XGA (1024x768), 2000 ANSI Lumens,Post your own User Review
6.5 lbs, $3,495 (MSRP)
by John - May 29, 2008
Clean your color wheel! I used this unit close to the bulb limit, bought another bulb (1st one still working) and ran it more than halfway to the limit, almost exclusively in "eco" mode so that's a lotta hours. It's been in a dusty environment and I've wiped off the front of the lens many times but never cleaned inside at all. Big mistake. Whenever I pulled out the lamp housing (see below), I'd notice an ever-grungier hazy layer on the color wheel at the back.
A few days ago it shattered while watching "Bad Santa" and my wife wondered aloud if the movie content caused it. My own guess is that the layer of crud on the wheel did it, by absorbing heat from the lamp that eventually either released the glue bond or created too much thermal stress.
This unit has served me well, both for home theater and educational presentations in college classes. I'm hoping to repair it, but if I can't find a color wheel or a cost-effective shop that can, it will join the other beloved toys I just can't let go of.
Meanwhile I've just ordered a BenQ MP622 from Costco that's a brighter and quieter 4:3 for half what this NEC cost: $799.
As for pulling the lamp, remember to do that if the unit refuses to power up and just gives you a blinking red light. Sometimes just pulling the power cord and waiting a minute will fix it, but often I've needed to at least remove the outer door. Sometimes it takes completely pulling the lamp and reinserting it. I've never figured out why it does this, but every time I've pulled the power cord and lamp it's powered up again. Anyway, that's the time to moisten (not wet!) a q-tip with pure isopropyl alcohol and clean the color wheel until you get no residue on the q-tip. I'm sure going to be doing this if I'm able to repair the NEC and to preserve, protect and defend the BenQ. A big side benefit is that it eliminates any loss of brightness and contrast related to scum on the color wheel.
Treat it like an old TV you never dust and it's unhappy.