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Projection TV flashes / DIY Bulb Replacement / DIY Projector Bulb Replacement

My Projection TV turns on then turns off right away

I've been reading and apparently this is one of the most commonly user forgotten concepts. That projector TVs are meant to have their bulb replaced every 2 to 3000 hours.

So here's a simple guide that is handy both for projection TVs and the smaller DLP projectors that are often used from coffee tables, overhead ceiling mounted, and even outside for showing movies as local neighborhood entertainment.

Did you know that NASA uses the ceiling mounted projectors to create whole walls of images from Mars?

Don't be dismayed, this is not as hard as you might think and compared to the idea of hauling one of the huge projection TVs to a repair center this is a piece of cake.

First, if you still have the paper user manual find the page about replacing the bulb. If you do not go to your manufacturer's website and download the manual which is usually available as a PDF. (It's also why it did not come up when you googled your problem) Here's an example of one that just happens to be from the last user I assisted whose unit was made by panasonic:

http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/support/Televisions/LCD-Projection-TVs/model.PT-50LC13

This is very important because on page 65 & 66 it has

1) Physical instructions on how to safely remove and replace the bulb
2) The model's Bulb Unit number
3) The support website
4) The phone support number
5) How to Reset the Lamp Timer. (This one does not have it and says it will come with the bulb. Unusual, I believe)
6) The symptoms of a unit with a bad bulb. In the case of this model the lamp light is lit read. There can be many signs and they may vary depending on your unit which is why it is important to download the PDF manual first. Most companies have these available free online at their site with no user account needed.

In the case of this PDF on page 68 it has a page of symptoms which will either help you confirm or deny whether it is the bulb or if it points to another problem. If it is the bulb you can quickly and easily save yourself a great deal of hassle and expense by DIY.

This is where the bulb's model # comes in handy. Google it for comparitive pricing. I have been through 3 of these on my home unit and I will share my wisdom with you:


A) This is more likely to be an item where you get what you pay for. One of mine went out after 1500 hours though I paid handsomely for it the warranty was short.

B) Get a decent warranty, preferably a 90 day over 30 day. Use it a lot during this time period. Electronics either usually fail early or much much later. (Right after the warranty runs out, right? ;-)

C) Never buy a bare bulb. You want a "caged assembly" is often what it is called. These might be tempting because they are cheap but there is no easy way to hold it and easily solder it into the caged housing at the proper angle it needs to go in at without damaging the bulb much less leaving it covered in skin oils which lower the lifespan of the bulb.

D) The best one I have purchased so far came with a cotton glove so while installing it no skin oil would get on it thus shortening the bulb's potential lifespan.

E) Do not expect it to last as long as the first bulb.

Now you've downloaded your model's PDF, shopped for a bulb, and it arrives. What next? The DIY part. This can be fun for some people or equally frightening because you're about to go inside an item you probably spent a thousand dollars or much more on. Do not fear as the manufacturer had you in mind when they designed this to be a user-accessible part. They would not include instructions on how to exchange the old bulb with a new one if this were a dangerous or very difficult item thing to do.

In the PDF example it is not even until step 4 that a tool is even required. Then it's just an everyday ordinary household screwdriver.

UNPLUG ALL SOURCES OF POWER TO THE PROJECTOR ! ! !

As an electronic's expert who went to a college just for electronics and as one who has fixed everything from vacuum cleaners to computers here are a couple of pre-step steps to help make sure everything goes as smooth as it possibly can:

1) Clean the immediate vicinity of dust. Dust kills electronics by restricting airflow and acting like an insulator which holds heat in. We all know heat kills electronics. In fact, your electronic's best friend is that funny brush attachment that goes on your vacuum cleaner. It's safe to clean virtually all electronics at all angles with this attachment. I reccomend vacuuming the outside of all electronics monthly and I will guarantee overall your electronics will last longer. Love them and they'll love you back ;-)

2) Never hurts to put down some newspaper in case you need to find something that pops out. To that end sometimes a metal TV tray with a strong magnet under it nearby is nice. They are sold specifically for this purpose... drop a screw on it and you know where to find it later. The commercially made ones look like a white bowl or ashtray with a big round magnet underneathe.

3) Put anything liquid in another room. This is only going to last a few minutes.

4) Having a paper towel nearby is never a bad idea. You might need it to clean something inside or your own sweat dripping from your forehead. If you heard a pop the bulb may be in fragments and if this is the case the paper towel will be a handy place to wrap those up in.

5) Try to take the screws out in such an order that you know exactly what hole it goes back in. Sometimes they can be different lengths but generally this is just a wise practice for a large number of reasons which I won't address here and now.

Remove any screws you need to get to the bulb cover. Your manual should cover the views and details of your exact model.

Unscrew the bulb cover and place it and the screwdriver several feet away. First unplug the bulb. This may have a barb, like a fish hook does, that needs to be pushed aside. I prefer to use a plastic pointed item for this because if I slip I can not do any damage inside the unit. We have actual plastic screwdrivers for proceedures like this but a pencap or whittled popsicle stick or any flat nonmetal easy to control item is prefered to a screwdriver. If you do use a screwdriver ideally pick a stubby one as it can't slip as far.

There is one screw holding the bulb cage assembly in. Remove it but keep it nearby because it's going right back in. It will be right near the wire handle and you will be able to identify it because the new unit you have nearby contains an identical hole. This screw will be going in there in short order.

Now there is a wire handle that flips up. Flip it up and notice the orientation. Study it for a minute. If you're nervous this is a great time to take a couple of digital pictures from different angles should you have trouble re assembling it. Pull it by the handle. Often a little thing will flip up as you pull this out. Do not worry, this is just an indicator switch so the unit knows not to turn on while there is no bulb in it.

Try not to touch anything inside there or let anything even accidentally drop in there. The components nearby are extremely sensitive.

Install the new bulb making sure to notice that the flip up switch retracts as you insert the bulb. Seat it firmly, put the screw in and plug in the plug until it barb snaps in positively.

Now reach way over for that screw you put an arms length away and reinstall it.

Re install the cover.

Reinstall any other screws or assemblies per your manual's directions.

Plug the unit back in.

Next most important step is to read about how to reset your lamp timer.

While it might work without it, it will not work optimally with the new bulb you put in. But most of all you do not want to see that dreaded red exclamation point again which reminds you to replace your bulb. This could happen if you replace yours early, before the old one goes out. If you do I reccomend keeping the bulb. When that one I bought went out after 1500 hours I put the original back in, reset the lamp timer, and got another 1000 hours out of it for a total of over 4,000 hours on the original brand new bulb that came with the unit. This is how I know no other bulb will likely last as long as the new one.

The proceedure for resetting the lamp timer on mine is simply to hold the EXIT (up) button) for five seconds then the lamp time is displayed, Then hold that and press the auto button and it instantly goes back to zero. But this may vary greatly with your unit. So read the manual or the instructions that come with the bulb.

Hope this helps you. If there is significant interest maybe I will try to add more hypertext links to the various manufacturer's websites.

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