Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello, I recently bought a 1993 aristocrat, and it works, but the flow is strange. The liquid is crystal clear, the glass has very few bubbles, and the wax is a nice deep red. The wax forms a dome at the bottom and as it is rising as it should, a clear bubble of liquid comes up through the wax pulling up a small amount of wax with it. A small blob rises to the top and the dome at the bottom goes down a little and then this repeats. It had a clear 40 watt bulb in it when I bought it, so I tried putting in a 40 watt frosted sylvania bulb the next day, after it cooled over night. After a while it started to flow nicely, but after about 5 minutes, it started the small bubble thing again. I looked at the underside of the bottle while it was warm, and it appears that there is a thin layer of liquid under the wax (thin layer is a bit thicker where the coil is connected to itself). In an attempt to get the wax back to the very bottom, I picked up the warm bottle and swirled it around gently (careful not to break up the wax). After this it flowed nicely, but after about 15 minutes it went back to the small bubbles. How can I fix this, or could this fix itself. I don't want to open the bottle if there's something else I could try first. Worst case I can goo kit it, but I want to try to save the current contents first. Thank you everyone in advance for any advice.

By the way this is my first post, sorry it's long, but I didn't want to leave out any possibly important detail.

Here are 2 videos, the first is of the weird small bubble flow, the second is after I swirled it around and it began to flow properly:

http://youtu.be/BniaZEUqpgc

http://youtu.be/ZY0RX2inbE0

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hey what a great idea... i gotta find me a magnet now

Well I'll be....I never thought of using a magnet to move the coil!  Now I wish it wasn't so late...to late to warm up a grande tonight and try this...but I'll probably give it a shot tomorrow night.  I've got plenty of strong magnets from old computer hard drives.  Worth a try.

I have ran a globe on a 60 watt bulb nearly daily for a couple of years without any problems.  If you have any more problems with it you might give it a try.

Cowmatian said:

Is there any risk of excessive pressure building up in the globe if I put a 60 watt bulb in it (how sturdy is the bottle and plastic screw cap). I tried the dimmer, the wax just sits at the bottom, and when the heat gets hot enough to flow, it starts the small bubbles again. Should I try cycling it with the 40 watt bulb first?
Yeah, after it runs a while, I'm going to shut it down and and if when I start it tomorrow it acts up, I'm going to try the 60 watt bulb. I wouldn't have really worried about the pressure if it wasn't for mythbusters, but I guess a 60 watt bulb is nowhere even remotely close to the heat of the hot plate they used.
I turned it back on, and its flow is the terrible small bubbles again. So, the magnet fixed it temporarily, but for a permanent solution, I'm going to try cycling it with a 60 watt bulb (6 hrs on, 6 off). After how many cycles should I expect to see improvement? If this doesn't do it I'm going to clean the coil.

it's an art and a science since each lamp is different.  there are methods that work, but sometimes one lamp may require more cycling than another.  regardless,  i would cycle it for 3-4 days like that on a timer and then see if that solves the problem.  if not, i agree that the coil may be to blame.  is is possible for you to post a photo of the coil while the wax is in a liquid state?

Yeah, I tried to get a photo before, but I couldn't get it to turn out. I'll try again today, with some better lighting. I did notice that where the coil is connected to itself to form its round shape, there seems to be a constant bubble of liquid ( it doesn't even go away after swirling the globe around). I know a picture will be much more helpful, so I'll get it posted as soon as possible.

cool, yeah that may help.

Here's a picture of the bubble I was talking about. The first is while the wax is cold, the second is when the wax was liquid. The first one turned out better, and that is how it looks when it is hot anyway. The little bubbles in the second picture were there because it got bumped. They aren't usually there, and went away shortly after.
Images attached
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Here it is cold:
Attachments:

hmm, it's difficult to tell if anything is wrong with those photos.  i'd say that if the 60w doesn't work, then you should clean out the coil.  that said, i would make absolutely sure you try everything else before opening up that 1993 gem!

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