I just got back from the Singing School at Abilene Christian University. The discussion in one of the classes got around to video projectors. One student said their churches' projector had just bit the dust, literally. It was mounted in the ceiling and had served them well there, providing plenty of light and clarity. In fact, they had paid extra to get good equipment. But it now wouldn't turn on. After hiring the local audio/video guy to come by and examine the thing, they discovered its air filters clogged and the rest of the inside a mess. The worst part was the smell of burnt electronics. After having done repair in the computer industry for 34 years, I know it well.
The tech cleaned the filter and vacuumed out the insides and powered it on while everyone kept their fingers crossed. It didn't help. It was just too far gone. Another projector was ordered, this time one a little brighter and capable of showing the latest DVDs. But it didn't have to happen.
Here at The Paperless Hymnal, we just bought a new Sharp XG-PH50X, one with two lamps and a host of features. We can adjust the brightness as low as 1500 lumens and as much as 4000 lumens, to match customer conditions. Unlike many projectors in the market, this one will let you know when it is getting hot - even showing [temp] in the lower right corner of the picture. According to the Operation Manual, the air intake and outlet covers should be cleaned after every 100 hours of operation, or more often in dusty environments. Installed in a church auditorium where it is used for both Sunday morning and evening services, that would be about every four months. All projectors have some type of filter and that filter will clog and according to some fellow by the name of Murphy, the consequences of neglect will rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time, i.e. in the middle of Sunday morning services. When the filter clogs, air is pulled into the inner works through whatever openings it can find, usually around the lens and electrical connections. This unfiltered air gets into the fans, motors, optics and electronics of the most costly part of your video system. Not a pretty picture.
So, how long has it been since you followed your projector's owner manual and provided the necessary scheduled maintenance? Well - that's been too long! If you check your projector and find the filter with a lot of build up, schedule another service within 1/3 the period of your last servicing or installation. In this instance, the projector's case should be opened and the inside cleaned. It might be best that a professional do this. If it is very clean, clean it anyway and add a month or two to the next scheduled service period. If it is starting to show a small amount of build up, then use the same service period again. And, instead of trying to remember when you should service it next, have your church secretary write the next cleaning on the office calendar.
While you are thinking about the projector, have you checked the lamp life meter lately? Most projectors have some way to tell how many hours have been used on the lamp. Most lamps are rated somewhere between 1500 and 3000 hours. The owner manual will give details. Modern lamps usually don't burn out like regular lights, but dim as they age. When you bought your projector, did you buy an extra lamp? You probably didn't need to, because they age even though they are not used. It is better to buy a new lamp when about 75% of the life of the working lamp has been expended. Then at the next servicing, replace the lamp, even if it is still working.