Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi everyone! First time poster here. I am absolutely shocked at the situation I'm in lately with trying to procure a new lava lamp. Long story short--I got my first lava lamp back in college--it was a Lava Lite model. Black base, clear liquid, lime green lava. The switch broke a few years ago, and like a moron, I tossed it thinking it wasn't worth it to fix the switch. Over the last year, I started missing having a lava lamp, so I started looking around for a new one. During the holidays, I also got an old one as a white elephant gift (it's not a Lava Lite, but a bullet shaped looking one that doesn't work all that well). That pushed me over the edge and I finally bought a Lava Lite on Amazon.

To my dismay the Lava Lite worked well for 2 weeks, then started pea shooting bubbles of lava filled with liquid, and not flowing well at all. Now the lava just sits at the bottom of the globe and is full of black flecks. It also will not melt into the coil at all, but rather sits on top of the coil in a ball, even after I replaced the 25w bulb with a 40w bulb just to see what would happen.

I got a full refund on the Amazon lamp and didn't have to send it back, so I may try to rebuild it someday. I also bought a 90s model Lava Lite Silver Streak on eBay, which is supposed to arrive today. I am just shocked by the state of Lava Lite. It's very hard to find a Mathmos lamp in the US that's not upwards of $200, so I'm just really sad about this whole thing. I have always loved lava lamps and I can't believe how hard it is now to find one that actually works. I'm glad this site is here, because I have gotten so much good information on what's REALLY going on with Lava Lite.

Anyway, hi everyone! I'll just be over here lurking.

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Chinese lamps, for the most part, don't spike like vintage-90's lamps do. I love that stage of the cycle. :)

Hey chris nice lamp!! Love the usa models. I actually have 2 red/clear usa lamps. One is from 95 and I got from a buddy in college. It's very used and worn but works almost as good as out of the box! One thing I notice with the red clear is that the color eventually bleeds into the clear liquid. Still looks just fine all warmed up with the room dark, but it bugs me looking at it when it's not running.
20 years old still kickin
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Once the lamp got fully going (of course, I totally forgot to take a picture), the flow went really nuts and was starting to produce a lot of tiny pieces, so I'm wondering if either the lava is shot, or the replacement bulb that the seller put in is too high of a wattage. I turned it off, so once it cools back down I'm going to try to see what bulb he put in and then look up what bulb I'm really supposed to have. The flow seemed to kind of alternate between a nice column with a couple of big blobs and then a whole bunch of blobs about the size of cherry tomatoes. It alternated between the two several times while it was on. I'm a bit concerned about all the small pieces.
That happens when it gets too hot. Lamps tend to do that more with age, mine go for probably 3-4 hours before that happens. All of the lava kind of hangs out up top in little balls when it over heats. It should have a 40 watt bulb.
Thanks--I'm going to check it out when it cools off.
Also, if the lava comes off the coil, u twist the globe by itself very gently back and forth until it re merges
That should work with the Chinese lamp too. I got one of those to gift out for Christmas. It wasn't half bad but I don't think I'll be getting another. It came off the coil on the first run I couldn't believe it.... But it went right back on and stayed there.

Welcome to OG! What you're feeling is all-too-common when people take an interest in lava lamps these days. Your best bet will be vintage on eBay, Craigslist and thrift stores or buying Mathmos. I know some here have good luck with new stuff from Lava Lite, but most people don't want to take a chance and most of us have duds for lamps. I bought a handful of new stuff from Lava Lite over the years and about 80% of it was sold or returned. 

Good thing there's excellent vintage stuff out there! :)

Yeah--so I just checked the bulb, and the seller definitely put the correct replacement 40 watt in there. Anyone have any other advice? I might now have to use the goo kit on both the vintage and the new one it seems like.

Also, I did try the twisting trick on my China lamp during several different cycles--it just never worked. It's like the lava is just too gummy for the coil to break the surface tension. In fact, after I got word that I would be getting a full refund, I even tried tipping the globe a little bit while it was hot to get the coil to break through the lava--it went through and then the lava just formed a ball again and didn't melt onto the coil. Also, it seems like the coil is coming all apart in the lava, which is where the little black flecks are coming from.

Argh--so I've now bought a new lamp that doesn't flow at all and a vintage lamp that flows way too much. Looks like a goo kit is in my future.
Not to toss a monkey wrench into things but....have you seen Kirk and Loren's glitter? Loads of options besides goo!
Nope I'm new to all this--very much open to other options.

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