Pea Soup Smoke Machines
 
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SMOKE MACHINES
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Click here for ordering information

Can your smoke machines make coloured smoke / can I use coloured smoke fluid?
No - it is not possible. Use lighting with coloured filters to colour the smoke or use our coloured smoke pellets or for more smoke in more colours then use our electrically ignited theatrical pyrotechnic coloured smoke cartridges. There is no way to create coloured smoke from a coloured fog fluid in a smoke machine. In depth answer...

Do you sell smoke machines that do not require mains power?
Yes - our battery powered smoke machines and our exterior gas powered smoke gun. You could also use our pyrotechnic smoke pellets and smoke grenades. The basic 1.1kW version of the Rocket hand portable unit can run from any 1.5kva power generator without any issues!

Do smoke machines / hazers trigger fire alarms?
If the smoke or haze level is dense enough, both smoke machines AND HAZERS can trigger ionisation / optical, vesda (air sampling) or video smoke detectors/detection systems, depending on their sensitivity level. However, heat or "rate of temperature increase" detectors will NOT be activated. A high-end hazer (eg Phantom, MVS, DF50) when used at a low density level is slightly less likely to set off smoke detection systems than a smoke machine.

If you are uncertain of what type of smoke detector your venue has, consult with the head of maintenance or, as a last resort, notify the fire department and do a test run. You can also manually block smoke detectors by fitting a latex rubber glove over the detector, effectively preventing smoke laden air reaching the particle sensors.

If you need to test smoke detectors, blasting the smoke from one of our machines towards the detector will set it off.

Can I use any brand of smoke fluid in my smoke machine?
Our job would certainly be easier if the answer was 'yes', but alas the answer is NO and here's why:

Smoke generators are designed around a specific mixture of chemicals, with specific boiling ranges. Using a smoke fluid that, for example, is based on propylene glycol and water, which has a relatively low boiling range, through a generator set for glycerine / water (with a much higher boiling range) potentially can crack the chemical, forming unpleasant and potentially toxic compounds (acroleins, aldehydes etc). Even changing the amount of water in a mixture can have an effect.

All the major UK manufacturers agree about the potential dangers of mixing and matching smoke chemicals, and stress that so called 'generic smoke fluids' simply could not be relied upon to produce a consistent and safe smoke in every generator. The use of generic fluids or the wrong fluid in the machine regrettably keeps our service and spare parts department busy.

Safe smoke that is non-toxic to breathe in is your responsibility!

The use of generic smoke chemical in place of the manufacturer's recommended fluid leaves you wide open to all sorts of legal recourse relating to health & safety, reliability of your machine and servicing costs. It simply isn't worth the risk.

Do smoke machines make you cough?
No they should not - and if you have experienced coughing it may be due to the operator using a cheap 'generic' smoke fluid to save money - something we strongly advise against (see question above). If you have a respiratory condition or are asthmatic, we don't recommend you go into dense smoke. Occasionally people will experience a psychosomatic reaction to seeing smoke and cough for the sake of it (even though the smoke isn't actually causing this reaction in a physical sense). Contrary to popular belief, a modern oil-based thermally generated smoke/haze systems such as the Phantom is least likely to affect those with a medical condition related to their respiratory system as it does not produce a hyrgroscopic particle (ie doesn't make throats and eyes dry out). Contact us for more information.

How important are the quoted smoke output volume rates?
The smoke output rate, usually quoted in cubic feet or cubic metres per minute, are figures quoted by manufacturers of smoke machines to try and illustrate how much smoke their units can produce. However, the main issue is that no density level is ever stated along with that volume figure, which makes these output rates a bit useless and very often over-exaggerated. Even a small smoke machine can produce 20,000 cfm, but the smoke in a 20,000cfm volume would be very thin. The figure doesn't say how thin the smoke is, so techincally is true! Without specifying a visibilty level, any smoke output figure is speculative and not necessarily accurate nor constant with other manufacturers' figures.

