Lumens or Lux? Watts or Whats? How Bright Can My Lamp Shine?

A few months ago, I was watching a program on my Optoma HD800 and I noticed that the usually darkly lit show was more darkly lit than normal.  After the show I decided my lamp was too dim.  Being that I have connections in the ‘biz’, I was able to get a new lamp pretty easily a few days later. When I went to put it in, my wife casually asked,” Could you get a brighter lamp instead of that one?”.  I told her the short answer which is ,”No, the brightness is set by the factory” and went on my way.  Her question was reasonable and it stuck with me.

I happened to mention it to one of our Customer Service reps who told me, “I hear that a lot.” – “Customers ask if they can get a brighter lamp with higher watts or more lumens”.  I can’t say I was surprised to hear it.  We learned back when Incandescent bulbs were the norm , that we could buy a 100Watt bulb instead of a 60Watt bulb if we wanted our kitchen brighter. As long as the socket didnt melt, you could really cram anything that would light into the lamp and get a lot of light.

Then with projectors you hear that the lamp needs to be changed and the same logic makes sense.  If the bulb for my HD800 says its a 300Watt, then why can’t I buy another that is 400W and get a brighter picture?

Simple answer is that you can’t.

Those who have read this blog in the past knows that I don’t stop here with a simple answer.

Anyone who says you can use a higher wattage bulb for a brighter image isn’t giving you the proper information and could lead to a damaged TV or Projector.

Lets dive into how brightness is rated in lamps, ALL lamps.

Old bulbs used to list their wattage.  At the time, it was our only reference.

Wattage is not a rating of brightness, it is a rating of power required to run the bulb.  To get extra technical, wattage is a result of Current multiplied by Voltage or P=IV.  The average US house has a voltage of 110 volts(anywhere from 105-125v).  That means the old 100Watt incandescent bulb used 110volts to heat up its filament and create light.

That gives us two of the numbers.  100(watts)=I(amps) x 110(volts).

100/110=I , I=0.91 amps(0.909090909090909)

With that simple math we now know the power needed but none of that gives us a quantifiable brightness amount.  We essentially ‘knew’ that a 100W bulb was brighter than a 60W.

This is where Lux and Lumens come into play.  Lux is a true measure of light.  One lux is the equivalent of 1 lit candle or 1 candle power. I prefer Lux myself as its an actual unit of light.  Lumens is an average of Lux.  Lumen is also known as luminous flux.  I know that makes very little sense.

If you want to read up on the specifics of Lumens such as how they are calculated via Steradians, there is a nice article in Wikipedia.

For our explanation I am going to simplify it by saying Lumens are essentially a measurement of perceived brightness at your eyes.  Where as Lux is a measurement of the light as it is emitted directly from the bulb, Lumens ignore the light components that are not seen, such as Infrared and Ultraviolet light.  The light emitted from the bulb has many more optical components than the light that is reflected off the screen, but when you are watching a movie, that is all that matters.

One lumen would be the average measurement of 1 lux over a one square meter white surface that is projected from one meter away.  The actual lux over that square meter will vary from less than one Lux to over one Lux. Once its averaged, the final number can be interpreted as One Lumen. That is the light output that your eyes see. In my opinion that is the most important part. If the specs say the projector is 10,000 Lumen and it looks dim in comparison to a 5,000 lumen, the the specs mean nothing.

Lumens are partially dictated by the optics inside the projector.  The more color filtering and lenses you have inside, the more the amount of Lumens are affected.

This is why many projectors who use the same bulb have varying Lumen ratings.  It also starts to explain why there isn’t a brighter lamp you can purchase to make your Projector or Rear Projection TV brighter.

Your TV or Projector lamp is not an incandescent bulb. It is an Arc-Lamp. That means there is no ‘filament’ in the classic sense. There are 2 electrical contacts inside the glass globe that sustain a spark, or ‘Arc’ that excite the gas mix inside to emit the photons that make the light.   To make and sustain that arc properly, the device uses a separate power supply called a ballast to drive that lamp. The ballast has a set power output that is only going to run at the designed level. Putting a larger wattage arc lamp in, will only run at the ballasts output and no higher.

