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Hello all!

First time here for me, but glad I found this forum. Now my dilemma:

Been decorating outside for Halloween for years. I got the urge this year to add some fog, so picked up a cheapo 400W and some juice. I quickly found out the limitations trying to fill up a 9' X 30' porch with that 400W machine, so already it is time to "go bigger and better"

So, I pick up a 1000W machine (Seasonal Visions International) from a Halloween retail outlet, take it home, and give it a go. Seems to work well after a couple test blasts, so relocate it where I want to set it for Halloween, fire it up, and it just spits the juice out the nozzle..,..no fog at all. I figure the heater is defective, so arrange for a return which I make.

I head down the street to a full time retail store, pick up another 1000W machine (different looking box) and again head home to give it a whirl. When I take it out of the box, to my surprise I have another SVI machine identical to the one I just returned. I give it a try anyway and after getting it set up, instead of fog shooting out of the nozzle, it just boils up out of the venting. I look closely inside and can see juice pooling inside the casing which I figure can't be good at all. So, another return I make.

Before giving up on having a fog machine this year, I do some better research on the web to find something reasonably priced that may fit the bill. In spite of some negative reviews, I decided I wanted to try a Chauvet Hurricane 1101, but the only thing I could find "locally" was a Chauvet Hurricane 901, so off I go on another trip. I guess I should mention at this point that since I am very rural, each round trip to buy/return is about 4 hours. Non the less, I take one more chance just to have some spooky fog this Halloween and pick up the 901.

Well, got it hooked up and tested it with one "cheap" juice I had and it worked fairly well, but the fog would not linger. So I put in another brand of juice and it worked quite a bit better......for a few blasts. And then the machine stopped putting out fog and started just spewing the juice out the nozzle. I let it rest for an hour or so, tried it again, and still the juice just dribbled out the nozzle.

So, my questions: Am I just jinxed and getting defective machines, not supposed to have a fog machine for Halloween or....
Is it possible the cheap juice I got with the first 400W machine from Menards is killing the machines (the original 400W machine is still working, just not much fog)?

Sorry for the long first post, but will attribute that to the frustration of having to wait a whole year now to fog up Halloween.

Thanks for any help and/or suggestions.
 

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Sounds like bad juice could be causing a reaction with the second and screwing up the pump or heating element. Not all juices are water based so an oil based with something like ethylene glycol under those heating conditions could give you some squirrelly chemistry.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Neither juice label states anything about water based, but assume they must be since they were provided with the purchase of the machines. The first 3 machines only had the Menards juice in them and the Chauvet 901 had the Menards first, emptied without flushing, then the SVI juice added. Could the Menards juice be OK for their SVI 400W machine, but bad for the higher wattage machines? Both labels just say "for fog machines".
 

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Being the (not so) proud owner of 5 Chauvet Hurricane 1100s, these foggers can be picky with fluid, ESPECIALLY no-name Target/Walmart fluid. I used to think it was a selling gimmick of Chauvet to tell you "only use Chauvet fog fluid". I found out fast that it was pretty much true. Even using their fluid, I had to flush all my foggers every single year with vinegar/distilled water to get them running. I have yet to pull them out and have them "just work". That was until last year. I used Froggy's Swamp Fluid and had no problems. When I was done, I just flushed each fogger with distilled water and shelved them. I took them out a few nights ago and bam, first shot right out of the box, all 5 working great. I haven't tried a bunch of different fluids, maybe only ADJ, Chauvet and my own brand. The only one I can recommend out of the bunch is the Froggy's. It's not that much more than the cheap stuff either. Maybe only a couple bucks more per gallon.

All of my experience has just been with the foggers clogging. To have it spit juice and no fog.... sounds like your heater is dying somehow. I know you're running out of time but I have never had a good experience with the cheap juice....
 

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Spitting juice is most likely heater. Feel around the housing and see if it's warm at all.

I've had this trouble with a Chauvett that the heater died, and with a 400W that just wouldn't warm up ENOUGH thanks to our super cold temps (would work great indoor,s however).

I know all the 'bigger is better' people will snicker at me, I'll keep preaching it every time. IMO the best bang for the buck fog machine is the $50, 700 watt machine from Spencer's, that comes with a timer. I'll put 2 of them up against any $100 fogger every time. The only thing I've ever had break on one of them is the timer, and I'll save you the trouble and tell you it is NOT replaceable by the "universal" ones available everywhere this time of year. You do want to consider using some Froggy's or similar quality juice, though, not the walmart/spirit juice. You get better fog.
 

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Spitting juice is most likely heater. Feel around the housing and see if it's warm at all.

I've had this trouble with a Chauvett that the heater died, and with a 400W that just wouldn't warm up ENOUGH thanks to our super cold temps (would work great indoor,s however).

I know all the 'bigger is better' people will snicker at me, I'll keep preaching it every time. IMO the best bang for the buck fog machine is the $50, 700 watt machine from Spencer's, that comes with a timer. I'll put 2 of them up against any $100 fogger every time. The only thing I've ever had break on one of them is the timer, and I'll save you the trouble and tell you it is NOT replaceable by the "universal" ones available everywhere this time of year. You do want to consider using some Froggy's or similar quality juice, though, not the walmart/spirit juice. You get better fog.
I have an old LiteFX 700 that, outside the horrendous noise it makes, puts out good fog. But really the cliche shouldn't be "bigger is better". It should be "you get what you pay for". I splurged on a VEI five years ago ($300 ish) and it fires up every year with no problem. On top of that, it can fog the entire street. It was worth the investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Spitting juice is most likely heater. Feel around the housing and see if it's warm at all.

