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.

4 Common Mistakes that Projector Owners Must Avoid

Your projector might be a small unassuming device you throw in your laptop bag between presentations. It might also be a venerated piece of gear carefully installed into your Home Theater.  Maybe you are tasked with handling a school districts worth of SmartBoards…
In any of these situations there are 4 common mistakes people make when they own a projector. These mistakes are not only annoying but can also be costly to rectify.
1. Ordering a Cheaper lamp that “looks” OK.  
Sure, that lamp might be under $50 and says it will run in your projector but as I mentioned in an earlier blog, your cost of ownership can be over 4X what it should be if you had purchased an Original Inside lamp.  Check with the company and see what brand bulb is inside.  Your old lamp will have markings on that bulb. Make 100% sure your new lamp is the same as the old one.  The adage of “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” holds very true here.
2. Replacing the bulb portion only. 
Always buy a full lamp if its available.  This is/has been advertised by many companies over the years. They offer an explanation that you can get away with only replacing the bulb since the bulb is the only part of your lamp that goes bad right?  In most cases this is not true. While the plastic and metal structure of the lamp will handle tens of thousands of hours of heat, the other parts, such as the lamp’s lens and wires will not.  On a lamp for a DLP projector, there is a special coating that is applied to the lens. That coating blocks harmful ultraviolet and Infrared light from entering the optic path of your projector. Since that coating has degraded over the years, your 2500 hours lamp housing now is only blocking a percentage of that UV/IR light.  That now un-blocked light is attacking your optics.  It will cause the lenses inside to heat-up and eventually start melting. The more concerning problem is that you are exposing you, your family or coworkers to dangerous invisible UV/IR light over a few dollars.   I will say, there are a handful of projectors who use a built in IR/UV filter that is made to handle repeated bulb replacement. These are few and far between. For a few dollars more you will have the peace of mind knowing you are protecting your investment as well as the safety of yourself and those around you.  This BenQ 5J.05Q01.001 is a good example. The lens on the front shows the coating. This is also a problem for cheap lamps. They use an inexpensive coating that will not work as well. The glass has a ‘green’ shine to it. If you see that send the lamp back.
3. Resetting the Lamp timer without replacing the lamp.  
This is a bad idea. While you are probably thinking you are putting one over on the manufacturer, you are only putting your projector at risk.  The time limit on your projector lamp is determined by the manufacturer of your projector. They determine this by seeing how long the lamp can run before the light output drops past a certain threshold (varies per model) and/or when the lamp may be getting deformed from heating cycles(on and off).  Once a lamp begins to deform, it has an increased chance of rupturing.  If you lamp ruptures while running, the chances of damaging the projector also increase dramatically. That “replace lamp” warning is the best time to buy a new lamp.  If your old lamp still works, then put it away as a backup. Your new lamp will be much brighter and will ensure longer functional life of your projector.
4. Not cleaning your projector often enough.  
This is by far the most common mistake I see with projectors. A dirty projector is a projector that is unable to cool properly.  That will lead to shortening the life of the lamp and the projector itself.  No matter how clean your house is, there is dust in the air.  That dust is pulled into the projector via the cooling fans. Electricity generates a static charge which causes the dust to stick to components inside. Over time that dust will cover the heatsinks that cool electronics like the DLP chip. That dust will build up on the leading edge of the Lamp cooling fan blades. Once enough blades are coated the fan will no longer push enough air through the lamp.  When your lamp is running at 500F and that air stops flowing, you can expect 700F+ at the lamp. That corresponds to increased heat throughout the projector. The lamp will finally reach the temperature for the Quartz to become soft. Once that happens it’s only a moment before the arc tube in the center of the lamp ruptures. I recommend having your projector opened and cleaned at least once a year.  At the least, take a vacuum cleaner and some canned air (air duster, not Perri-Air) and blow out and dust through the intake/exhaust vents on the side.   In the future I will address cleaning to a more direct degree.
There are other mistakes and suggestions, but these are the top 4 that I see. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of cleaning some NEC V260X projectors that had never been cleaned in 7 years.  They had enough dust that I could weigh it.  They also had bad color wheels because of the heat and would sometimes get as much as 200 hours before a new lamp would fail. After cleaning them and replacing the color wheel, the NP18LP lamp I installed will run for its entire expected life.

Brands We sell Part1

Pureland Supply only sells the highest quality lamps. Our lamps are aftermarket housings engineered to fit the same as the OEM from the manufacturer. 

The brands we carry are:

Acer
Ask
Barco
BenQ
Boxlight
Canon
Christie
Dell
Digital Projection
Dukane
Eiki
Epson
Hewlett Packard
Hitachi
IBM
Infocus
JVC
Knoll
LG
Liesegang
Marantz
Mitsubishi
NEC
Optoma
Panasonic
Philips
Planar
Plus
Projection Design
Proxima
RCA
Runco
Samsung
Samsung
Sanyo
Sharp
Sim2
SmartBoard  
Sony
Toshiba
Ushio
Vidikron
Viewsonic
Vivitek

Contact us Today at www.PurelandSupply.com or give a call and speak to a real person instead of a recording. We are here 9-5 Eastern Standard time. You can also email us at Sales@PurelandSupply.com