Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello all you gootiful people!

I have a science experiment going on at the moment and was looking for any input on what I may be doing right/wrong/extremely dangerous/absolutely pointless.

I have a Lumisource Pillar lava lamp seen here:

This lamp officially runs off of an 60w R14 bulb that is near impossible to find, and when found is fairly expensive.  I have tried the 40w version that is more common and cheaper but it does not work properly.

This week I picked up a 75w Halogen bulb in a similar intermediate base seen here, and a dimmer as well to calm her down. After opening up the base, adjusting bulb height since it was a wee bit taller than the incandescent it needs, and seeing that the bulb holder is rated to run up to 75w (most likely incandescent only but....it works for the halogen) I put it all back together and fired it up.

What I have experienced so far is that the halogen does heat and melt the wax in a rather timely manner, almost too fast, yet leaves the master fluid just above room temperature. So I have wax at full melt just kind of hanging out at the bottom, blobbing once in a while, but the fluids are remaining too cold to allow for proper flow. It is similar behavior to running it with the lower 40w incan but the wax is fully ready to rock and roll.

Part of my concern is the extremely high heat that collects around the base of the lamp which I am sure is similar to the very bottom of the glass vessel. At about 80% power the base nears a blistering hot level and gets slightly colder the lower I dim. I have a feeling that running this bulb at full 75w power in the lamp may cause harm to the vessel in either a wax destroying sense or the glass just breaking from heat, could this be a possibility?

I have tried pulling a heavy cotton sock down over the top of the vessel to try to get the fluids to warm up but its temperature seems to peak and not get hot enough to flow all the while the bottom of the globe is ready to cook breakfast on. Am I not seeing a crucial variable to this switch over? I know the heat levels that come from a halogen can far exceed those of an incandescent. Is the property of the halogen different with distance heat spread in comparison to an incandescent though?

I know the reflector on this bulb is very efficient but it doesn't seem to want to get the master fluid warm, almost like all of the heat is taken into the metal housing of the base and not transferred into the fluids.

If anyone has gone through trials of a similar nature I would love to hear input from you. 

TL:DR- Changed 60w incandescent lamp over to 75w halogen with dimmer. Wax melts full, base hot enough to cook on, master fluid luke warm. Poor flow properties and a fear that at full power the halogen may do some damage. Any ideas? Thank you in advance for any help I may receive from my fellow gooheads.

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UPDATE: So reading more on the bulb I purchased it seems the reflector is made so that it causes heat to escape out of the back and into a ceramic ring that circles above the screw, could be why my base is scalding hot but not the fluid. Heat rises though so still kind of puzzling how it could centralize all of that heat into the small area of the base, yet leave the fluid 2 inches up at room temperature.

I just picked up an incandescent 60w A15 E17/intermediate bulb and will be trying this swap tonight. It is built for a 130v but the bulb lady said that I shouldn't notice too much of a wattage drop running it on 120v (5 watt-ish drop she figured). 

If this works I believe the owners of Lumisource pillars and similar bulb runners might be in luck. With a somewhat easy mod you can drop the bulb in the base as you will need more vertical space for these bulb types. Oh and the bulbs are very cheap too, I scored this one for $1.40 while the halogen was $7.80.

Amazon is where i got that adapter to go from intermediate to candelabra size bulbs and i found 60 watt little ball size bulbs that r making mine flow just like it used to those bulbs r getting hard to find too though but still cheap the bulbs i found were on amazon to

I use an A15 intermediate frosted garage door opener bulb in my 52 oz kit lamps.  I'm still running stock 40 watter's on my LL 52's that are originals and not kitted.  The 60's run them too hot, especially without a dimmer.

Thanks Cody!  I have one final mod attempt going tonight with a larger height incandescent A15 60w at 130v but your changeover is what I will be doing if this fails.  I have dropped the bulb about as low as it will go in the base at this point, it can borderline fit a standard size light bulb now, haha!

That is the exact bulb I snagged at lunch today Carol! It is all fit proper to the base now and warming up. The bulb lady said that I would see a minimal wattage drop from 60w due to it being a 130v bulb. I calculated it to be outputting a wattage of about 55w due to this difference.

