I have this crazy idea of attaching a fog machine to my computer and when I press one of the "F" keys the fog machine will go off.
I was wondering if anybody knew not only how to program the key to start this fog machine but how to physically connect it to the computer.
Thanks for any help
Well you'll need a fog machine that can communicate with a computer through some cable, like USB or serial or something like that. I doubt you'll find many. Or you'll need a device that can communicate with your computer that can turn something on and off. I don't think the coding is going to be the hardest part of this project.
If I can't seem to find a fog machine
with some connective device such as
usb or serial should I just give up? is it impossible?
> If I can't seem to find a fog machine
> with some connective device such as
> usb or serial should I just give up? is it impossible?
Then you have to do your own hardware modifications, but beware of things like mains electricity, and voiding warranty if you open up the fog machine.
In principle, all you need do is replace the switch on the fogger with a relay, which can then be controlled using your PC.
Hey thanks Salem for the help but I was wondering what exactly is a relay? can you send me a link maybe? I googled it and got everything from a database to races.
If the device can be made to come on when power is available an existing automation system such as X10 can be used.
Humm, can you not just walk over to the Fog machine and flip the switch?
you see its something I have to get the fog machine to turn on from the computer...
however moving on, i checked out these relay things, pretty fun looking, I was just wondering how would you connect this to a PC? and then have it turn on when you want it to with a program.
Thanks again for all the help
You can get boards which plug into say your parallel port, which contain lots of things like LEDs, relays, etc for interfacing your computer with various bits of hardware you might like to tinker with.
Seeing that you aren't aware of what a relay is I would be very weary about giving you advice on tearing apart the switch on a fog machine. What you might want to start out with is a visit to an electronics store and ask them about how relays work instead of switches and how to wire one up. Next you'd have to figure out how big or small a relay you would need. Probably will need a few in line since the voltage and amperage of the computers output is far below the same of the fog machine. I would start with a relay and some LEDs or small bulb lights and figure out how to work that first then work your way up to the Fog machine. Remember your computer can only put out about 5v at around 20 mA max so don't try to ground anything to the computer or try to supply power to anything other than a relay with the computer or you will likely burn something up or hurt yourself. for the programming end of it, in windows 98 you could use assembly code, but in xp you need a DLL file to allow you to access the parallel or serial ports. in most Unix code ports are used just like FILE IO's. Good luck. P.S. this research should take you some time so I hope you weren't needing to do this A.S.A.P.
Well if you can find a way to turn off and on a USB stick you can use one of those electric socktes which require the usb to have power inorder for the socket to get power if you know such one!
>> I have this crazy idea of attaching a fog machine to my computer and when I press one of the "F" keys the fog machine will go off.
just press the fog machine switch at the same time as the "F" key and you'll get the desired effect without any extra hardware/software.