Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi All, 

I just received my (new to me) Jet that was shipped with "the correct bulb" - which turned out to be a 30W R39 E14 OPAL spot bulb (ie not clear front).

Separately I received the bottle (with a few other bottles for the Telstar/AstroBaby - more on those in a minute). Put them together and the bottle wasn't doing ANYTHNG (barely getting warm). I replaced this with one of the "oversize" 40W clear R39 bulbs and it seems to have kicked it into life. (pictures to come) Green/Lime fluid seems to be slowly clearing.

My question is - What IS the correct bulb for a Jet?Now the 40W has been running for a couple of hours it seems a bit hot (lots of smal bubbles) - did it originally come with something like a 35W or did they just take an age and a day to warm up? (should it even be a reflector bulb and not a golf-ball style bulb?)

Now to the other bulbs. #1 Black/Plum with clear fluid - seems good if a touch low on the fluid - going to leave this one as it is, not broken so no fix needed. #2 Lime wax and a yelowish green fluid - loads of small bubbles and the fluid level's a bit low (it's below the cap on the AstroBaby). I think I need to top-up the fluid but not quite sure how best to do this. #3 pinkish red wax and clear fluid. Having to run this in the Telstar with the 35W Halogen at almost full power to get it started, turned it down now since it's flowing but the wax seems to have 'split' and seems rather grainy with a number of bubbles in it. Fluid level also low (again below the cap level). #4 was empty when I got it so no comments there, although the spring is missing so I'll have to work on that.

At the moment I have no idea if any if these bottles are on their original wax/fluid combination - most were weeping a little fluid when received so I suspect the seals are gone. I wonder if a top-up with distilled water will restore them to previous levels (pun not intended) or if I need to add something to them with the extra water to get them working properly again. 

 Your comments are welcome.

Tim

(Hereford, UK)

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Jets came with a 30w spot if I remember correctly. Prob best to just add a dimmer with your 40w. 

Great lamps tho, they were £20 brand new at the time which is weird to think about now. Just a side thought.  

All of your bottles just sound too old or possibly fake, best would be to get new ones (excluding Jet unfortunately) from Mathmos. 

After about 8 hours running on a 40W bulb on a dimmer, the Jet is still a little cloudy but it can wait until I have more time (and hopefully a formula for the replacement fluid, worst case replacement fluid is available to buy).

The  others - I think someone has tried with limited success to refill them, the plum/clear bottle seems the closest to standard and I've seen quite a number of issues with the clear fluid from Mathmos, possibly the fluid has been replaced but not topped up yet (or evaporated). The lime green and red(?) ones I think may have had new wax and/or fluid, as the red one seems a bit pale and when cool looks a dark pink whereas the lime green doesn't match any Mathmos I've seen before.

As for being fakes - I suppose this depends on your definition really, I think the bottles are genuine Mathmos but as mentioned above I'm not convinced the contents are (does this make them fakes or just repaired originals?). As I wish to learn some more about these they can act as a starting point for experimentation.

I'm going to try mixing a batch of homemade fluid and see what results I get - this will be a good starting point for the refils and new lamps I want to make. 

Tim

(Hereford, UK)

Metal ones came with 40w drop/golfball, plastic ones with r39 30w.

Hi Tim

Can well understand your confusion! So many different Jet models/fills...

From my experience.... and others will say differently... the case is as follows

The original (Crestworth/Mathmos) Jets came with a 40w clear or opal golfball, for lava models

Jet Glitters (a bit later I think) came with 25w golfballs

I think the reflector spots were used later, but they are useful for modern goo - I occasionally run lava Jets, and use the 25w or 30w reflectors, depending on the fill - most early Mathmos fills needed heat (hence the less efficient 40w golfballs) but these are mainly worn out now

As Paul implies, the bottles themselves will be genuine as no-one else makes/made them to that exact size, but they are no longer produced - look after them!

Thanks for that, the body of the Jet is plastic, however I bought the bottle with a batch of other (ab)used Telstar/AstroBaby bottles (main reason for buying that lot), so from what you've said about the older Jet's needing more heat to get started, I suspect I have a mis-match between bottle and base.

Having said that, firing it up on the 40W reflector then turning the power down once it's warmed up seems to work OK. I think slightly oversized bulbs (or heaters) and a dimmer system to reduce the power may be the way forward. I'm fully intending to create my own lamps so if I can get the heat profile right I may be able to get them running on low voltage (possibility of running them in camper vans etc) and having MPU control over the heat output.

Quick additinal comment - has anyone managed to decypher or get a look-up table for the batch numbers on the caps to get the age of the Mathmos bottles?

Tim

andy ross said:

Hi Tim

Can well understand your confusion! So many different Jet models/fills...

From my experience.... and others will say differently... the case is as follows

The original (Crestworth/Mathmos) Jets came with a 40w clear or opal golfball, for lava models

Jet Glitters (a bit later I think) came with 25w golfballs

I think the reflector spots were used later, but they are useful for modern goo - I occasionally run lava Jets, and use the 25w or 30w reflectors, depending on the fill - most early Mathmos fills needed heat (hence the less efficient 40w golfballs) but these are mainly worn out now

As Paul implies, the bottles themselves will be genuine as no-one else makes/made them to that exact size, but they are no longer produced - look after them!

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