Need electrician advice/help ASAP

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Old 03-15-09, 05:43 PM
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Need electrician advice/help ASAP

my wife just bought a tanning bed. it required a 120 v/20 w outlet. i installed a GFI outlet to a vacant electrical box in our downstairs that was wired in case we wanted to ever install baseboard heaters. not knowing the wire was 220 v (because they are the same gauge as 120) i hooked up the recepticle and plugged in the tanning bed. when i turned the tanning bed on, the bulbs came on and then instantly burned out. (heard a small pop). am i screwed?? did i just ruin the tanning bed, or did it just blow the bulbs??? i didnt see any smoke or smell buring. i then plugged in a small lamp to see if it would fry the lamp, and of course it blew the bulb. BUT when i replaced the bulb and plugged it into a correct recepticle, the lamp still work! will the tanning bed still work??!! does anyone have some advice on what i should do or how to check to see if the tanning bed is completely destroyed??!! please help!!
 
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Old 03-15-09, 05:47 PM
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Tanning beds have ballasts that ignite the bulbs(like a big fluorescent fixture) vs. regular bulbs. I'd check to see if it has some kind of internal fuse or a contactor that the timer pulls in to energize them. It's also possible you fried the timer or the contactor coil.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 05:50 PM
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thanks...but do you have any idea of where that fuse might be located??? by frying the timer, would that mean its destroyed or could that part be replaced???
 
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Old 03-15-09, 05:51 PM
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Lamps and bulbs are different from your bed...much simpler..and the bulb acted like a fuse. Only way to know is to plub the bed into the correct outlet and see.

At a minimum you may have fried the bulbs...worst case ..you may have fried the electronics (probably).

Why did you not check the supply voltage...not that it matters now.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 05:54 PM
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thanks. didnt have a volt meter, plus when i checked on the panel box, the fuse for that particular outlet said 120 so i just went ahead without checking it with a volt meter.....which obviously wasn't a good idea.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 06:06 PM
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does anyone know if there's an adapter out there to change the voltage or is that something that needs to be done in the panel box itself by an electrician??
 
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Old 03-15-09, 06:22 PM
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You say the "fuse" said it was 120? Are you working from a fuse box or a circuit breaker panel? If you got 240 volts from a fuse box you had to wire it to a double cartridge fuse, which would have (or should have) set off a signal in your head that it wasn't right. From what I have read in the posts, you may want to call in an electrician to rewire the receptacle you need, as there are no "adapters" to change the voltage.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 06:28 PM
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the switch in the breaker panel box said it was 20 amp/120 volt...which was the swithc to an empty recepticle box, so i hooked up the GFI recepticle. apparently though, it was 220/ 20 amp cause it blew the bulbs....but the fan/motor to the bed was still working/running...is that a glimpse of hope that the bed is not destroyed perhaps??? could that particular switch in the panel box be changed to 120 volt???
 
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Old 03-15-09, 06:50 PM
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Part of your post are somewhat confusing. In one part you state the breaker is a 120, yet you say when you turned it on you got 240. Breakers are labeled with the ampacity on the handle, not the voltage that they will supply.

Without a meter to measure how would you know you got 240 to the bed? 240 would require a double pole breaker. Is the breaker a thin breaker like the majority of the ones in your panel or is it twice as thick?

Another note, do not measure voltage by the size of the wires. Size is totally irrelevant to voltage.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 06:54 PM
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electrically "frying" an appliance??

this is a spin off a post i made earlier...but wanted to see if anyone out there knows anything about "frying" a tanning bed by plugging it into a recepticle with too much voltage....
the bulbs blew, but the fan on the tanning bed was still working....do you think its destroyed??? or could it possibly still work with new bulbs???? any advice out there???
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:00 PM
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i know very little about electricity, but know just enough to destroy things obviously. the switch in the panel box is a double switch with 20 on the top...which is the amps right?? but i think it was wired for 220, not 120 voltage.....but i had no way of knowing without checking with a volt meter. so when i hooked up the recepticle and plugged in the tanning bed (which required a 120/20) it blew all the bulbs....but the fan on the bed still was working. i'm just trying to figure out if the bed is destroyed or if it is going to somehow work with new bulbs. does plugging a 120 thing into a 220 voltage instantly mean the appliance is destroyed???? i guess thats the point i'm trying to get to...
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:02 PM
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Have you verified you have too much voltage? Of course you can do damage by supplying double the amount of voltage to an appliance.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:05 PM
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i havent confirmed it with an actual volt meter....but i know thats got to be the problem by the process of elimination and speaking with other people....
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:08 PM
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You would have to have two hots (1 on each leg of a 240 breaker) to have that more then 120v. I'm not an electricial, but I think you prolly have an issue with your tanning bed, not your power.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:36 PM
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First off it is a breaker not a switch and certainly not a fuse. If by "double switch" you mean a breaker with two handles tied together then yes it is 240v. Easy enough to convert to 120v but I would suggest you call an electrician. You need to read at least one book on electricity before doing any work. Wiring Simplified is one book often suggested here. Good luck. With any luck you just blew the tubes. Ballasts are just transformers and within the insulation value of their windings are reasonably tolerant of higher voltages.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:51 PM
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yes, its a breaker with 2 singles handles tied as 1 handle. so if the bulbs are the only thing that blew i wouldn't need to replace the ballasts right?? only the bulbs?? after i get the electrician.....
 
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Old 03-15-09, 08:26 PM
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Bulbs are cheapest so yes replace those first. You probably have multiple ballasts so just enough bulbs to test one ballast
 
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