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bgwyn

Fire Special Effects

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Hello Everyone,

 

This coming Halloween I would love to add some fire effects to our show.  Yes, I know we are crazy.  I have looked all over the internet and the only thing I can find are DMX fire machines used for concerts which is actually perfect, but the problem is they are from China and the shipping is crazy and will you really get what you ordered?  The second problem is the fuel, it is prohibited to ship it into the US.  Has anyone ever seen a fire machine and fuel that can be ordered within the US or is there another product out there I haven't come across yet??

 

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Right now I'm trying to get a hold of my fire marshal to see if it needs a special permit. I have found some machines with free shipping (don't kid yerself boy, you are payin' it somewhere ;) ) because these machines don't have the certification required for NA. They do have CE and ISO 9001 but that is an international code that you could bake cookies and apply a CE certification on them.

 

There are two types of machines: the one with fuel canisters and the other with LPG (propane). The first ones will be shipped by boat because of the fuel it needs and the other by plane. The fuel canister works on average for about 40-90 balls of fire, less if you have a streaming flame.

 

The LPG runs with a down pressure valve so at no time will you have the full propane pressure coming out of your tank. Lot safer that way.These ones can do straight flames or balls. Only one direction: up.

 

The fuel canister one can have adjustable outputs at either 45 degrees left , straight up or 45 degrees right. Also, they are very fragile of any blowing wind compared to the LPG one.

 

I know I didn't really answer your question but since January, I've been looking, getting emails back and forth so I'm starting to have more info each day. Hope it will guide you a bit more in your search. And no, US doesn't have any of these machines unless they ordered them from China themselves then add a shippers fee to it. That I found out.

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The DMX specification states that DMX should NOT be used to control pyro or automation as it has no error-detection or error-correction in the protocol.  I would not use it unless there is an additional deadman switch controlled by someone with a clear view of the area at all times.

 

/mike

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Go with LPG flame projectors! There was someone on here that used LPG flame projectors in his Christmas display a couple years back with good success.  And he controlled them via DMX.  Search for his thread on here and send him a message!

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LPG will be your best bet since they are not very expensive and the gas can be bought in the states but DMX is not a protocol with enough stability to control PYRO and things like that. I have used DMX with LOR before and sometimes it locks up.

 

Whatever system you decide to use, whether DMX or direct-power control, I highly advise you get a dead-man switch to control the gas intake so if you let go, the gas is cut off. You'll be happier in the long run when you're able to quickly shut off the system if somebody gets too close or something.

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Thank you guys for all the information.  I know my husband wants a LPG machine and a dead man switch is an excellent safety measure we would definately want.  My husband is the fire marshall of the city we live in so it would be very embarassing if we burned our house down and we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves it someone got hurt. BigDps please share which machine you decide on or any machines you think would be good to consider if you have time. I would appreciatate any of your input.  My email is [email protected] 

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Another thing you can do if you have multiple flame projectors is use small individual LPG canisters, one for each unit!  That way, you won't have a giant bomb sitting around.  Just a bunch of smaller ones!  ;-)

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I have been debating with myself about whether to go with LPG or canisters for a long time and I would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

 

My current logic is that, even though I have to give-up the option for colored fire, using LPG is safer overall simply because of the dead switch. If I can cut the gas, I can prevent disaster. However, if a canister has issues, I can't separate the flame from the fuel quick enough.

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All the places that I looked for flame projectors using LPG come with a reducing valve. That makes it safer than your BBQ. Instead of the full 120psi, it might be less than 10 for the flame projectors after the reducer.

 

The only drawback I would see is if in your sequence you had a big finale with all, say 8 flame projectors, your flame wouldn't be as high because the pressure might drop to half of that unless the reducer adjusts itself to give constant 10 psi at all times. That I doubt. Those are very expensive reducers and I doubt they would add these to the flame projectors. Been working with propane for over 20 years so that it the extent of my knowledge.

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That is something to think about BigDPS.  We are only going to use two flame machines so hopefully that wouldnt be a problem for us.

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All the places that I looked for flame projectors using LPG come with a reducing valve. That makes it safer than your BBQ. Instead of the full 120psi, it might be less than 10 for the flame projectors after the reducer.

 

The only drawback I would see is if in your sequence you had a big finale with all, say 8 flame projectors, your flame wouldn't be as high because the pressure might drop to half of that unless the reducer adjusts itself to give constant 10 psi at all times. That I doubt. Those are very expensive reducers and I doubt they would add these to the flame projectors. Been working with propane for over 20 years so that it the extent of my knowledge.