Some models use the same lamp but have a different ballast rating that will only drive the lamp so much.

For instance, if I installed a 350W bulb in place of my 300W bulb my picture would only be as bright as the 300W bulb.  That is because the ballast inside that runs the lamp, is designed for that particular projector. When the manufacturer designs the projector, they have to decide on the balance between Lumens and Picture quality.  The brighter the image, the lower the possible contrast ratio.  They tend to find a very reasonable balance between the two.

When the lamp is shining its light in your TV or Projector, the light is passing through numerous light filters, lenses and mirrors. These also affect the Lumen output.

Lumens are a convenient way to compare how well a projector will work in your viewing area or against other projectors. If you are using a basement as a home theater, the Lumen output is not as important as it would be in a family room with windows.

Projecting an image long distances(an auditorium) requires high Lumens.  The moisture and suspended dust particles in the air can block a significant amount of light. Next time you are in the movie theater, look at the dust floating in the light beam outside the projection booth. Every fleck of dust is preventing a tiny bit of light from reaching the screen to reflect into your eyes.

All projectors and rear projection TV’s(regardless of the display technology) are designed with a particular type of bulb and housing in mind.  The manufacturers determine the best balance between image quality and brightness for the price point.

When purchasing a new lamp for your existing Projector or TV, know that Pureland Supply uses Original Brand Bulbs in our housings to give you the same brightness and image quality that the manufacturer intended.

 

 

 

 

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Why All OEM-Inside Lamps Are Not the Same

Original inside.  OEM Bulb Inside. “100% Authentic Lamps”.  Platinum Lamps. Manufacturer Original Lamps…

Buying a new lamp can be confusing when you have to wade through the marketing campaigns and creative wording.  These are all terms used to describe the type of bulb used in the lamp for your projectors.

This wording could lead you believe these are the same as the manufacturers and in some cases they are.  In other cases they are not.

My goal by the end of this post is to help you understand what you are buying and to make sure you get the best value for your money.

Let’s use a BenQ SP840 projector as an example.   BenQ supplies a lamp inside BenQ SP840 Proejctor with 5J.J2N05.011with a specific bulb.  That bulb is from one of the Six OEM Bulb manufactures in the world. Those manufacturers are Philips, Ushio, Phoenix, Osram, Iwasaki-Eye and Matsushita. No other company makes an original projector lamp. Any other brand of bulb is a compatible. Not worth dwelling on compatibles…

Lets take a step back and look at the beginning of the 5J.J2N05.001 lamp to fully understand the situation.5j.j2n05.011 with Philips 300W bulb inside.

Most manufactures do not make their own Lamp housings.  They contract to another company who has the factory and molding equipment. That factory may make lamps for multiple companies.  In this case the lamp is molded by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and then labeled as a BenQ part. When the company is designing the lamp with BenQ, they decide on a bulb manufacturer that fits the parameters of the performance they want to get out of the new lamp and projector.

In this case the bulb manufacturer used was Philips.

Philips was the first manufacturer to patent Short Arc Mercury Vapor lamps back in the late 70s.  The original use was for Printer Circuit board manufacturing. Since the market for PCBs is much smaller than projectors, they found the technology was better suited than the original bulbs which used metal halide technology.

Once BenQ and their OEM decided on the Philips UHP bulb, they then design the housing to properly support and align the bulb. Upon completion of the design the OEM manufacturers all the new lamps that BenQ then ships in their SP840.

The OEM also makes quite a few extra and has them boxed in BenQ boxes with the BenQ label.  That way , when a lamp fails under warranty, BenQ replaces it with a BenQ OEM Lamp.  That is what you should get if you see a listing for OEM lamps. It should be in the manufacturers box with the manufacturers label.

These same companies make a lot of the aftermarket versions of the same lamps.

This brings us to the aftermarket lamps. Some vendors list OEM Bulb or 100% Original Bulb when that is not necessarily the case. Some companies will substitute a bulb that is made by one of the main 6 companies in the aftermarket and while its still technically an Original bulb, its not a suitable replacement for any number of reasons.

