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Troubleshooting Guide For SunMaster, Alpha Sun and Virtual Sun Tanning Beds

Your new tanning bed is backed by the most comprensive warranty in the industry but even the best tanning bed needs maintenance or a spare part once in a blue moon.   This guide covers many of the most common issues with just about any tanning bed and should help the home tanning bed owner deal with most problems without having to call for service.  These answers deal with home tanning beds in general, but more specifically to the models above.

Bed will not turn on at all.
Timer will not count down.
Lamps try but fail to start, or start slowly
Ends of lamps are black.
One or more lamps do not work.
Two or three lamps in a row quit working.
Half the tanning bed (bench or canopy) will not work.
The top of the tanning bed won't stay up (or down)
My tanning bed is hotter than it used to be.
I am not getting very tan
Acrylics are cracked or hazy
My tanning bed is tripping my breaker

Bed will not turn on at all.
New tanning beds: Make sure it is plugged in.  Believe it or not, that is the cause in most cases.  Make sure the breaker is in the ON position.  Make sure you are turning the timer enough to start the system.  If the tanning bed also has a power switch, make sure it is in the ON position, and try both positions just to be sure.  Make sure all the connections from the bench to the canopy (and to the air cooling bar if so equipped) are connected tightly.

Some tanning beds will not operate unless all the panels are in place and the bed is in the CLOSED position, so read your owners manual and see if you have these safety devices.   Make sure the bed is fully assembled and in the closed position and try again.

If the tanning bed is 120V powered, try moving a lamp or similar plug in device to the outlet and plug it in to test it.  If it doesn't work, then the problem isn't the tanning bed.  If you are familiar with a volt meter and have one handy, make sure there is power getting to the socket. 

Timer will not count down.
If your tanning bed has an analog timer (twist knob style) make sure you turn it passed 5 minutes, then roll it back to the proper time if under 5 minutes.  Make sure the knob is not pressed so hard into the tanning bed that it is jammed against the body of it.

If your tanning bed has a digital timer, make sure you have selected the proper minute session and pressed the START button.

Lamps try but fail to start, or start slowly
Usually, this is due to low voltage.  If you have a 230VAC tanning bed, make sure that the available voltage is at least 215VAC (preferabley 220 to 230VAC) with no load.  If you have 208 to 211VAC power (usually ONLY in a business building) then you will need a buck/boost transformer to boost the voltage to a proper level.

If you have a 120VAC tanning bed, the voltage should be at least 110VAC (preferably 115-125VAC).  If your incoming voltage is correct, the likely problem is insufficient wiring, ie: the gauge of the wire to the circuit is too small.  Often, a tanning bed needing 20AMP service, but run on 14ga wire will show 120VAC with no load, but drop to 95VAC when the tanning bed is on. (This can be tested with a volt meter)  This is a dangerous situation and should be corrected by a licensed electrician.

Ends of lamps are black.
This is normal and will not affect the tanning of the lamp appreciably if the lamps are not older than 2/3rds of their rated life.  Some installations seem to turn lamp ends dark after a few weeks, others do not, but the UV output of the lamps should be fine.

One or more lamps do not work.
If the tanning bed is new, this usually means a lamp has vibrated loose in the shipping process.  Turn off all power to the tanning bed, remove the acrylic and reseat the lamp.  While you are inside the tanning bed, make sure all the other tanning lamps are seated properly as well (to prevent having to go back inside in a few minutes).  Once in a great while, the shipping process will actually cause a wire to come loose at the ends of the lamp.  If all the lamps are seated properly but a lamp doesn't work, FIRST swap the bad lamp out with a good lamp and see if the problem is the lamp itself.  If the "bad" lamp works in another socket, then the lamp is fine.  NEXT try swapping out the Lamp Starters (230VAC beds only) to see if that is the problem.  The lamp starter is the small cylinder located on one end of the lamp on tanning beds that use European electronics.  Just twist 90 degrees to remove, and swap with a known good starter from the tanning bed to see if that fixes the problem.

If this doesn't fix the problem then you will need to check the wires coming into the ends of the lamps (after turning off power...).  This can usually be done by anyone mechanically inclined and you can always call 1-800-274-1744 for detailed instructions on how to perform this task.

If the tanning bed is not new, try the methods above to determine (or rule out) the problem being seating, lamp, starter or wire.  If the tanning bed uses 230VAC European ballasts (choke) there is the remote possibility that a ballast has gone bad.

