Tanning bed electrics for dummies

Thread Starter

cachophrastus

Joined Mar 30, 2019
17
Hi,

I am producing a small, home tanning bed. It hangs on a door to save space. It has 10 lamps. With the help of a local laser cutting and folding firm after several prototypes I now have a really great chassis for it.

I took it to a harness manufacturer and they were really helpful. They said they would send me the design for the wiring and they also gave me some contact details of firms that might be helpful. I've come up against some problems though. I emailed the wiring harness manufacturer but have received no replies. I don't think they know the answers.

These are the 2 main problems at the moment:
a) I have located a firm that can supply a timer. They are asking if the timer should have single pole or dual pole. I don't know what the answer to this should be.
b) There are 2 kinds of ballast available for the lamps. Electro-mechanical and electronic. The electro-mechanical ones are far too heavy. They weigh about 2 kilos each and there is one for each lamp. 20 kilos! It's a non starter. The electronic ballasts power 2 lamps each. They are much lighter and will add very little weight. However, the ones available are far too expensive at around 60 GBP (78 dollars). It would mean zero profit margin for my bed. One of the firms recommended by the harness manufacturer makes ballasts for LEDs. I asked if they could make me a suitable electronic ballast for my tanning lamps. This is what they say:
"
Before we do anything we really need to establish if it is a DC or AC output.
If it is an AC output then we would not have anything suitable.
Let me know and we will go from there. "

The tanning bed runs on a domestic supply. 240 volts AC in uk or 110 volts AC in US. But does the ballast convert it into DC?

Here is a link https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/392264011057 to an electronic ballast (although it is for 100 watt lamps, I'm currently planing to use 160 watt lamps for my prototype. (I might change to 100 watt lamps if the high powered lamps produce too much heat.) I've loaded a picture of the electro-magnetic ballasts I was sent by the distributor for the lamps. Any suggestions on how to move this forward will be very gratefully received including suggestions on how I can learn more about the technical aspects of tanning bed circuits and electronic ballasts in general and for tanning lamps specifically.
Electro magnetic ballast.JPG
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
737
It seems to me that leds must be the way to go ,,, florescent (long glass tubes ) are old technology and have lots of issues ... fragile glass .. heavy ballasts ...

I expect most manufactures do use fluorescent because they are easier to assemble . If you use leds your product will stand out as being more compact , sturdy , lighter and probably more energy efficient ...

Leds do not need a ballast , just a way to convert mains to DC (transformer , rectifier) ,,,

You need to start with choosing the component led , they come in many sizes , and you need to be clear about what wavelength you need.

A quick search shows top end of the market models do use led ... vast majority still use florescent .. there's no real reason I can see why led types should cost too much more.

I guess this would be your competitor ...small florescent tanner , around $200....



Just a thought .... why not produce a product that is permanently fixed to the sealing of the bathroom , The user doesn't have the bother of moving it or plugging it in ,when having a bath or using the bathroom he can switch it on.
 
Last edited:

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,620
It seems to me that leds must be the way to go ,,, florescent (long glass tubes ) are old technology and have lots of issues ...
Some quick research seems to support my first reaction to the idea of using LEDs in a tanning bed. The output of UV LEDs is too low to be practical. There are some LED tanning beds available, but they’re expensive, running into thousands of dollars. If the thought of ten electric ballasts causes the TS pause, then the cost of thousands of LEDs may also produce the same reaction.

IMHO
 

Thread Starter

cachophrastus

Joined Mar 30, 2019
17
When I first started the project I thought of using LED's. I contacted a manufacturer of UV LED's and they told me that they were only used for UVC (dangerous to humans) for curing and for disinfection.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,411
For starters, LEDs need DC, but more than just a DC power source, because the current needs to be controlled, limited to some safe value, and the voltage that gives that current changes as the LED temperature changes, and as they age. So they need a controller, neither a ballast nor just a DC supply. And for the UV radiation, different sources make LEDs with different wavelengths. Most but not all are used for sterilization, some for growing plants, and some for curing epoxy materials. The gas tubes are most common because they are the most cost effective. And here in the USA the electronic ballasts seldom reach $30 at the better home improvement stores, such as Home Depot. Evidently the suppliers in the UK have decided to make an obscene profit. And my recent experience with ebay pricing was that it was high out of sight compared to Amazon for exactly the same item $200 on ebay, $32 at Amazon, and $29 at Home Depot.
Beware that all electronic ballast type devices, for tubes and LEDs, may generate electronic interference and be regulated by the FCC.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
2,894
The advent of LED lighting has caused confusion in terminology. Because a fluorescent ballast serves as a power supply, the LED drivers, a very different thing, have taken the inaccurate and misleading name ballast.

In fact, ballasts are always and only AC, because the way the provide power to fluorescent tubes, in conjunction with starters requires AC. If the vendor says, “we can do AC ballasts” they are saying they provide LED drivers, not fluorescent ballasts.

Fluorescent UV tubes are clearly the most effective way to get UV wavelengths for tanning. The tubes require a ballast, either the traditional choke type or an electronic one. You will either have ot source an electronic ballast that is cheap enough, or deal with the weight.

The truth is, the electronic ballasts have many advantages over the older technology besides weight and I can’t imagine using the older technology on such a product.

