Your video projector is a major investment on your part. It’s like buying a TV set or a computer monitor. You shouldn’t just abuse it or anything. You want it to last a long time beyond its warranty date so that you’ll end up with a worthwhile investment when push came to shove. With that said, there are several helpful projector care tips you can use in order to ensure that your projector lifespan is as long-lived as possible. You want to make every dime and cent you paid for this product to count. Being careful with how you use your projector goes a long way in saving it in the long haul.
- 1 The 12 Projector Care and Maintenance Tips To Keep In Mind
- 1.1 1. Let it cool
- 1.2 2. Chill out.
- 1.3 3. Keep it clean.
- 1.4 4. Keep the air flowing.
- 1.5 5. Watch the on/off switch.
- 1.6 6. Hands-off
- 1.7 7. Watch the lamp life.
- 1.8 8. Buy genuine OEM lamps.
- 1.9 9. Go green
- 1.10 10. Read the manual.
- 1.11 11. Be aware of your warranty.
- 1.12 12. Store your projector in a cool, dry area.
- 2 The Bottom Line
The 12 Projector Care and Maintenance Tips To Keep In Mind
1. Let it cool
Extreme heat is one of the death knells of any piece of electronics, the video projector included. Even with the advent of the LED lamp that doesn’t nearly have as much heat in order to produce its long-lasting brightness, your projector still has the ability to heat up something fierce after all those Arrested Development DVD marathons.
You might even have the same issues when marathoning other TV shows or the entire library of Marvel Cinematic Universe films in one sitting with a cable box connection.
Did you know that you can stream movies on your projector now as long as you can connect it through your cable or satellite box? Some even have Wi-Fi connections for networking and streaming purposes. These all contribute to an overheating projector.
Don’t operate the projector in direct sunlight or near heat sources as well. At any rate, it’s prudent for you to let the fans run for at least 2 minutes to allow the device to cool down. Clean out those fans for good measure since dust bunnies and gunk can get in them and reduce their efficiency at cooling down your projector.
Better yet, you should take breaks when marathoning different films or series, like one movie an afternoon or 8-12 episodes in a day then shut your unit off. These machines operate under high temperatures. Don’t try your luck by making them overheat every time without breaks or cooldowns. A responsible user will allow it to cool down. Don’t shut the projector down too quickly either because the non-dissipated heat will only damage your appliance’s electronics.
2. Chill out.
Once you do shut down your projector after letting it cool down through its fans, you can let it chill out some more. Don’t pack it up immediately. The lamp filaments of the device might break along with its other wires if you mishandle it or go into a rush in shutting it down without letting it cool down and chill out.
The prudent thing to do is to let the lamp cool down along with the projector itself. The fans only do half of the job of cooling down your hot projector. Even an LED lamp isn’t enough to reduce heat overall. Remember, even your cellphone has cool-down apps present when it’s on the verge of overheating in light of how damaging high temperatures are to electronics.
You yourself should chill out. After watching that movie through your projector, you should go do something else, preferably something that has nothing to do with electronics like checking your email or your social media through your smartphone or tablet. Why? It’s because your eyes need a bit of a rest. You’ve been watching videos nonstop long enough to make your projector heat up, so you can kill two birds with one stone by taking an eye rest while your projector chills out as well.
Go read a book or sleep for the time being. Watching a brightly lit projector in a dark room for too long is akin to staring at a lamp for hours-on-end. Do something else that won’t create much strain on your eyes. As your vision gets rested so will your projector’s lamp and electronics. Then you can pack the device up without worries.
3. Keep it clean.
To get the optimal image quality from your projector, it’s imperative that you clean it up. Specifically, you should keep the lens of your projector clean. The blurring you see from the device might not be from a low-quality, low-resolution video. Don’t touch that lens shift option or button. No, it’s not an issue with your zoom or throw ratio either, wherein you have the wrong throw distance for the image. Rather, it’s just that you have a dirty lens with smudge keeping the light from transmitting perfectly to the screen.
There are ways to safely clean your projector as well. Use a lens cloth. It’s the same cloth you would use to clean your eyeglasses. It’s static-free and won’t add lint all over the lens. Keep your hands clean too when handling the projector.
