- Lamps are slow to start, or do not light: If any lamp flickers more than two or three times, it may be time to replace a starter … note that your tanner can see this when turning on the sunbed, but may not report it to your staff. If any lamp is not lighting, this is also a sign that it may be time to replace a starter. Move a lamp that is not lighting to a position where the lamp IS lighting. If it now works, it’s time to replace the starter that won’t light the lamp.
- Replace worn starters before they cause re-strikes or fail entirely. A worn starter can very quickly destroy a good lamp: Glow-bottle starters are rated by the manufacturers for about 6,000 starts. In a 20-minute bed, this is about 2,000 “bed on” hours … maybe replace starters every second or third lamp change, depending upon the number of hours you run a set of lamps. In a 10-minute tanning system, you should consider 1,000 hours as the replacement interval … maybe every other lamp change.
- End-Darkening: This is more noticeable in lamps that are 140W or more, and is the result of the deposit of certain materials from the lamp’s cathode onto the interior bulb wall when the lamp starts. There are two reasons for this:
- There is more power compared to 100W lamps and the start is often “harder”, and
- Tanning sessions with higher-wattage lamps are almost always shorter. In 100 hours, the higher-wattage lamp will start twice as many times as the 100W lamp in a bed with a longer max session time.
- Electronic Starters: As with sunlamps, not all electronic starters are created equal. Purchase electronic starters from a reliable supplier. Properly designed and used, an electronic starter will:
- Reduce end-darkening,
- Will last ten years or longer; possibly the last starter you’ll ever need to buy.
With an electronic starter, the power builds up and then the lamps light without any flickering. Electronic starters are gentler on the lamp and can reduce some of the end-darkening. You can expect a minimum life of ten years. Electronic starters may cost a little more than glow-bottle starters, but the life and benefits far outweigh the expense. Remember, a bad starter can quickly destroy a good lamp!