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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it would be nice to get an answer as to why china-made LL lamps don't flow as well as US-made.  i've spent a ton of time reading random things on this board and the old forum (the pink and black one that is archived) and i think i saw something where an "ingredient" that was in US-made lamps wasn't able to be shipped from china.  can anyone verify this, or am i just dreaming of things?

it seems like things would be much better with LL if their lamps would flow like they did in the 90's - made in china or not.

There have been many theories over the years and it has to be one of three:

1) They changed the formula

2) They lost the original formula

3) The Chinese factories aren't following the formula exactly, or they had to give them a modified version of it to make sure no one copied it. 

Lava Lite will never tell and I doubt they'll ever change.



Brad said:

it would be nice to get an answer as to why china-made LL lamps don't flow as well as US-made.  i've spent a ton of time reading random things on this board and the old forum (the pink and black one that is archived) and i think i saw something where an "ingredient" that was in US-made lamps wasn't able to be shipped from china.  can anyone verify this, or am i just dreaming of things?

it seems like things would be much better with LL if their lamps would flow like they did in the 90's - made in china or not.

My friend's Grande that he bought right when I bought my China lamp is now dead too, and I am going to goo kit it for him. It defies all business logic that Lava Lite is still in business. This is a ridiculously high failure rate. I've seen some people suggest that 2 out of every 5 LL lamps goes bad--I'd be willing to venture that it's more like 3 or 4 out of 5. That is well beyond the acceptable failure rate.

Jeez--what would we ever do if Magma Tower went under?

yeah, it makes you wonder how they are still in business.  we are a picky bunch though, and i bet there are a ton of people out there that think that's just how lava lamps flow and so they deal with it.  others probably pitch them since they're inexpensive and don't contact LL for replacements.

erin - those all sound like reasonable explanations, especially 1 and 3.

When I was on the wholesale site not long ago I saw the prices for LL lamps- anywhere from 1-5 dollars for accent up to 52 ounce...Because it is sooo cheap for LL to make them in China and import them it is really not necessary for them to do much business.  Its not like they are paying people to run a LL store, like Mathmos does in the UK.  Think about it...each 52 ounce lamp they sell pays for a itself and 6 more to be made!  Its quantity over quality and they're laughing all the way to the bank.  Why improve if you 're already making money?  The chances of them coming back to the states is very slim in my opinion since they'd have to pay higher wages for workers and I doubt the factory in China is what us Americans would consider "safe" so they'd have that to deal w here in the good ol' USA.

I know I have been fortunate in the lamps I have purchased in the last few years.  But still 20% of them have been bad out of the box.  And with my 52 oz neons, all 4 colors, the wax has faded considerably.  Even my green heritage grande has faded in the 9 months or so since I bought it.  Not as bad of a problem as poor or no flow, but it shouldn't happen.  The green is taking on an unfortunately yucky color. :(

I've also heard that a lot of the chemicals that they used to use back "in the day" have since been banned by the EPA.  They used to use some harsh crap back then in production of things that can't be used anymore.  Then again, look at the MT goo.  That's not toxic and I get great flow from my goo!  That's if I can find a decent coil to use because even the LL coils coming out of the newer lamps I seem to have issues with.  Glass is crap, coils bad, like I gave up on them after 4 neons went to hell in a hand basket really quick.  That's how I found this site.  Didn't know I couldn't use my lava lamps for night lights and run them 24/7, haahaaa......back when I was a "goo virgin".  Anyway, Keith, 3 neon green 52's look like what Linda Blair on the 1st Exorcist movie spewed up!!!  I'm going to goo kit my son's LL green into the nice green blend that I have in my room.  The other 2 greens and including my neon purple have since been kitted.

The EPA banned chemicals caused a formula change in the late 80's/early 90's.  Any bottle-capped USA lava lamp is EPA compliant.  So all those great flowing 90's lamps should be reproduceable even from a chinese factory, but we all know that is not the case.  

Carol, one of these days I'm gonna order the liquid candle wax dye that Vox recommends and recolor the green goo.  At least the faded purple and watermelon still look nice.

Carol said:

I've also heard that a lot of the chemicals that they used to use back "in the day" have since been banned by the EPA.  They used to use some harsh crap back then in production of things that can't be used anymore.  Then again, look at the MT goo.  That's not toxic and I get great flow from my goo!  That's if I can find a decent coil to use because even the LL coils coming out of the newer lamps I seem to have issues with.  Glass is crap, coils bad, like I gave up on them after 4 neons went to hell in a hand basket really quick.  That's how I found this site.  Didn't know I couldn't use my lava lamps for night lights and run them 24/7, haahaaa......back when I was a "goo virgin".  Anyway, Keith, 3 neon green 52's look like what Linda Blair on the 1st Exorcist movie spewed up!!!  I'm going to goo kit my son's LL green into the nice green blend that I have in my room.  The other 2 greens and including my neon purple have since been kitted.



Carol said:Extreme closeup green!!!  yummie!!  lololol!!

Hey Carol, shut up.  lol

Carol said:



Carol said:Extreme closeup green!!!  yummie!!  lololol!!

Now you just know I had to do that Keith~~~~heeheeheee

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