Projector Lamp & Bulb Guide
There is a lot of misinformation and confusing language about projector lamps and bulbs. Words like "original" and "genuine" don't always mean what you might expect. We always endeavour to be crystal clear about what we're offering, so that you can have confidence in your purchase. If you have any questions, you will likely find the answers below.
A lamp (or lamp module) is a bulb inside an outer housing, ready to fit into a projector. We sell three types of replacement projector lamp; Official (OEM), Original Inside or Budget Compatible.
A lamp housing is designed for a particular projector model or range. The bulb inside is typically made by a major lighting manufacturer such as Philips or Osram - these bulbs are often called Original or Genuine. Budget bulbs from other manufacturers are usually referred to as Compatible.
Official Part (OEM)
For projectors under guarantee we recommend the Official (OEM) lamp as anything else may void your warranty. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer.
Original Inside lamps are alternative brand products containing an original bulb in a compatible housing. The performance is equal to an official part.
Budget Compatible lamps are a compatible bulb in a compatible housing. Compatibles may have lower performance and not last as long as an official part.
Lamps & bulbs are warrantied as spare parts, and for this reason the guarantee is very limited.
Official (OEM) products come with a 90 day warranty, limited to a maximum 500 hours usage. Because the Official warranties are so short we offer an extended warranty as an option for selected lamps. These extended warranties increase the cover to 1 year, limited to a maximum of 3 claims during the cover term.
Alternative brand products typically offer longer warranties, which adds greatly to their value. However, fitting any alternative brand product into a projector that is still under manufacturer warranty will void the projector guarantee.
Bare lamps are only offered where the installation/ replacement of a bare lamp should be simple. If the installation is not simple, the bare lamp will not be passed for installation.
- There are a few points to note when changing the lamp to make replacement/ installation safe and that the lamp is not compromised and the warranty is not invalidated.
- Use rubber/ protective gloves when handling the lamp. The lamp reaches very high temperatures when operational and if grease settles on the lens/ around the lamp it can seriously impact on the performance of the unit. Preventing finger grease by wearing gloves is a requirement under the warranty.
- Use the appropriate tools to uninstall and install the replacement. Most lamps require simply using standard screwdrivers etc but in rare cases, security tools are necessary.
- Take care and time to make note of what parts are disassembled as exact reverse assembly is required for the lamps to work effectively.
- Take care and time to make note of what terminals go where as the lamps have positive and negative terminals. Replace a terminal one by one and do not mix the two otherwise the lamp will not function and the warranty will be invalid.
- Take care and time when unscrewing and screwing bolts. Over tightening the main lamp bolt on some lamps can cause overstress on the ceramics and cause them to crack. This once again is not covered under the warranty.
Please do make full use of the resources put in place and the replacement lamp guides produced on the website: www.barebulbsuk.co.uk
Your old bulb contains hazardous materials including mercury. The Projector Lamp Recycling and Disposal organisation (http://www.plrd.org/) provides a free disposal service.
Simply post your old lamp to the PLRD. You may receive an address label with your new lamp. If not, simply click here to print off a label and:
- Securely pack the old lamp in the box from the new lamp.
- Attach the PLRD label and remove all previous address labels.
- Post the box at any Post Office, or via your normal mail collection.
If your projector image has become dim, or as has stopped altogether, you may need to replace the lamp.
Older lamps, such as halogen, will typically just stop working. Modern metal halide lamps can fail abruptly, but most will simply reduce in performance as they age - eventually reaching a point where they're not suitable for use.
Modern projectors keep a log of operating hours to allow monitoring, and may automatically reduce performance to prolong operation after a certain number of hours has elapsed.
Running a high-pressure lamp beyond its intended life span may end with the glass shattering inside the projector.
A lamp module normally has an Lamp Life specification. This is normally the approximate number of operating hours before the lamp is expected to fail or drop below adequate performance levels. Most modern projectors have a Bright mode and a dimmer Economy mode. Switching to Economy mode whenever possible will prolong the life of your lamp.
A typical lamp life is around 2000 hours of standard operation, though some newer lamps are now offering over 6000 hours. In addition, most projectors have an economy mode that increases life span by dimming the image.
Lamp Life figures are usually based on continual use up to 5 hours per day in a clean, well ventilated space.
Copy/Fake lamps are unregulated products, usually from the developing world. They have questionable warranty support, and pose a potential safety hazard.
Independent tests have shown that buying a copy lamp is often a false economy due to inferior build, lifetime and brightness. This was clearly demonstrated by the benchmark testing conducted by KEMA on behalf of Philips (a leading bulb manufacturer).
A summary of the KEMA benchmark research is available to view.
We don't sell copy lamps, and advise you to avoid them.
Lamps are safe to handle provided they are treated with care. The bulbs are sealed units under extreme pressure, so they're prone to shattering with rough handling.
Always use a cloth or gloves for handling. Never touch the bulb glass with your fingers, as fingerprint residue will cause damage to the bulb during operation.
Most lamps do contain hazardous materials, and should be disposed of responsibly. A free disposal is available for dealing with old lamps.
Lamps operate under great heat stress, so handling them properly is important. Things to watch out for include:
- Fingerprints on the bulb glass can cause hot-spot stress
- Failure to clean the projector air filters (see your user guide) causes overheating
- Poor airflow, such as projector enclosure or vent obstruction, causes overheating
- Loosely fitted lamps can negatively affect overall operation
- Abrupt power-off (i.e. unplugging) prevents fan-assisted cooling, damaging the lamp
- Physical shock, particularly when the lamp is still hot, can damage the bulb