Classroom Projector Buyer's Guide - Lamp Life

Like any light bulb, a projector lamp has an expected lifetime. Lamp life is expressed in hours and represents the number of hours before the lamp is at half its original brightness.

Projector lamps may well be the biggest cost of projector ownership, so be sure to take that expense into consideration during the budgeting process.

For example, a replacement lamp for a classroom projector with a brightness of 2000 to 3000 lumens will likely be in the range $200 to $500 and last between 2,000 and 5,000 hours depending on the lamp technology, the projector, the conditions of the room, and the frequency of cleaning air filters.

The life of a lamp is based on a statistical average. For example, a lamp with a 2000 hour rating could fail at any time and well before its stated rating or last well past its anticipated life time. Assuming the lamp achieves it's hour rating, a projector lamp with a 2000 hour rating would give you 2.5 school years of usage at 4 hours a day for 5 days a week and 9 months of the year. Keep in mind that lamp warranties are typically 90 days to 3 months. Because lamps can fail before their rated lamp life, consider having a spare lamp available at all times.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you get the most out of your lamp:

  1. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper handling, installation and maintenance of your projector.
  2. Keep all intake and exhaust vents clear of obstructions. Blocking the flow of air into or out of the projector will cause it to overheat. Overheating is a common cause of projector and/or lamp failure.
  3. When you turn off the projector, do not unplug it until the cooling fan stops. Unplugging the power before the lamp has had a chance to cool down, will shorten the life of the lamp. (Note: Some portable projectors do permit the immediate removal of power. Consult your User's Manual for the proper procedure with your projector.)
  4. Never operate the projector in a tight space, like a bookcase, where airflow is restricted or where hot exhaust air may be recycled through the projector.
  5. If the projector has air filters, be sure to clean or replace them as recommended by the manufacturer. If your room environment has dust, chalk boards, or dry marker boards, check your air filters more frequently. Air flow is essential for proper lamp cooling.
  6. Minimize power ups and power downs of short duration. If you're taking a 5 minute break, it's better to keep the projector operating than to shut it down.
  7. When changing a lamp do not tap or strike the lamp as you may damage the filament.
  8. When installing a new lamp, avoid touching the lamp bulb as oil from your hands can create uneven heating leading to lamp failure.

If you're planning to ceiling or platform mount your projector, to minimize your maintenance cost be sure that your setup allows you to retrieve the lamp module and service air filters without having to dismount the projector.