Can I use a smoke machine in the UK or Ireland since the public smoking ban?
The provisions of the Health Act 2006 inasmuch as smoking is concerned makes the possession of lit tobacco in a smoke-free place an offence. Therefore, the issue of smoke machines does not feature unless the smoke comes from lit tobacco - which - from any of our products - is not the case!

Are smoke machines toxic?
Not when you use the officially recommended fluid - we wouldn't be selling them if they were!
In depth answer...

Can I add scent / fragrance additives to smoke fluid so that it has an aroma?
We don't sell aroma additives for fog fluid because a technical report carried out by Brunel University on behalf of the Fire Brigade Union in the UK recommended that any additives added to smoke chemical to either add scent or colour the chemical should be removed, as a large number of these additives were found to be related to known carcinogens.

Do you sell second hand units?
Occassionally we do. These are usually ex-hire machines or units that have been discontinued or used for demonstrations. Please visit our clearance page to see the current list of items we have available. This list is updated in real-time, so if it's not on the list, we don't have it!


More specific questions

On this page we aim to answer as many of your smoke machine / fog generator questions as possible. There are a lot of questions, and we add to them often. We've tried to order them logically, but you may wish to do a "Find..." (Shortcut: Ctrl + F) word search with your internet browser to find just what you're looking for. If you have a question that you feel should be on this page, please let us know.

Click on a question below to view the answer.

Smoke machine basics:

What's the difference between a smoke machine and a fog machine?
What is a smoke machine?
How does a smoke machine work?
What makes the smoke?
How much do smoke machines cost?
Are smoke machines dangerous?
Are smoke machines a risk to health?

About Pea Soup:

Where can I buy a smoke machine?
Where can I hire a smoke machine?
Do you repair smoke machines?
Can I place my order over the internet?
Can I place my order without a credit/debit card?
I am not in the UK - do you export?

Specific applications:

Which smoke machines are suitable for: air flow visualisation?
  leak tests?
  fire safety training?
  creating heavy fog?
  party use?
  special effects?

Other Questions:

What do people use smoke machines for?
Which smoke machine do you recommend?

Why should I get a professional machine instead of a cheaper version?
What safety advice is there for smoke machine use?
How long does the smoke hang in the air for?
How long do smoke machines take to heat up for operation?
How do I clean my smoke machine?
What is 'dry ice'?
What's the difference between dry ice, liquid nitrogen, oil and water based smoke machines?
How do smoke and fog chillers work?
What is a hazer?
What is the difference between a smoke machine and a hazer?
How much does smoke machine fluid cost?
Do I have to use the fluid that the manufacturer makes for my machine?

Why is smoke machine fluid so expensive?
Where does 'dry ice' get its name?
Can I buy smoke fluid that makes coloured smoke?
What are "intelligent lights"?


What's the difference between a smoke machine and a fog machine?

The terms 'smoke machine' and 'fog machine' both refer to the same type of unit.
'Fog machine' is the term used more in the United States, and 'smoke machine' is the term mainly used in the United Kingdom and Europe. Technically, the correct terminology is 'fog machine', as the dictionary definition of fog is 'liquid particles suspended in the air' (smoke/fog machines always vapourise liquid), whereas smoke is 'solid particles suspended in the air'. Tradition along with product descriptions over the decades has created this moniker foible.

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What is a smoke machine?

A smoke machine is an eletro-mechanical unit which produces clouds of smoke on demand. Smoke machines are used in theatres, nightclubs, film and television studios, theme parks and other entertainment applications to produce a smoke or fog effect which creates the illusion of fog, steam, smoke from a fire, and many other effects. They are also used to create 'safe smoke' in fire training scenarios, for leak testing of buildings and containers, testing efficiency of extraction systems and air flow in wind tunnels. Their size can range from that of a small water bottle to arena-filling proportions.

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How does a smoke machine work?

