Projector BulbThe prices on front-projectors have dropped to levels where they are comparable to rear-projectors and other display technologies.  Office projectors offer a low-cost alternative to the high-end home-theater projectors and provide sufficient color accuracy and usually brighter picture. The problem that deters many buyers from front and rear-projector systems is bulb life, which is typically 2000 hours.  While the projector prices have been dropping bulb costs have been remaining constant if not rising. This article documents how I replace my bulb inexpensively.

I purchased a Dell 3200MP projector in 2003, fulfilling my undergraduate fantasy of a 60+ image in my living room. In 2007 the bulb expired and I was left with a difficult decision of buying a new bulb or replacing the projector.  I wanted to hold off buying a new projector until one with 1080p, +2000 lumens, and under a grand was available.  Yet, I really could not justify paying $350 dollars on a new lamp when a new XGA projector costs around $500. A new lamp consists of housing and a UHP (ultra high pressure) bulb. Leaving me with three replacement options:

(1) Salvage lamp housing and find the exact bulb. Cost – ~$100 dollars.
(2) Send the bulb out for refurbishing ~$250
(3) Buy a new lamp from the manufacturer ~$360

Opened ProjectorOPTION 1:
This was the option I eventually choose. After watching Ebay for a few weeks, my bulb showed up. You can find out what your bulb you have by removing the lamp from the projector (directions are probably in the projector manual).  My bulb was a Osram VIP 150/P16 (see attached picture).  I believe VIP is the bulb technology, 150 is the power rating, and P16 describes the bulb shape and size.  I only had to remove a few screws to remove the bulb from the housing.  When you refurbish the bulb, be careful not to get fingerprints on the new bulb. This creates hot spots which reduce bulb life.

OPTION 2:
Projector bulbs come in many different shapes and size and some are easier to locate than others.¬† If you can’t find your bulb, refurbishing services are also an option.¬† Users on missingremote and AVSforum recommend RelampIt for their decent prices and good service. ¬†You email them your projector model and they will tell you if they can replace the bulb. Then you ship your lamp, they put in a new bulb, and ship it back with a 90 day warranty.

I hope these bulb replacement options wil help encourage wary customers into purchasing front projectors.  Once you have one I am convience that you will have a hard time going back to anything.

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13 Responses to “How to Replace Your Projector Lamp Cheap”  

  1. 1 Jeff Fischer

    S, Well done. That’s good stuff. I LOVE the compressed air.

  2. 2 Dissident

    Nice article. If my projector was newer and worth relamping with the same bulb I would use the links you have stated.

    Good info nonetheless. I have friends that will find this handy.

  3. 3 PRADEEP

    Now you can relamp you projector old bulb in india
    contact on this email rsaudio@airtelmail.in
    they have good quality & cheaper price

  4. 4 Grant Pitel

    I noticed my projector would shutdown too after a while, which I found out was caused by the bulb overheating the projector. Make sure that your fans are spinning, bulb is properly mounted, and all ventilation paths are clean.

  5. 5 Andrew

    Or if you want to purchase the bulb and relamp it yourself, then you can get it from LumenArc for much less than relampit as you save on the labour cost.

  6. 6 David B.

    When I bought my 3200mp, someone was selling brand new Dell bulbs with no reserve, starting them at $99. I won it for $99. Haven’t had to replace my bulb yet, but I’m ready when it does. I know this isn’t very helpful — just wanted to share a 3200mp owner’s good fortune :)

    I think the bulb replacement is an awesome idea. Now — anyone know how to clean the dust off so I don’t get the little fuzzy blobs on my screen?

  7. 7 Grant Pitel

    I am about 70% through an article that covers that topic. I started it last year and it has sat in my drafts ever since. I will work on it more seeing that someone is actually interested on the topic.

  8. 8 Grant Pitel

    Thanks for the tip. The next time my lamp dies I am upgrading to a 1080p projector…droool.

  9. 9 Robert Tiller

    Mate, you can just buy the bulb and do it yourself. I replaced just the bulb on my toshiba TDP-MT700. I love my projector and nothing was going to stop me from getting it back to life. I purchased just the bulb from http://www.lumenarc.co.uk I recommend them to anyone who does not want to waste money. It cost me just £70GBP. Bargain.

    Also don’t forget to check out their FAQ’s, very informative.

  10. 10 bangkapi
  11. 11 The Other Grant

    Hey bangkapi, that links got nothing to do with how to replace a projector lamp. Even LumenArc’s got more information than that! That was 3 seconds wasted of my life! By the way Grant, it’s good to see someone else who’s moneywise like me.

  12. 12 Tom Walters

    Nice… found this just in time. My Optoma HD65 needed a new bulb.

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