Is it typical for this to happen to a projector lamp?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Inspector Hammer!, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I came home today and switched on my Infocus X-1 and noticed that the picture is extremely dim now. I just passed the 3000 mark on the lamp hours, but it's supposed to be good for 4000, even though i've been told to replace it before that.

    But is this normal for a lamp to lose so much brightness? I was under the impression that the lamp wouldn't go dim, that I would just get an on-screen warning that the lamp was about to expire.

    Also, what does a lamp for an X-1 go for now? I heard $300, but this was 2 years ago, I hope they've dropped by now?
     
  2. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    The second point is easiest. The chances are very good that the price for the lamp has not changed significantly - except perhaps for going up.

    I'd recommend doing a dangerously simple test for the lamp.

    When the projector is cool - having not been run for at least a couple of hours, remove the lamp.

    DO NOT TOUCH ANY GLASS PART OF THE LAMP AT THIS TIME.

    I don't know the specifics of this projector, but most projector lamps are a 'module' consisting of a frame - generally plastic, a glass or ceramic reflector, and the arc tube.

    The arc-tube is generally potted in porcalin at the base of the reflector, although sometimes it's just glass/quartz.

    Inspect the arc-tube. It should be a smooth cylinder of glass/quartz, and it should be clear.

    It is likely that it is either (a) smokey, or (b) distorted - often with a large bulge in the envelope.

    It is also possible that there are (c) cracks at the base of the reflector; this is not terribly uncommon. Disconcerting, yes, but not uncommon.

    Symptoms A and B are signs that the lamp needs to be replaced ASAP. Even though it may not explode and damage the projector, it's putting a greater strain on the power supply and lamp ballast.

    Question: in addition to being dark, is the color poor? Tending toward greenish or, perhaps, yellowish? These are also symptoms of the lamp loosing some of the vital magic smoke that makes it produce copious amounts of 'good' light.

    IF symptoms A & B are not present, you may try returning the lamp to the projector. It is conceivable, however unlikely, that the lamp merely needed to be re-seated for the electrical contacts.

    Chances are good you just need a new lamp; lamps are usually rated for median life, anyway, not mean.

    Leo Kerr
     
  3. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Sigh, thanks, Leo, I was afraid of that, it exhibits every symptom you mentioned, time for a new one it is I think. [​IMG]

    So, does anyone know the best place to get one cheap, say, in the $260 range?
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    have you heard about cleaning the color wheel?

    over time the color wheel gets covered in a thin layer of fine dust, which could be rubbed off with some gentle lovin' using isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip.

    there was a thread on it back at AVS while the X1 was still the talk of the forum.
     
  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I'm afraid your too late, Nick, she's gone. [​IMG]

    Welp, last night, it happened, I was sitting on the couch petting my cat with the projector on when POW!!!, the bulb exploded and scared the living shit out of both my cat and myself!

    I removed it from the projector and thankfully no glass particles went inside the projector, the screens on the bulb housing did their job and kept the debri inside of it, so the projector's fine, minus one very expensive bulb which I must now work to replace ASAP.

    Nick,
    how do you advance the color wheel to clean the rest of it that isn't exposed? I looked inside the lamp cavity and only the red and some blue are showing, and yes, there is dust on it.
     
  6. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Just out of curiosity, have you peeled the cat off the ceiling yet? [​IMG]

    You can get a lamp at the Infocus on-line store for $299.00. I haven't seen it listed for much less than that anywhere else. And I wouldn't fool with trying to clean the color wheel. A smidgen too much pressure and you'll break it.

    BTW, my first lamp on the X1 exploded at just 1250 hours; so, you've been lucky! My second lamp (purchased from Infocus) was still going strong at 1800 hours. At that point, I sold the X1 (for $300) and purchased a 4805. (Speaking of which, you can purchase that 2200:1 CR 16:9 DLP chip projector with a 4x six segment color wheel for $999 now from the same site! Believe me when I tell you that it blows the X1 away for DVD and HDTV viewing!)
     
  7. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    LOL, Joseph, the cat's fine, he may have blown a couple of his nine lives in that instant but he's cool. [​IMG] I was actually quite shocked at how loud it was myself, like someone had popped a very large balloon right next to my ear!

    Yeah, i've heard many good thing's about the 4805 and would love to get one, but I sadly can't afford that big of an upgrade right now, the buld blowing was a big inconveniance finance wise, I didn't expect to have to replace it for at least another 6-700 hrs and I was going to put away in preparation of it.

    The biggest bummer of all for me, though, is that my HT will be out of commission for at least 2 to 3 weeks. [​IMG] That's fine, though, blown bulbs is one of the responsabilities I accepted when I upgraded to a front projector, so I can't cry about it too much.

    As a follow-up question to the one I asked Nick above, I would like to know the best way to give the lamp cavity and surrounding parts a good cleaning? Some dust has caked on the fans and vents and I tried using a vacum cleaner hose on the medium setting but it didn't do much to help.
     
  8. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I was in the same boat as you John, a couple months ago. Bulb on a 4805 blew (at 2300 hours no less) and it rendered my HT useless for several solid weeks, besides occasional music listening. My brother couldn't take it anymore and finally forked over the dough for a new one. [​IMG]

    I would have been more than willing to replace it asap if just one of these job interviews actually went somewhere. [​IMG] But yea, this can be a painful expense you don't expect until it actually happens.
     
  9. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    We may have to start a charitable foundation here at HTF for others in this situation, the FFTB or Foundation for the Bulbless.

    "Helping those in need of Illumination."

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    With a little foresight, purchasing pj bulbs (and new projectors) is relatively easy:

    Just put a quarter in the "Bulb Fund" everytime you view a DVD movie!

    If you had done that, you would have had around $375 available for a new bulb ... (Hey, easy for me to say, right? [​IMG] )

    You really can't tell when a bulb is going to blow. When Infocus states that a bulb is good for 4000 hours, they're talking about a "median time to failure". Some people will get much less time while others will actually get more. It's worth noting, however, that Infocus only warrants a bulb for 500 hours!
     

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