If you have Cheetos all over your fingertips then naturally it will only end up on your projector if you don’t bother wiping or cleaning your hands after your movie snack. Tidiness goes a long way in maintaining projector health and integrity. By the way, you can purchase a lens cloth at the nearest camera store. Also, you should clean out the filters of the projector as well to ensure that its airflow path is without any dusty obstructions.
This prevents the device from overheating. It needs its fans and vents to be perfectly clean themselves. An air filter that’s clogged equals reduced ventilation, which in turn increases the temperatures swirling inside your projector like a closed oven. Don’t allow your projector to explode, meltdown, or crash because of your neglect and filthiness. Check your filters every other week to clear them out.
4. Keep the air flowing.
Keep your projector’s air vents and fans flowing as much as possible. This is particularly important if the device has a permanent mount. If not then it’s easy enough to find enough space or leeway for your fans and vents to flow freely.
If you’re worried about the image quality, you can always adjust the zoom and the lens to correct any issues with misalignment. There’s even the keystone correction option in case you have to move your projector at an angle that allows it the most airflow. If your projector has a permanent mounting, then you should make sure the plates don’t block the fan vent. Don’t let anything block the vent. If there isn’t enough airflow around your device, it will overheat.
Don’t operate the unit without the air filter if it’s a model that makes use of filters. Actually, find units with filters while you’re at it. The filter keeps the dust from blocking the vents, thus minimizing how often you have to clean out the vent.
A filter-less projector tends to draw dust into itself, its vents, and its optics, which can be projected unto your image as blurs and blockages. As for ceiling-mounted projectors, make sure the area near its intake fan is kept clean too and not in the direct line of heat or air vents. It can be tough cleaning out projectors with permanent mounts since you have to remove, clean, and reattach them every time but you got to do it. It must be done for daily or weekly maintenance, as is the case when cleaning out your home to ensure that it doesn’t degrade from neglect.
5. Watch the on/off switch.
It’s not recommended that you be trigger-happy with your on/off switch. Turning the projector on and off creates a power surge. This surge can wear your projector out and mess with its internal circuits. This is why there’s such a thing as a surge protector or power strips. They do as their name suggests and keeps your projector and many other items and devices in your matrix switcher setup for your home cinema safe from any sudden damaging surges.
You should be aware and careful when turning your projector on and off. Don’t keep pushing the button repeatedly, that could damage your projector in unpredictable ways. Just push the button or switch once to activate or deactivate the device instead of consecutively.
If you tend to leave your projector running for those movie marathons that stretch beyond the 4 hours per day limit then at the very least make sure it gets a 2-hour break or rest every 24 hours or every day to keep it from malfunction or outright failure.
Better yet, don’t use it the whole day and use it weekly. The longer you use it for many hours straight the likelier its lifespan will dwindle sooner instead of later, like burning a candle on both ends. Limiting your use of, say, an LED lamp projector for 4 hours every week should extend its 20,000 to 50,000 hours to about 20 to 50 years instead of 2 to 5 years if it were running 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Actually, there’s no assurance that the projector won’t overheat first before your lamp gives out if it were running 24/7 nonstop.
Don’t touch a hot lamp from a projector. Refer to the earlier maintenance tips before. You should allow your projector to cool down and chill out before you go handling it by switching it off. It should also be sufficiently cool before you can place it back to its storage box or drawer. You can end up with burns or worst by touching a hot lamp. It’s almost as bad as touching an open candle flame, the hot oil from an old-timey lamp, or a hot clothing iron. Just don’t do it.
You shouldn’t touch a cool lamp either because the oil from your fingers could leave a residue on the lamp that ruins its shine. Lamp-handling for when you have to replace it should be done with care.
Once the lamp heats up again when you turn your projector on, this creates a black spot on the lamp glass due to the oil being burnt on its surface. It will show up on your screen like a big, black censor bar or something. This smudge should be avoided. It’s the same deal when it comes to vehicles, actually. It’s not exactly a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. Rather, lamps shouldn’t be touched willy-nilly. Hold your projector in a way wherein your hands are nowhere near the lamp or the lens, which can get smudged with your finger and skin oils as well.
