Projector Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment
Benefits of regular projector cleaning lead to enhanced performance and effective cost savings.
When I speak to clients on the importance of projector cleaning, I like to use the example of an oil change for your vehicle: "Would you go an entire year without taking your vehicle in for an oil change?" The answer is always an emphatic "No!" A regularly scheduled oil change extends the life of your engine and improves your vehicle's performance.
The same is true as it applies to projectors.
Projectors contain cooling and optical systems that become clogged with fine dirt and dust particles. If allowed to accumulate over time, this can cause the premature blocking of filters, lamps to explode, overheating and even serious damage to major components such as the optical box and main board. This dirt and dust must be removed to allow for the efficient cooling and transmission of light in the projector.
Fact: A standard projector draws approximately 50 cubic meters of air through its fans on a typical day.
It is simply not enough to clean the filters. These external filters help to trap particles down to 100 microns. Anything smaller will pass through to the optical box and the remainder of the internal components. The environment where projectors are used is a major determinant with regards to the frequency of cleaning that is required. For example, high traffic areas, poorly vented buildings, carpeted rooms, etc.
Fact: More than 80% of projectors and 90% of projector lamps that fail could have had an extended life span through regular cleaning.
Therefore, periodic cleaning is required in order to extend your projector's life and maintain optimum performance.
Benefits of regular projector cleaning lead to enhanced performance and effective cost savings:
- Improved image quality: Brighter, sharper and more uniform
Reduced downtime: Less chance of break down
Longer projector and lamp life: On average, a maintained projector can last up to 25% longer
Manufacturers have done much to minimize this contamination problem. However, since all projectors are not sealed or isolated from dust, the need to maintain quality image projection at all times and to ensure trouble-free operation of a projector demands the provision of scheduled cleaning throughout its life.
Let’s return to the oil change example. Would you take your vehicle to an unqualified person for an oil change? Again, it is a resounding "No!"
A projector is an intricate composition of electronics, optics and light. The optical components within a projector are extremely sensitive and can be irreparably damaged if mishandled. Just as you would only take your vehicle to a qualified service centre, your projector requires the same consideration.
Our recommendation is as follows:
All DLP projectors be cleaned once annually.
All LCD projectors be cleaned once to twice annually depending on how dusty the environment is.
Implementing our recommendation to the service schedule of any projector will result in benefits of improved image quality, reduced downtime, longer projector and lamp life, and ultimately, cost savings.
Before and after pictures of cleaning done on a contaminated projector. Secondary colour of yellow used for testing.
A simple way to evaluate your projector's level of purity is to project solid secondary colours independently – such as yellow, cyan, magenta and white. If there is any variation on any of these colours either by dark blotches, spots or faded areas in the corners, this is a definite sign that your projector is contaminated.
There are two major differing technologies used in projectors today: DLP and LCD. Both projector types house highly sensitive optical components within an assembly called the optical box.
The DLP optical box consists of the DMD chip (a rectangular array of up to 8 million microscopic mirrors), lenses and mirrors. The LCD optical box consists of the prism assembly, dichroic filters, lenses and mirrors.
Although DLP projectors are less prone to dust contamination (since they contain fewer optical components), the nature of dust to settle and attach itself to any surface creates an ongoing dilemma for both types of projectors.
Written by: Oliver Hamilton, President, Megatech Integrated Services Ltd.