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replacement snow machine pump

23 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Howdy All,

Someone recently gave me an Antari S-100 fog machine they found in their garage. I fired it up and it didn't work. Some quick debugging and it looks like the fan is blowing fine, but the pump doesn't appear to be pumping at all (I can't feel any suction coming through the tube). The pump says " CHW CL-30B" on it, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. I checked all over online and I can't really find anything on that pump, nor on replacements. I have to imagine that there are generic replacement pumps out there, but I can't seem to find any.

You guys have any ideas?

Thanks,

~Jason

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Posted · Report post

I can't say that I know your exact model of snow machine or pump.....

However, the pumps that were in 'The (not so) Amazing Snowman' were nothing but small fountain pumps which could be found at Home Depot/Lowes/Etc for around $10 to $15. I realize this is my page about making fluid, but there are pictures of the pumps used here:

Inexpensive Snow Machine Fluid

I don't know how handy you are, but you may want to consider 'retrofitting' a cheap pump if you can't find a replacement for the real one.

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Posted · Report post

I can't imagine the pump being bad. Well, it COULD be but it's more likely that the lines are just clogged.

That should be easy enough to verify and, if it turns out to be the case, easier and cheaper than the pump to fix.

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Posted · Report post

Wait a minute - the title of this thread says "Snow machine" but your post said "fog machine".

Which is it?

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Posted · Report post

The Antari is a snow machine. He misspoke in the post.

If it's a small fountain type pump, those can actually go bad pretty easy. The small impellers have a tendency to break. If the seals dry out or are damaged, the motor will rust out/break a winding/seize.

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Posted · Report post

Sorry for the confusion, it is a snow machine pump. I had been researching fog machine pumps last night as well since I think they are probably similar, but it is indeed from a snow machine.

Thanks for the link oldcqr, I actually had been on your site for the snow recipe, so that is pretty funny. I am not quite sure how the pump works since there is a remote to vary the speed of the snow (which I assume means vary the speed of the pump).

I have attached a pic of the pump in question.

Chuck, you could just as easily be right as well. This machine had been sitting so long, the green tube you see in the picture was falling apart in my hands. I had to use some fish tank tube to finish testing this out last night. What do you recommend I use to try and clean out the motor (can it sit in some sort of solution?

Thanks.

~Jason

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Posted · Report post

Hmm... I personally would: remove the tubes from both sides of the motor, replace them with tight fitting aquarium tubing that you have (you don't want to be sucking air), dunk the input side into a glass of water, point the output side somewhere safe, and turn the unit on. That will eliminate everything but the pump motor and the electronics.

Since snow fluid is 95% water, I would not suspect that the pump is clogged. Fog machines clog due to their oily solutions if not cleaned, but this is a water and soap solution - how much cleaner can you get? :D (Yes, I realize it's possible that the soaps/glycerin/etc could build up, but I doubt it).

If the pump still does not work, I personally (after seeing the pics) would suspect the electrical connection to the pump or the internal windings of the pump. First, carefully remove that black stuff near the pump (I can't tell if it's shrink tube, electrical tape, or whatever). I'll bet you'll find 2 wires from the pump and the black/yellow wires are soldered to them. If one is broken, repair it. Otherwise, disconnect the Yellow/Black from the motor, leaving enough wire on both sides to re-connect it later.

If you have an ohmmeter, check the continuity between the 2 leads going into the pump. If there is no continuity between them, the windings on the motor may be shot.

Since the pump says it's 120V, you could also make up a quick cordset, connect it to the wires going into the pump, and plug it in. If the pump starts working, then you know the problem is somewhere else.

If you have an ohmmeter, you probably also have a voltmeter. Since you already have the black/yellow wires removed, strip them if needed and then separate them a bit. Now, be extra careful: Turn the unit on, crank it up to 100% and check the voltage between the black/yellow wire. According to the pump it should be 120V, but since this is a controllable unit I would accept anything more than 0 as working. UNPLUG THE UNIT WHEN DONE! If you don't see voltage, follow those black and yellow wires back to where they connect to something else. Physically check those connections for broken wires as well. Since this is a DMX unit, I suspect that those wires will probably end up on a circuit board somewhere. You can test those points for voltage. If they are 0, then the board is bad and most likely beyond normal repair.

Just like any other pump, these may have blown the seals, broke an impeller, or I'm completely wrong and Chuck is 100% right: clog.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the detailed debugging! That will be great (once I finish my chores for the day and can hide for a bit).

One question I do have (I am hoping you have played with one of these motors previously), do you know how to get the tube disconnected?

I tried last night to pull it out, but I couldn't get it (and since it was so brittle, I was being a little careful with it). The tube goes into the nut on the end, and around the tube is a little red (and blue on the far side) disk. The disk spins freely and appears to keep the tube in the nut and keep a seal somehow. I tried pulling the tub out, but that didn't work. I attached two closeups of my issue, but It is probably just something Antari is using.

Thanks again! I will report back if I have any successes.

~Jason

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Posted · Report post

Quick update. I went ahead and pulled off the nuts on the pump so that the lines were out of the equation (I blew air threw them, so I don't think they were the issue anyway).