If this works I will disassemble the base again and take pictures of how I modified the bulb holder and inner base ring that holds the globe. For the other folks that have this lamp it will be nice to present these fixes to get everyone flowin' again!

Fingers are crossed...though it sounds like Cody's tactic will be a definite winner if my mod hacks fail this time

Vox, I think that will work for ya!!!  And the lady is probably right because my kits run great on them dimmed down at about half way.  So i'm assuming they aren't really putting off 60 watts even at full blast.  It doesn't really seem like it's a full 20 watt jump up from the 40 watt A15's IMO.  It just seems that they are bumped up somewhat, but I don't think they put out as much heat as one would think.  I was afraid to use them in my 52's at first, but they run them awesome!!!


Good Luck, hope you're flowin again!!!

Thank you Carol! That is cool they work out as replacements for your bases too! Your dimmer settings and experience with the kits flow has been noted as well.

I have a decent flow after 3 hours, still kinda small blobs and only few venture the full length. This bulb definitely gets the base hotter than the halogen was (at the dimmed level I quit at) so maybe I can bump the halogen up a bit and try it again too. Still not working as it did but the incandescent temperature confirmed the halogen can heat her up a bit more, heh heh Reached my hand down to feel temps and almost got a blister on the top of my finger, couldn't touch longer than half a second I would say

Hey Cody, I see the adapters to change over to candelabra, are you using the frosted golf ball bulbs in the Amazon 10 pack or are you using the clear that seem to be sold individually?

60s11-130v-cs is what i just typed in i think that it is the third result down individual bulb they r sold by norman lamps. 6.99 but they work i just ran mine last night flows like it always did i havent seen the 10 pack but i was just tring to find a bulb that would work so there might be more options i didnt find but i do know with the candelabra base (s11) we have a few more options to play around with. On a side note i have had this set up for about 3 months an it seems to work just fine
I found the ones in the 10 pack i think those should work at the time i was buying single bulbs just to find something that would work i think i have about 10 different bulbs just stored away that didnt fit or just didnt work so i was not wanting to buy a big pack full of bulbs lol. The 10 pack is it from triangle bulbs.
Sorry about the triple post i keep thinking of things but those bulbs seem to melt the wax and get it flowing in a timely manner concedering they are not reflector bulbs but it does take mine a little while to heat the globe up enough to get the wax to flow all the way to the top but mine does eventually get there. I dont think it helps any being right next to my window air conditioner. I wish they would have picked a better bulb/base so we could have different bulb choices to begin with but for some reason i do love the way this lamp looks. I think at this point i have spent more on bulbs and exeperiments with this lamp than what i paid for it at big lots lol.

Awesome, thank you for the info Cody!  I am going to grind run it on this intermediate bulb for now. It does get it flowing, kind of reveals wax damage too as mine is breaking into pellets almost but they do climb the full span. I remember this lamp having long stretchy flow and vibrant wax but now it seems to have shrunk its stretch and the wax is kind of translucent again making it hard to see in the dark up top.  I may even try the halogen out again since it puts out a brilliant white light that will aid in the visibility of the flowing wax. I know the base climbed up to skin melting temperatures at the end of the night last night so I can confirm I can bump the halogen brighter than I was.

Does you base get EXTREMELY hot Cody? I mean no joke half a second touch on mine or else you will get a blister. Sorry to be clueless, I ran this lamp so much back in the day but it has been sitting dormant for 7+ years and have long forgot the behavior of this thing. I think I am going to bite the bullet and just order an infrared thermometer so I can see how hot the incandescent safely brought it up to temp and match it to a dimmer halogen.

Mine doesnt get that hot at all i can wrap my hand around the base and b fine. I am not sure about if i leave it on for a real long time how hot it gets but never as hot as you described. Also mine doesnt have long stretchy flow mine does the smaller ball flow and my wax is also somewhat transparent. But when i first got it i used to run the thing for hours on end so i know i did some damage to it but it still works. I will try to get a pic of mine flowing up sometime monday or tuesday i have to work this weekend but will get a pick of it soon.
Well just got off work off to bed for me but some time tonight i will get a pic or two of it flowing

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