I have a Lava Lite (I think it's 32 oz; it measures about 16.5" from base to top and has a 40W bulb) that I've owned for maybe 15 years. It has clear fluid and teal wax. When the lamp is off, the water looks perfectly transparent. And, in the first 20 minutes of startup, the wax appears its expected brilliant teal color. However, for the past couple of years I've noticed that during operation, while the wax is liquid, it appears very dark, almost black, and the water appears a little yellow and cloudy.
Is darkened wax during operation a common phenomenon? A lot of googling has returned a lot of results for cloudy liquid, but none for darkened wax. And the liquid seems fine while off (and only slightly cloudy while on).
I'm using a GE "high intensity" 40 watt appliance bulb. Could this be the culprit? Is a frosted (or not high-intensity) bulb going to maybe lower the heat level and fix this?
I have heard like in the case with Opel Fluidiums that the white wax will turn yellowish color from age and use. This might be the case with your wax. Can you post a couple of pics of what you are talking about.
I'll try to post these pictures, but the color in the photos doesn't accurately reflect what it looks like. In real life, it's teal (well, a very very dark teal during operation). In the photos it looks purple. Very odd.
That lava looks hot! At least that is what that last pic is showing. Do those bubbles stay at the top like that..you have a dimmer on that bad boy? Might just be purple..
It looks like it is defiantly over heating - that could be the issue, what bulb have you got on it as well - is it frosted?
The lava looks ok while its off and spikeing but the last picture its over heated and darker - indercating that heat is the issue.
@Mr MaGoo: The bubbles don't ALL stay at the top like that, but there is always a fair amount of the wax up there at any time. I don't have a dimmer... hadn't even thought of that, that's clever.
@Tim Gill: I'm using a GE "high intensity" 40 watt appliance bulb. It's not frosted. Will that make a difference in the heat?
Frosted would reduce the heat slightly and give a better heat spread over the globe, I would suggest try that and a dimmer.
If you cant find the right 40w bulb, try a smaller wattage. Go with a 25 watt high intensity bulb, and see if that works.
Have you checked a hardware or appliance store? I should think anywhere that sells light bulbs or refrigerators would have 40-watt appliance bulbs that aren't High Intensity and are possibly frosted.
Edit: How about this one?
Try a 30w reflector bulb - I used this on my 32oz USA bases and globes and it works fine - thies bulbs are often found on many lava lamps so would be easy to find on Ebay and other sights.