Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

So. . . I was going through some boxes about a month ago, and found my old lava lamp from when I was like. . . 11/12. (I'm 24 now.) After doing some research I found out that Hot Rock was a model produced by Creative Motion (if I'm looking in the right places.) I have no idea how to identify the age on this lamp, as there are absolutely no dates anywhere on the dang thing, but I know it's at least 12/13 years old. However, that's not even my issue at the moment.

After finding the lamp I just stuck it in a corner in the bedroom because I had some other, more important things, to worry about. Anyway, about two days ago I decided to plug it in and see if it worked. The last thing I remember about the lamp, the last time I tried using it, the wax didn't flow right. Well. . . The wax flows okay, and the water was only a tiny bit cloudy, which I figured was due to how old the lamp is. Great. However.

After having it cycle for two days now, it appears as if the chemical of whatever is in the lava has just about 85% bled out into the water, making the water VERY cloudy and the wax has taken on a transparency from losing whatever it is that made it opaque.

Also, The wax itself doesn't seem to blob in any other way other than mostly golf ball sized drops, along with a few smaller ones, and isn't as globby as it use to be when I was a kid. (I was a typical child and shook the thing, quite often, but it's always worked even after that.) It does have some issues sticking back together at the top and the bottom, kinda sitting there in little balls at either end, so I'm not sure if it's a heating issue or not, and I'm currently using what I believe is the same exact bulb that came with the lamp, a 40w clear reflective.

So here's my question:
Do I continue to cycle the lamp and see if the cloudiness goes back into the wax? Or is it shot and I should just replace the water in it? Filtering is out of the question because I cannot, and will not buy a filter for almost/over $100 just for one use. This is the only lamp I have and right now, taking on other lamps as a hobby (which I want to do) is just out of the question given I have a newborn and income is tight as it is. I'm not concerned too much at the consistency of the wax, given it mostly flows properly.

Any comments/advice/suggestions would be helpful. I will include pictures. Thank you!

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Welcome to OG Maryah!

I do believe you are correct on the Creative Motion branding and I would place the age into the mid 90's for production. Sometimes there are codes stamped into the label of the lamp (inside the base where the globe rests) that can lead to hints on a production run. Similar to Lava Lite cap codes, these numbers can come across as gibberish but usually string together a date.

Most older lamps are very successful at clearing fog after running them for a while. You should try running the lamp for 8hrs on and 8 hrs off. Over the course of a week or two you should see it clear up a bit if it is going to cycle clear. Sounds like the material in the wax MAY have separated a bit. I had a Jet lamp do the same thing and I resolved the issue by draining almost all of the fluid into another container and running the lamp for a while to let all the wax churn at the bottom. After I got all the wax components to combine back together I filled it back up with the same fluid and it ran like a charm. You will want to hold the fluids you pour out though, they are formulated specifically for your wax. Adding straight water to the lamp may kill all flow and you will need to tinker with the density of the liquid to get it working again.

I would start with a week or two of cycling 8on/8off. You don't have to stick to a strict 8-off just start it the next day, allow it to cool completely before firing it back up though. If you become dissatisfied with the wax/water/flow conditions you can completely revamp it with a water recipe that Magma Tower sells. Their wax is formulated to run excellent with simple distilled water and surfactant that they provide. This will allow you to make the water any color you like as well as the wax! Best of luck in the revival, get some pictures up when you get it fixed back up!

Agreed, what VOXul said!  :P

Sadly, the label is on the bottom of the lamp, and I've checked the whole dang thing. There are no numbers of any kind stamped anywhere so I'm stuck guessing. :\ My mother bought it brand new from Kroger in 2000/2001/2002 (I can't remember well) so I don't know.

I'm a little excited though, and almost hoping that it doesn't start working on it's own. The mini kit which is all I would need for the 54oz globe (I'm assuming that's how much is in it, it's darned huge) and it's rather cheap! Wayyyy cheaper than attempting to filter, and I always hated the yellow/blue combination anyway lol. I thought it was ugly and from what I saw online (which is very little) majority of them were sold with the yellow/blue.

Granted, I know they're always cooler and retro when the original contents are up and running, but I'd love another project aside from crochet since I'm a stay-at-home mom. Was considering buying a lamp that doesn't flow right off of craigslist or ebay, since they'll probably be really cheap and from all the restorations I saw on here (I spent hours and hours while waiting for my approval) it seems like it would be fun. :)

I am not certain on Hot Rock wax levels but I bet a mini kit for a 52oz will do just fine :) Go for the standard if you have a crafty personality as you will want to make more globes, haha!