Projector lamps and lenses should be touched appropriately and properly if they require touching. Otherwise, hands off of them as much as possible (just to be on the safe side).
7. Watch the lamp life.
It’s also crucial for you to make sure that your lamp timer is properly set up as soon as you purchase your projector. The reason for this is because that’s your indicator whether you need to change lamps and/or bulbs or not. It tracks the estimated remaining lifespan or lamp life of your projector lamp based on how many hours it has been used.
A halogen lamp lasts about 1,500 to 5,000 hours. An LED lamp lasts 20,000 to 50,000 hours. This lamp timer also gives you a status update or warning whenever the projector lamp is in need of a replacement for your convenience, even though this depends mostly on the make and model of the projector in question. Some are more primitive with their lamp hours feature than others.
The lamp hours or timer feature exists in order to tell you the lamp is about to die out before it actually does. It makes sure you won’t get caught off guard with a projector lamp dying out in the middle of a movie or presentation.
There are two ways to check the lamp life, after all. You can check the bulb for burnout or access the menu of your projector to check the amount of time used on your lamp so far, which you can subtract from the average lifespan of a given lamp type. Accessing the lamp hours can range from something as simple as pressing the power button for 20 seconds until a display pops up or going to the user interface of your projector and looking for lamp hours from there. Sometimes, you can even access lamp hours via the smartphone app.
8. Buy genuine OEM lamps.
You shouldn’t be cheap when it comes to getting lamp replacements. Whatever you save from buying a universal-fit or generic lamp for your projector you will lose out on shorter hours and faster damage. OEM lamps are guaranteed to be compatible with your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) projector, after all.
On top of that, you won’t have to worry about heat resistance or lack thereof. These replacement lamps last as long as the lamps they’re replacing because they are the same type of lamp being replaced. It’s not possible to find an off-label lamp that’s superior to an OEM lamp, so buy OEM instead despite their expensiveness. It’s simply not worth it. The headaches outweigh the savings you can get from used, aftermarket, or refurbished lamps with parts salvaged from other projectors.
Additionally, the so-called “compatible” lamps should be avoided like The Plague because they’re made of inferior materials and made with subpar workmanship. You will save more money in the long run by going OEM since you won’t have to pay as many repair bills with them compared to counterfeit lamps.
Furthermore, these lamps can damage your projector’s health when push comes to shove. Overheating is a serious business and these low-grade bulbs tend to overheat more than their OEM counterparts. Always buy original. Learn how to spot counterfeit lamps by making sure you have the original seals or buying only from the original manufacturer. You wouldn’t buy cheap medicine for your conditions so you shouldn’t buy cheap lamps for your projector. There’s a reason why cheapness is associated with low-grade, inferior parts.
9. Go green
Mother Earth is going through Climate Change because of the machinations of mankind. As a consumer and citizen of the Earth, you should do your part when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Even the little things like using the economy mode or power saver of your projector can do wonders.
Why? Most of the power grid depends on fossil fuel in order to work. You can contribute to helping stop the destruction of the world by observing conservation and going green with your usage of your projector. It also helps that it assists in increasing the lifespan of your projector lamp when push comes to shove. Remember, the non-abusive use of projectors can allow it to last for a decade or two with an LED lamp. You don’t need to go full brightness every time with your projector.
In fact, brightness concerns are also only relevant when you’re viewing videos or doing presentations in places with ambient lighting. Therefore, you can do your part in going green by only using your projector in darker rooms with no ambient lighting. Pulling down those shades and shutting off lights when doing a presentation can go a long way to increasing your projector lifespan as well as the lifespan of the fossil fuels we use every single time. This can also reduce overheating risk, moving part wear-and-tear, and so forth.
On that note, avoid using your projector in an environment that’s smoky, like in the middle of a barbecue or highway. The damage of all that smoke can damage your projector’s optics and void your warranty because it’s customer-induced damage to the appliance.