A smoke machine, in its simplest terms, is a heating element which gets very hot, through which special fluid is pumped and is vapourised, thereby creating smoke vapour which exits the machine through the nozzle. Electronic circuitry ensures that the heating block in the smoke machine is kept between certain temperatures - too hot and the machine turns into a flame thrower - too cold and it shoots out hot liquid.

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What makes the smoke?

The most common type of smoke machine are those which use a water-based fluid, which is made up mainly of pharmaceutical grade glycol and water. There may also be other harmless chemicals in the fluid. Other types of smoke machine include dry ice machines which create a low lying heavy fog that uses dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), liquid nitrogen (which also creates a low lying fog), oil based smoke machines (similar in principle to water based machines, but uses an oil rather than a water base - the smoke can withstand much higher temperatures and is much more dense) and hazers (water based haze generators, mainly used to accentuate lighting than for conventional 'smoke' effects).

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How much do smoke machines cost?

Smoke machines range in price, but as the Romans used to say, "Talia expensa sic empta" - you get what you pay for! We supply machines by the most reputable and consistent companies who have a proven track record for reliability and excellent service should the need arise.

It is not in our interest to supply smoke machines that are unreliable - so we simply don't!

Smoke machines that are capable of operating continuously at high output cost more but always have the power available for larger and more varied applications and will never require a re-heat dead band.

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Where can I buy a smoke machine?

Pea Soup directly supply the largest range of smoke machines in the UK and export around the world - view product list.

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Where can I hire a smoke machine?

Pea Soup hire out smoke machines in the UK - view smoke machine hire page.

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Do you repair smoke machines?

Pea Soup only repair the machines we sell. We can also supply spare parts only for the machines we sell, e.g. Le Maitre. Please contact us for details. Sorry, we do not offer a repair service for the domestic/home party smoke machines that we do not sell (ie SoundLab, ProSound, QTFX, KAM, Skytec, Argos, etc.)

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Can I place my order over the internet?

Yes, for GB mainland delivery welcome online orders. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Visa Delta, Visa Electron, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, JCB and Eurocard. Click here to for ordering instructions.

We also sell Le Maitre machines and fluids shipped direct from Las Vegas. For these within-US orders only, we accept PayPal.

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Can I place my order without a credit / debit card?

Yes. Once you have selected the machine, fluid and/or accessories you'd like, email or call us and we'll send you a quotation by email or fax for you to send a bank transfer or cheque payment. Full step-by-step instructions are on the how to order page. We also accept (and prefer) payment via BACS bank balance transfer. Contact us for the details.
Public Sector: We accept Purchase Orders.
Large Companies:
First 3 orders must be paid pro-forma. Please email or FAX your purchase order to 020 7100 7527. The minimum net order value for purchase orders paid on account is £100.00 ex. VAT.

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Do you export your products overseas?

Yes! We regularly export the hand portable, high output, oil-based and 12V DC machines worldwide, our Peasouper dry ice machine, and other models. Please contact us for a shipping quote prior to placing an order.

USA Delivery
Please see our fog machine page for smoke machines available to US residents, many dispatched from the US.

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What do people use smoke machines for?

In theatre, TV & film to create fire effects, fog (weather) and other special effects, such as low lying mist,
In fire safety training to add realism to the scenario,
In leak testing to visually indicate where there are leaks in buildings, containers, duct work, extraction, HVAC systems, etc.,
In air flow testing to visualise air currents in rooms,
In wind tunnel testing and to test air flow in tunnels and on designs of cars, planes, etc.,
At theme parks and on rides to create atmosphere and special effects,
In nightclubs to pick-out beams of light,
For parties, ...
...plus many more uses!

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Which smoke machine do you recommend?

If you need help in choosing a machine your your specific application, please contact us for friendly advice. They vary widely in features and price and some are more appropriate to certain applications than others.

Why not try our smoke machine selector to choose a smoke machine suitable for your requirement?

