How does Cloudflare keep their lavalamps from overheating/exploding?

Hey all. I was recently talking about Cloudflare’s infamous lava lamp wall with a friend, and an interesting question came up about it. Being a lava lamp owner myself, I’m well aware that they can only run for 8-10 hours at a given time before they have to cool down. Not allowing for a cooldown runs the risk of the lava lamp exploding, which is both dangerous and messy.

How does Cloudflare negate this issue? Do the lava lamps have ‘shifts’, where each lava lamp on the wall is automatically turned off after 8 hours, allowed to cool, then turned on again?

I would appreciate a response, I’m geniunely curious about this.


Hi @BinaryByte, I was curious as well! Short answer - timers. I spent a bit of time with the folks that maintain the wall and have found out we cycle the lamps on and off, bring sets online and offline. And, sadly, even with that, the lamps do have a “shelf life” and are retired if they no longer function properly.


Ah, so they do essentially have ‘shifts’, I figured as much. And yeah, constant use will make a lava lamp last roughly 1-2 years, depending on the brand and quality of the manufacturing.

Thank you for the reply!

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What a refreshing posting! A change from the usual. Thank you, @BinaryByte! :slight_smile:

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I’d be curious to see what would happen if all the lamps were powered off at once: Would it impact the results?

In other words, is there enough entropy from the camera’s own noise?

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Hi @thedaveCA, I don’t know about noise, I do know that reflections from the street, the windows and folks walking in front all contribute to the randomness. I’d mentioned they do have to be retired from time to time, here are some that were retired in preparation for birthday week. retired_lamps


You should a series like backblaze does with hard disk but seeing the life expectancy of lava lamps. Maybe just once just for fun :joy: