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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I ran my fluidium for years with a 25 watt reflector bulb. Originally I tried a 40 bulb and the base began to crack. I actually ordered one of the glass rings from Marcel a few days ago because the flow on the fluidium never really was spectacular with the 25 watt bulb. 

In that case Lampfancy I've got a phase 1, as mine has the motif on the bottle. I'm going to go to my local hardware store tomorrow to see if they've got one of those incandescent ones like you've posted a link to.

I saw those glass inserts Mr MaGoo, and I think it'd be exactly what I need too! But unfortunately when I enquired about them, due to Brexit the postage cost is just way too high to order one for me here in England.

I'll try a 25-30 watt bulb Autumn in that case, I definitely don't want a cracked base!!

Cheers,
Squibn

As Mr MaGoo suggested you should get one of those glass inserts which came only with the first series of Fluidium which has the dotted bottle. No idea why Mathmos stopped to ship them with the glass pieces as so many fluidiums had the polycarbonate inside the base severely burnt which is especially annoying on the opal ones as it shines through and transforms the lamp from being a gorgeous collectors item into a expensive source of anger everytime you look at it. Anyway the missing glass part is not the only issue as the supplied bulbs also changed from a golfball type reflector to a standart golfball anger source type. I never found this golfball reflector type anywhere else and I really tried! There are golfball types with reflector feature on the top part so the light goes down instead of up but needless to say they dont work for the fluidium. The only real replacement for the early bulbs are some 40 watt spots which are slightly bigger than the usual 30 watt spots used in astrobaby, jet etc. and also the only source  of those 40w spots known to me is a very nice female OG member which I forgot the name of who sent me 4 of those bulbs for free about 12 years ago and she was from the uk. Btw e14 is the socket size, its 14 milimeters wide but its doesnt say anything about the type of bulb. So...Basicly...get the glass insert and cross you fingers that a usual golfball type bulbs gets hot enough for a good flow. If this is not the case my advise would be to get really really annoyed. Maybe even to an extend where you dont wanne see this piece of work fluidiun anger source type of thing ever again and pack it up in a huge box full of bubblewrap puieces in a state of destructive rage and pure hatred against non reflector golf ball type bulbs and then put my address on the box and kick it to the post office so I can destoy it for you in the most cruel way polycarbonate can experience...just sitting on a shelf slowly detoriating over the course of the next few hundret thousand years...I'd say thats a brilliant plan...isnt it!?.... goolamps.com is where you get the glass bit. I Hope it works!!!

A little update on my Fluidium issue, I managed to get some 40w incandescent reflector bulbs, and YES! I have a working  lamp (see pictures) The only issue I now have is it doesn't run great, I just get a big ball that goes up, then comes back down again. I also noticed that I think I burnt some of the wax when I tried the halogen bulb (a lesson there folks!), as theres some 'toasted' bits floating in my wax and what is also noticeable is I seem to have some of that burnt bit stuck in the coil, which makes the whole ball of wax when heated stick to it, and it doesn't really like separating from it. (Also see picture for example).

So I think the next thing I need to do is get one of these heat shields (I've know this all along, it's just hard to source here in the UK) that people keep mentioning, but as I've said before, due to Brexit I can not buy one from goolamps as the minimum postage requirement is just too much, so, I've managed to find a company local to me here in York, UK that makes tubes to any size and width. So I wondered if someone would be so kind as to measure theirs so I can get one made to measure? I know this sounds like overkill, but Arne's suggestion might become a reality if this doesn't work!!!

Thanks all for your suggestions so far, progress is being made, just not to the extent I'd like!

Cheers,
Steve

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My heat shield should show up this Monday. I'll get some measurements for you.

What exactly is the problem with the goolamp requirements? If it helps, I can buy it and send it to you.

ive managed to get a uk company to make heat shields for me alot cheaper and they work great if you need any pm me as there custom order and i got more due on the way im in the uk also if that helps, ive found the halogen bulbs the par ones work best the 40w r39 reflector does aswell but hard to source.

Thanks for both your offers Autumn and Arne, I think the cheapest way of getting a heat shield is by DM'ing John and getting the details of the company here in the UK as if I did get it from Goolamps I'm still gonna have to pay European delivery, which I'm positive will be more expensive than here in the UK. Thanks anyway!

Hi John, 

Just wondered if you'd received my message about those heat shields for the Fluidium? Would be great to get the info I need to order one.

Thanks,
Squibn

All of the problems mentioned here is why the fluidium was discontinued. Along with bottle clouding. Plastic and heat a bad combination. 

Its a shame they didn't reverse engineer the base and cap into cast metal. 

I've got 3 but must admit am quite scared of using them as they're all in mint condition. So they are staying boxed up. 

The bottles cloud up very easily, make sure the whole unit is on a very stable base as the slightest vibration can cloud a fluidium. 

Funnily enough I've recently been seeing cheap knock offs on ebay that are the fluidium shape, but with metal bodies. They seem to be coming from Germany

Not sure why Mathmos never bothered to give it a go in metal, but then it's the same with other styles they've just retired and never gone back to, I guess it adds to their "exclusivity".

I'd absolutely love a lantern, it would suit my bedroom well unlike the other styles available, but I can't justify the prices they go for.  I'd love to see them reintroduce a less "futuristic" (vaguely rocket shaped) lamp, something a little more contemporary. 



Jezza said:

All of the problems mentioned here is why the fluidium was discontinued. Along with bottle clouding. Plastic and heat a bad combination. 

Its a shame they didn't reverse engineer the base and cap into cast metal. 

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