Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Well... new to this group but I'm trying to get some decent and sensible answers to one or two questions which the Mathmos dealer in Holland doesn't seem capable of supplying!!

Bought my green Fluidium (they call it FLUIDUM here in Holland!) last year in April so it's just over 16 months old.

Reflector lamp (not golf ball type) came in box and was put to use.

Lamp stood on a table with plenty of space around and was working fine (I thought) for a maximum of 6 hours more or less daily. Bulb pinged about 2 months ago and I just left it as was (getting too lazy to change lightbulbs!!!) Decided to give the base a clean with some mild soap as it looked grubby... I thought this was dust which had accumulated on the inside. To my horror I soon discovered it was scorched plastic or whatever the base is made of!

Screwed in the only bulb I had in doors which fitted the inner dimensions which was 25W. This didn't want to move the lava and just made the base glow!

Decided to revert back to an original type e.g. Astro and purchased this, together with 2 golfball 40W bulbs a few weeks ago. Fitted a golfball bulb into the Fluidium base and now have only slightly moving lava which looks like it's trying really hard to move upwards but can't and a very hot to touch base. The glass bottle, btw, is only barly warm to touch, even where the coil sits.

The Dutch supplier said first I was using the wrong bulb... fair enough I thought, but as they only listed the golfball 40W in their accessories, I figured this would be OK. They list a replacement bulb for Fluidium as an E14 whatever that is - this was listed on the outside of the golfball bulb.

Then they told me I had caused the scorching myself by running the lamp for more than the advised 8 hours. Bulls..t!! The lamp was in my bedroom and only got switch on when I went up to watch a few hours of TV before going to bed each evening!

Now they tell me they don't actually sell replacement bulbs for the Fluidium lamps but can remove one from a new boxed lamp and sell this to me for over €12.

So....... here are my questions to you Lavalamp wizards...... (a) did I kill my lava with the 25W bulb? I read somewhere that it's only overheating which kills the lava. (b) I keep reading the golfball type bulbs should be used instead of the reflector bulbs but my new one isn't heating the lava enough to move it upwards and (c) can I purchase a replacement eeny-weeny relflector bulb out there in a standard DIY or electrical store? (Holland has much the same stores as the UK)

One final thought which crossed my mind was this.... what would happen if I lined the base on the inside with aluminium baking foil, using the golfball bulb, so that the heat from the bulb would be forced upwards (obviously I've have to sit the base of the lamp onto something heat resistant as some heat would be forced downwards. You might guess I wasn't too good with Physics at school and anyway, that's so long ago I've probably forgotten most of the theories!!

I'd be grateful for any and all suggestions and otherwise I might just cut my losses and dump the Fluidium and be done with it.

Oh yes - the new Astro seems to have an awful lot of little lava bubbles - I'm sure this isn't right as I don't remember seeing these in either of my daughter's lamps.

Cheers all... Sue

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Answer to you questions:

A - you cant over heat a fludium with a 25W bulb (its way too cool) but I reckon the halogen reflector could have done some damage. These halogen bulbs put out too much heat and to be honest shouldn't be sold with the fludium, so that probably caused the damage to the plastic - not you running it for 8 hours.

B - in my fludium (yellow) I have a frosted golf ball lamp which is the same from a astra and its working fine so my theroy is that the halogen lamp may have over-cooked the wax and therefor its not flowing.

C to be honest the best way to get bulbs for lava lamps is to search on line as DIY shops wont often have many tungsten bulbs and probably don't have the right one.

Regarding the astra - can you post a picture of it so we can see exactly what's going on but it seams like its overheating - what kind of bulb do you have in it.
Either use a 30 watt or 40 watt reflector. Dont use a halogen reflector. I think Mathmos still sells replacement light bulbs on their website if you can buy from it.

Thanks for your answers Tim.... I figured the 25W bulb wasn't warm enough as it made my lava look like worms!! This has since flowed together to the bottom but won't rise further than about a 5 inch blob which actually sways but doesn't seem to want to split off into smaller modules and rise to the top.

Having read your theory about the reflector lamp being too hot, I think I might have to agree with you. I was just too naïve to have used the bulb supplied by Mathmos instead of doing some research first. It just didn't occur that I would need to look for pro's and con's and assumed (wrongly, as I now know) that the manufacturer knew what they were doing! The supplier certainly didn't agree with my own theory that the bulb wasn't right and said they'd never had complaints about scorching. I really don't believe I'm the only person in the world who has been presented with this problem!!

I screwed in an E14 golf-ball bulb which is the same type that which arrived with my Astro. This managed to clear the 'sausages and worms' which the lava had formed into with the 25W bulb, but doesn't heat the bottle or contents to the same degree as that of the Astro. Hence my thoughts of lining the base with aluminium foil to reflect the heat away from the base which is way to hot to touch after only 30 minutes whilst the bottle is only luke warm and stays at that temperature even after a couple of hours.

I hadn't realised the reflector bulb was halogen and assumed it was an old fasioned type of spot except with the silver on the side and transparant on top instead of the other way around which is what I still use in some ceiling fixtures.

I did a bit of web searching this afternoon regarding the many bubbles in the new Astro and, according to one sourch, it appears to be correct. But I might try to find a 30W golfball bulb and try that out to see if it makes a difference to the lava. There are always lamps in my home which can use a 30W bulb if my Astro doesn't like a cooler light bulb!

Thanks for the vote of confidence regarding the damage to the plastic on the Fluidium lamp! I have NEVER run it longer than 6 hours and get a tad miffed when my word is challanged by a shop-keeper!!! I figured that the lamp was the cause of the scorching and not the amount of time the lamp was used on a daily basis!!! Pure humbug and not a Mathmos dealer I will return to in the future. I'd rather pay extra and have something sent from the UK than deal with the Dutch on-line supplier!!!!

