Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

So I am aware of the situation with Lava Brand lights and the quality control issues. I thought I would just add my recent experiences. So I picked up a 52oz clear/red from Fry's electronics a few weeks back. Initially I was shocked by the clarity and the lava. It looked great the first couple times thick opaque lava that would “join up” with other lava well. After just a few days the lamp stopped working and with a little poking
around it turned out to be a coil problem. The lava had separated
from the coil.

I tried slowly spinning it to re-catch but it was done.


So I returned it and tried a Spencer's Gifts in the mall. I ask the clerk what their policy was on lava lamp returns and she said 30 days. She mentioned they had trouble with cloudy globes about a year ago but since then everything has been fine. I gave it a shot and low and behold this one is even clearer and still working (knocks on wood). I did notice the packaging was slightly different and the coils are different even for
the same 52oz lamp and same clear/red color.


They were both in the cylinder boxes, but the Spencer's lamp had different numbers on cap:

H5210

09092001

B


The previous lamp I returned had only one string of numbers on it I believe, can't remember the numbers I think just a date. The packaging design as I mentioned was slightly different it had “Lampara Movimiento” on the side and a weird blurring/shadow of the lamp in motion. Still says on the box “Made in China”. Just curious really does anyone make anything of this. I definitely think this lamp is working much much better than the
previous one and I can't explain it. 


 


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Definitely sure about the date and the cap information above. I'll get a picture up in a bit.
Uploaded the pictures, I figured out the H5210 is the model number not sure what the H stand for? Obviously the second number is the date.... but what is the "B" mean???
The ones I bought as Christmas presents from Frys were just like this although realllllllly cloudy when they arrived. :(
Can you share the numbers on the caps with me?
I only have a cap left from one of them, but it reads: H5210 / 09041901 A
So the 5210 is the model number but how do you decipher that date... I'm sure it wasn't made in 1901.

Also what is the difference between the "B" & the "A" 's???
Good questions all. Wish I knew! Maybe an A or B refers to an morning or evening production run... I really don't know. The one's I had bought were all 52oz Red & Clears.
Thanks Bohdan so much for the info! Mine is seems more clear than yours in your picture... do they get cloudier over time?
Well crap, this one died tonight.... seperated from the coil. What causes this? I can still take it back but is there something I"m doing wrong or some way to avoid this? If I could find a bottle capper I might try taking out the coil and using a new one. Do you just put it in the bottom? How would you do this without dumping anything out? While its hot?
I've been messing around with replacing the coils in a couple 52oz lamps that just sit in the blob above the coil. Although this may not be the "preferred" method, it has worked for me.

Gently took the cap off by prying around the edge so as not to ruin the cap. Comes off easier than you think. I only had to pry about 1/3 of the way around until I could just gently pop it off. I had the perfect bottle openner for it. It was only about 1/8" thick so I could just pry the crimps a little bit to get the cap loosened, and this really keeps the cap in decent shape. Imagine using the bottle openner on the top of the wine openner with the arms, verticle instead of horizontal, and it really works well!! I uncapped it while the lamp was cold, and put in a resealable wine stopper and let it heat up. Took a wire coat hanger, straighten it out to about 2 1/2 feet, and put a little "L" at the end to fish out the coil. A "U" at the end is harder to grab the coil with I found. Turned the lamp off and removed the globe from the base. Took out the stopper slowly. A little bit of built up pressure, but like opening a beer not a bottle of champagne. Slowly went fishing for the coil and brought it up slowly. Grab the coil as you're pulling it out or it splashes the goo everywhere. Both of my lamps I've openned has a strong kerosene like smell to them. Don't smoke... Squeezed the new coil to get it through the bottle openning, and one lamp I just dropped it in, and it sank flat to the bottom, and the other I just reversed the hook process slowly. I then just put in the the wine stopper to make sure they worked, and they both have for the last 4 runs anyway. I then put a couple layers of foil and snapped the cap back on, and wrapped the top with some more foil. Squished it up towards the cap to make it as airtight as possible. All foil is well covered by the lamps hat. I was concerned about the air tight seal, or lack of affective the operation, but so far so good!! Attached two pics of the lamps with replaced coils.

I recently put 2 coils in the red one, One a little bigger than the other, but both still a fair bit smaller than the width of the globe where they sit. They seem to sit somewhat on top of each other, and the flow is actually pretty insane, Some large, but a ton of golf ballish sized gobs, Quite impressed. I'm sure the double coil won't help the lifespan much, but it's fun to tinker!! Will post pic soon of Clear/Red take two.

Anyway, it took me all of 5 minutes to replace the coils from popping the top to recapping it. Excluding warm up time of coarse. Both seem to be doing fine, and getting better actually, and I may double up the coil in the Purple/Yellow one.

If we have to look for a brightside in the crappy lamp era, it's that they're cheap enough to play with, and if you screw one up totally, it's not the end of the world.
Attachments:
I got one from spencer's about a month ago, clear/lime, and it's a piece of crap!! The lava just blobs and floats.....I think I'll try your coil replacement technique, I've been considering it....where did you get your new coil at? I know I've been told they have them at Lowes and such, but I have no idea where to look, what department and what size and what not! Now that I know that will fix them I'm definately going to try it. what kind of opener did you use? All I have is the punch style opener, and I know that will ruin the cap.....
I was actually at a local auto parts and industrial tools store looking for some other stuff, and came across some 5 inch long compression springs that were just a little thicker width and wire gauge than the original coils. Hoped they would work, and like I said, so far so good. Even with any bottle openner, I really didn't have to pry the edges of the cap at all. Less than a 1/32" to get the cap to come off, so if you're careful you should be able to save it. My original plan was to use some waterprrof, high heat resistant epoxy I use for repairing some guitar issues at work, laying a thin bead, and putting a quarter on top. Easy enough to heat with a soldering iron, and get a knife under the coin to pry it off it need be.

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