Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

 Hi, this is my first lamp review, comments welcome (be gentle).

After considerable expense, time a frustration with UPS my 2 Smart Astros (purple and green) finally arrived from the  UK.   Anything over $250 and US Customs thinks I'm some kind of importer and delays the shipment and charges import taxes (about $46). FedEx is mostly clueless on how to handle things and my package was almost returned due to their inactilon.  The local offices dont talk well with corporate either.  I get shipments from China all the time without a problem...dont understand.

Anyhow, I order this a few months ago (at double the price) because it looked like Mathmos US distibution was never going to happen. Oooops!  Anyhow:

It was packed well and labeled in several places that it's made and pour in the UK

The purple liquid seemed to have some contamination in it prior to heating

The jars are mostly lear but does have two very visable seams. The liquids in the two bottles were filled to different levels...any idea what level they should be at and what to fill it with?

 I found american cord for the unversal power supply and the lamp warmed up in about 2 hours. The base has a spring loaded heating ring but the jar is kinda wobbley on it.

The purple jar is cloudy and seems to have smoke like rings related to the goo.  I'm running it through the cycles and hoping it will clear up.  The green looks and flows great and I like the color cycles, but it's not very bring...could use 3 times the number of LEDs.

Other observations: The finish on the cap and base is very nice and looks great.  The base needs to have ventilation between the feet of about 1/8 inch...so I cant sit it on the tapestry on my end table as planned. As mentioned befor the jar doesn't sit on the heating element evenly so the lamp seems to have hot spots and flows sideways a little.  It also will wobble a little it you touch the globe.

Of course things could be better but generally I'm pretty pleased.  I'll have to see over the long term if the unit holds up...seems to draw a fair amount of power and be heating alot, so I hope the element and power supply stand up.

Cheers,

Jethro

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Ooops, didn't proof.  I shipped it via FedEx from Electric Planet

UPDATE....So after several hours the power supply is really hot.  I'm starting to wonder if it will last very long.  The  uneven contact of the heating plate on the globe creates some very unusual flows that are very interesting.

GOOD NEWS is the lamp looks fantastic in the dark the multi-colored LEDs can be tuned to reveal some fantastic colors in the near UV range...something I'm particularly fond of...reminds me of the high mountain Colorado sky at dusk.  I am very pleased, thank you Mathmos!

Now I am more excited than ever to design and build my own lamp.

Thanks for the review. Did the sediment clear up after running the lamp?

Yep, mostly, but now it's more like a haze.

Erin said:

Thanks for the review. Did the sediment clear up after running the lamp?

What are their respective colour ranges?

I have two UK Smart Astros that I've been conditioning for several weeks.  The liquid is clear not cloudy but does have a few smart artifacts in it.

The goo seems grainy and not as uniform as I would hope.  It also seems to have a narrow window of operation...between when it's properly warmed up and it starts breaking into smaller blobs that live at the top. 

The power supply also gets warmer than I would expect, but perhaps a contributing factor might be the long light gauge DC cord might create some high resistance.

Would like for the LEDs to be brighter but it is nice to tune the color or have the light rotate through colors.

Generally I appluad the work that Mathos has done in advancing lava light technology with temp control and innovations that benefit from mass production.  I hope Mathmos doesn't lose sight of basic elements from the 60s: goo texture, vessels, color options, and quality control.

Its a shame there's no manual thermostat control, maybe something to come !

Yeah, being able to control that heating element would be the next step to customize the flow to your liking.

Aladdin 2 Lava said:

Its a shame there's no manual thermostat control, maybe something to come !

I'd like the rapid warm up and then maybe we could use regular Astro bottles on them.


Mr MaGoo said:

Yeah, being able to control that heating element would be the next step to customize the flow to your liking.

Aladdin 2 Lava said:

Its a shame there's no manual thermostat control, maybe something to come !

Making the Heat element controlable shouldnt be that hard to do by your self, bit ofcourse better to have it from the manufactor :) Thanks for the review !

Hi I would contact Mathmos about the cloudy bottle, and in my opinion the bottle on the right has not been filled correctly, all my Astro bottles are filled to the level of the left hand side bottle.

Hope your enjoying your lamps :-)

Congrats with your lamps Jethro, hope they will serve you well without the frustration many Smart Astro owners have had :-)

The Smart Astro is, in fully working condition, an amazing lamp, the problem is that the technology seems unstable, too many problems with the LED´s, unstable fitting of the bottle in the base, grainy lava, overheat issues etc. If Mathmos could make them right, and able to function for years and years like the regular Astros, then it would be worth the money. As it is now, I don´t trust the technology, and all in all, would prefer the old Astros, which is only about 60% of the price of the Smart Astro.

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