View Full Version : How to modify a smoke machine to work with with SSR's

10-25-2007, 12:45 AM

Smoke machines take a lot of current, like 4-7 amps. So they need to be plugged into a dedicated outlet. Even if you purchased a big relay to turn them on or off, that wouldn't do the trick anyway, since they have a separate switch that causes the smoke to come out, and the other plug (4-7Amp source) needs to be plugged in all the time for the thing to stay hot and shoot smoke when you push the button.

My smoke machine (from pawn shop, with remote, and a gallon of juice was $20 bucks) has a remote, and in the remote is a timer, and also a relay in there. So i simply determined which was the hot lead to the relay, and soldered a fused wire to it, and connected that fused wire to an output of a channel of a controller.

Here is how i tested it and will use it:
1) the smoke machine must be plugged into the same (Always on) electrical outlet as the Christmas controller source for AC power to make sure you aren't on opposite legs of the AC hot. That could get weird and might explode.
2) solder a wire onto the terminal that activates the relay. Determine which leg activates the relay as follows: There are three wires, one is neutral, one is hot all the time, and one is hot only when the smoke machine is producing smoke and being activated by the remote. Work with a VOM meter (Set to AC) until you determine which terminal goes to 120V only when the button is pushed on the remote to turn on the smoke.

To test your assumption, and to measure the current used to operate the relay: Short the constant hot wire, with the "hot only when button is pushed" side using your VOM set to AC Amps (if your meter even does this). You might want to have some eye protection when you do this, if you short the wrong things together, POOF. In my case it worked, the smoke machine started shooting smoke, and my amp meter told me 0.19Amps. I had found the right place to take power from, and put it to, in order to get the relay to engage.

To recap, a typical SSR without a heat sink is good for up to 1-2Amps depending on who you ask. I say 1, others say 2. Potato, patato. So clearly 0.2 Amps is much lower than that limit, so you are good to go, you can now control your smoke machine with a controller. Don't dimm this channel, just switch it on and off, and i don't recommend switching it on and off to fast, you never know what might happen. Turn it on for several seconds every few minutes or something (that is how i will use mine).

I recommend using a fused wire to the relay switch activation wire because i am anal that way, and you want to take some precaution as to not burn down your house or hurt anyone (anything).

3) Next you need to take the HOT (black wire, not neutral) only out of your controller channel assigned to the smoke machine, and hook it up to the point you determined above. I used Anderson power poles because they are great. (No neutral wire is needed because the smoke machine and Christmas light controllers are already plugged in to the same socket and share the same neutral wire)

The end.

10-25-2007, 12:46 AM
more pics

10-25-2007, 01:42 AM
That is a great idea. I had thought about doing that, but wasn't sure it would work. I paid a bit more then $20 for mine, so i did not want to blow it up. I will now give it a try.

10-31-2007, 07:46 PM

If you use a GFI, this can't work. With no neutral wire to the controller, it trips the GFI. Lets see how fast I can solder another wire in there :)

It isn't dark for another 70 minutes here..... go go go