 

Again,  I would look into using smaller, individual LPG tanks (like the ones for a Coleman stove).  Then you wouldn't have the issue of pressure drop.  You might have to replace the tanks a little more often, but at least your flames will be consistent in a big finale!

 

Thoughts?

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I'm waiting for my damn fire marshal to answer his phone instead of voice message and I'll order them and practice with all of them at the on position.

 

As for little bottles, I don't think they would last too long. If you go on any website where they are showing the projectors at work, you can hear the rushing sound of propane coming out of the 20 lb tank. I would say a few puffs here and there and you would be running around like a dog in a bowling alley trying to refill or at least replace your bottles. My 2 cents.

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Many of the projectors I see have safeties that only allow for spurts of fire up to 3 seconds so it could be a non-issue. But worse-case scenario you can always buy two tanks instead of one and split the system in half. Better than a bowling ally but still solving your problem.

In other news, commercial/professional versions of these units with all the US safety bells and whistles cost thousands! It's sort of annoying...but is that the simple price for safety?

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Looks great digdeepfundraising!!  What company did you order your flame machines from and what fuel are you using if you would please share.  I am a little nervous about buying anything from China so I would appreciate you steering me to a reputable dealer.  Thank you for sharing and it looks like you are going to have a hot halloween display.....heheeehehhehe

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Could you expound on the dead-man switch idea. What is it physically and where and how is it incorporated into the system?

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It's a pushbutton (or more commonly two, one for each hand) that needs to be continuously pressed to allow the effect to be fired. A person with direct view of the entire area would hold down the buttons during the show; if at any time he thinks there's a safety issue (someone or something in the area, a malfunction, etc.), he would let go of the button and the effect would not fire. Name comes from the early days of trains; if the engineer was injured or died, he would stop holding the deadman and the train would stop.

As for how it's wired, that depends on the unit. Ideally, it would be in series with the solenoid that releases the gas.

/mike

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I've been trying to figure out how a deadman's switch would work too.

Ideally it controls the gas directly but there's still the issue of getting the electronics from the tank to your hand.

 

Wireless is out of the question for safety reasons.

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Here's the thing guys, not to be a joykill, but you need to get with your local fire marshals and see exactly what your areas will allow.

 

In order to do ground display effects like this within a certain distance of anyone or anything, you need to have a proximate pyrotechnics license through the ATF. Of couse, laws vary from state to state depending on where you live, but it's much better to look into the laws before you just jump into using these.

 

Despite what safety might be on these devices, I've worked with pyro long enough to see them fail many times. You can't rely on built in devices. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have multiple fire extingiushers around.

 

Lastly, pyro is fun, but it's not something to toy around with. Even if you think you're safe, check, check and check again. One wrong move is all it takes to make a difference and I cannot stress that enough.

Edited by Mystic

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Thanks for the advice Mystic.  My husband is the Fire Marshall of the city we live in and believe me he is giving all of this much thought.  We have ordered one fire machine and we have not received in from China yet so I will most likely not get into this years show.  It will give us all year to play around with it and make certain it will be a safe prop for next year. 

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Thanks for the advice Mystic.  My husband is the Fire Marshall of the city we live in and believe me he is giving all of this much thought.  We have ordered one fire machine and we have not received in from China yet so I will most likely not get into this years show.  It will give us all year to play around with it and make certain it will be a safe prop for next year. 

Just be very very careful. Even in lighting I have always warned people away from Chinese products because they use cheaper materials and cut corners. More than once I've seen Chinese lighting practically fall apart because of this. I wouldn't personally even attempt to use a Chinese import for pyro (unless it was fireworks themselves). I'd stick to reputable companies like Le Maitre. Cost is a bit higher but when you consider the safety of your family and everyone around you is at risk, it's very much worth it.

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Could you please provide a link to Christmas lights made in the USA if there is one.

from all the research i have done there are no Christmas lights manufactured in the USA any longer

you may find some assembled here but you will find all the parts used for them are made over seas.

 the Link provided will explain it much better than i can.....

 

http://www.holidayleds.com/articles/american_made_christmas_lights

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Sorry, the lighting I was talking about was stage lighting which is the same industry pyrotechnic devices are made for. There are a lot of Chinese companies that make the same type of lighting but they often fail and  have issues. Sorry for the confusion. :)

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