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Old 01-17-2015, 05:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Electrical - a quick primer for salons

Several key things to understand about electrical issues for tanning salons. Others feel free to join in - I'm no electrician! And ALL of this comes with the disclaimer.... this is for GENERAL information only - for specifics, consult a licensed electrician!


1. PHASE

Salons can have 3 phase power or single phase.

Single phase is sometimes referred to as "2 pole" - three phase as "3 pole".

In a nutshell - single phase uses "2 hots" and 3 phase uses "3 hots".

The 3 phase allows the pull to be "distributed" across more "hot legs" - and so, ultimately means you use a smaller size breaker than you would for single phase.

For example - a tanning bed that required an 80A single phase breaker would usually only need a 50A breaker for 3 phase.


Within 3 phase - you can have "Wye" (Y) systems and Delta. Delta can have a "high leg" that carries 240 current. This can be an issue when hooking up beds with 110 components (timers, fan controls,..). Nothing that is a deal breaker - but you have to pay attention when hooking things
up.


A SALON will have either 3 phase power or single phase. If it has single phase, it MAY be easy/inexpensive to convert to 3 phase or it may be hard/expensive. This is a question to ask.

A BED will be designed as single phase, three phase - and SOMETIMES - both. Some beds can be converted to either - but some were ONLY built one way or the other and can only be connected one way.

Last edited by sunsally; 01-17-2015 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

2. Breaker size vs Amp Draw


A bed will come with a recommended breaker size - for example - 50Amp single phase.

However, following electrical specifications, the ACTUAL amps that it needs to RUN will be about 80% of that breaker size. So, for a bed on a 50A breaker, it probably actually has a "running amp draw" of about 40A.

At "start up" - SOME beds draw a bit more - some a bit less (they go up after fans, radios, etc engage). So you may see some beds indicate a "start up draw" and "running amps"
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

3. Voltage

There are two "general" categories seen in the US -- 110/115/120V (all, basically, the same thing) vs 208/220/240V (all, basically, the same thing)


Most commercial tanning beds are designed to run on a 208/220/240V system.

By contrast - your electrical outlets and lighting in a salon are typically on a 110/115/120VV system.


Just because it is a 208/220/240V system - doesn't mean the bed itself runs at EXACTLY that number. Nor that the incoming voltage to your space is EXACTLY that number.


Many commercial spaces have 208 systems. These can run SOME tanning beds fine as is - typically magnetic ballast beds, like older Tan America or Sundash.

SOME commercial beds require the voltage to be more in the 220-235V range - choke ballast beds.


SOME equipment is very "voltage sensitive". Others are not.

Voltage can be changed - with the use of transformers - or "buck boosters".

Voltage can also vary by the time of day (other draws on the system) or by the distance from the source (electrical panel) to the bed. So important to check voltage not just at your panel - but in the specific rooms where the beds are located. It CAN differ.

Last edited by sunsally; 01-18-2015 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

4. Buck Boosters/Transformers


Transformers are used to "BUCK" (lower) the voltage - or "BOOST" (increase) the voltage.


They are sold in 12/24 or 16/32 configurations. So you can buy the one that best fits what you need to do -- go up or down 12 or 24Volts or up or down 16 or 32 volts.


They are wired inside the transformer box to allow it to make the appropriate change. So if you buy a USED one - it may already be set at something other than what you were wanting to do and might need to be changed.


Buck boost transformers have KVA ratings --- .5kva, 1.0 kva, 3.0kva, etc etc This refers to the breaker size the bed is on that needs transforming. They need to be sized appropriately - or risk issues like fire or failure.


If you need to buck or boost just a FEW specifics units - might be most cost effective to do individual ones for those units.

If ALL the beds need them - might be better to transform at the panel itself (perhaps requiring a 150kva transformer which is about the size of 3' x 3' x 3')


Voltage that is UNDER what is recommended - may cause the bed to underperform (it may light up - but not tan well at all).

Voltage that is OVER what is recommended - may cause the bed to produce excess heat, put stress on the internal components and early failure and early failure of lamps.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

5. Wire size (gauge).


Wire size is called gauge and is linked to breaker size. The LARGER the breaker (more amps), the FATTER the wire needed - which is a gauge with a lower number on it.

For example - a bed that runs on a 30A breaker may use 12 gauge wire which is relatively thin. A bed that runs on a 100A breaker may use 4 gauge wire which is pretty thick.*** The thicker the wire, the more copper in it, and the more expensive it is. UNDERSIZED wire may lead to fire or failure.


*** I don't have my wire gauge to breaker size memorized, so this is just an EXAMPLE not necessarily what code dictates.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

6. Number of Wires needed


ALL tanning beds require at least 3 wires - 2 hots and a ground.

A THREE PHASE application requires three hot wires - so it will need at least 4 wires - 3 hots and a ground.


SOME beds require a "neutral" - usually for a timer or fan system.

In this case, you might need 4 wires for single phase (2 hots, 1 ground and 1 neutral) or 5 wires for three phase (3 hots, 1 ground and 1 neutral).
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

Great synopsis of electric requirements needed for a tanning salon.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

This is the best info I've seen in a while!
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

A 200 amp 3 phase service will power 400 amps of single phase equipment. A 200 amp single phase service will power 200 amps single phase equipment. Therefore a 200 amp three phase system is more desirable than a 200 amp single phase service. To determine your needs you must know the amps your equipment draws and if it is 3 phase or single phase. A 3 phase and a single phase equipment can be operated on a 3 phase service however only a single phase equipment can be operated on a single phase service.

Bring additional power to a space can sometimes be brought to a space but not always. Sometimes it may require a new transformer be brought in for the entire building or center.

In other words knowing your power requirements now and in the future for equipment is important when evaluating a space.
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Re: Electrical - a quick primer for salons

Great thread sunsally!
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