Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Goo cycles but does not rise over 75% of the way up the globe

I recently received a lamp like my Enchantress but the liquid did not close the air gap at the top after running for a few hours.  The lamp I received was made in April 1987.  I added some liquid of the same color from a similar lamp made in January 1987 to close the gap.  The lava is cycling but only about 75% of the way up the globe.  It stalls there and returns to the bottom.  Has the specific gravity been changed by my modification?  Is there any way to correct it?

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Sounds like its running cold, try a clear bulb or put a small towel on the top of the globe to try to trap the heat. As long as the lava is going up and down you did not affect the gravity of the liquid.

I put a clear bulb in it. That seemed to help. Would you feel comfortable running a 60 watt bulb on a dimmer to maybe get around 50 watts out of it? Do they make a 60 watt bulb in the size that goes in an Enchantress base?

Concerning the towel, is that a one time fix or is it something that would have to be done every time I use it. It makes sense it would warm it up but as soon as you take it off the temp would quickly drop again wouldn't it?
Thanks Bohdan. One would think that if there was a batch difference that the new liquid would sit on the top of the old like oil on water. I don't see a separation line in the liquid at all. In addition, sometimes the lamp does not cycle even after cycling a bit. It makes a mushroom shape on a stalk and it looks like the lava is running back toward the bottom of the globe on the outside of the shape it has made. Very strange. It's as if the warm lava is moving up through the center of the shape, exiting the top and spilling over to return to the bottom to repeat the cycle. Sooner or later, it lets go of the shape and cycles. Thanks for the input on the bulb. I now remember you giving that site to me once before. Very comprehensive listing of all sorts of bulbs there. You mentioned using a hypo needle and replacing the liquid with the 'correct liquid'. How do you discern what the correct liquid is? I would have thought that liquid from the same era would have been the same. I guess the specific gravity is off by a few thousandths from batch to batch.
I don't know exactly how it flowed when I got it because I immediately added the liquid upon it's arrival. Probably should have run it first to see if there were any problems from the beginning. The guy I bought it from is a fellow gooer and I we discussed the lamp in detail before I bought it. I wasn't led to believe the flow was bad at all. Interestingly enough, you know how older lamps do within 20 minutes of turning on, the lava slides out the side and squiggles all the way to the top. This lamp exhibited normal behavior for that phase of the warmup. The lava did not stall at all. It went all the way to the top. I have included a pic of the bottom of the globe while cold. No white stuff but the coil does look corroded. Has the lava been cooked?

I have another globe and some but not all of the original goo from the shaken lamp. Do you think mixing the old and new goo and then transfering to a different globe with a known good coil will help or hurt?
Looks like there are multiple problems. The coil appears to have rusted for one and the different fluid is certainly another. If the fluid that you added is of a different density then it will ride on top of the original fluid and that will alter the flow. The lava will reach the spot where the fluid changes and stop like it has hit a wall. Your best bet may be fluid replacement at this point. After replacing the coil.
You mentioned a number code. Is it the code I see inside the upper part of the cap, embossed when the cap was made or the paper sticker that has manufacture date and model number?

The paper labels read as follows.

January 1987 Model 8100
April 1987 Model 8100

The January cap has the following info embossed in the top:

28mm SPEC. "H"
19 01

The April cap has the following info embossed in the top:

28mm SPEC. "H"
4 01

I didn't see anything unusual about the cap when it was originally screwed off. It appeared to be holding the liquid just fine. No rust or impurities were present.
I'm definitely going to replace the coil. I have another one in the empty January globe that is not rusted. As far as fluid replacement goes, it seems it would be very difficult to find the correct fluid to match the lava. I was originally thinking that since I had some original fluid from a Jan. 1987 lamp that it would probably be nearly, if not totaly identical to the April 1987 lamp. As I stated earlier, there must be a difference of only a few thousandths in the specific gravity to see this going on. I'm sure the rust doesn't help either. Maybe the new coil will fix it. Also, as mentioned earlier, I can't see a clear separation in the liquids near the top even when the lamp is cold. I only added 1/4" of fluid to the top. A small, but apparently significant amount.
Hi Bert:

I had an idea and tried it with limited success. I had a bit of lava remaining from my shaken lamp that I mixed with the goo from this lamp. It was my hope that it would average out the density of the existing lava and make it flow higher into the liquid. It seems to have helped a bit. The goo/liquid was put in a different globe with a known good spring. I noticed that the goo was a bit darker when in a liquid state than my good lamp so I assume some of the rust may have been suspended in the liquified lava. It cooled to a very close match to my one good lamp. It was a big gamble but it seems to have paid off at least marginally. Here's the $64,000 question. I wonder if there is any safe way to increase the specific gravity of the liquid a bit, thereby allowing the lava to flow more freely? That seems safer and easier than trying to decrease the density of the lava. It's a bit lazy and the blobs are rather large. I haven't tried a clear bulb on this configuration yet either. I'll try that first and see if that helps the flow. I love tinkering with these lamps. It would be so rewarding to see this lamp flow like the other one. Then I would again have a matching pair to display. See ya' later.

Hi Bohdan:

Do you think adding small amounts of pickling salt to the mix will help or hurt? I've heard of doing this to increase the specific gravity of the liquid. I would think that would change the gravity/density relationship between the lava and liquid so that the lava would again cycle properly. The only thing is that the liquid being modified in the other forums appears to be distilled water, not original Lava brand liquid from 1987. Also, take a look at my replies to 6-ft-under to see what I have already done since our earlier posts.

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