How to spot a Counterfeit Lamp

As detailed in our last BLOG – counterfeit lamps are becoming an increasing problem all over the world and in the US in particular. We all know that buying and selling lamps that are known to be counterfeit is illegal, but how do you spot a fake?

The price is too good to be true

It’s a much bandied about phrase, but it is also one that should be the first warning sign that something may be wrong.  If you are looking to buy an OEM lamp research will show a variety of prices from different suppliers, but these will generally be in a cluster. If you find one or 2 that are say 20% cheaper than the rest then this maybe because you are being offered counterfeit product.


All of the manufacturers that we have encountered put their lamps in properly designed packaging which includes their logo, part number and a bar code. Whilst it is easy to copy these, the quality of the copying isn’t always to a high standard, doesn’t look quite right and can lead to suspicions. However, it is not always that simple – we are aware of some counterfeiters that have clearly bought original lamps which they then repackage into inferior “copied” boxes, whilst shipping out fake lamps in the original boxes !!!

Comparison to the original

It is likely that when you receive your new lamp and you are ready to install it, you will also have the old lamp that you are replacing and so will be able to do a visual comparison. It is possible that the design of the cage will give the game away, but probably you will need to look at the bulb markings. There are only 7 manufacturers of bulbs for all of the projectors ever made:- Philips, Osram, Ushio, Epson, Matsushita, Phoenix and Iwasaki and each has their own way of marking them – including a way of distinguishing between those that are sold to the projector manufacturer and those that are sold into the aftermarket.  This issue of bulb markings can be quite complicated, but there is an excellent website that provides a more complete explanation of what to look for.

Can anyone else help?

Yes – if you think you may have been sold a counterfeit lamp but would like to have your suspicions confirmed then we are happy to help. Using our expertise and that of our suppliers we are able to identify counterfeit goods and explain why we know they are counterfeit – usually just from photographs of the product. If you would like assistance please call us on 814-308-9459 or email us at

What do I do if I find a fake?

If you suspect you have been sold a counterfeit lamp there are a number of courses of action you could take, but we would recommend that, in the first instance, you talk to your supplier. They should take back your counterfeit lamp and provide you with a legitimate OEM replacement, and importantly address their supply chain issues. Assuming they have been acting unwittingly they should be keen to address the problem – if they aren’t, advise them that they have been supplying you illegally. If you still feel you aren’t getting anywhere then you could contact the projector manufacturer – there will be a contact points for complaints on their website, or we would be happy to assist you in finding the right person.

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