Did I Buy a Counterfeit Lamp?

How do you tell if this OEM Philips bulb is really an OEM?

There is the cost. Was the lamp 50% less than most of the other listings of the same lamp?

Real DT01291 w/ Original Philips UHP Bulb Inside

Let’s use a Hitachi DT01291 replacement lamp. This is used in over two dozen units across four manufactures(Hitachi, Dukane, Christie, and Infocus). The original bulb is a Philips UHP 330W. This is a higher wattage bulb and not an easy one to substitute.

I purchased one of these half priced lamps myself to see how they could sell it so cheap (well under the cost of the real bulb itself!). After having to wait 2 weeks for the 2-day air shipment I paid for, the lamp arrived. It was stuffed into a USPS box with some paper as padding. Fortunately the lamp was also inside a box with some foam or it would have been damaged.

Bad housing for DT01291

First thing I noticed was the housing. The plastic was cheap looking. There were fingerprints on the lens (big no no) and there was a paper warranty sticker on the seam of the housing. The edges of the housing were sloppy. The mold used was obviously well worn. It was probably from an original lamp and had been discarded and then re-used by the housing company who made this particular housing. I may be wrong but in seeing where they blanked out the OEM name on the side, I suspect I am not. While not terrible or dangerous, having a substandard housing can cause cooling problems and alignment problems with the projector.

Next thing I looked at was the bulb itself. Philips has a very specific set of part numbers/codes used to track their bulbs. Each bulb can be traced back to where it was made and when and even who it was sold to.

Counterfeit Philips bulb
This is a real looking ceramic label, not enough to indicate if it is counterfeit or not.

The ceramic label on the side was the first code I look at. This particular bulb said ‘452/53 330/264W 1.0’ . Under it is the rest of the serial #, date code and manufacturer location code. That in itself looked OK. It wasnt until I turned the bulb over and noticed a piece of info that seemed to contradict the label. There is a serial number printed directly on the reflector. If it was a real Philips 452/53 bulb, the serial number on the bulb would have an aftermarket designation, “AMxxxxx”. This bulb had a new construction serial number. Meaning the bulb was made to be sold inside a new projector rather than a replacement lamp. The serial number as just the numbers without the ‘AM(aftermarket)’ in the front. This made me very suspicious…

The next and most definite place to look is at the arc tube/burner (referred to as burner from here on).

The burner is the glass tube that actually makes the light. This is the part that unscrupulous companies put into used bulbs by clearing out the old burner and cementing in a new burner. They then pass them off as new OEM bulbs.

The OEM burner should have another serial number actually molded into the end of the burner near the tip. You should be able to read it or at least see that its there. If there is no serial number and the bulb is supposed to be an OEM, you can safely believe it to be counterfeit.

Counterfeit Philips 452 bulb
No Serial number was etched/molded into the burner.
All OEM Philips Bulbs have a serial number on the end.

I even went as far as to contact Philips directly and they were able to confirm my findings. The bulb here was sold originally to a real company and was then likely sent back as a recycle bulb. Normally the bulbs are crushed and used to make new glass(it’s good quality glass). In this case the bulb had the old burner removed and new, non-oem burner cemented it.

This is how the company was able to sell what they called an OEM bulb inside for more than half the cost of everyone else.

Being that I can’t confirm they are doing it on purpose, I will not be disclosing their name. It really doesn’t matter as there are many companies doing this. This company just happened to be the one I bought from.

It is up to you as a consumer to make an informed choice. The too-good-to-be-true holds fast here.

If you aren’t sure if the deal you are seeing is worth it, I would recommend calling around. Call us of course (1-800-664-6671) as we can guarantee our lamps are properly made without replaced burners or counterfeit bulbs. The pricing should be within $20-30 or so no matter who you call. If the price is $100 less with one company, you can figure they have a counterfeit lamp and play it safe buying it elsewhere.

5 ways to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Projector Lamps Online

Counterfeit lamps are a problem for everyone. From the companies who sell them (either willingly or through ignorance) to the end users who end up with damaged or non-functional equipment because of it.

How can you protect your wallet and your projector from counterfeit lamps?

  1. This applies to most things in life. “IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS” I cannot re-iterate this enough. If you read an advert for a lamp that uses an “OEM Philips UHP Bulb” and the price is significantly less than a comparable listing, then you are probably buying a counterfeit bulb.
  2. Look at the companies reviews with a grain of salt. I notice that some of the more ‘questionable companies’ tend to have five-star glowing reviews all in groups and they all tend to be within a day or 2 of each other. That is followed by no reviews for a week or so and then usually a reasonable amount of negative reviews. Those tend to be people who were duped by the ‘stuffed reviews’ that convinced them to buy the lamp they thought was a good deal. Many of those less than honest companies do this every few months. Sometimes they even change their name and start the dance all over again.
  3. Check the online forums.Make sure they require a confirmed order and that they check the reviews to make sure they legitimate end users. There are other sites like r/hometheater and AVSforum but they should be taken with a grain or five of salt. It’s possible for fake or erroneous reviews to be posted there. Always trust your gut.
  4. Look at the warranty. The longer the warranty, the better most of the time. That said, the long warranty can be a gamble by the company to make it look like they stand behind a great product when in reality they are banking on the chance that if the lamp fails you will forget its under warranty and not exercise your rights. I am slightly biased as our warranty is 6 months but I think that is a reasonable length. If you lamp lasts at least 6 months, the chances of it lasting the rest of it’s rated life-span are very reasonable. It is the “One year” warranties that concern me. If you need to cover your lamp that long, then why? Is it that unstable of a manufacturer that it might fail from a build error in 9 months? These are questions to ask yourself.
  5. How are the listings worded? Do you see “OEM Equivalent” or “Made from OEM parts”? OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM Equivalent means its not an Original, but equal to it. That is a curious way to say “compatible”… Listen to that little voice that tells you it doesn’t sound right. Add up the red flags. Way too low of a cost, Way too long of a warranty and tricky wording on their listing. All of this means you would be better off looking elsewhere.

Look no further than our main page. We list over 12,000 items with inventory and each lamps specs clearly listed for your own knowledge.

Check us out here. Purelandsupply.com or call us directly at 1-800-664-6671 where you can speak to a representative who can help you get a real lamp, real fast.