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Why should I get a professional machine instead of a cheaper version?

Professional machines are built to last for years of heavy operation either in fixed installations or in mobile applications. Most have no 'dead band', which means that they're always ready to make smoke on cue. They'll also be able to create lots more smoke a lot more quickly than cheap machines. Cheaper machines tend to automatically disable the pump while they're heating back up to temperature (the infamous 'dead band'!), and if you're using the machine in a time sensitive operation (in the theatre for example where you have set cues for smoke to appear), this re-heating dead band could be happening when you need to operate the machine on cue. The dead band may last for up to 1 minute - sometimes longer. Many professional machines have the ability to create continuous thick, dry, white fog output, and can create huge amounts of fog on demand.

We sell so many of our smoke machines to customers who have previously bought cheap 'party' machines for £40.00 from other retailers which have failed after only a few weeks. In the long run, it's false economy to use these 'toy' machines for use in professional applications. You'll notice a huge difference when you buy a machine "fit for purpose".

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Are smoke machines dangerous?

Not if used sensibly. The only danger involved is if the cases are opened (thus the risk of an electric shock - as with every electical applicance) or if the casing of certain units are touched (they can get very hot and may burn you). The smoke which comes out of the smoke nozzle can also be very hot and often there are notices on the machine itself warning of this. Under no circumstances should you touch the nozzle that the smoke comes out of - this will always be very hot when the unit is switched on (and for quite a long time after it is switched off until it cools down).

Manufacturers often warn that you shouldn't install the machine where the public can touch it or touch the hot smoke being generated. The recommended distance ranges from 50cm - 3 metres. If you need the smoke to appear in a public area, one way to get round this safety recommendation is to use ducting to allow you to keep the machine well away. Smoke machines should always be used in a well ventilated area. In case the unit's temperature control malfunctions, it is also wise not to install a machine above people's heads.

You must be very careful when using dry ice smoke machines in confined spaces, as the carbon dioxide produced displaces oxygen in the air and can cause suffocation. Actors shouldn't really lie down in the smoke. There are alternatives to dry ice for low lying smoke, such as chiller units for normal smoke machines and special all-in-one low smoke generators. Think of the poor musicians in the orchestra pit! The moisture in the cloud of dry ice fog sometimes de-tunes their instruments. Check with the machine's manual for details.

You must use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer of the machine. Using other fluid could not only damage the machine (and void the warranty) but also create toxins in the smoke or make the machine produce a wet fog which will leave residue on surfaces. Even a slight change in the mixture of smoke fluid can cause this. Safe, non-toxic smoke is your responsibility!

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Are smoke machines a risk to health?

The smoke that is produced from either the water or oil based smoke machines that we sell is non-toxic and safe when you use the correct fluid. For more information, please read the health & safety documents for each type of smoke fluid we supply, which can be found on each smoke fluid product information page. For certain people with asthma or breathing problems, dense water based smoke can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. It's not advisable to make or use home-made fluid mixture. Always use professionally made fluid. Non-toxic smoke is your responsibility. This link may be useful to you: ESTA - fog and smoke working group - examining the effects of fog and smoke on health. There are other links to smoke & health related web sites on the Links page.

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What safety advice is there for smoke machine use?

For water/oil based machines:
The nozzle and sometimes parts of the casing of the smoke machine (except handle) get very hot. Don't touch the hot areas. The areas that get hot usually have a warning note on them. The smoke that comes out of the nozzle is fairly hot and it is always advisable not to go any closer than 50cm in front of it. It shouldn't be installed where the public can get closer than 50 cm from the smoke from the nozzle. Smoke machines shouldn't be installed directly over the public's head. Sometimes they can spit hot fluid out of their nozzle which can burn. Smoke machines are very high power electrical units, often using more than 1kW of electricity, so be careful not to use them in wet places such as outside in the rain.

