Posted on May 18, 2012 By Art Feierman
You thought you were going to get out of math class that easily? Sorry, still a couple more points for me to make.
What else affects long term cost of operation?
1) Repairs, and warranty duration as it relates to any needed repairs
2) Installation related costs (cabling, accessories, mounts, extra speakers if needed, etc.)
3) Routine maintenance costs (changing filters, lamps, etc.)
While it’s really difficult to predict which products will prove to be the most reliable, some brands do have better reputations than others, for reliability. Support also varies a good deal. And should a projector break under warranty, is there a replacement, a loaner, or do you ship yours into a repair facility? Who pays the freight?
We can only help you with some of these questions, and they will be addressed on the Warranty page.
Still, if all else is equal, you want a projector with a longer warranty. A replacement program is great, for it normally means that the user is down only 24-48 hours. A loaner program is similar. Some districts prefer loaner programs to replacement ones because they use asset tags to track all their, well, “assets” including projectors. That means if a projector is replaced (not repaired), it means a bunch of paperwork to change all the asset tracking, and to afix a new asset tag on the replacement projector. On the other hand, other districts could care less, and are just happy to get the teacher back up and running in 48 hours or less.
Time, as they say, is money! While even over a decade, most projectors would not see more than one or two lamp changes, there are more frequent sources of maintanence.
There are basically four levels of filter maintenance: No filter to change, A filter to change infrequently, say every 1000 hours, A filter that needs changing frequently (say every 200 hours of operation), and finally, since this feature now exists, filters that get replaced only when the lamp gets changed. In most of the last type, it’s a projector with a “rolling” filter – one that simply rolls forward a clean segment of filter, every so often.
Obviously the first and fourth types require no extra maintenance, and even the infrequent filter change is a relatively modest amount of work. But a filter than needs to be changed every couple hundred hours; What a nightmare, if you are responsible for 200 of these projectors, scattered over 20 schools. On average, assuming the short filter life, most projectors will need from one to three filter cleanings or changings a year, even allowing that you don’t quite maintain the recommended level of maintanence.
Two hundred projectors – let’s say 2 changes a year each. You’ve got to figue that’s about a man year worth of filter changes. That’s two a day (based on a not quite realistic 200 days per school year). Considering the logistics of multiple schools, etc., inconvenient access, one man year of labor isn’t wholly unreasonable.
If you can buy a projector requiring none of that, it’s a huge savings, but truth is, almost all of the projectors today have minimal maintanence. The old 100 hour standard is long dead and buried. There may still be a few projectors around still requiring that type of frequency, but they’re not likely to be targeted at schools.
DLP projectors are almost alway filterless claiming a sealed optical system. LCD projectors are not sealed due to the different technology type. Overall, DLP projectors aren’t perfectly sealed, but there’s never been a problem to my knowledge about dust in the lightpath. On the other hand, we’ve all seen the inside of our 3 or 5 year old desktop computers at some time in our lives. We’ve seen the incredible pile up of dust dirt inside those PCs. It can’t be good. That causes devices to run hotter, which in turn shortens component life.
I think there’s a net plus to the DLP projectors being filter free, or in some cases having a filter to clean at extended periods, over the LCD projectors, which all have filters. There’s no data to suggest that filter free projectors die sooner from dust build up, so I’d say don’t give it too much thought
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