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Thread: Looking for low-cost hazer for home use

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for low-cost hazer for home use

    I searched all the previous threads, including the one a few threads down, which seems to be about devices available in the UK (I am in the US).

    I'm looking for a small sized hazer to use in my living room or occasionally in the back yard. The links in the previous threads are either outdated or gone.

    I'm also not sure if a "fazer" is "good enough" for home use. Is there a good primer on the differences between fog, hazers, and fazers around here? I can't seem to find a good source of (current) information or suggestions for units to buy.

    thanks.

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    Hi Hank... we can cover that Thursday when you pick up your projectors if you want. I can probably hook you up or point you in the right direction.

    Of course, that doesn't help anyone who may be reading this thread so here is a quick primer. And yes I know there are a number of threads on the subject.

    All three varieties have their place and in a perfect world, you'd have both a hazer and a fog machine. The "fazer" is a compromise between the two and is really just a fog machine designed to be able to provide a continuous output and a fan to push it around.

    Generally you are talking about two different technologies and two types of fluid. (Actually sort of three)

    Fog - a fog machine uses a water based fluid and works by heating up a chamber inside the machine and pumping the fluid into it. The high temp essentially turns it to "steam" which escapes the chamber under high pressure. The resulting output has a short hang time. A fairly large particulate size and uses a lot of fluid. What it does for laser beams is a) allow you to see them in the first place and, b) give you that neat paisley pattern in your sheets, waves, boxes and cones. They can start off at $29 and ben found anywhere around Halloween time and can go up to several hundred dollars (thousands for really BIG units). They take 5-12 minutes to heat up before you can use them and are usually intermittent with a "duty cycle" where you have to wait for a reheat between blasts.

    Haze - a haze machine uses either a water based or, preferably oil based fluid which is "cracked" or atomized under pressure and expelled from the machine. I'm not entirely certain about "water based" hazers but, I know there is heat involved. Some higher quality hazers also incorporate CO2 to help pressurize, crack and expel the haze. The hang time is much longer - hours in some cases. The particulate size is smaller. They can on turn instantly and run continuously although you won't need to. They are more expensive to purchase - starting about $300 and going up to a few thousand but, the plus side is instant output, and practically nothing for an ongoing fluid expense. Cost of consumables.... it's a bit like printers. Pay nothing for the ink jet printer and $30 each month for ink or, pay more for a laserjet and just buy toner once in a while and get much better output. It's sort of the same with fog versus haze.

    Keep in mind the auditorium at SELEM. For some unexplained dumb reason, nobody put a haze machine in there and relied on fog so, we went through $48 worth of fluid for the weekend. In club SELEM, we used hazers and I'd bet we used about $.30 worth of fluid all weekend. I'm on the same gallon I bought a couple years ago and I haze about 98,000 cubic feet several times a month.

    Fog tends to smell and some people are affected by the output with their eyes and breathing. Haze tends to have no odor and if done right, people hardly know it's there.

    Just like anything else in this world, you get what you pay for and a cheap fogger will kinda work but, a hazer for lasers in the long term is the better bet although... in a perfect world you'd have both. Haze primarily for seeing the beams and a fogger you hit once in awhile to give that paisley look to it and... it will make the beams appear brighter for a short period of time.

    I have solutions for you (that you can buy from me) anywhere from $25 to $350 that you can see on Thursday. I've got anywhere from cheap fog machines to a couple fazers to a haze machine I'm looking to get rid of.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Brad! You did explain most of that during my first visit, but my memory is "foggy", so thanks again for the primer. I've been looking online for small hazers, and they're either larger units for more than $300, or low cost units that I can't tell if they're fazers or not (most likely are). So it's pretty confusing, I didn't want to order a hazer and end up with a fazer. My g/f has a mild case of asthma, so a fogger is probably not a good idea for her living room. And thanks for your offer to show me what you have to sell, I'm looking forward to the visit on Thursday. Oh, and I forgot to say, between now and then if you wanted to fire up either of my two projectors to see how they perform in your space, please feel free.

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    Hank -

    I can relate as both a hobbyist that generally just uses my laser gear in small "venues" (i.e. inside the home, in the garage, etc.), and also as someone dealing with asthma.
    (Mine is severe enough that it knocked me out of a 20-year career flying for the military...)

    Since I really started acquiring laser gear after my health issues were already known, I had to tread carefully when considering fog machines.
    Thankfully - and with medical advice backing me up - I have been able to enjoy all my gear, and as long as I "play it smart", generally don't have any issues being around most fog machines.

