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Lamp Life

How long should my projector lamp last for?

All projector lamps have an expected operating time, called lamp life. This value is expressed in numbers of hours, and is typically around 1,500 to 2,000 hours. Newer models claim 5,000 hours of lamp life and more. An individual lamp's light output duration is based on a bell curve, so that a majority of (but not all) lamps will meet the lamp life hours specified. Most manufacturers provide a warranty covering their lamps for a certain number of hours or period of time.

For projectors that are used under normal operating conditions (three to five hours per day in a clean, relatively dust-free environment) the lamp will have the greatest likelihood of lasting through its entire rated lamp life. Projectors that are used more often or are exposed to environmental contaminants are more likely to show a decrease in lamp life. Projectors that are operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are at the highest likelihood of lamp failure before the end of the rated hours.

How do I know when it is time to change my lamp?

Metal halide (high pressure mercury) projector lamps experience a gradual dimming of the image brightness as the lamp loses power and pressure builds up within the bulb. The dimming may be subtle but will nonetheless have increasing impact on your display. You should replace your lamp when the dimming of your image becomes noticeable. Occasionally, at the end of its life the lamp may fail altogether, usually due to temperature stresses. Most modern projectors have a built-in lamp hour counter which will let you know when it is time to change your lamp, and this counter should be reset every time the lamp is changed. Check your projector's user guide for information about this feature. If you are unable to find the lamp hour counter simply contact one of our Lamp Experts who will be happy to assist you.

How can I make my lamp last longer?

The following is a list of preventative measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of your projector lamp failing early:

  • Do not allow the projector to overheat; the number one cause of lamp failure is excessive temperature stress.
  • Allow the projector lamp to cool for at least 10 minutes after powering down, and never move the projector during this period or while the lamp is on. The lamp is much more susceptible to damage while it is hot.
  • Operate your projector in a clean, relatively dust-free environment to prevent clogging of fans and air filters. These filters should be cleaned regularly.
  • Allow plenty of space around the projector's fan or exhaust so excess heat can be dispersed properly.
  • Utilize the "economy mode" if it is available with your projector model and is appropriate for your situation. This mode decreases projector brightness but the lamp will last longer.
  • Never leave a projector in very hot or very cold environments, for example in a car on a summer or winter day.
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