Two or three lamps in a row quit working.
If the tanning bed is new, it could be caused by lamp end vibration from shipping (see above) or a wire from the ballast came loose.  Use the methods above to determine if it is a loose or defective lamps first.

If your tanning bed is 230VAC European choke ballast equipped, it could be the return wire on the end of the lamp that does NOT have the lamp starter.  Often, 3 lamp ends are chained together for the return voltage, so if a wire is not connecting, it will prevent 1, 2 or 3 lamps from working, depending on where the break is.  Often, you just need to restab the wire, or restrip and restab the wire to fix the problem.

If your tanning bed is 120VAC then you either have a wire loose from one of the ballasts (usually the "yellow" wire that goes to the lamp ends) or a bad ballast.  Use the methods above to help determine the problem.

Half the tanning bed (bench or canopy) will not work.
The majority of the time this occurs it is because the cable that connects the bench to the canopy is not plugged in properly, or the receptical end (that you plug the bed half into) is defective.  On 230VAC beds, it could be due to a defective contactor (relay) or timer, if it uses a dual pole timer (MS-65).  Once in a blue moon, it will be because of a bad wire connection in one of the bed halves at the bed cord.

The top of the tanning bed won't stay up (or down)
This is a hydraulic cylinder problem, obviously, but before you assume a cylinder is bad, insure you have it installed properly.  The body portion of the cylinder (the fat part) could be up and the skinny part down when installing them.  Insure you have them installed properly before replacing.  Most cylinders are designed to be either open or closed, but not to "stick" in any position inbetween.

My tanning bed is hotter than it used to be.
Check to make sure you are getting proper ventilation to the tanning bed itself, and that the vent holes and fan intake holes are not blocked by any object or dust. Most tanning beds need a few inches from any air input or output to ensure proper ventilation.   Turn the bed on and visually inspect the individual fans to make sure they are spinning when the bed is energized.  Replace any defective system fans immediately to prevent damage to the electronics.  If you find build up in the air intakes or exhaust on the tanning bed, it is probably a good idea to buy a Tanning Bed Rebuild Kit and clean the entire inside of the tanning bed.

I am not getting very tan
If your tanning bed is new: Make sure you are following the instructions that came with your tanning bed regarding exposure times.  If you have dry skin or get dry skin from using a tanning bed, be sure to use indoor tanning lotion and/or approved moisturizer regularly.  Remember: when your skin peels or is dry, that is tan that is coming off.

If you have had your tanning bed for a while, try using a Tanning Bed Rebuild Kit and recondition your acrylics.  Reconditioning often allows 20% to 40% MORE UV to penetrate and be delivered to you.  You should use this kit (it has enough product for several applications) every time you change your lamps and at LEAST one time in between lamp changes.  For best results, the average home tanning bed should be cleaned inside using the kit about once per year.

Acrylics are cracked or hazy
Hazy or fogged acrylics are usually due to the customer using the WRONG cleaner on the tanning bed.  Your acrylics are very sensitive to cleaning agents, and as such, you should ONLY use approved disinfectants that are designed specifically for tanning bed acrylics.  Not only will they protect your acrylic, but it is cheaper than glass cleaners.  Glass cleaners and other household chemicals WILL RUIN YOUR ACRYLICS.  If you have been using glass cleaners or similar chemicals on your tanning bed, try using the Novus #2 (found in the Tanning Bed Rebuild kit, along with the proper acrylic cleaner) to strip BOTH SIDES of your acrylics.  If this doesn't work, you will need to replace them.

If your acrylics are cracked, they should be replaced.  This will prevent any potential injury.  This is especially true with bench acrylics, since you lie directly on them.

Tanning bed is tripping my breaker
If this is a new tanning bed, more than likely, you are running the tanning bed on too small a circuit and the excessive heat and extra power requirements are causing the breaker to trip.  You need to insure that the circuit the tanning bed is connected to is of the correct voltage and amperage for your tanning bed.  It is acceptible to run a tanning bed on a circuit that is LARGER than the rating for the tanning bed, but never for a SMALLER circuit.  This can lead to overheating, fire and damage to the tanning bed.

If your tanning bed is NOT new, and this is a recent development, AND there are no other issues with your tanning bed, then the problem is likely the breaker itself.   They do wear out, and when they do, one of the most common signs is the breaker tripping at a level that is too low for its rated amperage.  Have an electician look at and replace the breaker if you think this is the problem.



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Buck/boost transformers