Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Here is a simple modification that you can do to your Giant/Grande lamp that will make it look and function similar to the dimmer on the Colossus.

Tools needed:

-Drill

-Drill bits

-Flathead screwdriver

-Phillips screwdriver

-Wire strippers (optional)

-Pliers

1. For this modification I used a Westek 6077B manual dimmer, though others exist.  Make sure the one you purchase is for incandescent bulbs.

2. The instructions are very simple - connect the smooth black wire from the lamp cord to one of the wires on the dimmer, then connect the second wire on the dimmer to the bulb housing.

3. On the bulb housing, remove the screw using a flathead screwdriver.

4. Disconnect the smooth (i.e. non-ribbed) wire from the bulb housing.

5. Attach one wire from the dimmer to the cord wire and secure using the wire nut that is included (I may solder and shrink wrap the connection if the wire nut begins to melt, but for now I'm using the wire nut).

6. Attach the other wire on the dimmer to the bulb housing and secure using the phillips head screwdriver.  This takes some patience as there isn't much slack in the wire.  You may need strip some of the housing from the wire if enough of the wire isn't exposed.  Small hands help here.

7. Drill a pilot hole in the base above where the cord enters the base.

8. Drill the larger hole and press the dimmer switch through the hole and use the pliers to secure the nut to the base.  Then press the black plastic finger grip on to the dimmer.

**NOTE: on some bases (particularly grande), the wires going in to the socket may be riveted to the socket.  thus, to perform the modification, you will need to splice in to the smooth wire.  here is what it looks like if it's riveted: 

Here is the dimmer in action:

https://oozinggoo.ning.com/video/built-in-dimmer-for-giant-grande-l...

https://oozinggoo.ning.com/video/built-in-dimmer-for-giant-grande-l...

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BAD ASS! Thanks for that!

Pretty damn slick Brad.

NIce, too bad there isn't enough room to do that in a 32oz base

This is great.  I recently got my first Grande (a used blue/yellow) and it makes nice columns but isn't very active and the columns don't go all the way up.  Is that normal for Grandes, or could I do this mod and use a hotter bulb to make it more lively?  My infrared thermometer says the Grande is about 130 degrees when fully warmed.  

Awesome!!! The dimmer holds up to the heat?

It's holding up nicely. Will keep you updated. Ben - I think you could.

Cool! excellent post.  Now I need to find someone with small hands ;)

After running the lamp for 8+ hours a day since I made this modification, I am happy to report no issues with the dimmer or wiring.  It's like a mini Colossus!

Brad - did you find this available at your local Home Depot/Menards/Lowes or did you need to order it? 

I think I ordered it on-line from Home Depot.

Great write up on this Brad.  Finally got around to reconfiguring my hammered copper Grande base for my clear/green Neon.  Followed your easy to follow directions and worked like a charm (without a single outburst or meltdown).  Going to perform the same surgery on my hammered black Grande base for my clear/orange Neon today (hopefully this one won't have the leads riveted to the socket like the other).

Major props for a great idea and for demystifying the installation directions.  It truly is as easy as you make it sound above.  Gold star for you.

Edit to add: Wound up finding the part (on hand) locally at a local electric supply place.  I think each unit was $3 and its the same exact model as the one you have pictured.  Such a slick little mod for such a small cost!

thanks Jim!  glad you were able to use the write-up to make your lamps even better.  as always, let's see some pics!

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