You may view replacing a projector lamp as a simple process, much like changing the ink on your printer, or you may view it as a complex, intimidating task that should only be done by an expensive professional, much like tuning a piano. The truth lies somewhere in between. With a little knowledge and some care, anyone can replace a projector lamp safely and ensure that it will perform properly throughout its expected life.
Proceed with Caution
It is common sense to practice some degree of caution when handling any type of light or projection bulb, but this is especially true with projection lamps – they are every bit as fragile as they are costly. Using a low-quality projector lamp or one that differs from the type recommended by your projector’s manufacturer may result in the bulb bursting, which could damage the projector and leave behind a potentially hazardous mess to clean up. The bulbs contain mercury, which is poisonous to people, animals and the environment. When handling a lamp, hold it by the lamp assembly’s handle or frame; never touch the bulb! It’s also a good idea to wear eye protection – just in case.
Use the clips, handles, or tabs on the lamp housing to handle the lamp!
Why Hands Off?
Although most projectors include warnings about coming into direct contact with the projector bulb, few offer a reason. When a person touches a smooth surface, they almost always leave behind a small amount of oil from their skin. Like any type of oil, this residue is inclined to quickly heat to a higher-than-normal temperature, creating a hot spot on the lamp. The excessive heat weakens that area of the already-fragile surface, making it much more susceptible to cracking or bursting.
Replacing the Projector Lamp
The good news is that practicing caution is the most complicated part of changing a projector lamp; the actual act of replacing it is relatively quick and easy:
1. Before getting started, make sure that the projector is cool and unplug the power cord.
2. Then, using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the screws securing the unit’s lamp cover and lift it off the projector.
3. Remove the screws that secure the lamp and – grasping the lamp assembly handle or frame – carefully lift the lamp out of the projector.
4. Remove the replacement lamp from its packaging and insert it into the projector, gently pushing down on its handle or frame to make sure it locks in properly.
5. After replacing and tightening its screws, put the lamp cover back in place and secure it by tightening its screws as well.
6. Finally, if your projector includes a lamp hour counter, consult the manufacturer’s documentation for instructions on resetting it.
Consult your manual for instructions on how to reset your lamp timer. If you don’t have your manual – click here to contact us! Chances are we have a copy.
Your projector should be working again, but your work isn’t over yet! The disposal of projector lamps is governed by federal and state laws due to the potential negative impact mercury can have on the environment. To properly dispose of your old lamp, put it in the replacement lamp’s packaging to keep it safe, and check with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or www.LampRecycle.org to determine how to legally dispose of it in your state, then follow their guidelines. Should one of the projector lamps break, do not attempt to pick up the debris with your bare hands, but follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for cleaning up a broken lamp.
Longer Lamp Life – Replace Less Often!
You can extend the life of your new projector lamp by restricting its exposure to extreme temperatures. Don’t subject the projector to high temperatures, such as leaving it in a car during summer months and avoid exposing it to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allow your projector to cool down before moving it, since heat increases the fragility of a lamp. A common mistake in schools is to attach a projector’s power source to a light switch to make it easier to power down. This can actually cause rapid damage to the lamp, since the projector shutdown cycle, which normally runs the fan for a bit after you turn it off to cool the lamp properly, does not have a chance to run.
Regularly clean your projector’s filter with compressed air to improve the air flow provided by its cooling fan.
Finally, many projectors include an economy mode that reduces lamp power by 20 percent. Although activating this feature will result in a slightly dimmer projected image, the difference is often unnoticeable and may prolong a standard 2,000-hour lamp’s life to as much as 3,000 hours. Consult your projector’s documentation to determine if this feature is included in your model.
As always, feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions!
Don’t forget that, in addition to providing full support and warranty service on all of our projector lamps, we also provide discounts to K-12 schools, universities, museums, military, and select businesses.
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