    I have always used a water based fogger - actually, an Antari Z300 "fazer" - and it both provides MORE than enough "ambience", and as long as I use readily-available name-brand fluids, is fairly easy for me to tolerate.
    (I have used "Black Label" fog fluid- available at Guitar Center - and "Froggy's" fog fluid ordered online, and both have worked just fine for me. The odor from either one is minimal)

    A few key points for our use:

    * Use sparingly, both for ambience sake (too much fog makes the beams look like crap), and allergy & asthma sufferers can tolerate it better.
    At the very least, get a fogger with controls that lets you limit the volume and frequency of the fog, and only generate fog when needed.
    DMX controls are nice, but not really needed, IMHO ~
    Many of the machines have wired or wirless remotes that will let youy place the machine a considerable distance from the operator if needed.
    In a typical room in a house, a little fog will generally last and go a long way.
    If needed, an open window will usually quickly dissipate any residual fog and odor that might be lingering after the machine is shut down.

    * Use a fan blowing TOWARDS the fog outlet of the machine - even if using a "fazer" - to help dissipate the fog plume and make it more suitable for tight quarters.

    * Put a plastic shower cap over any exposed smoke alarms prior to running the fog / haze, and be sure to remove it when the laser session is done!!
    (Helps keep the local Fire Department away if you happen to use too much fog ~ just ask my wife how much fun THOSE visits are!! )

    * I always use a cheap door mat to hold my fog machine, instead of placing directly on the floor or carpet.
    This would help contain any spills or (unlikely) leaks from the machine, plus the mat can catch any "spit" from the fog outlet (happens occasionally...)

    I have found that for home use - even if running lasers all night in a garage - I rarely wind up using even a full tank of fog fluid to get me through the night.
    For fairly small enclosed areas, you generally don't wind up using that much fluid, even with a regular fog machine.

    All this said, I just purchased a Chauvet Haze 3D (still water-based), primarily with the hopes that it might open up some possibilites for doing some shows in some small venues that frown upon "fog machines".
    I haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but since my current "laser studio" is a one-bedroom apartment, I figure that will be a good test for it!!

    And yes, it is WAY overkill for the shows I would normally hold in my home and / or garage in Knoxville!!

    Randy
    Last edited by Stuka; 08-26-2014 at 12:30.
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  5. #5
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    Curious... with an oil-based hazer, it stands to reason that that oil is going somewhere... however much oil goes through the machine, doesn't that end up on your walls / floor / equipment / everything in your house?

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    Yes. However... unless you're running it every day/night in a club, in my experience it's extremely minimal. As I noted earlier. In two years time of hazing a 98,000 cubic foot space a few times per month, I have gone through probably less than half a gallon of fluid. It's completely insignificant for what I do and in most peoples homes, for the occasional use for lasers, it should be minimal as well.

  7. #7
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    I have both a HZ-1000 Chauvet unit (purchased new but refurbished via ebay) and a HZ-300 unit (Antari?).

    I tend to stick with the HZ-1000 Chauvet unit when I was running things inside my apartment, and use the mineral oil based hazer when it's a large room in public.

    There *is* written record on the internet of club owners freaking out after their HVAC systems are full of oil after running the machines all night every night for long times. It also makes me queezy running my LCD projectors and technobeams around the hazer, but what can you do. Oil on the optics groan.

    I would guess the Atmosphere type units do a better job.

    I *HAVE* seen the HZ-300 machines used at quite a discount. Just be sure to buy whatever before October gets too near or after Halloween.

    When it comes to juice for the oil based hazers, there is a fluid called Houston Haze that seems to be the most cost effective. Looking at the MSDS sheets for the stuff the light mineral oil used as a horse laxitave from Tractor Supply seems to match up but just buy the real stuff, it's $30 a gallon and lasts forever. The human laxitive sold at WalMart has a different consistency than houston haze -- we compared just for the heck of it. The human laxative is missing the "light" therefore it's thicker.

    Glycol based juice for the standard foggers is available everywhere. The oil hazer juice is not -- so have it on hand in advance.

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    One thing to note: A fog machine (or a Fazer like the Antari HZ-300) uses glycol-water fluid. This can irritate the respiratory tract of people who suffer from asthma (it tends to dry out the mucous membranes).

    A hazer uses mineral oil and has far less chance of causing any irritation.

    If I remember correctly, Hank's girlfriend suffers from asthma. If he plans to run his projectors in the house for long periods of time, a hazer is probably a smarter bet. (Plus in the long run a hazer is far cheaper to operate.)

    The real clincher though is that Brad has a very nice hazer that he's selling for less than half the retail price. (Only used 3 or 4 times.) So that's a slam-dunk in my opinion.

    Adam

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    Thanks. I found a slightly used Chauvet 2D hazer (with juice) for sale locally for $200 I might pick up (They're $300 new without the juice, so I think that's a good deal and the right size). It's just been an expensive month with the two lasers, BEYOND, APC40 and other associated doodads.

    If the hazer Brad has is the one I'm thinking about, it was way too big for my living room! Brad did show me two fazers he had for sale, but I think the fog from them would irritate my g/f's minor case of asthma.

  10. #10
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    As an allergy sufferer, but NOT an asthma sufferer, I can only say that after sitting in the auditorium for two days I hadn't breathed easier in months! Don't know if it was the fog or just getting out of my own house, but... data point.

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