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post #1 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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In other words, how durable are projectors? Stated another way, what is more prone to problems--a PJ or a plasma or LCD big screen TV?

I have a 2002 Hitachi rear projection HDTV that is still going strong.

Just got a new Epson 8100 PJ. Love it.

Talking long term, apart from lamp replacements and wanting to upgrade to something bigger and better, can I generally expect to get 6-8 years out of a PJ if it is properly cared for?

Just wondering.
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post #2 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 11:20 AM
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You probably wont get much more than opinions. Projector technology has come such a long way so quickly I doubt there are many original owners of 8 year old machines out there.

I recently upgraded from a 4 year old Optoma 480P DLP, and it was time. I suppose a new bulb would have breathed new life into it, but there are MUCH better options out there now. I have the 8100 now as well. I've put more hours on it in the past 2 months than the previous 12 months on my H31.

The obvious part you'll have to replace is the bulb. Some will say the LCD panels will degrade, but who knows the quality of the latest generation panels... not me.
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post #3 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 11:35 AM
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I am at 6 years and counting on my projector, my first. I am at 59% on the bulb hours. It still looks pretty good!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
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post #4 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 11:47 AM
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3 to 5 years, the expected lifespan of most any electronics.

Some things live longer, some do not. Now that we are mostly past the bad cap era, 3 to 5 should be the average.

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post #5 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 01:31 PM
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I am toying with this right now. 4th year now. 5th year next year.....

Maybe a new 3D setup for me?
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post #6 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 01:34 PM
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I'd say 5 years. Projectors probably would last longer, but by then, the cost of a new bulb is too high compared to the cost of a new, better projector.
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post #7 of 41 Old 02-02-2010, 02:13 PM
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I bought my first plasma 5 years ago and it looks exactly the same. 480P,
so-so color and pixels you can see from the next room. I paid over $3,000 for it and thought I got a deal.
My point is you will probably outgrow the technology before it wears out.

A tv (or a projector for that matter), is not like other furniture in your house. You don't have to wear it out in order to justify replacement.

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post #8 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 06:44 AM
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3 to 5 years, the expected lifespan of most any electronics.

My Pioneer receiver is on its 19th year of faithful service. My Yamaha CD carousel is on it's 17th year. My Dynaco Stereo 70 is from '60 or '61 and still has its original GE tubes and quad cap. My BMW is 14 years old and I still beast on it like a new car.

By comparison, I'm on my third MP3 player in four years. On my second Blu-ray player in three years. And on my second girlfriend in six months!

Projectors aside, I think it's a shame we expect so little lifespan for our hard-earned money. I, for one, would still rather pay more for something I know is going to last than shell out bucks every so often for disposable crap.

Projectors are another issue. The lamp inside keeps them anything but cool for long periods of time (at least a film's length at a time). As an engineer, I know this is difficult to make 1) reliable and 2) low cost. One must typically choose one or the other but not both. Also, DLP is getting better but still a fragile technology with spinning color wheels and moving mirrors. LCD not so much but the display panels can still "fade" over time. The pixels just don't twist like they used to and more light bleeds through.

I do agree with the comment that one will typically out grow the technology before the unit itself dies. How many working 8-track decks got chucked in the bin back in the day?
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post #9 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcusm750 View Post

My Pioneer receiver is on its 19th year of faithful service. My Yamaha CD carousel is on it's 17th year. My Dynaco Stereo 70 is from '60 or '61 and still has its original GE tubes and quad cap. My BMW is 14 years old and I still beast on it like a new car.

Those were all constructed in a day that operated under a different philosophy and you paid to have equipment with that quality. You also neglected to say what service you had done on at least some of those items, especially the BMW. You haven't driven it for 14 years with no repair work, even if it is the ultimate driving machine.

Today's electronics are throw away so they can be cheap and affordable. Most of these PJs could continue to work for many years. Just don't expect it. They are cheap for a reason. We just don't think about $2 or $3K being cheap.

My Inspiron 3800 laptop I bought in '99 is still working and being used by my 15 y/o everyday. It has only needed a new keyboard.

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post #10 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 08:10 AM
 
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here's how mine held up:

4 LCD projectors - all started blue polarization between 3500 and 4500 hours

1 DLP - lost its color wheel at about 7000 hours.
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post #11 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 10:33 AM
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Those were all constructed in a day that operated under a different philosophy and you paid to have equipment with that quality.

