Taking care of your projector
By Samson Busiku
Projectors are extremely fragile and expensive pieces of electronic equipment. By taking proper care of your projector you can greatly prolong its lifespan and can make sure that it will perform at its optimal level without fault. Performing regular maintenance on all the various parts of your projector, such as projector lens, projector lamp and projector cabinet will ensure that you are always displaying the best quality image possible to your audience.
This article should help you to understand what you need to do to keep your projector tuned up and operating smoothly. Provided below are a few guidelines on how to maintain your projector, how to improve your projector’s operating environment, and a number of useful tips on ways to extend your projector’s life span.
There are also certain precautions you can take when operating your projector on a daily basis to improve your projector’s life span.
1. Remember to read the projector manual or documentation
Almost every new projector on the market will be supplied with an operating manual in either hard copy or electronic format on CD. Before operating your projector for the first time you should try to set aside time to read through the operating manual in detail. This can help to inform you of how to correctly operate your projector.In addition, operating manuals often provide useful maintenance tips specific to your projector model, for example, how to remove your projector’s filter cover. Even if you have previous experience operating projectors, each model has their own unique quirks and features that are important to be aware of. Becoming familiar with these features will allow you to tell when something is wrong, or even better, to take preventative measures to stop things from going wrong in the first place.
2. Store the projector in a cool, dry place
When you first unpack your new projector, ensure that you safely store away the packaging the projector came in. This packaging could be used to store the projector. If in the future it is necessary to transport your projector to another location, placing the projector in anything other than the original box and packing means that there is a higher risk of damage being incurred in transportation. Original packaging will often have protective Styrofoam moulded to the exact shape of the projector to prevent the projector moving while in transit.
3. Powering off or Powering down
Always turn off your projector’s lamp for at least two minutes before powering down. This will prolong the life of the lamp. It is also critical to allow the projector to cool prior to packing it if you plan to travel with it or store it.
4. Airflow is critical
If you have ceiling mounted your projector, make sure that the area near the projector’s intake fan is clean and is not in the direct path of any heat or air vents. Make sure the mounting plates don’t block the fan vent and there is enough airflow around the projector to keep it from overheating. Avoid using your projector in a smoky or polluted environment. Smoke can cause damage to the projector’s optics and can potentially void your warranty.
5. Keep your projector clean
Your projector’s filters allow airflow throughout the projector and prevent overheating. Clogged air filters means decreased ventilation, which means increased temperatures, which means a possible lamp meltdown or explosion. Dust and dirt also affect the image quality. Check your air filters every few weeks and keep them clear. Clean the projector’s lens regularly with a lens cloth. Lens cloths can be purchased at any camera shop.
6. Watch the on/off switch.
Don’t be trigger-happy. Turning your projector constantly on and off creates a power surge that will make your projector wear out faster. If you do leave your projector running, make sure that it gets a two-hour rest every 24 hours.
7. Hands off the lamp
Never, ever touch a hot lamp. You can end up with one nasty burn. Never touch a cool lamp bulb either since the oil from your skin leaves a residue on the lamp. Once the lamp heats up the oil residue will burn, creating a black spot on the lamp that shows up on the screen. A large enough oil spot can cause the lamp to shatter.
8. Watch the lamp life.
Be sure the lamp timer has been properly set so the projector will accurately track the lamp life and give you a status update in time for you to replace the projector lamp. You don’t want to be caught off guard with a projector suddenly shutting down because the lamp has run out of time.
9. Let it Cool
When you’ve finished using your projector, allow the lamp to cool down before packing it up. Packing up your projector while it’s still hot may cause lamp filaments and other wires to break.