View Full Version : Submerged Pop Up Barrel Prop Question?

08-16-2011, 03:41 PM
I have a prop that I know has been passed down from haunter to haunter for at least the last 15 years, and I am trying to fix it. It is a big barrel that is filled with water, and it has a corpse inside. When activated with the motion sensor, the corpse pops up and rises up through the water. This worked great while it has been in my posession for the last 5 years or so, but it stopped working last year. I opened up the control box and found a whole slew of electronic componenents and devices, most of which I have never seen. I tried completely gutting the sub pump and all other mechanisms from the control box, and I figured I would start over from scratch. I figured I could just add a new sub pump, and connect it to a motion sensor, and that would do the trick. So I bought a standard basement subpump, for about $100, and tried installing it. I filled it with water and gave it a shot. It worked but it was very very very very slow. Before it would pop right up out of the water very fast. So I found a slightly higher hp pump and tried that one, and I got the same thing? I have had a few people come in and take a look at it, and no one has any ideas? Anyone have experience with this kind of prop? Is there something that I need other than the pump and the motion sensor for this to work? Im going crazy trying to figure it out!

08-16-2011, 05:15 PM
Is pneumatic or a water cylinder? Does the pump turn on with the motion sensor forcing water into the cylinder or pvc pipe....or is it air? Got pics?

08-16-2011, 05:29 PM
Its water all water, there are no pneumatics. The whole barrel is filled with water. There is a pvc pipe sticking straight up in the middle of the barrell that the corpse fits over. When it is activated. water shoots up the tube causing the corpse to rise up out of the water. I dont have a picture of the inside right now, but I can try to get one.

08-16-2011, 05:37 PM
Seems like for the prop to pop up fast it would need some pressure built up? Is there some kind of valve that activates after the pump had had time to build a little but of pressure?

08-16-2011, 05:48 PM
When I say fast I dont mean fast like a pneumatic pop up. It would pop up fully in 3 or 4 seconds, stay up for a few more seconds, then drop back down. The way it is working now, it looks like the reverse sinking of the titanic. It takes about 30 seconds for it to raise up, and it will only go about half way, then it stops there and falls back in, almost like it is struggling. I am not familar with sub pumps, so maybe I just need a different kind, or a more heavy duty model? Is there a certain type that I would need? Or do I need something other than a sub pump? Or something more powerful than just a basic cellar model?
Thanks again,

Gore Galore
08-16-2011, 06:01 PM
I think you need to look at the old pump and check its rating. Pumps are rated by the amount of water per time. So GPH "Gallons per Hour" and if the old pump was a specialized pump possibly even a pressure rating.
I would think this would be critical information to get the same effect.
This could even be affected by whether the prop has degraded allowing water to seep into it and weigh it down.

Jim Warfield
08-17-2011, 11:32 AM
The Ravens Grin wine cellar requires a better pump to lift the rain water up and out to the outdoors. The pump for your display might not pump enough to overcome the designed in leakage that I am assuming allows the prop to resubmerge. Maybe seeing where and how this leakage is performed , maybe you could fix this by making the leak-hole smaller. Because it submerges fast and doesn't float up to full normal levels could be the only problem which could then be fixed without buying a new pump?

08-17-2011, 02:08 PM
So I pulled the corpse out of the water today to take a look at it more closely. The tube that is lodged inside the body of the corpse does not have a cap on the top, it is just a hollow tube with no cap on the top, i can see the inside of the corpses head when i look inside. Is it supposed to have a cap on the top of the tube inside or is it suppossed to be open?

08-17-2011, 03:12 PM
It's suppose to have a cap on it. Water comes out of the top of the smaller inside pipe and hits the cap on the larger outside pipe and thats what causes it to rise. The outside pipe is designed to be slightly oversized so as to have clearance so that the water can then escape back into the drum. Basically the larger outside cap is your piston. With no cap the water is probably getting inside the prop. Either the new pump is too small (check flow rate & head) or most likely the prop has become waterlogged since there is no cap and is now too heavy to lift. If the old pump still runs but won't lift it, that's most likely the case. This type of design isn't terribly strong so any increase in weight will be an issue.

08-18-2011, 12:27 PM
Thanks for all of the advice. I am going to try to work on it tomorrow. Here is a picture of it when it was working!

08-30-2011, 02:48 PM
So I finally got a chance to attack this project. I started over from scratch and made an all new mechanism out of new pvc. I got it back in the water, however, when I turn it on, it only rises up out of the water about 3 inches or so. It use to rise about a foot or more. I think it may need more pressure. Would I be better off rigging up 2 sump pumps to run into the pipe at the same time, or should I try 1 bigger pump? Which do you think would be more effective?