I've had this trouble with a Chauvett that the heater died, and with a 400W that just wouldn't warm up ENOUGH thanks to our super cold temps (would work great indoor,s however).

Checked it again this morning and it stays cold. I might also add that when I turn it on, the ready to fog light on the remote comes on immediately. Left it on for several minutes, light remained on, but nozzle and front area remained cold.

Its got to be the heater, but the odds of getting two different brand machines both with defective heaters is disturbing.
 

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Well, I called Chauvet tech support this morning, explained the situation, and they immediately declared it defective and to return it to the retailer for refund or exchange. So will take it back for a refund and call it over for this year.

It still concerns me getting 3 out of 4 machines being "defective", 2 with blown heaters and 1 leaking fluid throughout the unit. I was really excited after seeing the videos of people fogging up their entire neighborhoods or covering their yard with a chller, but maybe it is not in the cards for me.

Maybe next year.
 

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I love the IDEA of fog for Halloween. And I have used my machine in past years. But usually the weather is too cold or wet and it isn't worth the effort. You may have a more sophisticated machine. If it works - I say go for it!
 

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Don't give up yet. Maybe it's not in the cards this year but next year, give it another go. I have had okay luck with my Chauvet foggers but I can't really say I would recommend them to anyone *shrug*. Rule of thumb, I'd say is, name brand fogger and name brand juice. I still have an old ADJ F-500 that wrecks my Chauvets but I don't use it hardly because the pump shuts off every time the heater kicks on (annoying). I hate duty cycles on a fogger. Most of the new ones don't have that. Regardless, I never had to baby that fogger, no matter what juice I ran through it..
 

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I've heard Chauvet referred to around here as "Shove it!" because of pricey foggers that were finicky and terrible customer support. Of course, this was after I'd already bought one and it died.

I'm going with two foggers on timers (from Spirit). Hopefully this will give me more continuous fog and coverage for my yard.

Don't give up. :) And definitely use a chiller.
 

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This is a little off the topic but I was wondering how long a gallon of fog juice would last running constantly. I know nothing about fog machines and bought these used. They seem to work great. I have one fog machine that has a control on it and when I want it to shoot fog out I just push the button. On the other fog machine it has what appears to be a timer. It has three buttons, 15, 30, 45. I thought this meant how often you want the machine to shoot fog, but none of the buttons seem to work. It's a gemmy control, but the fogger isn't made by gemmy. Just wondering if the controller just doesn't work because it's a different brand. Never mind. I tested the fogger tonight and got my answer.
 

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Hi all,

I too have had issues with Chauvet, and won't buy their fog machines again. I did buy a VEI 965 a few years back, and I do NOT do anything at the end of halloween except put them on a shelf. I ONLY USE Froggy's Swamp Juice and usually use the Low lying version. Mind you.. it does NOT lay low on it's own. It has slightly better low lying properties in it so when you flash freeze the fog, it lasts longer on the ground before rising.

I also bought an American DJ 1200 Fogger and that sucker puts out fog. I've had both for 4 years now and both always fire up no problem and I do nothing to prep them. I have read mixed stories on prepping them for storage or just leaving the juice in the line. So far, mine have always fired up. I would buy VEI or American DJ again. Both are great. I think VEI is chinese though, and American DJ is well, I hope American!! I do believe you can pick up American DJ at some local music stores, like Guitar Center, but not for sure on that. Amazon is your friend here. They offer Froggy's and the fog machines next day delivery. It's too late to order one for tomorrow though.

If you're into some interesting fun, for about 60 bucks for a Raspberry Pi + sensors and relay switches, you can wire up one of those $50 fog machines to activate when people trip the motion sensor. Haven't done it yet but looking to use the Pi for various effects next year...assuming we actually get a Saturday halloween without rain!
 

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I know all the 'bigger is better' people will snicker at me, I'll keep preaching it every time. IMO the best bang for the buck fog machine is the $50, 700 watt machine from Spencer's, that comes with a timer. I'll put 2 of them up against any $100 fogger every time. The only thing I've ever had break on one of them is the timer, and I'll save you the trouble and tell you it is NOT replaceable by the "universal" ones available everywhere this time of year. You do want to consider using some Froggy's or similar quality juice, though, not the walmart/spirit juice. You get better fog.
I bought two on I believe was your advice. Work great. Weirdest damn thing though, one of them had the feed line tied in a knot right at the pump. It had been run since there was fluid in the line, but I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. Took the shroud off and there it is. I guess someone was PO'ed at the boss or something and decided it would be funny to tie it in a knot. Untied and it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Buy the cheap 400w forgers and use more for coverage if needed. I never spend big on foggers because I find the cheap ones are actually dependable, work every year, and if they die it's not a huge loss. Plus with multiple 400's, you simply have more of them for backup if needed.
The 400W machine I originally got works fairly well with the timer, but fog is thin enough that when it has to reheat after 4 or 5 blasts, it takes long enough that there isn't a hint of fog left. So bought another at WalMart, but it has no input for a timer and the wireless remote must be done with line of site for it to work. Not too bad except for having to continually hit the button, but with the slightest of wind, fog does not last.

Next year will be better fog for sure if I try again.
 

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I bought two on I believe was your advice. Work great. Weirdest damn thing though, one of them had the feed line tied in a knot right at the pump. It had been run since there was fluid in the line, but I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. Took the shroud off and there it is. I guess someone was PO'ed at the boss or something and decided it would be funny to tie it in a knot. Untied and it works.
I checked Spencer's site and took a look. I couldn't find any brand name anywhere, so going 0 for 2 on "no name" machines has me a bit gun shy. Then again, my batting average with a name brand isn't any better. May have to look more closely at American DJ.
 
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