For dry ice machines:
Dry ice is sub zero and can cause frostbite if handled with bare hands. Always use special gloves to handle dry ice. Dry ice shouldn't be kept in airtight containers.
Don't let people lie down in dry ice fog. They could suffocate. Dry ice machines boil water. This is not only very hot but very heavy too, so it's advisable not to struggle lifting these heavy machines alone.

ALSO: Please be careful when refilling smoke machines - mop up any spills, as people can slip on any fluid left on the floor (it is more slippery than water).

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How long does the smoke hang in the air for?

We supply different smoke fluids that will disperse at different rates. Some, such as Le Maitre's Extra Quick Dispersing fluid and Antari's Super fast dissipating fluid can disperse as quickly as steam - disappearing seconds shortly after exiting the smoke machine nozzle, making it great for effects where a large build up of fog is not wanted. Other fluids make smoke that hangs in the air for hours. Our Phantom Hazer's output will hang for 3 - 4 hours and can remain persistent even in very hot environments. It all depends on the application and the smoke machine you are using, but if the smoke machine is in a theatre or other location where ventilation is an issue, a fairly quick dispersing fluid should be used so that the location doesn't get fogged up too quickly. A nightclub would normally use a long lasting fluid so the smoke picks out light beams and so that they don't have to keep activating the smoke machine which tends to bring attention to itself (or ideally use a hazer).

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How long do smoke machines take to heat up for operation?

Some conventional machines take a minute or two, some five or ten, and some longer. Usually the heat-up time is mentioned on our product information page. Many cheaper 'domestic' party smoke machines will have a 'dead-band' which is when the smoke machine needs to re-heat and stops itself from being operated while this happens. This can be a problem when in a situation where smoke needs to appear on cue such as on television or at a theatre, but is ususally fine for parties or home use when this isn't so much of an issue.

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Do you sell machines that can be used without electrical power?

Yes - our battery powered smoke machines, and the exterior gas powered smoke gun for outdoor use. We also have a car security smoke screen for your vehicle's security. You could also use our smoke pellets and grenades which are compact and affordable (UK only).

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How do I clean my smoke machine?

After a while, smoke machines can get clogged up with ash and carbon - a by-product of heating smoke fluid. Smoke fluid can be quite a viscous liquid, so it's almost unavoidable that the machine gets clogged over time. To avoid it happening, follow the instructions you get with your smoke machine with regards to cleaning it. Some suggest a litre of distilled water for every 5 litres of fluid that the machine uses, others suggest water and white vinegar after 40 hours of continuous operation. It is arguable that passing an acid through the heater block will do it any good, nor the pump, fluid pipes and ultimately any vinegar that will be remaining in any of these components when you start using smoke fluid in the machine again. If storing a smoke machine for a long time, passing deionised water through it before storing can help. This isn't necessary if the unit is being used every day, eg in a visitor attraction. They may also instruct you to take parts of the nozzle to bits and brush them clean, as they can also become coated in carbon. This is when a maintainable heating block is useful, as found in our machines (Rocket and Dragon). Our PS31 and PS33 smoke generators that self-purge themselves after each smoke issue, meaning the heating block never gets clogged, and we also have an optional air-line purge feature in our Dragon unit that can be made to special order.

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What is 'dry ice'?

Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide gas. It's called dry ice because when it 'melts' it changes in state from a solid directly to a gas without ever becoming a liquid. This process is called sublimation. When dry ice is put into boiling water it sublimates and creates these clouds of thick heavy fog which clings to the ground (because it is cold and more dense than air). The fog is odourless and colourless as it is literally clouds of water droplets (and it can therefore leave the stage slightly wet). The Peasouper is a dry ice machine that self-contains this effect for convenient use.

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What's the difference between dry ice, liquid nitrogen, oil and water based smoke machines?

