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.
http://oozinggoo.ning.com/photo/status-update-on-the-colossus-gooki...

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 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. 

oh i see now

Autumn, Has Magna tower ever offered you their goo/H2O Adjust solution?

They sent me these bottles once for free when I had issues long ago. 

(The H2O adjust is empty but I suspect it was just propylene glycol)

I will send them to you if you think it would help. along with some Propylene Glycol

Also, might try tossing another spring into the globe and see if more heat transfer makes a difference?

When I was initially reading your posts (and viewing the pics) it mentioned and the pics showed 145Deg at the bottom. That temp should be 125F

Also, I saw in the old post you used a bulb extender?

Are you using it now?

How far from the bottom of the globe, do you think the top of the reflector bulb sits?

It might be too far away to generate enough heat.

I was actually talking to Richard Hehmann from Magma Tower and we discussed him sending me some adjustment chemicals, but I have not heard back from him in 3 months. I'd be really grateful if you did have some spare materials to send my way. What does the goo adj. do? Does it reduce density and make the wax less solid? Also if you have any leftover wax that you don't want/need I'll buy it off of you. I need to add more wax to the colossus as well. 

I have tried bulb extenders. I had the bulb so close to the bottom of the globe I was afraid something would break due to the rapid change in temperature so I removed it. 145F is the max I took the lamp to. I ran it for several days over various ranges of temperatures. The way I was able to hit 145F was by throwing a blanket over the lamp. Normally it runs closer to 125F.

I think that's some bad goo.  I'll send you the adjust and see if it helps

Autumn said:

I have tried bulb extenders. I had the bulb so close to the bottom of the globe I was afraid something would break due to the rapid change in temperature so I removed it. 145F is the max I took the lamp to. I ran it for several days over various ranges of temperatures. The way I was able to hit 145F was by throwing a blanket over the lamp. Normally it runs closer to 125F.

I remember Carol saying before that she was told from someone at Magma Tower that their wax will start breaking down if ran constantly above 130 degrees.  That would make the 125 degrees ideal for flow.  In that case more heat, if it even made it flow, would be detrimental to the lamp.  Hopefully Magma Tower will work to make things right.

Half a gallon of propylene glycol I'm finally seeing movement.

Yay!

What's all those tiny bits of wax from and the red stuff at top?

Glad to hear its working for you, keep us up to date if you get full flow.

your package is on the way too

Im sure the bits of lava from the addition of glycol through the hot floatie should disperse when lamp is cooled down or absorbed by upcoming goo globs

I'm waiting for the wax to settle, but here is a sneak preview. The wax got really shaken up from adding propylene glycol. I added it while the lamp was running. I ended up having to add an entire gallon before the lamp would flow. The wax is hard to see because of all of the little floaties of wax. I'll have a good picture in a few days.. I'll also measure the density in case others run into this problem in the future.

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