There is nothing worse than when the projector goes down right before a big presentation. You spent all night preparing. You have the right images. The slides perfectly illustrate your message. Without a projector, you have no way to show your audience or class.

With a few simple tips, you can prevent the projector from failing. There are signs you can use to tell when a project bulb needs replacing. It’s easier than you might think. By reading the signs, you can stay ahead of the game. Replacing a bulb early will reduce the wear and tear on your digital light processing (DLP) projector and prevent presentation disasters.

The Technology Behind DLP and OEM Projector Lamps

Digital light processing, the technology behind most projectors, seems simple but is ingenious. You have a lamp in the projector that shoots light through a spinning color wheel. The light then bounces off a digital micromirror device (DMD), a chip designed so every pixel is a mirror. Every chip will have at least one million micromirrors, and perhaps two million or more.

Higher display resolutions will require more micromirrors, which will be adjusted to create a moving image. Color is added to the image using the color wheel and the tilt degree of the micromirrors. After the light bounces off the DMD chip, it is picked up by the lens to be projected on the screen.

It is an innovative design, but it requires a projector bulb to work properly. A dying bulb, or a bulb other than an OEM projector lamp, can hurt the display and cause a disaster for your presentation. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) is the company that originally built the projector. An OEM projector lamp may have unique features or specifications designed for your projector. Other bulbs may not deliver images of the same quality.

Signs a Projector Bulb Needs Replacing

Luckily, there are a few signs your projector bulb needs replacing. Keep an eye out for these signs to ensure your projector is in working order.

1. Loss of Image

If you turn on the projector and there is no image, you have a problem. There is a good chance your bulb has died and it’s time for a replacement projector lamp. Before the bulb dies, you may notice the image dimming. The brightness or luster begins to fade. The human eye can adjust to a dim image and the problem can go unnoticed. Try turning up the color on your projector. If the image is still dim or doesn’t change, then the bulb needs to be replaced.

2. Flickering Image

Have you noticed a flicker in the images coming from the projector? This is another sign your bulb is dying and about to burn out. It could also be the sign of a faulty bulb, which can happen when you don’t use an OEM projector lamp.

3. An Indicator on the Projector

Many projectors or DLP televisions now have an indicator that turns on when you need a replacement lamp. This could be a flashing yellow light or red warning on the screen, or a bulb icon on the display. Consult the documentation that came with the projector if you aren’t sure where the indicator is located.

You can continue to use the projector until the bulb burns out. You will notice a degrading image over time. We suggest replacing the projector bulb before it burns out.

4. Color Loss

The color wheel inside a DLP projector needs a strong bulb to operate properly. The wheel and DMD chip can’t accurately display colors when you need a replacement bulb. Fading colors, or colors that seem off or muddy, is another sign your projector bulb is dying.

Replacement Projector Bulbs

Keeping your DLP projector in working order and ready for a presentation isn’t difficult if you know the signs. Replace the projector bulb at the first sign of trouble. Here are a few other tips for making the most of your projector:

  • Projector Bulb Lifespan: Every projector is different, but you can expect the life of a projector bulb to be between 1,000 and 2,000 hours. How you use it can also reduce or extend the life of a projector lamp.
  • Bulb Availability: You may not know it, but Chinese New Year can affect bulb availability. In January, when the country is celebrating the New Year, bulb production slows down, and shipping is limited. Order bulbs early to avoid problems.
  • Purchasing Replacement Bulbs: We suggest using an authorized dealer for the replacement bulb. You may be able to find a lamp for a lower price, but that could mean poor quality images and a very short lifespan for the lamp.

Do have more questions about DLP projectors and replacement bulbs? Contact Advantage Imaging Supply and talk to the experts.