How to extend the life of your DLP, LCoS, SXRD, HD-ILA, or LCD TV Lamp -Intuitive Guide

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  • Screen P.
  • 17 years ago

Increasing the Life of Your DLP Lamp or LCD Lamp

It’s a terrible feeling… it sucks when you’re anticipating watching your favorite program and “pop,” the lamp in your projection TV fails 🙁

Why did it happen? You were just watching TV, it’s not like you were wrestling with it! Why?!?

In our experience, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a premature lamp failure. Keep in mind that there is no fail-safe course of action you can take… these lamps are consumable products… they are designed to need replacing. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to insure your lamp has a healthy and long life. The following list is made in order of importance (remember, there is no scientific data yet behind this, just years of experience).

  • AVOID Rapid Power Cycling

    Turning on the set, turning it off, turning it on, turning it off… turning it on… turning if off. This is absolutely the worse thing one can do to their TV. If you turn on the TV accidentally, give it a good 15-20 minutes to warm up before turning it down.

  • AVOID Excessive Power Cycles

    A power cycle happens every time you press the power button on your remote to turn it on. Think of it as your car starter. Imagine an insanely busy pizza delivery boy who has 50 deliveries a day. Every time he leaves the pizza shop he needs to activate his car starter…every time he leaves a customer’s house, he needs to activate his starter again. There is a good chance this poor guy’s starter (100 starts a day!) is going to fail sooner than someone with an 9 to 5 office job, who starts his/her car once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. The same concept applies here. Do not power cycle your TV set every half hour thinking you’re going to save 10 minutes of lamp life–it doesn’t work that way. You’re doing more damage “sparking” or “striking” the lamp. In short: it’s better to keep the TV on for 5 hours straight rather than watch a one hour program and turn it off only to turn it back on half an hour later.

  • AVOID Dust and Dirt

    I cannot stress this enough. Eliminating dust and dirt is another very important aspect of maintaining a healthy projection TV. Take a look at the back of your TV; there is a good chance there’s a lot of dust sitting on the back of the TV. Wipe your finger across the back and you’ll see. With so much dust on the outside of the TV you can imagine some of it must be getting into inside, and as a result, shortening your lamp life. After 5,000+ lamps replaced, I can honestly say maintaining a clean and dust free TV is essential to promoting a long life.

    My recommendations:

    • Wipe down the back of your TV once a month with a damp cloth
    • Invest ~ $100 in a ionic air purifier and place it close to the TV. This will silently attract all the dust, pollen, smoke, etc. away from the TV set. Do NOT take a can of compressed air and go nuts spray air everywhere inside your TV! In general, these ionic purifiers are practical and good to have anyway. . I use this particular one in the office 🙂
    • Clean out all of the television’s filters or use a can of compressed air to remove excess dust.
  • Surge Protectors

    These are good and bad, but ultimately good if used properly. The manufacturer’s typically recommend against plugging our TVs into surge protectors. Why? Because they are afraid customers might get accustomed to turning off their TVs this way (which is a big no no!). Most projectors and projector TVs need a cool down period after they are shutdown. Most of the time, there is a silent fan running. If there is no power, the fan stops working! 🙁

    Surge protectors are important as sudden spikes in voltage can fry your ballast and/or lamp. If your lamp made the infamous “pop” noise, recall seeing if you had a surge protector inline.

  • Ventilation and Filters

    Ensure your TV has adequate ventilation. Most sets have at least a vent or fan close by to the lamp. Some have filters. Make sure that the filter is clean. Replace or clean the filter per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • DO NOT Touch the Lamp

    Never touch the lamp with your bare hands. Our hands are naturally oily and body oil cause “hot spots” on the lamp which may lead to explosions, implosions, or cracks. Always use a clean, non-abrasive, lint free cloth when handling your lamp.

  • Movement and Vibration

    Ever moved your TV and noticed it didn’t fire up the first time? Have you noticed a scrambled or distorted picture when adjusting your TV Stand while the TV has been on? What about everyday vibrations of powerful home theater systems? All these can lead to the lamp, light engine, color wheel, etc, etc., from losing alignment. There’s been dozens of times when we’ve fixed a “lamp problem” by just re-seating the lamp or adjusting the lamp cover sensor. All the above recommendations are intuitive suggestions. There isn’t any scientific research behind it, but through experience we know that they play some factor in the life of your lamp. I have not mentioned anything about picture brightness or power settings because there is much debate over this. Some claim by putting your lamp in economy mode or low power this will result in longer lamp life. On the contrary, we believe these options do not promote longer lamp life!

Hope these tips help. Send us your feedback!

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