Tanning bed bulbs are the most important part of a sunbed.
They give the bed its tanning effects by producing either UVA or UVB rays. So, one or more tanning bed lights are certain to fail at some point due to repeated use. This will surely interfere with the normal functioning of the sunbed. Replacement of the damaged or malfunctioning bulb is always necessary.
But here is the thing, you can’t just simply pull out the lamp and replace it with a new one. There are several steps you need to follow for a successful replacement. Buster from Master Tanning has made the process easy. The following tips will help you learn how to change tanning bed bulbs easily.
- How to Change Tanning Bed Bulbs – Step By Step Guide
- Types of Tanning Bed Bulbs
- Final Thoughts
- Related Articles
How to Change Tanning Bed Bulbs – Step By Step Guide
Here are the most important things you need to do when changing tanning bed bulbs.
Step 1: Inspect Your Tanning Bed
The first and most important thing to do is inspect your tanning bed. Inspecting a sunbed will tell you exactly which bulbs need replacement and which ones need cleaning. It isn’t economical to assume that most of your bulbs are damaged or worn out. There are a few things you will need to do for a successful inspection.
I recommend you start the inspection with the bed on. For this part, you will need tanning goggles for UV protection. You can alternatively use a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV radiation of the sunbed. Plug the machine in power and turn it on. Once you turn the bed on, you will directly see which bulb or bulbs are defective.
Some bulbs may be out completely, while others may have a limited or reduced emission. Master the damaged lamps and the ones that need cleaning and then turn off the machine.
Step 2: Figuring Out the Size of Tanning Lamps
Figure out the size of tanning lamps you need for replacement. The bulb recommendations are usually attached to the front of the bed. The label will have the description of the tanning lamp you’ve got in your sunbed. You can either buy the recommended bulb from the manufacturer or you can get a compatible lamp from your dealer.
Tanning bulbs are available in different configurations or sizes, which are the standard designs on the market. You’ve got two eight-watt lamp sizes, F60 and F59 (they are usually installed at the face tanning buckets). Then you’ve got the typical one-hundred-watt bulb sizes, F74, F73, F72, and F71. Some F74s are rated at one hundred and twenty watts. The F is an abbreviation for fluorescent, while the number represents the nominal length of the lamp.
These lamps also come in different styles like Bipin and RDC (adapter). RDC refers to recessed double contact, which allows you to convert a Bipin into an RDC style for perfect compatibility. You can use an RDC adapter to fit an F71 Bipin lamp in an F73 RDC socket. The RDC adapters or caps are usually reusable.
Apart from the size and style of tanning lamps, you should also consider lamp life and UV output rating.
Step 3: Removing the Acrylics to Get to the Lamps
The next important step is to remove the acrylic from the upper and lower panels to access the lamps. The easiest way to remove the acrylic is to loosen the end caps and pull the acrylic out of the front of the sunbed. But with this method, you can easily scratch the acrylic and this method may prove to be cumbersome for some people.
If you take an extra step in removing the canopy first, then it becomes a lot easier to remove the acrylic. To achieve this, you will need to remove the shocks and loosen the hardware for the arms. Then you will be able to remove the canopy. You will need a screwdriver to release the shock. For this particular step, you will need to consult the user manual of your machine.
Make sure you support the weight of the canopy above you as you gently release the shocks. When the shocks are loose, close the canopy and then remove the shocks from both sides. Use the ideal Allen key size to loosen up the hardware for the arms. Make sure you support the canopy as you are pulling the bolts out. Remove the canopy and place it aside, then loosen all the hardware on one side of the bed to loosen the caps that hold the acrylic in place.
Ensure there is a small gap between the acrylic and the side cap. Then gently lift the acrylic but don’t slide your fingers down the edge of the acrylic. The acrylic should pop out easily when you have loosened all the parts that hold it in place.
Step 4: Recondition Your Sunbed
The next important thing to do is to recondition your sunbed. You should do this before installing new tanning lamps to improve the efficiency of the tanning bed by about twenty to forty percent. The most vital part of reconditioning is cleaning the lamps. You should do this every six months to boost tanning performance.