If your BenQ SP840 needs a new lamp and you look around you will see people selling them with Osram bulbs inside. It is true that Osram makes a bulb of similar specs and the same size but it is not the same. The focal point of the arc tube is in a different place.  While the bulb will light, and display an image the image may not be as bright as the Philips version. It also may cause stray light leakage.  This isn’t Osram’s fault.  They designed the bulb to run properly in another lamp where the Philips may have a focal point miss-match.  The simple reason for this is cost.  It makes it look like you are getting the same-as-the-original when in reality you are not.

The BenQ scenario I explained above is far from exclusive to BenQ. In fact every manufacturer except Panasonic have their lamps made that way.  They all use multiple bulb brands (never in the same model).  Next Ill explain what I mean about Panasonic.

Panasonic is the only company who makes their own bulbs and lamps.  They are owned by Matsushita Heavy Industries.  They are a huge Japanese company who have the capabilities to make their own bulbs and lamps.  Panasonic is the one company you cannot buy aftermarket with their own bulbs inside(unless it ‘fell off the truck’).  Even Epson uses an OEM company called Iwasaki-eye and Philips to make their bulbs.  Panasonic recently bought Sanyo and brought them in under the Matsushita umbrella. I fully expect to see Matsushita bulbs in new Sanyo projectors now.

Up until recently(past 5 years or so) that leaves the consumers only able to buy OEM replacements or Compatible replacements.  Nothing in between.

Fortunately a few years ago Ushio and Phoenix decided it was time to make a replacement that was custom designed to work in place of the Matsushita bulbs. Rather than take an existing bulb and cram it into a reflector, they actually designed the gas mix, the arc tube and refectory to properly recreate the same specs that the Matsushita bulb had. They did it in such a way that did not violate any patents. This gave us a very reasonably priced option for an out-of-warranty projector to use for replacement lamps.

While this was successful, sometimes the vendors who sell these take advantage of the situation and will try and cram a Phoenix into an Epson lamp because the Phoenix bulb is $20 less than the Osram that would work better. They take the stance that, “it fits so it ships” when in reality,  that is doing us a huge disservice.

There are many other aspects to substituting a lamp. When Ushio made their Matsushita replacement, they made sure the heat generated would be dealt with the same as the original. Sellers who do not know what they are doing substitute bulbs they are not checking for things such as cooling or airflow.  They don’t check the focal points of the light or the startup voltage required. Sometimes they will even use a 200W bulb in place of a 150W bulb.  It’ll light, but it’s going to fail early.

Another issue is Counterfeits. I have personally seen counterfeit Ushio bulbs being sold as original by other less than upstanding companies.  Fortunately the amount of counterfeits in the USA are quite low and I don’t see a reason to waste your time ranting about the obvious.

Osram,Philips, Ushio

Pureland Supply only sells Original Bulbs in our lamps. We work very hard at sourcing the lamp with an Original bulb that was used by the OEM company who made that lamp for BenQ(for instance). We don’t stop there though.  We will go as far as purchasing a SP840 and running that lamp for 2000 hours and checking the brightness, CRI, and temperature while operating.  We will go back to our supplier and have them update designs if they are not up to par. We will even go as far as manufacturing our own parts if it means the lamps will be as close to your original as possible.

As an example, we tested 3 different bulbs for the Panasonic ET-LAD60 projector lamp.  We tested Ushio, Phoenix and Osram in their housing inside a projector.

  Total testing took 3 weeks to run all of them.  At the end the data showed the Ushio and Phoenix to be as bright(in some cases brighter) than the Matsushita OEM that was used as a control.

 

Average Lumen output was 3500 for the Matsushita, 3700 Lumen for the Ushio and an average of 3550 for the Phoenix.  After verifying the timer modules were correctly programmed we were able to sell them with confidence. 

 

Where does this leave you the consumer?  Hopefully with a little more insight into where your lamps come from and how to know what is what.

