Question for projector owners about bulbs - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 11 Old 11-17-12, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Question for projector owners about bulbs

I've owned my JVC rs45 for about 4-5 months. I have 100 hrs clocked on the bulb.

I have a light controlled room that can be completely blacked out.

The JVC, like most PJs it appears, has 2 bulb modes: Normal (Eco) and bright.

I understand using Bright taxes your bulb life --- I'm okay with that.

I have, though, been using the bulb for the last 100hrs in the "Normal" mode. It was my impression that in a light controlled room normal is more than sufficient.

Recently though (and this might have to do with the bulb aging some) I've found that the normal mode (even with the iris fully opened) gives a fairly shaded picture --- meaning, the scene being projected is viewable but just doesn't have a ton of vibrant colors or is unnaturally dark. Some details in scenes just don't pop. If I switch the lamp to "Bright" mode, the colors become really vibrant and colors that weren't visible or had a greyish tinge to them in the Normal mode (subtle flesh tones for example) become instantly visible.

There are some movies (such as lord of the rings) where the bright mode (even with light output minimized to the allowed maximum by the iris) is just a tad bit overwhelming and the normal mode with the iris fully opened is good enough.

Anyone have any pearls of wisdom or insights? Do I have a bulb problem? Do most people run their PJs in eco modes????

Would love to hear some chat on this...
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-17-12, 06:21 PM
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

I am on my fourth projector since 1996. Light dropoff within the first 100 or so hours is normal. Some folks have stated that it could be up to 50% drop. Then it will pretty much stabilize with a gradual dimming over several hundred hours. On my Sony VPL-HW15 by around 1000 hours I am ready for the bright picture again, but I do run it on High. I used to get close to 2000 hours on an old NEC projector by running it on low. Guess that is the benefit of LED projectors once the performance and cost gets competitive.

As to whether to use Normal or High, that all depends on which setting gives you the desired light output for your size screen, and to a degree how far the projector is from the screen. Closer to the screen will yield higher brightness on screen.

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-17-12, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

Thanks for the reply.

Sounds like these various modes are really user... even movie... dependent. I had always assumed that my light controlled room + short throw distance + relatively small screen size (compared to what some of you guys are rolling out!) would mean that I could run my PJ in normal mode without a problem. But I have to say, the differences in color (and an overall dynamic/rich/vibrant picture) between "Normal" and "High" (High with the iris closed 50%) was night and day while we were watching the new spiderman today. The High mode made the movie look absolutely amazing. But, on the flip side, I ran a little test with Lord of the Rings and the high mode was way too bright/harsh no matter what iris setting I used.

So, if I feel like I'm not getting enough (or getting too much!), I guess I'll have to be okay with making adjustments as I go along?!

I'm glad to know that I wasn't being overly picky... I am a little bummed, though, that it doesn't look like I'll be running the PJ in Normal mode for the best picture quality. The fan was whisper quiet in that mode. The "high" mode has slightly more fan noise.

***Hopefully*** the bulb will stabilize, as you say, and last over a 1000hrs if I'm running it in high mode a lot.

Last edited by Todd Anderson; 11-17-12 at 07:20 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-17-12, 08:43 PM
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

I will use eco mode if I am watching animated movies or with movies shot mostly in daylight. I will switch to full mode if I am watching a movie like the latest Spiderman where its shot a fair bit in the dark or at nightime.

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-17-12, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Funny, I had no idea I would even be thinking about this issue... Ha! Why am I really surprised? When it comes to HT equipment, it's never easy.

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post #6 of 11 Old 11-20-12, 02:30 AM
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I have had serious bulb issues with my Epson 8100. While the image has always been impressive, I am currently on my fifth bulb in three years. Epson sent me free of charge two replacement bulbs and I've paid for two others. The first bulb (the one that came with the projector) lasted almost 1,000 hours, while the others were blowing at around 500 to 700 hours. I refuse to buy another bulb for this thing!

I am going to replace the 8100 with the 5020. I can only hope Epson has changed to a better bulb or found a better supplier.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-20-12, 07:19 AM
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

My JVC DLA-HD250 has two modes: Normal and High. I always run it in Normal mode.

Last edited by eljay; 11-20-12 at 07:49 AM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-20-12, 07:32 AM
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Interesting discussion. My PJ salesman suggested that Eco mode would wear out my bulb quicker! Something to do with voltage and electrical spikes as the unit powers up and down? It didn't make sense to me, and/but so I ran the bulb in normal until the 2000 hour mark. Then I reset the timer as the panny forces one to do(or it shuts down) and now am running the bulb in Eco until I get a new one. It looks fine. Maybe a bit dim, but fine. And we are up around 600 hours again. So what gives? I think these machines can run either mode well. Mostly it depends on your needs and the movie, I think.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-20-12, 08:56 AM
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

I would suggest using Projector Central's Calculator: link here

It will give you the lumen output for your specific set-up and should help guide you in deciding to use the normal mode or not. You should know the screen gain also.

I would have written less but I didn't have the time.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-20-12, 11:00 AM
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Re: Question for projector owners about bulbs

Have you done any color calibration? I know that for my projector, I need to set the color settings for each mode independently. I was annoyed about that at first, until I actually did it and saw that the settings were, in fact, slightly different. I also notice that there are slight changes if I do a calibration after the bulb settles out, say around 200-300 hours, compared to when it is fresh. I just use one of the DVDs with the tri-color filters, so my observation might not be purely scientific.
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