No doubt. I guess I was lamenting that very point too subtly in my post above. Let me say it bluntly: I hate the fact that today is a throw-away world. I hate the fact that everything we buy has a built-in limited lifespan. What's more, I hate the fact that today's consumers put up with this crap.

Quote:
You also neglected to say what service you had done on at least some of those items, especially the BMW. You haven't driven it for 14 years with no repair work, even if it is the ultimate driving machine.

The Pioneer receiver has never been cracked open. I changed a drive belt and lubed the carousel tracks in the Yammy CD changer once, 10 years ago. I did have to replace the rectifier tube on the Dynaco once, about five years ago. The Beamer I bought two years ago with 58k on the clock (avg. of 5k per year). Service manual from the previous owner shows only oil changes and the regular service intervals. No major repairs. It now has 101k on the clock with only (synthetic) oil changes by myself. However, there's a rust spot in the trunk I have to fix, one of the brake lights is out and it's not the lamp and the interior carpeting needs a serious cleaning this summer. But she doesn't burn oil, doesn't leak a drop and can still hit 140 MPH very easily.

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Today's electronics are throw away so they can be cheap and affordable. Most of these PJs could continue to work for many years. Just don't expect it. They are cheap for a reason. We just don't think about $2
or $3K being cheap.

Agreed. See my rant above.

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My Inspiron 3800 laptop I bought in '99 is still working and being used by my 15 y/o everyday. It has only needed a new keyboard.

I haul my '83 Commodore 64 out once in a while for giggles. Grid Runner and Jumpman are still fun to play even if they're awful slow and crude.
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post #12 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcusm750 View Post

No doubt. I guess I was lamenting that very point too subtly in my post above.


Life has been good to you my friend! Low miles on the Beemer too!

It is a shame that we would rather have as cheap as possible. The biggest shame is that even the high quality items can bite you and then you really have to pay to keep your investment.

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post #13 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 01:01 PM
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Back onto projectors, I knew before hand that I would eventually be buying a lamp for my Optoma HD72 in a few years. However, it's been almost four years and 2200+ real hours on the lamp and it just went. Unfortunately, I'm discovering the lamp driver achille's heel in this model so I'm changing both out to squeeze another year or two outta this unit.

If I can get five or six years out of this projector, then I would say it was worth the $2000 investment.
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post #14 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 01:27 PM
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My JVC RS1 is still going strong after nearly three years and I have a friend whose Hitachi LCD PJ has been going for 5 years. As already said, upgraditis will probably strike before they wear out

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post #15 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 01:38 PM
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Thanks, Reconlabtech. Yeah, with some things I feel blessed. With other things, not so much. You're right: I got very lucky on the BMW. I found it on Craig's List of all places being sold by a 19-year-old kid who tagged up a drunk driving a couple months earlier. Motivated seller I guess. Lightly used, still in great shape with low miles. I even called the original owners who were listed in the service manual with their address and phone number. They had sold it six months before I bought it so the kid only had it for a couple months. We ended up talking cars for about two hours.

I buy cheap MP3 players that break after six months and I ask myself why would I drop serious coin on a "real" iPod Classic or Touch when I know it'll just get wrecked in the end. I don't wear watches anymore because 1) I was always smashing the crystals and 2) mobile phones, computers, DTV receivers, etc. all have clocks. I'm not saying I'm abusive but I use things hard and to their limits. I expect them to work from right out of the box until the day I decide to part ways.
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post #16 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 01:58 PM
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This is the basic conclusion I have come to based on my studies of this topic. The question you are asking, however, seems a bit different than the question I will be answering. The question I answer is, how many hours will this device function for? In truth, how long it takes to get to that time probably doesn't have a significant impact on how long it will last for, but there are exceptions.

The first thing I -always- recommend looking at is the warranty of a product, that variable will basically rule out the product lasting less than as long as the product theoretically could last. The epson 8100 has organic LCD panels. I have read various lengths of time for how long these panels last, the normal I hear is somewhere between 2000 and 3000 when the panels begin to fade, bleach or go out. The cause of this effect is the heat and ultraviolet light coming from the bulb or lamp itself. It is theoretical that a DLP projector would last longer on the aspect that it does not use organic LCD panels. A DLP projector has a spinning wheel inside that does not fade over time. The difference is a moving part. If the wheel inside of a DLP projector goes out, the projector is pretty close to busted unless it is repaired, I don't know what sort of cost this comes to out of warranty, but I do know that if the LCD panels go out on a LCD projector the cost of repairing or replacing it costs at least half of the cost of the item.

