 2019 at 5:32pm
When blocks melt, you end up with a puddle of molten aluminium to contend with.

Aluminium is surprisingly "reactive", look what it does when powdered, mixed with "rust" and ignited with a magnesium ribbon for a fuse - called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite%20" rel="nofollow - Thermite .

Used for "welding" train rails together in situ, when you haven't got a huge power supply for mig/stick/etc...

If the generic replacement block comes with a thermal trip in location, then it should trip before it melts. If you are placing thermal trip to generic block afterwards, you would need to test it to destruction to be sure...mewh.

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Matt Stolton - Technical Director (!!!) - http://www.wildingsound.co.uk" rel="nofollow - Wilding Sound Ltd
"Sparkius metiretur vestra" - "Meter Your Mains"


Posted By: Danielr
Date Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:01pm
Originally posted by MattStolton MattStolton wrote:

When blocks melt, you end up with a puddle of molten aluminium to contend with.

Aluminium is surprisingly "reactive", look what it does when powdered, mixed with "rust" and ignited with a magnesium ribbon for a fuse - called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite%20" rel="nofollow - Thermite .

Used for "welding" train rails together in situ, when you haven't got a huge power supply for mig/stick/etc...

If the generic replacement block comes with a thermal trip in location, then it should trip before it melts. If you are placing thermal trip to generic block afterwards, you would need to test it to destruction to be sure...mewh.
I think you're being a little alarmist regarding the dangers of aluminium.

Why do you think you're need to test a thermal trip to destruction?! 


Posted By: norty303
Date Posted: 22 January 2019 at 1:21pm
Originally posted by njw njw wrote:

if I was to stick one of those in the machine and refit the thermal switch in the same position on the generic block as it was on the original heater block would I burn a venue to the ground or would it work....?


I would be more concerned about the harmful effects of over heating glycols.
They become highly carcinogenic if over heated, long before you'll melt or burn anything down.
Its why cheap vapes can be potentially so harmful, if they haven't got adequate heat control.

We had a long discussion on photonlexicon about home made fluids and machines and some startling data was shared in terms of risk and temperature.



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