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  1. #1

    Default Help with finicky Amscan fog machine

    I purchased a 400 watt Amscan ground fog machine from Party City last year. I got it for half price on Halloween morning. Party City was out of fog juice so I went next door and purchased fog juice at Target. The Target fog juice was pink in color.

    Setting up the fog machine for that night, I simply turned the remote switch to on and left it there. I put ice in the machine's bin, added more regularly (royal pain), and kept a close eye on the fog juice reservoir. It never ran dry. In fact, it never ran below the half way mark.

    Last year, the machine produced the perfect amount of fog. I just let it cycle on and off on its own (remote switch left in on position for the whole night) and it worked perfectly. I was a happy camper since I only paid $25 for the machine.

    This year, I'm not having as good of luck. I've been experimenting with placement of the fog machine so I've had it running (on and off) for the last two nights. In some of its bursts (when it cycles on on its own), it produces exactly the same amount of fog as last year. That will be true for 2-3 bursts (again, cycling on and off on its own), but then it starts producing less fog. I can't get it to produce a generous burst again unless I turn the master switch off, let it sit awhile, turn the master switch back on, and when the ready light comes on on the remote, turn it on. Then it will produce a generous amount of fog. But, again, after 2-3 bursts of generous fog, it's back to producing next to nothing on subsequent cycles.

    If I hadn't used the machine last year in EXACTLY the same way, I'd think the way it is operating is the way it should be operating. But last year it produced the same amount of fog each and every time it cycled on and off (all by itself).

    Thinking a different fog juice might help, I went down to Party City and purchased a gallon of Amscan Ground Fog Juice. Back home, I switched out the Target pink stuff for the Amscan juice and fired up the fogger. It produced generous amounts of fog and the Amscan juice fog was definitely lying lower. However, once again, after the 2nd cycle of generous fog, it produced next to nothing for the next 4-5 cycles which is when I gave up and turned it off.

    I did not run cleaner through the fogger last year before I put it away. I read varying opinions on the web about using the cleaner stuff, including that it caused pumps to fail between seasons. Plus, my "gut" tells me that it can't be a cleaning issue because it DOES produce generous amounts of fog on the first couple of bursts after it's been off (master switch) for awhile.

    I'd really prefer not to buy another fog machine. But this one is operating so wimpy right now, I'll have to or I won't have a decent amount of fog in my graveyard.

    Any suggestions on what might be causing the problem would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    Mark

  2. #2

    Default

    Well, it looks like it's the pump. I decided to try to clean the machine so I put a 20/80 solution of vinegar/distilled water in the tank, set it on the back patio, and turned it on and left it to run (cycling on and off by itself) for 90 minutes. When I first turned it on, it produced a generous quantity of fog from the fog juice that remained in the line. I waited until it was running but not producing any fog and then I used electrical tape to mark the cleaning fluid level on the tank. 90 minutes later, the fluid level was EXACTLY the same.

    What I don't understand is how it can produce a generous amount of fog when it's been off for awhile but, after a couple of bursts, it doesn't produce any more fog. If it was the pump, wouldn't it just not produce fog at all? Strange!

    Anyway, I plan to take the cover off tomorrow and see what I can see. But, at this point, I'm leaning toward buying a replacement fog machine. Halloween is only 4 days away. Gotta have fog in my graveyard!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    1,824

    Default

    Yeah, if you have a local place to buy another fogger than do so asap. At halloween express by me, foggers have been 30% off for weeks. It could be even better now- I'm afraid to even go in the stores at this point. I've spent WAY too much. If you can, get a couple of the damn things. I've just been building an inventory of foggers on the cheap. That way I'm never caught completely short.

    After halloween, you can try and fix it. But facts is facts- you need a new fogger. Good luck.

    Dan

  4. #4

    Default

    couple quick silly questions.

    the hose in your fog machine...
    does it have any holes/ kinks?

    is it sitting in the fluid? (sometimes they curl up and the bottom of the hose ends up being at the top of the res.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Yeah buying another is the best way out now. I have taken them apart and it might be a clog in the heating manifold that atomises the fuild. It may have an obstruction that wont let enough fluid through and then builds up to give you one burst every so often. They are somewhat easy to break apart. The downside to not cleaning is the fuild gets thick and clogs the unit. If you clean it with vinegar etc. you run the risk of the aluminum parts seizing together. Use very little vinegar of you do try that. 10/90 water

  6. #6

    Default

    clr works great for cleaning. safer on the machine also.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by icyuod2 View Post
    couple quick silly questions.

    the hose in your fog machine...
    does it have any holes/ kinks?

    is it sitting in the fluid? (sometimes they curl up and the bottom of the hose ends up being at the top of the res.)
    Yes, I've played with the little fog juice tubing (that goes through the fog juice tank cap into the fog juice) extensively. Pulled it up a little, pushed it down a little. No change in the operation.

    Still utterly confused as to why it will work perfectly for 1 or 2 bursts before it wimps out. That's repeatable over and over again if I turn off the master switch and wait awhile between heat ups. If there was a clog or the pump didn't work at all, wouldn't it just stop producing fog entirely?

    If I buy another, I think I'm going to go with an American DJ machine at Guitar Center. Maybe the 700 watt. I don't think I'd need a 1000 what for my small yard.

    Thanks all for the help and suggestions. If anyone else has other ideas, please do share.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Valencia, CA
    Posts
    148

    Default

    I just want to give my thumbs up for an American DJ machine in as much as you can repair them if need be. I have the FogStorm 1200HD and it clogged and I took it apart but couldn't get it working. So by chance I went to their website to see about repair since this was what I consider an expensive fog machine, found out they are in LA and yes they will repair them, at $35 an hour, but they have parts available for pretty much every product they sell! Well a new pump for my fogger was $16 I took a chance bought it, installed it easily, and wala the fogger works like new again! This year no cleaning with fog cleaner, I'm leaving fog juice in the machine and see how that goes!

 

 

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