Generally, I'd imagine a well taken care of projector, LCD or DLP may last in the 4000-12000 hour range. This is assuming that it is maintained with care as you suggest and it also depends on how picky you are with the color of your projector.

A projector was this past September, http://www.projectorcentral.com/vivi...tor_review.htm . It is truly revolutionary. Instead of a spinning wheel it uses lasers and LEDs to create the light. It is also driven by LED for the bulb. This gives the projector an estimated 20,000 hour lamp life. I suspect that this will become the mainstream in the next 2-5 years. One key aspect here is that, as this review states, this sort of dlp projector is very much unlike the ones in the entry level cost range. Thanks to the removal of this spinning wheel, the rainbow effect (RBE) is effectively eliminated as it would be a wheel speed of around 20x (most projectors go from 3-6x)!

Something that you may be interested in, inorganic LCD projectors. They are supposed to last much longer than inorganic LCD projectors.
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post #17 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcusm750 View Post



I haul my '83 Commodore 64 out once in a while for giggles. Grid Runner and Jumpman are still fun to play even if they're awful slow and crude.

Bubble Bubble -- my brother and I rig it up every X-mas at the grandparents house where we are storing the C64 - great fun to play 2 people on

One other note on the subject -- people also change these items out due to changes in the technology. New and better stuff being available with features that they want (or think they want)....
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post #18 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 05:12 PM
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A technician I spoke with from Mitsubishi stated that the HC3000's color wheel had a rated life span of 4000hrs...I personally find that number to be disappointing. For those who watch an occasional movie 4000hrs is probably fine, and will likely upgrade before they come close to that number.

I've put on 2500 hrs on my IN82 in the past year and a half and could see my self tripling that number if the projector holds up...with my past experience with dlp, I doubt it will.
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post #19 of 41 Old 02-03-2010, 09:28 PM
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We've got a few Proxima's at work that are 12 yrs old (mfg 1998) and still kicking. Used almost daily and lots of on/off cycles due to the nature of their use (presentations, conferences, etc).
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post #20 of 41 Old 02-04-2010, 07:47 AM
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I also have an Optoma HD72 with failing lamp drivers. It is 3.5 years old but only had 1500 hours on it. I have put in my spare bulb but am not too confident how long it will go before it fails with the new bulb too.

Marcusm750, have you priced out the replacement lamp driver from optoma yet?

Regards,

Dennis
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post #21 of 41 Old 02-04-2010, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reconlabtech View Post

3 to 5 years, the expected lifespan of most any electronics.

Some things live longer, some do not. Now that we are mostly past the bad cap era, 3 to 5 should be the average.

I think this is probably true for a lot of electro mechanical products which includes most current projectors. However pure solid state devices can have a much longer life. I have a clock radio that has been used daily for 20 years and still works as well as when it was new. Even old tube based television sets often lasted 10, 20, or even 30 years.

The much shorter lifetime of projectors and some other electronic devices is often due to failures in motors, fans, or in the case of projectors, components exposed to very high levels of heat and light. Although your estimate seems to describe the lifetime of current projectors accurately I am hopeful for a time when LED or laser light sources may make projectors as reliable and long lived as that transistorized clock radio. Then we can let technology drive our purchase of new products and still press the older units into use in other areas.
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post #22 of 41 Old 02-04-2010, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaksa View Post

I think this is probably true for a lot of electro mechanical products which includes most current projectors. However pure solid state devices can have a much longer life. I have a clock radio that has been used daily for 20 years and still works as well as when it was new. Even old tube based television sets often lasted 10, 20, or even 30 years.

The much shorter lifetime of projectors and some other electronic devices is often due to failures in motors, fans, or in the case of projectors, components exposed to very high levels of heat and light. Although your estimate seems to describe the lifetime of current projectors accurately I am hopeful for a time when LED or laser light sources may make projectors as reliable and long lived as that transistorized clock radio. Then we can let technology drive our purchase of new products and still press the older units into use in other areas.

Those things made many years ago and especially before the 2000 to 2004 period of faulty caps were made to last with much higher quality components than today. So all those items that have lasted 20 years are a different species than anything made today. Quality just isn't there anymore, even in the higher end items.

As for LED PJs, sure the light engine might be rated for 20 years but the image circuitry and psu will only last 3 to 5 years. On average.

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post #23 of 41 Old 02-04-2010, 08:44 AM
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I also have an Optoma HD72 with failing lamp drivers. It is 3.5 years old but only had 1500 hours on it. I have put in my spare bulb but am not too confident how long it will go before it fails with the new bulb too.