10. Read the manual.
It’s always prudent to read the manual of your projector. This guide can only cover so far because there are so many types and models of projector out there made by a multitude of brands. Your manual will tell you exactly everything you need to know about your projector, including how to take care of it.
For instance, it could have tips in regards to activating economy or power saver mode. It can have maintenance features included that lower brightness when in a low-light setting that doesn’t involve a lot of ambient light. You can also have it automatically shut down after a movie has been played or a certain number of episodes have been projected to safeguard the integrity of your device. It’s the responsible thing to do.
It’s not the most exciting document to read and most skip it the same way the skip the Terms of Agreement when installing software. However, it remains quite the necessary documentation when troubleshooting whatever is wrong with the projector or knowing what to do in order to specifically take care of your specific make and model of the display appliance.
After reading through your manual then you can search the Internet for tips about general maintenance and whatnot. It has, after all, full knowledge of the specs of your device and its limitations. The user manual that came with your projector knows best when it comes to taking care of that particular piece of equipment, including info exclusive to its model. It will help you familiarize yourself with the unit before your first event, presentation, or movie-viewing party.
11. Be aware of your warranty.
Call customer support for more details. Your warranty will detail the limits of your projector so you know the limits of your usage of it. You’d know better than to burn out a projector with a halogen lamp with 24/7 usage compared to a more expensive LCD, LCoS, or DLP projector with a longer-lasting LED lamp instead.
Furthermore, it’s only prudent for you to save the shipping box with all the documentation included, such as the user manual and the receipt. You will need to securely store the projector when not in use. Of course, most home cinema enthusiasts would rather their projector sit there like their HDTV or have it mounted on the ceiling outright so that storage isn’t so much of a hassle.
However, if your device isn’t permanently mounted, it’s better to have it boxed and stored away safely. You should always err on the side of caution because you never know. It’s better to occasionally use your projector for special occasions and have it put away in a box to keep it from burning its lamp out all at once due to constant use and abuse when it’s permanently mounted.
If the need arises for you to ship your projector to the repair shop while it’s under warranty or even if it’s off-warranty, it pays to have the original box available for you to ship it in. It’s the safest method of packing and shipping your unit back for repairs or even replacement when push comes to shove. You should also read the warranty carefully because sometimes you could commit things like customer-induced damage to your projector that voids it.
12. Store your projector in a cool, dry area.
When it comes to storage, you should also be careful with your projector. If it’s not bolted down or mounted on your ceiling or wall then you should put away your device in its original box and packing material. The Styrofoam and packing peanuts all ensure that the projector is safe from blunt-force trauma that can break its lamp or destroy its electronics.
It’s particularly unsafe for modern 21st Century projectors to get accidentally dropped because they’re like computers or laptops at this point, with them using hard disk drives and operating systems to function. Like with the HDD of a notebook PC, accidental drops of your unprotected projector could seriously make its own HDD crash.
It’s also significantly more expensive to replace the HDD of your projector compared to the lamp, which was designed to be replaceable when the time comes. Also, watch out for accidental drops of your projector since that might not be covered by your warranty or could void it altogether.
It’s also important to store your projector in an area that doesn’t undergo temperature extremes because it could get damaged from not only overheating but also from getting frozen. You should have a storage facility to place your projector in a box that isn’t subject to fluctuating temperatures or pests like rodents and insects. Take care of your projector because it’s as much of a major investment as an HDTV.
The Bottom Line
As a responsible user, you should observe the following rules in order to maintain the integrity of your device to its maximum capacity and lifespan. If it breaks down too quickly, you can probably have it fixed by warranty but being too abusive to it will only lead to its early death once it is off-warranty. Learn to take care of your projector through the tips outlined above. You can basically summarize projector maintenance as keeping its temperature down and tracking lamp hours.
Indeed, the healthiness of your projector depends mostly on the daily cleanup of fan vents, proper placement in places where it can cool down as it projects images, and storage when not in use. You should also keep all your documentation handy in case you need the unit repaired while under warranty or even when it’s off-warranty already. Careful, prodigious use where you keep track of lamp hours and temperature changes will ensure you of a long-lived projector investment when all is said and done.
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