Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hey everyone! Long time no see. So I have had a Colossus sitting empty in my house for a few years now after it wouldn't flow when I put a Gookit in it. I finally decided it was a shame to keep it in its sorry state.
For a quick recap of the original project you can check out this uploaded picture and read the comments.

I started this project with a call to the fine people at Magma Tower to get some advice on what went wrong when I originally tried this out. I emptied the water out most of the way to make it easier to move the lamp since I had moved a few times over the years. It turns out if you want to store their goo they suggest you store it dry so the water doesn't leech chemicals out of the wax. I was also told that chemicals can be left over from the original lamp contents that will stop the lamp from flowing. I also found out that even residue left on the cap can stop the flow once the cap starts to drip from the humidity. Finally I got the prescription for the lamp.

Scrape the top layer of wax off because it likely will have issues due to chemical leeching.
Wash it out with surfactant. 2oz should do.
Buy a 16oz bottle of surfactant and 8-9 gallons of distilled water.
Refill the lamp, add the surfactant, see if it flows.

Some stats for others going down this route.

  • The lamp needs 10ml of surfactant per quart. The lamp is 40 quarts(10 gallons) so I will need to add 13.5oz of surfactant.
  • The lamp should have a 20/80 goo to water ratio.
  • 175 watts is about what you need for a light. Bigger lava lamps are dramatically more effected by ambient temperature so you should probably use a 200 watt light and use a dimmer to maintain a stable temperature.
  • The top of the lamp should come in at 125-134 degree Fahrenheit.

I originally ordered 4 quarts of goo. I asked if that may have been my issue and I was told no, but it will have less wax at the bottom. I may end up having to buy 4 more quarts to reach. This kind of throws off the calculations slightly, but shouldn't effect anything.

I should have my surfactant next week, but I'll be out of state for a business trip. I'll update this post when I get back.

Anyways... picture time.

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I used 5 quarts of goo and a whole 16oz bottle of Surf when i redid mine

The nice part was, I could reach in and remove the "Floatie" by hand.

I have refilled the lamp and I still don't have any flow. 127F at the top and 140F on the bottom. I think this is the range it should be in to flow. I'll be asking Magma tower what to do next.

Sad update. After refilling the lamp again per instructions from Magma Tower the lamp still does not flow. I was talking to Magma Tower about buying some new materials, but I was told their manufacturing equipment was experiencing issues. I have not heard from them in two and a half months. I'm not sure what happened, but I assume this refill may not be happening for a while. I may buy up a bunch of older american clear/red lamps on ebay until I have enough to refill the lamp that way.

I did have a bad quart recently

all it did was sit there and go clear and the lighter parts  with bubbles float and stay there

They replaced it but it took some time (I assumed due to Christmas holidays)

Ive yet to try the new batch and not sure as i just shoved the new bottle in with the remaining 4 quarts i keep in stock

Is your dimmer OK?

Are you still using the 150-watt lamp?

Maybe put in a hotter (higher wattage)  bulb?

I use a 250-watt reflector in mine


After looking at the meter probers more carefully

I see that it is no hot enough

the bottom should be 125F

try increasing the wattage

I have a 250 watt bulb. I measured the temperature and the lamp gets within the temperature ranges to flow properly, but it just doesn't. If you look at the photos again you will see the top gets to 127F and the bottom gets to 140F. It's hard to see because I suck at photography and there is a glare over the temperature.

Is the temp measuremnt of 125 obtaed at the very bottom?

It read 125F at the top of the lamp and 140F at the bottom. 

Even if the wax is no good, shouldn't it at least dome a little. Are you sure you don't have to much or to little surf??

If claude used 16oz of surf and you used 13.5, that's a big difference if you ask me. I know it sounds like a small difference but surf sometimes can make the difference between no flow and flow.

He's pretty darn good when it comes to goo kits so I trust his judgment as he has helped me with grandes and he's been pretty spot on.

Also, do you have a smaller lamp you can test the wax on like a 52oz model or even a grande? That would help to determine if a wax issue or heat/surf issue.

I added the amount of surfactant recommended to me by Magma Tower. I was told the amount doesn't effect flow for their formula and there really only needs to be enough to prevent wax from sticking to the glass for lamps this size.

It needs to be 125 at bottom

that's your problem

change the lamp to a 250 watt and crank the dimmer up
Autumn said:

It read 125F at the top of the lamp and 140F at the bottom. 

I think you are misreading my posts. I have a 250 watt bulb in the lamp and the temperature is exceeding 125F at the bottom.

Claude J said:

It needs to be 125 at bottom

that's your problem

change the lamp to a 250 watt and crank the dimmer up
Autumn said:

It read 125F at the top of the lamp and 140F at the bottom. 

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