Dry ice and liquid nitrogen smoke machines both create a heavy low lying fog effect. The materials they use to create this are often difficult and expensive to get hold of for most people, hard to store, and the effect can now be easily created on demand by new electronic water based versions.
Disney theme parks use LN2 foggers as it gives a superb and reliable effect and leaves no residue or chemical mess. It also disperses quickly and causes no irritation to even sensitive asthmatics (the majority of the air we breathe is nitrogen). They also use water-misting foggers which just use normal water under pressure (low running costs for heavy use).
Oil based smoke machines produce smoke than can withstand much higher temperatures than water based fog. Ideal for fire safety training which may also include real flames (water based smoke would simply evaporate and disappear into the flames if used in conjunction with them). Oil based machines that we supply are less toxic - the hang time of the smoke is so long that you have much less smoke chemical in the air than with water based systems. Feedback from customers suggest they are less irritating to breathe in for persons suffering with existing breathing conditions. They are also ideal for fire training scenarios, as the smoke doesn't layer or disappear at high temperatures like that of a water based smoke.
Water based machines are now the 'standard' smoke machine in entertainment applications. There are many different types of water based fluid which hang in the air for a long time or disperse quickly like steam. It's the easiest way to make controllable smoke at a reasonable price which is one of the reasons why it's the most popular.

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How do smoke and fog chillers work?

Fog chillers cool the conventional 'hot' smoke from a conventional smoke machine to sub-zero temperatures so that it sinks to the ground with a similar effect to that of dry ice or liquid nitrogen. They can save money in the long-term, as dry ice and liquid nitrogen is expensive to deliver and doesn't last very long, even if correctly stored. Special molecular or quick dispersing fluid is often used with fog chillers for two reasons - it makes the fog last the same length of time that dry ice fog would before disappearing, and if longer lasting fluid was used when the smoke warms up again it will rise and fill the room with normal fog that hangs in the air.
Le Maitre make two chiller units. They convert fog from the normal smoke machine into heavy fog by chilling the fog to sub-zero temperatures using a liquid CO2 cylinder. It's so much more easy and convienient than dry ice and more easily stored for longer lengths of time.
Other chiller units are simply large refridgeration systems. They're very expensive and use a lot of power.
Be aware that some 'fog chillers' require you to put dry ice or conventional water ice into them to chill the fog (which doesn't make them as convienient as chillers that don't use ice, but the dry ice will last longer).

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What is a hazer?

A proper hazer is a machine that creates a very fine haze which is used to enhance lighting beams. Hazers don't create clouds of thick smoke like smoke machines for special effects. They're favoured by television studios as the haze is almost invisible (for the cameras to see through it) yet it picks out light beams like smoke does. There is a glut of cheap hazers which are actually no more than a small smoke machine with a fan. We don't sell those because we don't think they provide a very good haze effect. See our hazers available.

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What is the difference between a smoke machine and a hazer?

Smoke machines create thick white smoke, whereas hazers create a thinner haze effect which can be seen when beams of light strike it. Hazers are often used when the blast of smoke from a smoke machine would be too intrusive or noisy. The visibility of smoke created by smoke machines means they're used for special effects, fire training, and all of the other applications mentioned on this site. Hazers can be left to operate continuously and inconspicuously. Most cheap hazers are just glycol smoke machines with a fan - proper glycerine hazers (MVS, Neutron), oil crackers (DF50) and thermal oil hazers (Phantom Hazer) are what are decribed as 'professional hazers'.

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How much does smoke machine fluid cost?

Check out our list of all smoke fluid we sell for prices. It can differ considerably for the more specialist mixes such as those which create a fog that disperses quickly or that is specially designed for use in the fog chiller units mentioned in an earlier question. Different fluid types made by different manufacturers cost different amounts, which is why generic smoke fluids have been made and are sold worldwide. On the container it will say "suitable for use in most smoke machines". This is potentially dangerous. Only the recommended fluid should be used in your machine - see next question.

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Do I have to use the fluid that the manufacturer makes for my machine?

