Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Can anyone break down when and how dimmers should be used?


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Dimmers are useful when you have a lamp that overheats easily

It controls the flow so you have proper movement of Lava

Also if the lamps have placement near heat source

Next to other lamps, etc

Thanks. I guess I was wondering because I have one lamp that flows nicely, but it looks like the lava at the top has some bubbles in it. I thought this might be indicative of over heating.

Also, it starts with small lava balls and stays like that for a long time, but sometime around the 7-8 hour the lava get thicker and bigger and it looks great. Does heat affect size and shape of lava?

interesting. Thanks for the info.

your welcome

Hi from across the pond! Claude has answered you in technical terms better than I can, maybe it's worth adding some lava fills (eg - I believe - Goo-Kit) need less heat than originally-installed lavas, so a dimmer comes in handy there

Also big lamps - Lunars etc over here, (maybe Grandes and Giants I guess over your way, and certainly Colossus), need ages to warm up and, because of their size/volume etc, exhibit individual characteristics in lava flow that make tight control of power/incandescent heat useful to prolong the flow... so dimmers are factory fitted.

I'm now retro-fitting them to some of my smaller lamps over here - Astros - and really like the results, as many of the older Brit lamps have needed Goo-kitting.

 I believe - Goo-Kit) need less heat than originally-installed lavas, so a dimmer comes in handy there

Yes, Correct!

the paraffin blend uses less heat to make the goo rise

Andy, I've been thinking about attempting the refurb but my Century lamps aren't quite at that point. I have a lamps from the 80's, Midnight and Silver Streak I think, that are short a few inches of water each so I may attempt to add some water. Do you have reference for instructions on the retro-fit?I have seen a lot of "how-to's" online but don't know if there's a favorite or definitive source for it. 

For small quantities missing, just add distilled water to the desired level

If flotation is an issue afterward, use Propelyene glycol.

It is best to invest in a bottle capper

Jim, it's entirely dependent on what dimmers you buy... they are fitted like an inline switch, a comfortable/convenient distance from the base, obviously... though the Colossus ones were built into the base (and not very good by some accounts)

The ones I use are Relco, made by the Italian firm that made the dimmers fitted to Mathmos Lunars - they do a small one for less powerful bulbs (40-100w I think) as the model for Lunars is OK up to 300w but doesn't operate below ??30w.

If they make them for US voltage I can certainly recommend them, but I know Claude has experience in this area and can guide you for US dimmers if not. They can be quite tricky to fit, a fiddly wiring job.

Btw, one thought - I'm increasingly playing with lower wattage bulbs to overcome the problem of overheating, especially on wall lamps where you can't fit a dimmer... eg a Mathmos Jet (original spec was 40w golfball, with older formulation wax, then down to 30w reflector) I'm successfully running without dimmer on 25w reflectors - it's a fine line, as 25w golfballs weren't sufficiently powerful. The key issue is get the mix dead right first, obviously - but it's worth remembering that the correct bulb on the original spec may no longer be right with your new mix...


its a simple formula

less wattage = More propylene glycol for flotation

There is a midline where the wax will not melt properly so it's usually best to stick with basics.

And, there is a 12VDC dimmer available. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Inline-PWM-12-Volt-2-Amp-Dimmer-...

Some dimmers even have remote controls

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