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Electrical Question about a Portable Infrared Sauna


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I’ve been building a portable infrared sauna. I know nothing about electrical work, but did my best to follow the instructions. When I plugged it in, there was a huge spark and popping – obviously, something is wrong.


Electrical Question from Steve about a Portable Infrared Sauna

Received from Steve a Homeowner in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Question: Hi,
I’ve been building a portable infrared sauna. I know nothing about electrical work, but did my best to follow the instructions. When I plugged it in, there was a huge spark and popping – obviously, something is wrong. I’ve attached 4 photos. Can you tell me where I’ve gone wrong?

Thanks Steve

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question.

Steve – from the looks of the arcing that occurred at one of the plug prongs you have a direct short.

There are only two possible problem areas that you need to check. First, make sure the switch is wired correctly as shown in the wiring diagram. Second, make sure that the connections inside the cord cap body are correct and that the two wires do not come into contact with each other.
Steve, I’m sure the doctor has great intentions but this assembly is  a fire hazard and has a few terrible electrical code violations.
I would never use this device in my home or instruct others to assemble this for their own home use.

Here are a few problems I see with this design and from the information I see on the doctors website:

Mounting lamp sockets into a flammable wood board is a fire hazard.
The lamp sockets and wiring terminations are not mounted to or protected by an approved fixture box enclosure, therefore they are a fire hazard and they are open to human contact which could result in an electrical shock.
The wire is not anchored or supported.
This type of lamp wire is incorrect and may over heat at 1000 watts of load.
The entry of the lamp cord into the electrical switch box in not protected by an approved bushing or cord clamp.
The absence of a ground wire throughout the device.
The absence of a auto off or timer control which would allow automatic shut off.
The plastic pvc frame is unstable and could collapse causing the unit to come into human contact and cause severe burns and cause a fire to any flammable materials that the assembly may  come into contact with.
The doctor mentions using a lamp guard but the proximity of the flammable fabric material may not be adequate to prevent a fire.

Let me know what you discover, the cause should be very obvious.

I am not including the photos here or the doctors website because of the hazardous design of this unit. I may place the photos in another area of the website for review and discussion

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2 Responses to “Electrical Question about a Portable Infrared Sauna”
  1. lisa says:

    I have a lux sauna it was working fine but then I moved it now only half of the sauna is working the radio one light and half of the control panel on works and that is it. HELP

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Lisa,
      The Sauna most likely has a 240 volt or 2-pole circuit, and from what you have described half of this circuit has tripped off for some reason. First I would inspect all the electrical circuit components to make sure there has not been any damage while moving the sauna, including any cords, plugs or receptacles that are a part of the sauna. Next the circuit breaker should be located and turned off all the way and then back on. If the circuit breaker trips off then there may be an internal problem with the sauna that will need to be identified.
      Dave


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