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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That's too bad chris I've bought 4 vintage lamps and they're great. Don't be afraid to try again.

It's normal (even preferable, if you ask me) for a lamp to alternate from solid column to small blobs, and then go back again...but if the small blobs are all hanging out in the top of the lamp like a bunch of grapes, then you're definitely overheating. A lot of people report good luck with dimmer switches, but honestly...I really wouldn't throw out any 90's wax. I would run it in a colder room, lower the bulb, lower the wattage, use a dimmer, anything.

Oh and thanks for the shout-out, Heidi!

I have so many USA lava's that have been sitting unused for about 10 years now lol.  Dying to sell them, however, I am too lazy to ship them.  ):

Chris - I also have a few lamps that initially ran a bit "fast" (for lack of a better term), in that the wax was breaking up more than I wanted. My solution was to switch from 120 volt bulbs to 130 volt bulbs. They run just a bit cooler, and that was enough to slow down the wax to a much better flow. I would definitely try that before giving up.

You know--the small blobs actually do NOT just hang out at the top. They do come down. All the goo in the lamp is moving all the time--nothing is staying in one place too long. There is no dimmer on this lamp, so I wonder if I should try a lower watt bulb.

Loren said:

It's normal (even preferable, if you ask me) for a lamp to alternate from solid column to small blobs, and then go back again...but if the small blobs are all hanging out in the top of the lamp like a bunch of grapes, then you're definitely overheating. A lot of people report good luck with dimmer switches, but honestly...I really wouldn't throw out any 90's wax. I would run it in a colder room, lower the bulb, lower the wattage, use a dimmer, anything.

Oh and thanks for the shout-out, Heidi!

So 130 volt actually runs cooler than 120 volt? Just want to make sure--I know nothing about watts and volts and all that, but I have a feeling I'm about to find out.

Just popped the bulb out and it is 40w 120v

One more edit: are there some ideal w/v combinations I should try? I'm going to make a Home Depot run tomorrow and see what my options are.

Rob C said:

Chris - I also have a few lamps that initially ran a bit "fast" (for lack of a better term), in that the wax was breaking up more than I wanted. My solution was to switch from 120 volt bulbs to 130 volt bulbs. They run just a bit cooler, and that was enough to slow down the wax to a much better flow. I would definitely try that before giving up.

No problem Loren!  I recently bought two 90's lamps and the goo goes from pea shooting to large blobs to columns- it's true they all have their own individual personalities.  I have almost all my older lamps on dimmers when I run them, the 32 ounce 90's globes are on 40 watt bulbs at about 75% on a dimmer in a 70 degree room.

Loren said:

It's normal (even preferable, if you ask me) for a lamp to alternate from solid column to small blobs, and then go back again...but if the small blobs are all hanging out in the top of the lamp like a bunch of grapes, then you're definitely overheating. A lot of people report good luck with dimmer switches, but honestly...I really wouldn't throw out any 90's wax. I would run it in a colder room, lower the bulb, lower the wattage, use a dimmer, anything.

Oh and thanks for the shout-out, Heidi!

yep, if you run a 130v bulb on 120v, it will run cooler.  it may be easier to just get an in-line dimmer so you have full control of the flow, but that is up to you.  or, if the bulb is clear, try a frosted one.  the frosted bulbs run a little bit cooler.

Chris said:

So 130 volt actually runs cooler than 120 volt? Just want to make sure--I know nothing about watts and volts and all that, but I have a feeling I'm about to find out.

Just popped the bulb out and it is 40w 120v

One more edit: are there some ideal w/v combinations I should try? I'm going to make a Home Depot run tomorrow and see what my options are.

Rob C said:

Chris - I also have a few lamps that initially ran a bit "fast" (for lack of a better term), in that the wax was breaking up more than I wanted. My solution was to switch from 120 volt bulbs to 130 volt bulbs. They run just a bit cooler, and that was enough to slow down the wax to a much better flow. I would definitely try that before giving up.

Forgive my ignorance again--is the dimmer something I would just plug in or does it have to be installed?



Brad said:

yep, if you run a 130v bulb on 120v, it will run cooler.  it will be easier to just get an in-line dimmer so you have full control of the flow, but that is up to you.  or, if the bulb is clear, try a frosted one.  the frosted bulbs run a little bit cooler.

Chris said:

So 130 volt actually runs cooler than 120 volt? Just want to make sure--I know nothing about watts and volts and all that, but I have a feeling I'm about to find out.

Just popped the bulb out and it is 40w 120v

One more edit: are there some ideal w/v combinations I should try? I'm going to make a Home Depot run tomorrow and see what my options are.

Rob C said:

Chris - I also have a few lamps that initially ran a bit "fast" (for lack of a better term), in that the wax was breaking up more than I wanted. My solution was to switch from 120 volt bulbs to 130 volt bulbs. They run just a bit cooler, and that was enough to slow down the wax to a much better flow. I would definitely try that before giving up.

an in-line dimmer just plugs in.

for instance: http://www.amazon.com/Lutron-TT-300NLH-BL-Credenza-Dimmer-Black/dp/...

Thanks!! I'll add that to my Home Depot list.



Brad said:

an in-line dimmer just plugs in.

for instance: http://www.amazon.com/Lutron-TT-300NLH-BL-Credenza-Dimmer-Black/dp/...

FYI dont be tempted like i was by the "tap" dimmers...they claim that you can use them like the old touch lights to dim your lamps but they dont work!  get the kind in the link- thats what I ended up getting too

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