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Bubble lights.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Clive Mitchell, Sep 16, 2005.

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  1. How easy is it to make the bubble tubes and bubble lights so common in
    the old Wurlitzer jukeboxes and as Christmas lights? These are the
    sealed glass tubes that usually contained methylene chloride with some
    glass or chemical granules at the bottom to allow easy vaporisation of
    the liquid using an external heater or lamp. The liquid then "boiled"
    sending bubbles up the tube where the vapour recondensed back into
    liquid again to repeat the cycle.

    Do these need a vacuum drawn on them to lower the liquids boiling point?

    Is there a safer liquid?

    Also, does anyone have a close-up picture of an old Christmas light
    called a Peerless Shooting Star which sounds like a mini lava lamp.
     
  2. Wouldn't a small air pump work just as well? There are some higher
    quality (i.e quiet) aquarium air pumps that should do the job quite
    nicely.
     
  3. Messy. Not a sealed tube and the water evaporates and goes yukky after
    time.
     
  4. I bought a set of bubble lights on one of my trips to America a good few
    years ago. I guess they probably still make them?
     
  5. JohnR66

    JohnR66 Guest

    I can't answer your question specifically, but I did just put 2 and 2
    together: I build display cases and boxes out of acrylic plastic (plexiglas,
    lucite ect.) and the solvent cement used is mainly methylene chloride sold
    in cans and tubes called "Weld-on". I also have one of those bubble lights
    and it says it contains a vial of methylene choride. The light is stored
    away and I didn't even think about the cement until you mentioned it.

    Anyhoo. The cement evaporates very rapidly that it feels very cold. In the
    bubble tube, the continuous evaporation and condensing cycle operates as a
    simple refrigerator of sorts keeping both ends of the tube close in
    temperature as the the heat is carried away through the cycle.

    The solvent cement is known in the state of California to be cancerous, but
    so is about anything else. Because of the chorine content, it is
    nonflamable, but has a strong odor.
    John
     
  6. It's actually the State of California itself that causes cancer. The
    warning labels on everything from running shoes to finishing nails to
    canned peaches are just there as a ruse.
     
  7. dartprop

    dartprop Guest

    I restored a couple of old Wurlitzer jukeboxes some years ago. The original
    bubble tubes were filled with ether and the bottoms were set in wirewound
    resistors to heat the fluid. I believe that the parts, the technology, and
    makers of custom tubes are available through the few jukebox collector
    newsgroups.
     
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