All you have to do is pull out your tanning lamps one by one (by now you should have removed the acrylic to have full access to the lamps). Gently twist one side of the lamp out of its socket and pull the rest of the lamp out. You will notice that the bulbs over time form a film that usually decreases the bed’s tanning power. Use a cleaning solution or alcohol solution that is recommended for tanning lamps. Spray a small amount of the solution on a special wipe or piece of cloth. Then use the damp cloth to wipe the lamp from top to bottom.
You should expect to see some dust as you wipe the lamps. This is so because dust gets into the bed through the ventilation system. You can also do some thorough cleaning on the bench of your tanning bed, especially in between the rails. You can even use a vacuum cleaner with a soft bristle attachment.
Step 5: Replacing All Damaged Lamps
The next step is to replace all the damaged lamps. Just like in the previous step, you can remove a bulb by twisting it a quarter turn and lifting it out.
Get the new bulb, put it in the sockets, and twist it one-quarter turn. Make sure that the writings on the bulbs are facing up. Handle the lamps with care during maintenance and replacement. This is especially important when dealing with high-pressure tanning lamps. Any oil and fingerprints imprinted on a high-pressure bulb can lead to overheating and malfunctioning.
Step 6: Reinstalling the Acrylics
Now you need to reinstall the acrylics. If you didn’t disassemble the canopy, then reinstalling the acrylics will be as easy as sliding them back into the tracks. Then snap the front and the back profile strips.
But if you did disassemble the canopy, then you will have to pop in and properly align the acrylics, reinstall the fastening hardware, reposition and reinstall the canopy, reinstall the arms and their hardware, and then reinstall the shocks on both sides.
Types of Tanning Bed Bulbs
You first need to know the type of bulbs you’ve got in your sunbed to be able to buy the ideal replacement. There are hundreds of different kinds of tanning bed lights.
Most of which can be categorized into two large groups, high-pressure and low-pressure. Both types of bulbs need an oxygen-free atmosphere inside the lamp itself. Fluorescent designs need an electrical ballast that helps limit the amount of current circulating inside the bulb. The resistance of an incandescent bulb filament, on the other hand, integrally limits the current inside the bulb.
Tanning bulbs are plasma devices that will circulate as much current as the external circuit will provide. That’s why a ballast is necessary for regulating the current through them.
High-Pressure Tanning Lamps
High-pressure tanning lights are usually three to five inches long. They are powered by a high-performing ballast with a power rating of two hundred and fifty to two thousand watts. The most popular variety is the one rated at four hundred watts.
High-pressure units are made of quartz glass, which means they don’t filter UVC rays. A special purple glass filter is usually installed in the tanning bed to help filter UVB and UVC. High-pressure units are specifically designed to generate high amounts of UVA. What is included inside this type of lamp are mercury and inert gas. When installing this type of bulb, you need to be careful to avoid staining the quartz glass or the bulb may fail to function properly.
You will need a special wipe that contains alcohol to help clean out any oil or fingerprints. You also need to be extremely wary when handling the bulb to avoid mercury vapor exposure.
Low-Pressure Tanning Lamps
Low-pressure units also use a ballast to effectively regulate the current inside the lamp. They also contain mercury and inert gas. The bulbs feature a special phosphors coating on the inside. The glass material used on these lamps is uniquely made to filter UVC light. The excited mercury atoms produce a plasma that is responsible for emitting UV light.
As you have seen it isn’t difficult to learn how to change tanning bed bulbs. I did break down the process into six easy-to-follow steps. I advise you to familiarize yourself with the construction of your tanning bed first. This will make the bulb-changing process extremely easy because you will know where the acrylics and profile strips are.
Make sure you read all the labels on your sunbed to know which bulbs the manufacturer of the sunbed recommends. You can also help boost the performance of your tanning bed by cleaning all the tanning lamps every six months.
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