Are things getting dimmer?
If your LCD projection seems to be dimmer than it used to be, it’s probably not your eyes. Projector lamps have a rated life expectancy just like light bulbs. (OK, it IS hard to notice the rating on a bulb when you’re frantically replacing it during an important presentation!) But paying attention to a projector bulb’s rated life expectancy may just be what saves you some embarrassment at your next meeting.
Projector lamp life-expectancy ratings are defined by the number of hours it takes for the bulb to be half as bright as it was when it was new. Many projector lamps have an average life of 2000 hours. But don’t worry; you don’t have to keep a lamp usage log to know when a bulb’s about to fail. Nearly every projector keeps track of the number hours since the bulb was last changed – that is if the internal meter was reset at that time. You can find this number by accessing the projector setup menu. (Consult the owner’s manual for more specific instructions.) If you find the number of hours at or above 2000, it’s time to change that bulb!
Some projector lamps will last longer than expected, while others will last fewer hours than their rating implies. To be safe, Q Center technicians generally replace lamps when they reach approximately 75% of their advertised rating. Yes, it drives up costs – lamps are expensive. But we know that our customers can’t afford any unnecessary downtime during their meetings.
Steps you can take to prolong projector lamp life include:
- Make sure there is adequate space around projector air intakes so the lamp doesn’t overheat.
- Clean or replace the projector air filters as recommended in the projector owner’s manual.
- If your projector enables you to run the lamp at a slightly reduced brightness you can greatly extend the life of the lamp. Most people won’t notice the reduced brightness. If they do, you can temporarily kick up the brightness for that presentation.
- Some projectors don’t completely turn off when you press the power button. The projector cooling fan will continue to run after you shut it off, which enables the lamp to gradually cool off before complete power-down. You may be tempted to unplug the projector before the fan stops. Allow the projector to completely shut off before unplugging it actually extends the life of the bulb.
What hints do you have for extending battery life? Got any nightmare projector failure stories to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below.