I'll post a picture of the Astro after I've tried my experiment with a 30W bulb.... let's see what happens first.....

But thanks again....

oh... did I say??? The Dutch supplier told me I shouldn't use an Astro bulb and this isn't compatible with a Fluidium lamp!!! Should I tell him there are folk like you out there who use this type of bulb or just ignore his comments?? hahaha



Tim Gill said:

Answer to you questions:

A - you cant over heat a fludium with a 25W bulb (its way too cool) but I reckon the halogen reflector could have done some damage. These halogen bulbs put out too much heat and to be honest shouldn't be sold with the fludium, so that probably caused the damage to the plastic - not you running it for 8 hours.

B - in my fludium (yellow) I have a frosted golf ball lamp which is the same from a astra and its working fine so my theroy is that the halogen lamp may have over-cooked the wax and therefor its not flowing.

C to be honest the best way to get bulbs for lava lamps is to search on line as DIY shops wont often have many tungsten bulbs and probably don't have the right one.

Regarding the astra - can you post a picture of it so we can see exactly what's going on but it seams like its overheating - what kind of bulb do you have in it.

Hi Autumn.... thanks for your comments.... I was already thinking of using a 30W bulb in the Astro (golfball type if I can find one) and will try to find a 'normal' rather than halogen reflector bulb for the Fluidium. Having read lots of European and American comments on the uses of different bulbs, I'm a tad miffed that Mathmos supply seemingly incompatible bulbs with their lamps. I'll take a gander at the UK on-line site rather than return to the Dutch supplier as I've now lost ALL faith in both their judgement and sales techniek!!


Ta very muchly for your help.


Autumn said:

Either use a 30 watt or 40 watt reflector. Dont use a halogen reflector. I think Mathmos still sells replacement light bulbs on their website if you can buy from it.

Yea basickly the thing to do now is to put the golf ball lamp into the fludium and keep it in there and let it run untill it flows - fludiums take a surprisingly long time to get flowing.

I am not entirly sure what is with Mathmos and the lamps they are selling with there lamps but its not as it should be.

Dont use golf ball bulbs, they wont work. Use reflectors on fluidiums. Using golf balls also run the risk of melting the base.

Tim Gill said:

Yea basickly the thing to do now is to put the golf ball lamp into the fludium and keep it in there and let it run untill it flows - fludiums take a surprisingly long time to get flowing.

I am not entirly sure what is with Mathmos and the lamps they are selling with there lamps but its not as it should be.

in that case what bulbs do you suggest / use with your fludium

Autumn said:

Dont use golf ball bulbs, they wont work. Use reflectors on fluidiums. Using golf balls also run the risk of melting the base.

Tim Gill said:

Yea basickly the thing to do now is to put the golf ball lamp into the fludium and keep it in there and let it run untill it flows - fludiums take a surprisingly long time to get flowing.

I am not entirly sure what is with Mathmos and the lamps they are selling with there lamps but its not as it should be.

Hello, 

Apologies for replying to this post (nearly) 10 years later. Haha!

I'm having the exact same issue as the original poster. I bought a bulb that looked like the right type from Mathmos but it was a halogen one and began to scorch the base of my Fluidium. I understand there's heat shields that can be purchased from Goolamp. But due to Brexit the minimum spend is something like 160 euros. So that's a no. So basically I'm back to square one, with a fluidium with no way of heating the wax. Does anyone have a solution? A link to a bulb that will work, or a spare heat shield kicking about?

Here's hoping!

Squibn


I never did trust the halogen bulbs that Mathmos sell for Fluidiums, bought one a while back, but as soon as I saw how close it was to the plastic ‘fins’ inside the base I knew I didn’t want to risk it for fear of frying it.



My Fludium seems to run ok with a 25-30w r39 SES reflector (incandescent) - they are a bit tricky to get a hold of, but small electrical specialist shops often have them (incandescent bulbs are banned from sale in the UK for 'general purpose' lighting - but are covered by a special purpose exemption, so can still be sold as lava lamp bulbs, oven bulbs, etc.)



Something like
 this

Hi Lampfancy,

Thanks for your reply, yeh I've tried one of those bulbs and the wax just doesn't move at all, it just lights up the base! I've attached the bulb I tried, it looks the same as the one you are suggesting, but there may be a subtle difference I've not spotted?

I wondered why that type of bulb runs okay on yours but doesn't budge on mine what so ever...strange :(

The hunt goes on...

Attachments:

Think the bulb you posted is actually halogen (outwardly they look the same as a standard r39, but have a halogen capsule inside the bulb) I think these put out less heat than a standard incandescent, so the bulb in the link might be worth a try



Also, do you know if your Fluidium is a ‘phase 1’ or ‘phase 2’ ? The earlier phase 1 has the circular Ross Lovegrove London motif on the bottle - whereas the later phase 2 just has the standard Mathmos logo.



Just that I remember reading that the phase 2 had an altered formula with lighter/ less dense wax so may be able to run better on lower wattage bulbs, (mine is a phase 2)

Sorry I am late to the party!  But, sounds like what you need is one of these.  Marcel sells them on his site, would be a good addition to your lamp.  Hopefully it will still fit and seat to do what it was meant to. 

https://goolamp.com/en/equipment/44-3289-glass-insert-suitable-for-...

Agree with Autumn, use the reflectors as the mirrored sides will keep heat off the base and projected up towards the globe where the heat needs to be!  Good luck with the rest of your search and drop some pics once you get it squared away!

MaGoo!

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