Good luck.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,411
In almost all applications the primary purpose of a ballast device is to limit and control the current, even though LED DRIVER is a more correct term, it is still functioning in the mode of a ballast. The other applications of "ballast" devices are indeed AC, including the ballast tubes used in a few kinds of radios in the more distant past.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,823
These are the 2 main problems at the moment:
a) I have located a firm that can supply a timer. They are asking if the timer should have single pole or dual pole. I don't know what the answer to this should be.
In either UK or N.A. you do not switch the neutral so I would assume the answer would be S.P.
If 240v in N.A. you would require a D.P.
Max.
 

be80be

Joined Jul 5, 2008
2,051
This brings back memories Pat Smith was in his forth year of collage as EE he wanted to do a tanning booth for it.
We did it had 4 bulbs and 2 ballast A fan and timer got me a year free at the YMCA cause I installed it there after we
was done with it. Old Pat had to test it out I told him don't stay in there long he came out and said it's not tanning fast.
so he stayed 30 minutes more. He came out red I said oh boy I'm glade that's not me.
those was the good old days.
Oh I forgot it cost a bunch for them 4 bulbs so the YMCA wasn't a good deal but he talked me into it. LOL
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,012
I'm normally all business, but as someone who has had skin cancer from uv exposure, I encourage you to do a little reading on the risks before purposefully exposing yourself to unneeded uv. Everyone in my immediate family and many of my friends also have had skin cancer from uv, plus it ages your skin really fast. I just happen to live in a tropical place with lots of sun, but tanning beds are even higher risk than natural exposure.
 

Thread Starter

cachophrastus

Joined Mar 30, 2019
17
Are we allowed to discuss a circuit for causing cancer on this forum?
IF you find some UV lights (LEDs?) that cause skin tanning then they can also cause skin cancer.
This is a big subject. From my (ongoing) research on the pubmed database I have reached these interim conclusions:

* Studies show that office and factory workers are more prone to skin cancer than outdoor workers.
* Only 4% of melanomas (the deadly form of skin cancer) are on the face. Which would indicate that UV rays are not the prime cause of melanoma.
* UV light hitting the skin produces vitamin d. Vitamin d deficiency is implicated in all forms of cancer and all chronic diseases, particularly autoimmune disease.
* Infrared light has several therapeutic benefits.
* A tan is a natural sun screen. What causes burning and skin damage is sudden overexposure to UV light when the subject does not have a tan and is vitamin d (and other minerals and vitamins deficient).

I am not a doctor.

Can we concentrate on tanning bed circuitry?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
@MrSoftware

True, those who use tanning beds have a higher cancer prevalence than those exposed to direct sunlight: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-a-tanning-bed-safer-than-sunlight

However, those studies are not normalized for total exposure. One might assume that those who use tanning beds may have longer or more intense exposure to UVA and may forego sunblock. At the same total dose and intensity of UVA, it would be hard to justify why cancer risk from tanning beds is greater than from natural exposure.
 

Thread Starter

cachophrastus

Joined Mar 30, 2019
17
"....Laboratory research has helped us understand how tanning affects skin cells. Both UVB and UVA rays damage the cells' DNA, potentially causing mutations that may lead to cancer. This same DNA damage is the cause of tanning. In other words, tanning itself is a sign of DNA damage in the skin....."

The DNA damage is instantly repaired by the skin's repair mechanism. Tanning is not a sign of DNA damage to the skin. It is a sign that UVA has darkened existing melanin in the skin or the UVB has stimulated the melanosomes to produce more melanin. Both these effects are the skin's natural defence against UV damage. Burnt skin is a sign of UV damage

"...Despite the clear evidence that it's unsafe, the use of tanning beds is on the rise. Nearly 30 million people in the United States tan in salons every year, most of them women between the ages of 16 and 49. Surveys show that many people understand the risks but continue to tan because they think it makes them look healthy...."

The author quotes no studies to substantiate her claim the there is "...clear evidence that it's unsafe..." Therefore I have to assume that this is propaganda designed to keep our health sub par so that we remain reliant on doctors and their drugs. I can use pubmed studies to make a case that regular tanning not only protects against organ cancers and chronic disease but also that regular tanning in a salon under controlled conditions will protect against overexposure to the sun's rays and will protect against melanoma.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,411
Clearly the thread has wandered far from the original topic. My comment is that it must be a miserable life chained to the fears that are promoted by all sorts of fearmongers, who seem to thrive on planting fear among others.
My hope is that all the fearmongers would leave this platform area and move to a different venue which I promise to avoid with all of my possible avoidance abilities.
 

Thread Starter

cachophrastus

Joined Mar 30, 2019
17
Clearly the thread has wandered far from the original topic. My comment is that it must be a miserable life chained to the fears that are promoted by all sorts of fearmongers, who seem to thrive on planting fear among others.
My hope is that all the fearmongers would leave this platform area and move to a different venue which I promise to avoid with all of my possible avoidance abilities.
Yes. Bill. You will be provided with a free book called "Safe Tanning" with your purchase of my tanning bed. This will contain chapters on all of these questions, with dozens of medical research papers quoted.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
@MisterBill2
"Fear mongering" is a bit strong when the increased risk of cancer has been clearly shown and is not trivial. I think AG raised a legitimate question. AAC's TOS includes this prohibition:
Devices designed to electrocute or shock another person
I have always thought that was a bit strange. Namely, why is electrocuting another person bad, but committing suicide by electrocution is apparently a permitted topic?

I think a better wording might be, "Devices designed to electrocute or shock another to harm any person."
 
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