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Smoke Machine Repair

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citizensc View Drop Down
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    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.



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efinque View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote efinque Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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.


Edited by efinque - 08 January 2019 at 4:33am
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AM55 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AM55 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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 .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mini-mad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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.
If it sounds like a gorilla is trying to escape, turn it down.
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citizensc View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizensc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote efinque Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AM55 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Earplug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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. 



Earplugs Are For Wimps!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizensc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Earplug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizensc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 January 2019 at 2:55am
Just purchased the pump, will report back with my success or failure. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizensc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post 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. 
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