Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I wish that my first post after joining this site wasn't in the Problems section but sometimes thats the way things are.

I recently purchased what I believe is a Century lava lamp on ebay. The lamp was described as being fully functional with clear blue liquid and white wax.

I received the lamp yesterday and eagerly opened up the package. The liquid appeared to be clear but the wax was more of a pale yellow in colour. I set up the lamp and gave it an hour to settle before turning it on. It took about 1.5 hours before starting to flow.

I was disheartened to notice that once the flow began that the liquid became slightly cloudy and the wax had a very grainy, gritty texture. Almost as if there were small, unmelted flakes of wax. In addition there were lots of bubbles in the wax, some small some large. I let the lamp run for six hours hoping that it would help. After about 3 hours of running time, the wax texture began to smooth out but the bubbles increased in number and in size. When I finally turned of the lamp I had some blobs that basically consisted only of large bubbles. All these bubbles are liquid and not air.

Today I tried cycling the lamp, 4 hours on 2 hours off and repeat. Like yesterday the wax flows fine but starts off with this gritty texture that eventually smooths out and numerous bubbles forming in the wax which progressively get larger. Now that I've turned off the lamp for today and the wax is cooled, I can see that the solid wax is filled with tiny (1 - 4mm) bubbles. It reminds me of that chocolate that you can buy that is full of tiny air pockets.

On a positive note, the liquid seems to have cleared up and no longer appears as cloudy while running.

My questions are if anyone has some suggestions as what else I can do? Am I cycling the lamp correctly? Is this a lost cause? I would really appreciate any help you all can offer. I've attached a picture I took yesterday. I can take more detailed ones if needed.



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I had a bubbley lamp too and fixed it pretty easily.
I let it heat up just until it started flowing then would, very carefully, turn the lamp off, take the glass off the lamp and put it on the bare floor to cool down a little quicker. Each time I did this some of the bubbles would pop. I now have a lamp with no bubbles.

Thanks for the suggestion. At this point I'm willing to try anything and this seems easy enough. I guess once I'm really careful not to shake the globe all should be ok. I'll try it out and report back with hopefully good results. By the way, about how many times did you have to do this to achieve satisfactory results?
My lamp was nothing but bubbles big and little. I played with it over a weekend whenever I thought about it and got all the bubbles out.
I moved the glass by taking off the cap, then holding the top with a steady hand moved the glass very carefully to the floor. Didn't want to loose the bubbles and gain haze!
It does have the the inner heat shield but after looking at your photos I notice that mine has a different bulb.

In the first attachment the bulb on the right is similar in size and shape to the one shown in your photo. However the bulb on the left is what my lamp has in. As I'm in Germany it may be that the previous owner converted the lamp over and used the wrong fitting.

The smaller bulb is also rated at 40 watts but perhaps it doesn't give out enough heat and due to its smaller size would explain why I feel that the lamp is dark compared to some of my other lamps.

The second photo I've attached shows the lamp in between some of my other lamps. Here you can really see how bad the bubbles get. The lamp was running for 4 hours when the photo was taken.

Should I perhaps try to change the fitting to take a normal size 40 watt bulb?
After a closer inspection I've noticed a sticker inside that states that the smaller bulb as shown in my previously attached photo is the correct one. There is also the appropriate sticker to certify that the wiring complies with German TÜV standards. So it would appear that this century was manufactured specifically for sale here in Germany. So we can rule out incorrect wiring, bulb or wattage as the source of the problem.

I'm wondering if a mathmos Astro replacement bottle would fit the century base? Would this be a viable solution?

I am also considering opening up the globe, emptying the liquid into a storage container, then turning the lamp on to melt down the wax hopefully removing the bubbles from the wax completely. Then waiting for the wax to thoroughly cool, re-adding the original liquid and resealing the top. However the plastic cap seems to be glued onto the top of the globe so I'm not sure how to get it off. I don't want to damage it.
Here are some more shots of the base. The first shows the bulb in the base with the heat reflector. The second shows the sticker in the base telling me I'm using the correct bulb. The third is a shot of the wax as its cooling showing the bubbles. I tried out Woodvetch's suggestion today but I can't say I've noticed any improvement.

I can get a Mathmos Astro replacement bottle for 36€. Would this globe fit on the century base? Anyone have an idea how it would look?

I'm also considering opening up the bottle as I said in my last post. Removing the liquid and melting the wax to get the bubbles. Refilling it with the same liquid and resealing it. Is this a bad idea? I believe that this is a screw cap globe but the cap seems to be on very firmly. Any suggestions on how to get it off without breaking the plastic?

Thanks for the help and suggestions so far. I really appreciate it.
Thank you for your advice Bohdan. I'll take your advice and give the globe a few weeks and see if things slowly improve. Is there a recommended method for cycling the lamp?

I will also probably go ahead and order a Astro replacement globe so that at least I can have a working globe to run on the base. Now to decide which colour combo to order. Violet/Red, Violet/Orange, Yellow/Red, Blue/Blue or Blue/Green. I'm leaning towards the Yellow/Red at the moment.
That's fine. I've been running it for no more than 4 hours at a time. We'll see what it does after a week or 2. Thanks again for the advice. I'll post up a photo of it with the Mathmos globe once I've got it.
I've got a "new" Type 100 Century lamp that I have been troubleshooting this weekend... good 'ol Ebay. Anyways, I've noticed that I do not have the heat shield that you pictured in your posting.

I am suffering from the following ailments:
- bubbles everywhere, mostly what appears to be air/oil, both big and small
- extremely irregular flows
- bubbly mess that hangs out at the top of the globe

From the photos on Ebay it looked like it worked well before it was shipped to me. Would tin foil in lieu of the heat shield help smooth out the flows?

I'll be putting it on the floor trying to cool faster and pop the bubbles per your advice.

My lamp isn't a Century lamp but I also have bubbles which is only a recent occurance and having only used it about 5 times...mine also didn't come with a heating ring and I'm guessing it's an el cheapo because it's a brandless one...would fixing the bubbles be worth it? or should I just get a new and better one?
In the instruction manual for mine it said that I should run it for no more than 10 hours...is that too much? I mean the instruction manual said so, so it's good for it right? It's not going to wreck it or anything is it?
Dats, That is actually kind of normal, I have a Silver Century Pink/Pink that is way worse than yours, some are just like that. I don't know why but running it could help but I'm really not sure whatever you do please don't open up the globe and try to mess with it, I've done that so many times and ruined perfectly good lamps.

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