SMOKE MACHINE REVIEWS - Rosco 1500
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The Rosco 1500 Fog Machine
Review of: Rosco 1500 Fog
Although no longer in production (replaced by the 1600), introduced in the 1980s, the Rosco
1500 was a very popular unit for stage and film. It was a highly
portable unit with an on-board control panel as well as a remote
control and could create continuous smoke output.
The Rosco 1500 can be seen most prominently in the
1991 film F/X2 The Deadly Art of Illusion starring
Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy. It is used to create a steam effect
for a fake shower scene and also (with the help of some ether) to
gas a villain (not recommended!).
The decal on the side of the machine read 'Rosco 1500
Fog / Smoke Machine', but was changed to just 'Rosco 1500 Fog Machine'
in later years of production.
Rosco 1500 with remote control (as used at a David
Bowie concert!) and close up of back-panel controls
The machine has a superb on-board control panel which
has lovely bright indicator lights informing you of the machine's
status. The unit uses a peristaltic pump. This allows fluid to run out and no damaged being caused.
Peristaltic pumps are also usually continuously rated. The machine
can make a lot of smoke, but will switch off production to re-heat.
At a lower output it will run continuously. The super remote had
a timer function which gave a lot of control over fog on and fog
I have bought two of these units - one used and one
hardly used. The used one didn't produce much fog, perhaps blocked
over time or the rollers on the pump not aligned (however, special
rivets on the casing prevent easy access to the inside without drilling
them out). The 'nearly new' machine worked well for a short while,
then that too stopped producing fog at any great volume. Another
blockage? A used Rosco 1600 also had the same problem - what I would
advise is that these Rosco machines are now all rather old and it's perhaps not
worth the risk buying used ones from eBay - they may not last very
long and you would be better off buying a new machine which will
last you a longer time.
The Rosco Alpha 900 is possibly a lower cost replacement
to the Rosco 1500. Its outward appearance is in the Rosco style.
Its output isn't as powerful or controllable in terms of volume,
but it is continuous.
The Rosco Alpha 900 next to the Rosco 1500 illustrating similar
cosmetic appearance and size.
The Rosco 1600
replaced the Rosco 1500. It used very similar components to the
1500, but had no on-board control (the remote can be parked on the
machine itself). It was larger in physical size and also uses a
Now even the Rosco 1600 has been superceeded with
the Rosco 1700,
a very popular machine in the same tradition as the classic Rosco
1500. A different look for Rosco machines, the timer remote (supplied
as standard for a change!) can be parked onto the back of the unit
for 'self contained' operation. The remote control looks a lot like
those made for Jem / Martin smoke machines but may not be made by
Jem but just use a 'standard' generic metal box from a similar manufacturer
of metal boxes.
The Rosco 1700 has a remote control
that mounts on the back of the machine,
a tribute to the Rosco 1500's rear on-board control panel feature.
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