To help further, here are 5 tips to keep in mind while shopping around for your lamp.

  1. Know your bulb type and wattage.  Look at the back of your bulb inside the housing. It will list the specs. Refer to our “How to Identify Your Projector Lamp” for specifics.
  2. Make sure the company you are shopping with has that bulb listed under the lamp type. They may or may not have the bulb wattage listed. If not, do not hesitate to ask them for that info. Any decent company will share that with you.
  3. If they are substituting one original brand for another, be skeptical. Not all substitutes are bad or incorrect mind you, but if you see an Ushio in place of an Osram, I would be very skeptical for the simple reason that Ushio bulbs  generally cost more than Osram bulbs. Again, ask them.  If you were to ask us, we could tell you why we use what we use and what testing we did to confirm its use.
  4. Be wary of any advertisement that uses glowing (no pun intended) for the bulb name.  ie. “Platinum or Gold Lamps”                                                If you need to make a fancy names for your lamps, then maybe it’s not that great of a lamp(just my personal opinion). If it’s not one of the 6 names above, that makes the bulb a compatible and those are a waste of your time and money.
  5. Warranty Status. Unfortunately in the USA, the warranty on your projector can be violated if you use anything other than an OEM  lamp as a replacement. Once your warranty expires you are free to use whatever you want.  Until it expires your warranty can be denied if you were to need service and sent in your projector with a non-OEM lamp.

Hopefully this enlightened your knowledge on why not all Original inside lamps are the same.

I also expect you know how committed Pureland Supply is to carrying a good product. We would much rather sell you a lamp that will perform well for a long time so that you will come back than go for a cheap sale.

You do get what you pay for and if the OEM’s trust the bulbs they use, so do we.

 

 

 

 

 

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What Makes a Projector? (Part 1)

Projectors have come a long way over the years.  At first they used film to feed through a mechanical shutter with the 2 large reels holding the film. Now they have become stand alone display devices.  More similar to a TV screen than a slide projector.

What makes them what they are today? There are essentially two answers to that question.  One is LCD technology and the other is DLP technology.  They both use replaceable lamps, but how they use those lamps to create the image is what sets them apart.
This begins a short series on Projector display technology.  This post we will cover DLP Projectors.
DLP is an acronym for Digital Light Processing. Invented in 1987 by Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments the digital mirrored device chip(DMD).

The first video projector to use this technology was built by Digital Projection in 1997.  Both Digital Projection and Texas Instruments won an Emmy Award for the use of DLP technology.

A DMD chip(pictured above) is made up of microscopic mirrors arranged in an array on the chip surface.  The mirrors are controlled via small electrostatic pulses to adjust their angle.  The angle causes them to either reflect the light out the lens onto the screen or away from the lens to create black or lack of light.  Each mirror is made up a microscopic yoke, torsion spring, and the electrostatic pads that affect the memory cells that set the position.

The diagram to the right shows the construction of each pixel.  Depending on the resolutions the amount of pixels changes. For instance an 800 x 600 DMD has (800*600 pixels= 480,000) pixels or mirrors that are controlled.  However some chips use a method of oscillating the mirrors to have them act double duty, halving the amount of mirror elements needed in a DMD chip.  