The kits come with instructions but a couple tips they don't mention is to mark your wax level on the glass before you dump out your old fluids. This will help achieve the same wax level as the original when you fill it back up (a crayon or grease pencil works good and wont wash off right away during cleaning, yet easy to remove afterwards). To scrub your glass and coil really good before kitting I have found that a solution of acetone/nail polish remover/rubbing alcohol mixed with salt and a good shake down will help get your globe spotless for the kit fill. Also, before you fill the bottom with new wax swish a small amount of distilled water and surfactant around the bottom to prevent the fresh wax from sticking to the glass.

Once you have your fresh wax poured to the level of the old, let it harden and then fill the remaining space with distilled water and the suggested surfactant for your globe size (about 10ml for 52oz lamps). Fire that fresh lamp up to achieve a good opacity in the wax and start thinking on your colors! Magma Tower gives you dyes with your kit, a little goes a long way. I have only used liquid candle dyes on my kits so I am no help in color concentrations using their dyes. Once you have your globe flowing and colored to your liking, pop the cap back on it and use a hose clamp to crimp the bottle cap back around the lip, forming a nice seal, and you are all set!

Most of the time the Magma Tower recipe requires a lower wattage bulb than the lamps original recipe. If you notice that your kit lamp seems to be overheating you can throw it on a dimmer cord. If it is not flowing hot enough try boosting the bulb wattage to the next level up from the original (40w to a 60w, etc.). Best of luck with your lava venture, you will find that it becomes addictive ;)

Shaken lamp syndrome 

Yeah, it could very well be toast.  But still try the cycle method recommended because you never know!

A lot of good advice here on Magma Tower, I've never used it so I have nothing to add.  However, and the main reason why I'm commenting, a good way to find cheap lamps is by browsing craigslist and going to thrift stores.  If you live near a metropolitan area you should be able to build up a very nice collection on the cheap, if you give it time.  

You don't have to chase purple unicorns to enjoy your lava

but if you find one  . . . .

Sadly, I'll probably have to buy a cork to fit it because it's not a classic bottle cap-like lid. It's more like the twist tops on some coffees or juices. Not sure if it's a twist top or not. Hope so so I don't have to get anything to replace the busted cap. I'd post a pic but I'm mobile right now.
Oh and question. How do I add the color? Just drop it in while it's flowing? Does it only stick to the wax? I have no idea how that works.

Definitely try to salvage the cap if possible. Cork may work but have also heard of them popping when lamps get real hot, haha. Get a picture when you can, there are alternatives to most bottle tops.

Yes, best to add color while running so you can adjust saturation as the wax starts dispersing the color. I have not used the Magma Tower dye but I know other members have added color to separate small wax cubes and added them little by little while running, Carol would know more on this method. The dyes makeup will prevent it from saturating the water with color so placing a bit at the waters surface will allow it to be absorbed only by the wax as it floats to the top. Kinda cool to watch the white wax start to take on color little by little.

Funky angle of the cap. I'll post more in the morning. It's hot right now from me running it.

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Goo kitting is NOT ADDICTIVE......it's merely a nice hobby, hee hee hee!!!

 

Welcome Maryah!!  If you decide to add Magma dye pack color do yourself a favor and add like toothpick specks at a time and give it a few hours to run.  Once you over do it, the only alternative to making it lighter is to start over and mix with some clean fresh wax.  As the others said, a tad of dye goes a long way.  If you want to make a certain color or do a blend you can take a small amount of wax (about 2 tablespoons) and melt that down in a glass cup in the microwave or in a small pot of boiling water and add small amount of dye to that wax.  This give you better control over saturation and avoids over-doing it.  I only use this method when i'm dong a special blend of 2 colors, but it can work with one color as well.  Then once you get that cup the color you like, freeze it.  Add small amounts of this frozen colored wax to your lamp as it is running.  It's much easier to just add specks of dye to your running lamp, but again, it's easier when blending so you don't make it a color you don't like.  You can also color your wax as you are melting it in your pot, but it's iffy what it will look like once flowing.  To do your liquid a color you will need food coloring.  Most prefer McCormick.  I have bought the air brush food grade coloring but it doesn't seem to stay as well as the McCormicks does.  Dye your wax first or you can also leave your goo white and color your liquid.  Whatever you like.

 

Good luck and any questions, you're in the right place!!!

Unfortunately that cap may not be salvageable. It is crimped around the bottle lip and will need to be pried off of the top. You can do your best with a small screw driver but chances are the metal will split while opening. Good news though is that almost any pop off bottle cap can replace it! Keep your eyes peeled for a cap that looks to be flat, not bent or dented up. Once ready, pop the replacement cap over the lip (sometimes it can put up a fight) and then use a small hose clamp to carefully crimp the cap edges back in. I can get a picture of a globe of mine with a hose clamp to show what I mean. Once crimped on good you can take the hose clamp off and you will be back in action!

I'd have no idea where to even look for one. :\

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