Projector specifications always specify a lamp life. What does this figure mean?
To begin with, you need to understand that projector lamps are fundamentally different from those used in lighting fixtures. A standard lamp burns at the same brightness all the time, and if it fails, it burns out instantly. Projection lamps, on the other hand, begin to gradually lose brightness. So slowly that you will not even realize at the first time that the projector is 20-30% dimmer than the new one.
And this leads to a question: how to specify the lamp life? When the first projectors appeared, the loss of 50% of brightness was considered as such period. But this fact was not fixed as a mandatory standard. Today, the declared lifetime of the lamp may be very different from the actual. For example, one manufacturer specifies a time of 1000 hours. This means that after that time the lamp will lose the same 50%. But for another manufacturer, the same 1000 hours will mean that the lamp will go out completely, will use up its resource.
Thus, two products of different quality will have the same characteristics, and neither will violate the law. This is often used to keep up with more advanced competitors, not changing anything in fact in the device projector. It should be noted that the service life is significantly affected by the shutdown mode. Using a heated cathode system to cool all parts of the lamp more evenly will extend its life considerably. It will not pick up dirt and will not increase the voltage when the unit is turned on.
How do I determine lamp life when choosing a projector?
You need to be able to turn the projector on and off. If the screen turns black immediately after confirming the shutdown command, the heated cathode method is not used. Such a lamp will fail faster. If the inscription “off” is still lit for some time – it means that heating is carried out, and the service life will be longer. Therefore it makes sense to check the equipment before buying, and not just order, focusing on the characteristics listed on the site/manufacturer.
Many are also interested in the question: does the service life depends on the manufacturer. In general, it is possible to stretch to say that it does. But we don’t have in mind any particular manufacturer who only makes good projectors with the right system of operation. In the first place, it affects the choice of production method and technology, which are involved in each projector. You should not be guided by the brand, but by the characteristics that the manufacturer provides for its models.
Who makes the lamps and does lamp life depend on the brand?
Until now, the vast majority of lamps are produced by just three companies – Philips, Osram, and Ushio. All the lamps are of the same type and have unprincipled differences concerning the shape of the reflector, the position of the electrodes, etc., which is done only for one purpose – so that there is no interchangeability of lamps, as it is very advantageous at their, so far, very high price.
There are two lamp lives listed in the description. Which one is correct?
Both are correct. The fact is that there are two modes of operation of the projector: optimal and maximum (boosted). The choice of mode will also affect how long the technique lasts. The optimal mode uses 20% less brightness, the lamp uses less voltage, and its lifetime is almost 2 times higher than the maximum mode. By the way, the modes are often referred to as standard and economy modes. But this is only a marketing ploy to increase sales.
As for the actual service life of projection lamps, you need to look at the heating of the cathode, described above. If you suddenly turn off the lamp brightness will drop to 50% after 1000 hours of operation in standard mode and after 2000 hours of operation in economy mode. Heating the cathode can prolong the life of the lamp by actually 2 times: from 2000 to 4000 hours.
To choose the right office projector, check our article on Best Office Projectors.