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Well, after Halloween last year I found this cheap fog machine on sale at WalMart for $15. I thought for the price surely I could use it somehow. I am always buying stuff that I am sure I can use and then I find out I either have no way to use it or do not have the expertise to make it work.:(
Fog Machine.jpg

Anyway, now I find that, well, surprise, I really can't use it in the Haunted Forest because there is no way to make it operate automatically on a timer. I ran across this tutorial for a motion sensor fog machine trigger by Chuck Rice at wildrice.com and was wondering if this might work on my fog machine. One concern I have is the fog machine that Chuck used appears to have an external wired button to operate his machine that he spliced into wiring from the relay and mine has the operation button attached to the top of the machine itself. I am thinking that I could use this setup by removing the button from the fog machine and splicing wires to the operation button to go to the relay.
Fog Machine Trigger Diagram.jpg

Does anyone think this will work or is there a better way. In addition to the manual operation button on top of the machine my fog machine also has a wireless remote. Maybe I can trigger the remote somehow without having to stand there and push the remote trigger. And Yeah, before you say it I know it would have been much simpler and probably cheaper if I had just bought a fog machine that can operate on a timer in the first place.:p. But....this was on SALE. And how can you pass up something that is on sale? Naturally, in my post Halloween bargain shopping stupor, I never stopped to think there was probably some really some excellent reason it was on sale and there was a whole display of them left after Halloween. And of course, Wicked Grandma is looking a me and shaking her head again as usual.

BobbyA, do you think the driveway alert and board and relay we (and by "we" I mean "you" :eek:) made to trigger my Headless Harry prop last year might work on this fog machine somehow; either on the machine itself or to trigger the remote?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi Scary,

I didn't realize you had made this post, and only saw the PM. I'll go ahead and post an answer here as well in case others are curious.
And I didn't want to appear to be ignoring you. lol. It was good to hear from you again.

The remote could be controlled with the PIR receiver, however it would require some additional circuitry to work. But you would still have the basic issue with this type of fog machine, periodic reheating. They heat until they are hot enough to make fog. Then they cool down. Even if you don't ask them to make fog, they will still cool down for a while, then start reheating again. They will not make fog for any reason during this reheating period. So someone is not going to get fog.

You would get the same amount of fog availability by just wiring a footswitch in place of the button on the remote. It won't make it work better, but it will take less effort.

*Note: Now that I see the machine you want to work with, I would get another machine with a normal control connector on the outside. But if I needed to use this machine I would wire in a regular fog machine timer in parallel to the manual switch shown on the top. Assuming that is a manual fog switch and not the power on/off switch (can't tell from the picture). If it is the power switch then wiring in a timer would be much harder to do via email.

*Note: Again now that I see the picture, skip the below idea, having more than one of these won't help you.
If you want on demand fog, next year buy two more of them. A guy has come up with a clever setup that has each fog machine enable the next one when it goes offline to reheat. So one of the 3 is always ready to fog.

Hope this helps more than confuses. lol

Bobby
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey BobbyA, Yeah I posted this and then decided that I might just send you a PM. I appreciate your input. Obviously buying the cheapest is not always the most economical in the long run. Yes the red button on the top of the fog machine is the activation trigger. I never thought of wiring a commercial remote controller to jumper wires connected to the trigger switch. Since this is such a cheap fog machine I don't mind attempting something with it. If it blows up I can always consider it a life experience. It was good to hear from you again as well. Although, after all the work I caused you last year I wouldn't blame you if you moved to Tahiti to get away from me.:eek: Hope your Halloween was super.
 

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Scary, I think you are on the right track there. Wiring a relay in place of the trigger switch should do the trick. As BobbyA pointed out, though, fog machines are funny beats since they tend to cycle through their warm-up/cool-down phases at seemingly random intervals. Not much to be done about that, I'm afraid.
 

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I have that exact fog machine, and have been frustrated by its lack of a standard fog machine trigger socket. I've been considering a trigger mod myself, and I think BobbyA and CreepyCreations are right that wiring a relay in parallel with the manual trigger on the machine is your best bet. The remote is infrared, so even if you adapt the remote to be automatically triggered, it would still need line-of-sight with the machine. You're probably better off just working with the switch on the fog machine, which is likely going to be easier to tap into.
 

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Hi Andrew, that wouldn't work for Scary Papa as the fog machine would just be cycling randomly until it runs out of fluid.
Rather than only going off when someone comes into that area in his haunted forest.
 

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Hi Andrew, that wouldn't work for Scary Papa as the fog machine would just be cycling randomly until it runs out of fluid.
Rather than only going off when someone comes into that area in his haunted forest.
The only reason I mentioned this was because it was mentioned that he would have originally used a timer. The Zip the would function equivalent to a timer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Andrew, thanks for the great suggestion. As BobbyA said, what I am really trying to do is trigger the fog machine when someone comes in the area where the fog machine is located. I mentioned the timer issue originally because it doesn't have one and since it did not have a timer anyway I was wanting to figure out a way to trigger it automatically when someone approached. I wasn't very clear about that I'm afraid...sorry. That is why I was wondering if the trigger made by Chuck Rice would work. I have the parts together to build and try his trigger but all I have finished so far is wire in the phono plug in the back of the fog machine. I haven't started working on the actual trigger mechanism yet as I have been working on updating my pirate ship with new planking, mast, deadeyes, pulleys, sails, rope and....crew members. However, if all else fails I might try your zip tie approach. At least the fog machine would be useful for something besides a doorstop and I wouldn't have to stand around waiting for someone to walk past and trigger it manually myself.
 

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Now that I look at that Chuck Rice circuit again, I'm...concerned. As I understand most fog machines, the trigger line that you're hacking into is going to be running 120VAC. Using a phono plug to carry 120V is a terrible idea - phono plugs aren't rated to handle even close to that kind of voltage. You need to either connect the relay to the fog machine directly, and just use the phono plug for the low voltage relay coil signal, or use a different plug that's rated to handle mains voltage. From Chuck's page, it sounds like his machine had the phono jack already, so I have to assume it was designed with a low-voltage trigger line, but I don't think that's the case for most foggers you buy today.
 
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