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What You Need to Know Before Buying Non-Original Projector Replacement Lamps

Posted by George Spoleto on

With a glut of non-original lamp modules in the projector replacement lamp market, buyers of these lamps should be aware of potential diminished projector performance issues that may result.

According to Philips Lighting, manufacturer of UHP projector lamps, “lamps that are originally installed in a projector are based on co-development activities between the lamp/driver manufacturer and the projector manufacturer”. This co-development helps ensure optimal lamp ignition and brightness performance as well as precisely designed cooling functions to prolong lamp life.

In short, original lamp performance depends on the close working relationship between the lamp and projector manufacturers.

Here is a list of issues to understand before buying non-original replacement lamps.

(1) The arc distance may vary between a compatible replacement lamp and the original.

Variation from the original in arc distance can result in light output differences, loss of contrast, decreased lamp life.

(2) The wattage of the compatible lamp may not match the original.

If the wattage is higher in combination with the lower wattage original driver, then flicker and/or ignition failures may occur.

(3) The reflector size of the compatible lamp may be different from the original.

Mismatched reflectors might still fit in the projector, but the optical performance will likely be compromised.

(4) There is no front glass on the compatible replacement lamp. In some case the original lamp may not have front glass, but in most cases the front glass exists and it includes an invisible coating to filter out UV and IR. If the front glass and coating is not present, optical components in the projector could be damaged.

(5) The compatible replacement may not match the original driver design.

A mismatched lamp/driver creates unbalanced electrical characteristics that will affect light output (brightness), lamp life and even cause short circuits.

(6) The compatible replacement may have a slightly different inner shape of the lamp

Even if the outer lamp shape of the compatible lamp matches the original, any variation of the inner shape will cause degraded optical performance and could compromise the cooling design of the system.

For a more detailed discussion of these issues, see this Philips document on replacement projector lamp modules.


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