Marcusm750, have you priced out the replacement lamp driver from optoma yet?

Hi Dennis, glad to hear I'm not the only one who experienced a longer life on their HD72. I still really like this projector even if it has an achille's heel so I'm willing to put about 250 bucks into it for a new lamp driver and bulb. But only once. Then it's on to a 1080p upgrade.

The lamp driver module (PN 75.83J01G002) is $99.00 from Optoma plus S&H. UPS Ground was another 12 bucks for a grand total of $111 on my VISA. I believe CC is the only purchasing option. Oddly enough, she couldn't tell me if they had one in stock or what the lead time was until my order is processed. Go figure. (My customers would not put up with this crap as I quote stock levels/lead times all day in my job.) I'm going to call back next week to allow them enough time to get my order into the system so that information should be available. I will not settle for anything less; I need to know when I can expect the new lamp driver.

The Osram bulb I got off ePay for like 123 bucks. Included free shipping so bonus there. Do not buy one from Hong Kong if you don't want surprises. I got mine from a guy in Ohio and it's the same brand/model as what's in the projector now.

I'll be documenting (with pictures) the lamp driver/bulb swap on the "HD72 light just" went thread:

http://01900888.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=851041
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post #24 of 41 Old 02-23-2010, 09:14 AM
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A new post with my repair comments and results is at the thread link above.
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post #25 of 41 Old 02-23-2010, 03:25 PM
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I am hoping for 5 years (minimum) from my HD65; I got a bit more than that out of my previous PLUS projector. I think projectors (and some flat panel displays) are unique in that by the time they need a new bulb (or wear out), the technology really has advanced to the point where replacement is a better value than repair.

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post #26 of 41 Old 02-23-2010, 03:36 PM
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I got 4.5 years out of my Benq 7700. It was due for a bulb. $350.00. I have a neighbor that wanted to buy it for $300.00. I got a great deal on an Epson 8100. So my take was, for an extra 500 bucks I could get a 1080p model. I am glad I did. The Epson blows the 720p Benq away.
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post #27 of 41 Old 02-23-2010, 04:20 PM
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Well there is maintenance involved with a projector. For instance I clean my dust filter once a month and I am on my second bulb. The first started flickering at me after only 304 hours! Also you want to make sure you give it plenty of room to breathe. I would say if you do all that the actual projector should lasts a long time but as other posters have mentioned when you have put 5 - 10 thousand hours on the thing a few years down the road its probably going to be more cost effective and fun to buy a new projector than it is a new bulb.
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post #28 of 41 Old 01-08-2019, 09:21 AM
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My Mitsubishi HC3000U last 14 years

I enjoy your forum very much. My Mitsubishi HC3000U lasted 14 years with 5 bulb changes and was used 4 to 8 hours every day. Mitsubishi even offered tech support this week over the phone 4 years after they stopped manufacturing. Bottom line was the HDMI connector on the back would not read the signal - suspected loose solder after years of heat. Obviously, it is time to change, but I wish Mitsubishi was one of the new choices. Thank you for your excellent forum.
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post #29 of 41 Old 01-08-2019, 09:35 AM
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If a projector runs trouble free for 3-5 years other than lamp replacements, a replacement for me is based on new technology and features that I am lacking in my current projector. In AZ I found after 3 years things like the HV caps in the power supply and fans start failing due to the weather extremes.
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post #30 of 41 Old 01-08-2019, 10:56 AM
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This is an interesting thread to bump nearly 9 years later, and is still a realistic question, even if the original poster has long since disappeared.

I think most electronics are rated to about 7 years. Enthusiasts for front projection often drive them harder than a typical family may (or maybe not), but I would expect 5,000+ hours of minimum reliability. With a movie or a game a day (3 hours) that's about 1,000 hours a year, so 5 years is an absolute minimum I would consider reasonable. But, people easily see 7+ years of use out of projectors. Certain degradation like LCD or DLP failure occurs. We certainly see a long list of issues on forums about failures, but they are all over the place. Fans, power supplies, main boards, etc. But, those aren't the day-to-day typical cases. Those are the one off issues.

I have 6 years on my W1070 now. It still runs very well and looks solid. But, I don't use it as much as I would like to. My kid has started using it more for gaming (good on him).

I have other models which are older which work just fine as well. I don't believe I've ever had a projector completely fail on me after I bought it, and I have some client's who are still using projectors that are 10+ years old at this point. Sony, Epson, JVC, and Panasonic models still in use.

Certainly my 10 year old Samsung plasma is still running strong.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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