This is a very good question. When you buy a smoke machine, the instruction manual you receive with it will tell you that you must use fluid that has been made by the same manufacturer for that machine. Using other types of fluid will invalidate the warranty and could damage the machine. Other fluids may work in the machine, but by no means all. They may create a sub-standard smoke that is unpleasant to breathe and contain toxins that can damage your health, or leave a residue on surfaces. They could also damage your machine. If you do use another manufacturer's fluid in your machine and need to get it repaired under warranty, the first thing the service engineer will do is use a special indicator to see if you've used the correct fluid or not. You will either then be charged for the repair, or it will be sent back to you unrepaired. If you want to see your smoke machine last a long time, we recommend you use the manufacturer's fluid. It is optimised for use in your machine.

The main reason smoke generator manufacturers state that the chemical used should be their own is that generators are designed around a specific mixture of chemicals, with specific boiling ranges. Using a smoke fluid that for example is based on propylene glycol/water, which has a relatively low boiling range, through a generator set for glycerine / water (with a much higher boiling range) potentially can crack the chemical, forming unpleasant and potentially toxic compounds (acroleins, aldehydes etc). Even changing the % of water in a mixture can have an effect.

A number of years ago all the major UK smoke machine manufacturers prepared and signed a joint letter stressing the dangers, or more accurately potential dangers of mixing and matching smoke chemicals, stressing that so called generic smoke chemicals simply could not be relied upon to produce a consistent and safe smoke in every generator.

The use of generic smoke chemical in place of the manfacturer's recommended fluid leaves you wide open to all sorts of legal recourse relating to health & safety, reliability of your machine and servicing costs.

Safe smoke that is non-toxic to breathe in is your responsibility.

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Why is some smoke machine fluid expensive?

Manufacturers use very pure pharmaceutical grade ingredients which have an impurity factor of one per billion or similar (very pure) plus the cost of transportation of bulky heavy fluid containers. Hazer fluid generally costs more than 'normal' smoke machine fluid, as it tends to be more concentrated, containing more active ingredient and less water than more traditional glycol based fog fluid.

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Where does 'dry ice' get its name?

Because the ice is cold (sub-zero) but never gets wet when it melts because it sublimates (see earlier question) turning directly from a solid to a gas without ever becoming a liquid, unlike water ice.

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Can I buy smoke fluid that makes coloured smoke?

No. Fluid that creates coloured fog has been tried, has never satisfactorily worked without seriously damaging the smoke machine and is not available anywhere. The best way to make coloured smoke is to use normal smoke fluid (white smoke) and to colour wash the smoke with coloured lighting. The white fog particles defract the light and make it look like coloured smoke.

You may see certain smoke fluids are coloured themselves (usually green, red, blue, pink) but the smoke released is white. This is simply a colour indicator to let you know what type of fluid it is in the bottle so you don't confuse them (say, quick dispersing or long lasting).

The alternative is to use theatrical coloured smoke pyrotechnics that actually make proper, real coloured smoke - but they have the potential to stain fabrics and materials the smoke comes into contact with and you should avoid breathing the smoke in.

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What are "intelligent lights"?

Intelligent lights are light fixtures whose beams move and change colour and pattern. They can either use a mirror which moves the projected beam of light (scans or scanners), or move the whole lantern body (moving head). They often use DMX control via a computerised control system. Often used at concerts, discotheques, outdoor events, on TV and in the theatre.

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Are fog machines suitable for use in areas of high humidity?

The Rocket, Dragon and PS31 smoke systems are available in stainless steel metalwork shells to special order at extra cost. This option is recommended for heavy duty / high usage applications such as fire training, or where the equipment is likely to be used in areas of high humidity.

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We have an interesting smoke machine information section (well, we think it's interesting!) with reviews, tips, location reports and more.

You may also be interested in the
Wise Owl's Answers
a feature we ran on this site back in 2001.
 

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Pea Soup smoke machines, fog generators, hazers and fluid.