The pump reads about 83ohms between the yellow/black wires. I did not pull off the heat shrink around them yet, that will be next.

With the pump disconnected I fired up the snow machine and adjusted the speed of the snow. It looked to me like the circuit board puts out 120Vac -150Vac without really ramping up (ie, either one or the other).

When I put the pump back into it (so there is a load), I see the voltage ramp up nicely from 20Vac - 90Vac as I adjust the knob. To me, that means the circuit is running nicely, yet the pump never sucks any air in.

I then hooked the pump directly up to 120Vac, and still nothing.

So I still need to pull off the shrink tubing, but as of now, I am leaning towards the motor being the culprit....

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Posted · Report post

I think those blue/red things are quick-connects. If you pull them out they should release the tubing.

Edit: They won't come OFF, just up about 1/8" or so.

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Edit: They won't come OFF, just up about 1/8" or so.

That is the same problem I had. They have a little give, but they didn't seem like they would want to pop off. I am sure there is a trick to them, but I haven't found it yet.

Also, I peeled back the shrink tubing and the black/gold wires appear to go right into the pump.

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Posted · Report post

It's been a while since I've messed with those. Try PUSHING the blue/red things IN while pulling to tube OUT.

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Posted · Report post

I have those same type connectors on my RO system. They are called John Guest Fittings

here is a web link to how they work.. scroll down to see how to disconnect them

http://www.waterfiltersonline.com/john-guest-installation.asp

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Posted · Report post

It's been a while since I've messed with those. Try PUSHING the blue/red things IN while pulling to tube OUT.

I could have SWORE I tried that..... But that appears to be the trick. Push in on the ring, and pull out on the hose. It popped right out then.

I don't feel anything (on the pump body itself or in the in/outtake) that leads me to believe it is doing anything (vibrations, suctions, etc.) when I apply power. I am starting to believe that the pump is shot beyond any repair (unless someone has some bright ideas). That being said, are the generic garden pumps that oldcqr mentions adjustable? Meaning, if I plug it into my variable A/C supply, will accept the 20Vac-90Vac output the machine gives it (and ramp up/down accordingly)?

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I could have SWORE I tried that..... But that appears to be the trick. Push in on the ring, and pull out on the hose. It popped right out then.

I don't feel anything (on the pump body itself or in the in/outtake) that leads me to believe it is doing anything (vibrations, suctions, etc.) when I apply power. I am starting to believe that the pump is shot beyond any repair (unless someone has some bright ideas). That being said, are the generic garden pumps that oldcqr mentions adjustable? Meaning, if I plug it into my variable A/C supply, will accept the 20Vac-90Vac output the machine gives it (and ramp up/down accordingly)?

toozie21,

The Antari pumps are known for short life spans. Your chances are around 99% that the pump is the problem.

The link below takes you to the manufacturer that distributes them to all of the other little third party companies which sell them.

http://www.elationlighting.com/Support.aspx

Charles

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Posted · Report post

Sounds like you have now eliminated everything except the pump. Once you find a replacement, you'll have a nice snow machine!

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Posted · Report post

HI,

Some of those quick release hose fitting you push it in to release.

Push on the plastic toward the brass part hold it in while pulling out on the hose

KEN

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Posted · Report post

oldcqr: Do the pumps you use (and show on your website) allow for variable voltage into them? Also, do I need to me looking for a certain throughput in them (X gallons per minute)?

~Jason

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Posted · Report post

oldcqr: Do the pumps you use (and show on your website) allow for variable voltage into them? Also, do I need to me looking for a certain throughput in them (X gallons per minute)?

~Jason

Hmm... Good question. I don't know the answer to that since they have cords that you just plug in. Some small electric motors can handle lower voltages, others will overheat and die. I think the best you can do is buy a cheap one and try it. Just make sure it's pumping water. You can really burn up a pump quick running it dry.

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Posted · Report post

toozie21,

The Antari pumps are known for short life spans. Your chances are around 99% that the pump is the problem.

The link below takes you to the manufacturer that distributes them to all of the other little third party companies which sell them.

http://www.elationlighting.com/Support.aspx

Charles

Thanks, I had actually written them yesterday to see what they had to say (saw someone talk positive about them in some other thread), and I got this response today:

It's possible that one of our pumps will work---but the model # is not

the same---maybe you can take a picture???---even then you're taking a

chance, you might be able to rig it so it works, but the cost (depending

on model) is about $50---you have to decide if it's worth the chance

So I guess I will give the cheapo pump a try and if that doesn't work, see what elation lighting can do. Thanks for the tip!

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OK, So I bought a fountain pump at Lowes the other day. I was trying to figure out how I would rig it up when I realized that the intake was in the actual unit. I was expecting to be able to hook up a tube that I could run to my snow solution, but that doesn't seem doable.

Do any of those pumps you show in your website allow you to hook up an intake tube?

~J

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Posted · Report post

I just went through this. First, you must take the pump apart. Inside there is a sliding piston. Dried elements in the water can stop it from working. And the soap also if not cleaned out before storage. When it is running you should feel it vibrate quite a bit. No vibration means 1 stuck piston or 2 bad coil.

be very care full with the little springs and ball valves.

Don

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Posted · Report post

How about a recapi for snow juice.

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