SparkleTechnics Australia Blog!
/ SPARK FX MAINTENANCE
As with any Professional Special Effects equipment it is important to maintain the units to ensure that they continue to perform as you expect them too. We therefore strongly suggest you carry out the below steps to ensure these issues don't occur.
Clear Materials - Run the clear material cycle after every use to blow out any residual granules from the chamber. This function will clean out any granules from the working elements of the machine without feeding in any more material from the hopper that stores the unused granules. Performing this action keeps the workings of the units clean and tidy and must always be done prior to them being transported.
Air Vents - The unit has 3 main air vents that are used to keep the machine cool during operation. One on either side of the unit and another on the back of the unit where the fan can be seen. To maintain a clear air flow into the unit, clear any residual dust that may have built up by simply running a vacuum over them on a regular basis.
Pre-Heat Function - The Pre-heat function required to operate the units should not be left on unnecessarily for long periods of time. The units take just 3-4 minutes to reach the required temperature to operate and the heating element shouldn't be left on when it's known that the units will not be used.
Unused Granules - Once emptied from the machine, any unused granules should be stored in a sealed bag where they cannot be exposed to any moisture. Any granules that do come into contact with water should be disposed of immediately and must not be used.
Tips for Safe and Successful Operation
- Air Flow - Ensure a clear air flow to all sides of the unit. Do not cover the unit with anything that may restrict this.
- Flammable Materials - Whilst the unit and the effect are extremely safe, please do not place any flammable materials in very close proximity. Please also ensure that the units are not covered with anything that may impact the flow of sparks during operation.
- Transport - Please ensure that all granules are removed from the unit prior to transport by emptying the machine and also running the clear materials cycle. During transport all units should be stored in a flight case or other suitable container with sufficient padding to ensure no damage occurs during transit.
- Cabling - Please ensure that safe and sufficient cabling is used on all machines - no bare wires should be seen.
- Atmospheric Conditions - The unit and the consumptive granules must be kept dry at all times to ensure safe and successful use. If any granules or the unit comes into contact with water at any time they must not be used.
How Safe Is The Machine?
- The Sparkular system has been built to eradicate the fire risks that come with normal pyrotechnics. No large safety or exclusion zones are required as the heated granules cool instantly when in contact with the air and are safe to touch. All of the materials are completely non-hazardous.
How Does It Work?
- The effect is simply created by heating a granulated alloy which is then blown from an opening in the top of the unit to create a fountain of sparks. The height and intensity of the sparks can be regulated and all units are controlled using a standard 3 pin DMX system. Each unit requires just 2 DMX channels for operation so it can easily be combined with any other lighting or sound effects which are being controlled from your DMX desk.
Where Can I Use Sparkular?
- The effect has been designed for indoor use as it is extremely safe and does not present a fire risk, meaning that it can be safely used in practically any venue. The unit can be used outdoors, however it must be kept completely dry. If any moisture or rain gets into the unit the powder will begin to clog and the internal mechanisms may become damaged.
Is There Any Fallout or Residue?
- During operation the Sparkular unit does produce a small amount of dust from the granules that generate the sparks. This dust can easily be swept or blown away and does not cause any harm to hard surfaces or human skin.
How Quick is Set-Up or Installation?
- Multiple units can be set up extremely quickly as the system requires just DMX and power input to function. Once the powder has been poured into the machine a heating sequence needs to be enabled to bring the element inside the unit up to the required temperature, this takes 3-4 minutes and can be done on multiple machines simultaneously. Once the element has reached the required temperature the units are ready to fire.