Projectors are fragile, expensive pieces of equipment that can perform for years if treated properly. Performing routine maintenance to the various parts of your projector (i.e. the filters, lamp, etc) will help to ensure that you are creating the best environment for your projector to operate. There are certain precautions you can take when using your projector on a regular basis that will improve your the lifespan and protect your investment.
1. ARM (Always Read the Manual)
Yes, the manual. That plastic bag with the paper booklet that you toss in the drawer after pulling the remote batteries out of the bag. That manual is the best resource you have at your fingertips. Every projector being sold today will have an operating manual in either hard copy or electronic format. Taking the time to read through the operating manual in detail before using the projector is the best way to begin. It will instruct you on the correct way to operate your projector. Your operating manual can also provide helpful maintenance tips that are just for your projector model, i.e. how to remove your projector’s filter cover. Even if you have experience running projectors, each model has their own unique settings and features that might be different than what you are used to. Familiarizing yourself with how that particular piece of equipment works will allow you to tell when something is wrong, and maybe advise on how to take preventative measures to stop things from going wrong in the first place.
2. Choose your Projector Location Wisely.
There is more to positioning your projector than just finding out where the image will look the best. Its imperative to leave at least 6-12 inches of space around the unit to allow for proper heat ventilation. Without proper ventilation the heat that builds up in your projector cannot escape, which can cause damage to the projector’s internal parts and drastically shorten your lamp life.
Know the temperature your projector operates at. If you think the unit produces a lot of heat, it would be best to avoid placing the projector directly in the path of sunlight or directly next to a heat source(heating vent, wood stove etc). If you have the projector mounted on the ceiling check to make sure that the projector is not directly next to an outgoing vent. The last thing you want is more heat around the projector than it is already producing itself.
It’s also a good idea to not use the projector in smoke filled rooms. This can increase the chance of damaging the projector optics. Smoke will build up on the internal lenses. That causes the image to dim and in some cases it can cause the lenses inside to fail.
Keeping your projector’s environment as dust and dirt free as possible will help as well. Electronics attract more dust than other objects due to the static electricity they create while in use. Dust causes problems for the projector’s filters, and other components if the dust particles get further into the projector. Routinely clean the air vents if you can. Clean projectors are cool and happy projectors.
3. Storing your Projector
Hopefully you use it regularly but for people who use them for presentations primary, this tip is for you.
Projectors have many parts that need precise alignment to function correctly. Improper transportation or storage of the projector may cause adverse affects for the performance of the projector. The following are a few guidelines for storing your projector:
- Allow the projector to completely cool down before moving it.
- Use the original box and packing materials to store the projector if possible. If the original packaging materials are not an option, use a strong box to hold the projector securely and at least 2 inches of a soft material (i.e. cloth, foam, etc) all the way around the projector.
- Remove the batteries from the remote control.
- When storing the projector make sure that the storage area will not be subjected to extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that could affect the projector.
- If you move a projector from one temperature extreme to the other, let it sit for 30 minutes or so until it rises or lowers to room temperature. This prevents moisture problems.
4. Clean your Projector Filters
Projectors produce large amounts of heat during use, and this heat needs to be vented to keep the projector from overheating. Projectors have fans that push air around the projector’s operating parts to cool them down, but the air contains dust and other particles that need to be filtered before it cools these components. The filters prevent the buildup of dust that, if left unchecked, would actually insulate the projector. This would keep the heat inside the projector unit which could be very damaging to many of the projector’s components like the lamp, LCD panels, or other internal optics.
To ensure that these filters keep performing well, they must be maintained regularly. This is very important since damage to the projector caused by dirty filters may not be covered by the projector warranty.
Generally, it is suggested to clean the filters once every 3-4 months(Now is always a good time),. Always check the projector’s manual first to see if there is a recommended maintenance cycle for your projector. You should clean or replace your filters whenever you notice an excessive build up of dust on the projector’s fan exhaust vent, or if you have been using the projector on a frequent basis. Most projectors will also have a temperature warning LED. If you notice this warning LED occurring, it may be time to clean your filter.
The two preferred ways to clean the filter are either to use a small vacuum cleaner attachment to pull the dust out from the filter, or to use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away. Washing the filter with a cleaning solution, or soap and water is generally not recommended as the chemicals in them could harm the filter membranes.
5. Cleaning the Projector’s Compartments
Before you re-install the clean filters or new replacement lamp, make sure to remove all the dust and dirt from the compartments they are housed in. Using the same vacuum cleaner attachment or can of compressed air you used to clean the filters you can remove the excess dust from the compartments as well. It is also time to check the vent fan area for debris buildup. If the fans compartment contains dust and debris it could prevent the fan from operating at the correct speed needed to ventilate the heat that is being produced.
Occasionally the old lamp will burst leaving bits of quartz glass scattered throughout the projector. That debris can clog fans, preventing cooling. I have seen that more often than I expected.
Keeping the fans clear of dust and debris is the best first live of defense against early lamp failure.
These 5 tips will keep your projector working between lamp changes. When its time for a lamp, give us a call at 1-800-664-6671 or visit out website www.PurelandSupply.com