Guide to Projector Lamps
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Editor’s note: This article is extremely old. Try this page on Projector Lamps, instead.
The Projector Lamp, otherwise known as the a projector bulb, is a replaceable part of the projector that needs to be maintained according to the lamp life of the projector, which averages between 1,000 and 2,000 hours. It is easy to calculate the cost of projector lamp replacements by determining how long it will take to reach X amount of hours of lamp life. Depending on whether you’re using a hi-watt bulb or low-watt bulb, projector lamps range upwards of $300. You get more life based on how much power your lamp is using. Projector lamps become quite an expense over time.
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Projector lamps need to be kept in a dry, cool, dust free environment to maximize lamp life and minimize operating cost. A common trick is to leave your well-circulated fan on after use until the projector is cool. Do not obstruct airflow or you can burn out your lamp, or even worse. Lamp brightness is essential to picture quality, so it is extremely important to maintain your bulbs and refer to your projector guide to determine the lamp life expectancy. As a lamp nears its end, dimming may occur. There two common projector lamp types: Metal Halide Lamp, and the Halogen Bulb, each with their positive and negative qualities. The Metal Halide Lamp is superior and used for medium to high-end projectors. One downfall are that these lamps lose brightness after use, where Halogen Bulb’s maintain their brightness while only lasting 40 to 70 hours compared to Metal Halide at 1,000 to 2,000 hours. Some of these lamps are being advertised at 4,000 hours. Halogen Lamps are yellow compared to the Whites that make Metal Halide a superior technology. Metal Halide lamps range up to $500, and Halogen ranges to about $100.
Projector Lamp Technology
Lamp technologies such as Metal Halide Lamps, were invented from studying the electrical discharge of a lightning bolt, and continue advance for the specific requirements of the projector. High Intensity refers to the magnification of electrical discharge.
Ultra High Performance, or UHP
High color rendering and a life time of over 10,000 hours. This UHP technology sends electrical discharge between electrodes in an environment of a high pressure Mercury vapor cloud.
Xenon Arc Technology
Very common for movie projectors and a similar technology to UHP, Xenon Arc Technology can be seen in IMAX Theaters with its extremely high spectral distribution and high luminosity. Instead of using Mercury in UHP technology, Xenon gas is the medium between electrodes and under a pressure of around 300 atmospheres.
A common technology for home theater projectors and business projectors, without the problems of flicker or intermittence, this Ultra Violet lamp illuminates a consistent brightness with a projector lamp life up to 6,000 hours.