DLP Chips are monochrome or single colored. They can only turn light on and off and adjust its brightness. It cannot color the light.  This is where the next most important device of a DLP projector comes into play.
The Color wheel is a glass wheel made up of multiple segments all with a different color glass light filter.  On average they use 4 segments: red, blue, green and clear. Some models have multiples of the same color.  Others use 6 segments colors red, purple, blue, light blue, green and yellow.  The projector syncs the rotation of the color wheel and the color needs of the DMD while the image is being projected. DLP uses optical persistence to “fool” our eyes into seeing a mix of colors when in reality the projector is only projecting one color at a time for a fraction of a second.  If you blink your eyes quickly while looking at the DLP projected image, you can see the colors by themselves.
These 2 devices more than any other set the DLP projector apart from LCD.  Other differences are in the electronics.  There are a whole set of electronics that only are there to support and control the DMD chip.  These electronics are not as physically obvious but are no less important. These chips are for driving the electrostatic control signals to the DMD, as well as the video processing chips that prepare the signal to the DMD controller.  There is a motor control chip that keeps the color wheel in sync so that why the DMD is projecting the red portion of the image, the red color wheel segment is in position.  These all work together to ensure a pleasant and vibrant image.  
The main benefit of DLP over LCD(at the time) was the contrast ratio. Contrast ratio is the difference between a full white and full black image. When using a lamp to create an image there is almost no chance of having true black as black is the absence of light.  Turning off the lamp for the black portions of the picture is not practical.  Rather the pixels that require black merely point their light away from the main lens creating black on the screen.  Since the mirrors are only pointing away, there is some minor light leakage so the “blacks” are not as black as they could be.  The higher the ratio, the darker the blacks and brighter the white bits of the image will be. This was more of an issue with DLP first came to market as LCD had abysmal contrast.  These days they are pretty much the same contrast ratio-wise.
The last and most obvious difference is the lamp used in DLP.  Both DLP and LCD use Short ARC Mercury vapor lamps but only DLP uses this particular arrangement.
DLP Lamps commonly use a non-optical lens. Meaning there is no focusing or change in direction of the light beam.  Rather they have lenses inside the optics that do any light adjustment needed.  The lamps do have a special coating on the lens(ND filter lens). That coating prevents UV(ultraviolet) and IR(infrared) light from being injected into the light path.

DLP Lamp with UV/IR coating

LCD LampThese can harm your eyes and the optics due to heat and radiation.  This coating is a big reason why we do not recommend replacing only the bare bulb. If that coating fails or fails just a little it can cause your color wheel problems and possibly even melt some of the lenses.

Here is a picture of the internals from a Polyvision PJ905 that uses a 2002031-00 Lamp that has the proper coating.

PJ905 Internal diagram of DLP projector.

This about sums up the DLP video projector.  They are a reliable and well proven piece of technology.  Pureland Supply takes a lot of pride in our lamps and we make sure every lamp that is used in a DLP projector(as well as LCD) is configured correctly to perform as well as possible for you.  Check our selection of lamps here. 
Stay tuned for next week when we discuss LCD projectors. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-664-6671 or Sales@purelandsupply.com
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10 Tips to Prolong Lamp Life from Pureland Supply

Projector lamps are most important to your projector. Prolong their life with these tips.

