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Simple Smoke Generator
In discussion with jbkiwi, we felt it would be a good idea to bring together into one post the different smoker experiments we have each conducted to make them easier to find for anyone interested in having a go. Here is a summary of my experiments. JB will add his in time.
My implementation is based on an e-cig H2 atomizer. These are readily available at low cost. The unit as purchased comprises a 2ml tank, heating coil, and a coupling which would normally connect to the e-cig electronics/battery. I made a simple end cap from acrylic which is a push fit into the coupling. Any insulating material could be used for this, even a piece of hardwood could be carved to shape. The end cap is held in place with a couple of small screws through the side of the coupling. Before fitting, it was smeared with silicone sealant to ensure an airtight seal. A central screw in the endcap can be adjusted to make electrical contact with the coil. The other contact to the coil is via the body of the coupling, using one of the endcap retaining screws. A brass tube fitted through the side of the endcap allows air to be pushed through the atomizer.
For installation in my Crash Tender, I increased the capacity of the smoke fluid tank by adding an additional tank around the outside of the original atomizer tank. The smoker fluid I use is 3:1 glycerine:water.
The coil seems to work best when energised with around 5 watts of power. This can be achieved by using a DC-DC converer to drop the battery voltage to around 3volts. Simple low cost
are available on-line. As an alternative, a PWM electronic circuit can be used to power the coil direct from the battery voltage, provided the power to the coil does not greatly exceed 5w. I found to my cost that feeding 25w of power into the coil (circuit error!) vaporises the coil in the blink of an eye! Fortunately, replacement coils are readily available. The exposed metalwork of the atomizer typically reaches a temperature of 30 -35C while it is running but that depends on how much power you feed into it.😉
The air pump is not critical. I have tried a couple of different types and the both work well. It is useful to be able to adjust the pump speed, and hence the volume of air being pushed through the atomizer. Small motor speed controllers are easily obtainable.
The atomizer works best mounted in a horizontal position. if mounted vertically, as shown in part of the video, it has a tendancy to flood the coil.
By adjusting the pump speed and the coil power a range of different effects are possible. The video shows several examples of different settings. It is possible to generate just a gentle waft of smoke suitable for a funnel on a tug or a quick pulse of thick smoke possibly suitable to simulate gunfire on a destroyer.
For my Crash Tender I mix pulsed smoke with water using a venturi type connector and then feed the resulting mix out through the exhaust ports. More details of the installation in the Crash Tender can be found in my Crash Tender Refit blog.
Happy to try an answer any questions.