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Author Topic: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn  (Read 21967 times)

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Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« on: December 17, 2012, 12:03:43 PM »
I purchased a German pyramid while on vacation.  You can see what it looks like here:

When I lit the tea lights, nothing happened and I realized that the flames were too far from the paddles.  Why it was constructed in a manner that makes the piece nonfunctional, I'll never know.  So I bought larger votives that fit perfectly in the candle holders and I had success.  The problem?  The votives dripped all over the place.

Does anyone have any idea how I can get this thing to work?  I still can't believe that it was constructed this way.  (p.s.  Taking it back to the place I bought it is not an option.)


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 12:20:30 PM »
Those can be tricky. I used to have one. It really should be able to work with very small candles, but..
You have to make sure the paddles are angled just right to catch the heat updraft. You also have to make sure the whole thing is located in a place that doesn't get much air flow (not near a vent, fan, window, or high traffic area) otherwise the hot air will disperse before it can rise enough to move the paddles.
Good luck!


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 12:37:24 PM »
I have a couple of ideas that you might try with the original candles (in case you haven't already).

1. Check where the bottom end of the spindle is. Is it on its intended pivot point? My pyramid has a little glass "button" with a slightly concave upper surface that the end of the metal spindle is supposed to rest on. When it's on the glass button, it spins very freely, but if it wasn't, there would be a lot more frictional resistance (not to mention the metal spindle possibly tearing up wood on the base of the pyramid). If yours has gotten off of its intended pivot, that could be why you need some extra airflow from bigger candles to get it spinning. If for any reason it doesn't spin easily when you turn it by hand, or it stops really quickly after you spin it, then the problem probably isn't the candles.

2. Are the blades of the fan fixed or do you insert each blade into the fan individually? If they're separate, try playing with the angle. I think a shallower angle (i.e., with the blade surface closer to horizontal) might help it get moving with the smaller candles. Be willing to wait a few minutes to see if it gets moving or give it a nudge to get it started and see if the candles keep it spinning (the shallower blade angle should catch more of the updraft from the candles, but less of the updraft force will be pushing it in the "spin" direction, so try a few angles).

One thing to remember is that it takes more force to start the thing spinning and speed up the rotation (in technical terms, to accelerate it) than it does to keep it spinning at a constant speed. Since you can't "turn up" the candles at the beginning and then turn them down once it's up to speed, the candle size and position has to be designed for the constant speed. That means it's going to be slow getting started, especially if you've just lit the candles and they're still warming up and melting enough wax to get a good flame going. It might just need a little more time or a nudge.


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 03:38:09 PM »
And if you still have to use the larger votives, can you find glass or metal cups to put them in that will fit the holders but catch the wax?


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 03:42:20 PM »
Also, they work better in a colder room, so there's a greater temperature differential with the hot air from the candles.

Edited because I can grammar.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 09:37:01 AM by Ms_Cellany »
Bingle bongle dingle dangle yickity-do yickity-dah ping-pong lippy-toppy too tah.


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 05:55:36 PM »
Nothing new to add, but the paddles MUST be angled.  And it really does take awhile for the heat flow to get going.  You will have to be patient.


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 08:30:13 AM »
Interesting -- my pyramids (which I've had since I was born in Germany so they may not be made that way anymore) have longer tapers (four inches or so) to power them as opposed to tealights/votives.  As the others have stated, the fan blades have to be at the right angle, and it helps to give them a little push to get them started.  Also, the candle holders on my pyramids slide in and out (to make a wider or more narrow circle of candles) and I have to move them in and out to get the best heat rise to move the blades.  My largest pyramid works the best - it has eight candles around it.  I have two smaller ones with three candles each that don't work as easily.


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 10:58:06 AM »
OP here.  Thanks to all!  I changed the angle of my paddles last night and popped the tiny votives back in and it worked.  It really does have to be far away from drafts, though, which is disappointing.  I wanted to have it lit and running on my kitchen island while entertaining, but I don't think that will work with traffic breezing in and out of the area.

Thanks again!


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 01:59:05 AM »
Huh.  I've always seen those, and never knew what they were.  The one you linked to is gorgeous, though! :D I really do want one like that now. :)

I'm a sucker for kitsch and knickknacks... :)


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Re: Advice on how to get my German Pyramid to Turn
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2018, 04:55:30 PM »
This forum helped me when I was a loss with my new German pyramid at Christmas time.  I could not figure out how to get it to turn and nothing worked:  Not moving the candle flames closer to paddles (after my regular pyramid candles didn't work, I went to great efforts to buy skinny 10 inch candles and they still did not work), not the angle of paddles, not the radius of the candle holder in their sliding arms, not potential drafts in the room, not a friction-causing situation I had heard described like problems with a plastic washer.  My pyramid spun fine when I gave it a slight push--there was not a big problem with friction--but it would peter out after a minute or so and the candles would not keep it moving.  I wrote the manufacturer and their advice was to make sure there was absolutely no draft in the room but this did not solve the problem. I could tell there was not much of a draft because the candles were burning vertically without flickering and I could feel quite a lot of heat rising to the paddles.  Disappointed, I considered shipping the pyramid back to Germany. Someone advised to inspect the bottom end of the spindle. On my pyramid, I could not see the bottom end of the spindle and had no access to it.  But I could lift the spindle.  I thought the spindle was well placed on the intended pivot point because it was in the center and at the deepest part of the area--in a small crater where the spindle naturally wanted to sit.  Only after exhausting every other option did I think to lift the spindle slightly and place it off-center, out of the little divot.  After I did this, the pyramid spun like magic.  I was so very happy.  In the end, I went back to using regular pyramid candles and was able to place my pyramid in a regular room with regular drafts.  The paddle angle and candle holder radius did not matter much because the pyramid spun and spun perfectly and fast.  It was really Christmas-y. 

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