1.  Handle the Projector Lamp with gloves. Oils and deposits from hands and fingers can cause hot spots on face of the Projector Lamp, which may result in premature Lamp failure.  Gloves also insure against any smudges that could get on the glass lenses or the projector or the lamp itself.
2.  Operate your projector in a clean, cool, and well ventilated area. A dust free environment would be ideal.  It may be advantageous to look into a ventilation system or air filtration system in the area that the projector will be operating in.
3.  Keep the projector air filters and air vents clean. Clogged filters/vents will not remove heat effectively. This can cause the projector to overheat with an early lamp failure.  During routine maintenance it is recommended to vacuum any loose debris and dust from the projector.  You can also get a can of sealed air to blast out any small particles and dust from the air vents and filter.
4.  Do not place anything on top of the projector or in front of the intake or exhaust vents. This will cause the projector lamp to overheat and fail. Refer to your manual for safe placement of the projector and the accessories.  The vents should be operating in an unrestricted environment that has strong air circulation.
5.  If the projector is built into a compartment, wall, ceiling, or shelf mount, the minimum distance requirement is usually at least 2 feet.  This allows enough space to dissipate any heat that will build up.  Refer to your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
6.  When you replace the projector lamp make sure the new housing is seated completely and securely. Pureland Supply continually gets phone calls and inquiries from customers that think they have a defective lamp when in actuality they simply didn’t push the lamp in far enough.  Pay attention to the old lamp. Re-install and remove the old lamp a few times to get familiar with the how it fit into your projector. When you install the new lamp you can seat it firmly but without too much pressure.  Use the screws to tighten the lamp into its final position.
7.  Hot Projector Lamps are fragile. Do not move or shake the projector until the Projector Lamp has completely cooled. Shock and vibration applied to hot projector lamps may cause the lamp to break or shorten its effective lifespan.  It is recommended that after operation you let the lamp cool at least an hour before handling the projector or lamp.
8.  Do not unplug the projector until the Lamp has properly cooled. After the projector has been shut off, the fan will remain on for a period. This is required for proper cooling of the lamp.  If the lamp is not cooled properly it will cause the life of the lamp to be shortened drastically.  This is a critical point where many people unplug their projector during use in order to turn it off.  By doing this the lamp is extremely hot and has no air circulation resulting in damage or shortened life of the lamp.
9.  Do not turn the projector on and off frequently during presentations. Each time the projector is switched on, the inrush of power causes stress on the Projector Lamp as does the thermal cycles (heating cooling). Try to minimize your on/ off cycles by not frequently turning on and off. If you are not using the unit for less than 30minutes, use a screen saver or video mute option that some models offer.
10.   Wait until the fans stop running before attempting to turn a projector back on after use. Forcing the Projector Lamp to start before it is adequately cool will cause a thermal and electrical shock to the bulb causing the life to be shortened.
It is recommended that you have your projector serviced and maintained approximately every 2 years.
Preferably have the projector cleaned for dust buildup seasonally.
Insist on high quality projector lamps with the original manufacturer’s bulb inside (Made by Philips, Ushio, Phoenix, or Osram).  All lamps are available for sale at PurelandSupply
Call or Visit Pureland Supply at 1-800-664-6671 to get additional information on any type of Projector Lamp.
Pureland Supply
210 Gale Lane
Kennett Square PA  19348
Phone: 800-664-6671

Fax: 888-880-8874
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Is My Projector Ready for the Holidays?

Unless you are me or involved in the home theater hobby I doubt this is a question you ask yourself. 
However, if you entertain regularly over the holidays it’s something worth considering.  Over the course of the year your projector is pulling a lot of air through it.  That air is used to cool the electronic components as well as the lamp.  Unless you are fortunate enough to live is a sterile environment you will get dust pulled inside with that cooling air.
Over time that dust builds up. That dust can start to prevent the air from cooling.  Once the dust builds up to the point to where it isn’t being cooled anymore and will start to act like insulation keeping the heat in.
Depending on your model, removing that dust can vary.  You always hear, “clean your projector”.  Sure, wipe the outside down and keep that machine looking nice. 
However, there is an entire world going on inside your projector.  Fans, ducts circuit boards Oh My! These all tend to gather dust regardless of how clean your house is.  Electronics in general tend to attract dust due to their nature.
There are many models that use filters.  Those filters vary from a complicated cartridge type that is consumable and requires replacement.  Then there are others that use a simple foam rubber filter on a carrier frame.  More recently the filters have been abandoned for under $1000 models. Instead opting for large open airways to channel the dust in and out rather than filtering it.
Short lamp life is the first symptom. More specifically a progressively shorter lamp life. Each lamp will run but maybe it fails after 500 hours. The next lamp fails after 200 hours.  These hour ratings are examples of course. You may see 1000 hours or more but no where near your original lamps life span.
This particular projector below uses a BL-FU310A which is on sale here. Once you clean your projector your BL-FU310Awill run cool and bright.
Here are some examples of what your projector may look like inside if it has never been internally cleaned. Have it cleaned regularly to prevent failure during the holidays. Let us know if you have any question at 1-800-664-6671 or Sales@purelandsupply.com
Here is the side of the DLP Chip Heat-sink.

This is the main cooling Fan. Not moving much air.

Here is an overview of the entire projector’s electronics. That dust will cause heat problems.


This is the ballast. That powers the bulb. With this much dust it overheated and failed. Needed to be replaced, with a repair cost in the hundreds of dollars.


We do offer a Professional Cleaning Option. If this is something you would like to learn more about, please contact us with any questions. – PurelandSupply  1-800-664-6671 / Sales@PurelandSupply.com
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Brands we sell continued…

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

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