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How to Wire a Tanning Bed Circuit

zinsco tanning bed circuit
Summary: Electrical Circuits Question: I am hooking up a tanning bed. According to the instructions, It operates from a 220 AC source.

How to Install a Tanning Bed Circuit

Installing a Tanning Bed Circuit

I am hooking up a tanning bed. According to the instructions, It operates from a 220 AC source. It requires a 6-20R outlet and a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

I have ran the 12/2 with ground wire. I've installed the outlet. That leaves the breaker. From my somewhat limited knowledge, I assumed I need a 2 pole 20 amp breaker. The panel is a Zinsco.

I was able to find the breakers online and purchased a R38-20 (2 X 1Pole 20Amp 120/240V breaker). The R series matches the other skinny breakers already being used. Inside the panel I connected the bare copper wire to the ground bar and the white and black to the breaker.

After hooking everything up and turning on the tanning bed, one side of the breaker trips after about 10 seconds. I am starting to wonder if the breaker is wrong. I am thinking its not an actual 2 pole breaker, but a twin single pole. this would make a difference, Right?
Thanks- Tim N.

Hi Tim - Great Electrical Repair Question!

The Zinsco R38-20 breaker should provide 240 volts if the connections on the bottom of the breaker are staggered where they will come into connection with the opposite busses in the panel. This means that one side of the twin breaker will connect to one of the busses of the panel and the other will side of the breaker will connect with the other buss of the panel which would produce 240 volts. It's always best to check the voltage source at the breaker before attaching the wires to make sure of your voltage. This can be done with a tester capable of reading 240 Volts AC and connecting the two leads to the terminal screws on the breaker. It is always a good idea to check terminal to terminal which should produce 240 volts, and then each terminal to ground to verify 120 volts. Once the voltage is verified make sure the wires are inside the terminals all the way. The Twin Zinsco breakers have a very small area to insert the wire and it can be tricky to get the wire all the way inside the terminal.
Let me know what you find.

From: Tim N.
Dave, The breaker does have the staggered contacts and I have the connections all the way in the terminals. So I cant figure why its not working I did ask the person who sold it to me and his email response was JUST PUT IN THE SAME THING (WIRE ETC .)BUT WITH THE TWO POLES!
What else do you think it could be?

Hi Tim - If you are providing the specified power to the tanning bed and the circuit is tripping then there may be a problem internally with the tanning bed. To find out what it is would involve a process of elimination, such as disconnecting one component at a time. However if the unit is brand new you may be voiding your warrantee. In that case I would contact the provider and ask for a replacement or some type of resolution. Because the circuit is not tripping immediately this would not indicate a direct short, so I believe there may be a component that is not right. With most tanning beds there aren't very many components, mainly the lights, fan and timer, but there may be a problem with one of these components. Have you made a voltage check to ground and terminal to terminal? From: Tim N. No I have not checked the volts. I am away from the panel, so I can't at this time. I will and report back to you. It may be awhile as its a project I am doing for my girl friend out of state. She lives in a condo and the the breaker box looks pretty standard to me. She did have an electrician look at it before I got involved to make sure that the service would handle the added circuit and he said it would. I have added circuits before without any issue in my house and thought i could handle this.
Thanks for the follow-ups.

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