Any way to DIY cleaning of dirty internal optics? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 10-26-2011, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings.

I own an Epson powercinema720 that is 2 or 3 years old. over the last year it has developed spots in the picture that are caused by what I believe are dirty internal optics. The spots are more visible the lower the light output is, are always in the same place and have no color. They basically just look like shadowy blobs, and are mostly only visible on solid very light colors like white or daytime sky scenes (although can be seen on almost everything but black scenes in low light modes).

Is there any way for a novice like me to take apart and clean it without messing something up? Ive never worked on a projector, but I have successfully worked on other electronics before. I know there are parts that you can put out of alignment and mess up your picture, which is why I hesitate to dive right in.
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-26-2011, 12:08 PM
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The optics can be cleaned without removing them. Once they're exposed by opening the case and removing the top circuit board, just use some canned air (NO VAPOR) and perhaps some cotton swabs (gently). I've not been inside that model so I can't tell you how to get in. But I will offer this caution...if there are any controls on the to case, then there will be a ribbon cable connecting the case to the internal board. So you DON'T want to "jerk it away".
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post #3 of 24 Old 10-26-2011, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I tried to get into the case, but despite removing all visible screws, there is something holding the back on. I think there may be some kind of case lock on it, as there is a small slot in the back about a half-inch long, with an icon next to it showing a symbol shaped like a lock and with another symbol like this > in the center of the icon. Anyone familiar with this puzzling problem?
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-26-2011, 01:07 PM
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That slot is not the way in, it is a place to attach a locking cable to keep the projector from being stolen.

Hopefully, someone will chime in who has been inside that model. But in many cases, there are hidden tabs to be released.
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post #5 of 24 Old 10-27-2011, 08:33 PM
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hehe, don't mean to poke fun but I really can feel your frustration! You got all the screws off and like, where the F is the one I missed!! Of course all you want to do is bang on the case or shake it loose, but with this kind of proceedure you have to be sooo delicate too. I feel your frustration! Good luck
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post #6 of 24 Old 10-27-2011, 08:41 PM
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I cleaned my Epson HC720! http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post19732825

You have to take the screw out on the side of the connector plate. Actually, you have to take most of the screws out from around the connectors once you get into the PJ, so you might as well take them out.

You also need to disconnect the 3 ribbon cables once you open it. That was the only tricky part. Let me know if you need any help.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT

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post #7 of 24 Old 10-27-2011, 08:54 PM
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I also wanted to add that there was no way just compressed air was going to clean off everything. I used it where I could, but the polarizers needed solvent and Q tips. Especially tough was cleaning between the polarizers. It is impossible to clean one side of the LCDs because you don't want to remove them. I didn't and still my picture was much improved.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT

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post #8 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

I also wanted to add that there was no way just compressed air was going to clean off everything. I used it where I could, but the polarizers needed solvent and Q tips. Especially tough was cleaning between the polarizers. It is impossible to clean one side of the LCDs because you don't want to remove them. I didn't and still my picture was much improved.

This is BAD advice. NEVER use any solvents on the optics!!! All they will do is etch into the material!! Its like using wind-ex on Plexiglas. Use only compessed Air ,,, water and a soft tight weave cloth like a shirt or bed sheet material. ,,,, Cut and bend a business card and wrap the cloth around it. Although The temptation to use a Q tip is great,,,, AVIOD it as they will leave fibers that get GET caught on the Panels and show up on the projected image. Use a stick type pipe cleaner or they make a product called Fuzzy Sticks. You can get them for a few bucks at wally mart in the arts and crafts dept
IN some projectors you can remove the entire LCD optical block . Make SURE you have a magnetic tool to keep any screws from falling into the cooling fans. If this happens you can get yourself screwed!! Make sure to count the number of screws coming out so you know where they all go. If you come up short do not just forget about it as it could destroy the projector the minute you fire it up. Also make sure to look at the ribbon connectors and see how they work before disconnecting them. Some of them hinge onto the ribbons. Some others slide about 1/64 of an inch, NEVER REMOVE the LCD panels from the LCD Block !!! They are calbrated and alighned and you will never get them lined up again unless you are a skilled tech.

Hope this Helps

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post #9 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 11:24 AM
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My point was that compressed air would NOT clean my polarizers or even the mirrors and lenses well. I specifically said solvent, but perhaps you thought I meant organic solvent. Any liquid that dissolves is a solvent. I let the reader decide which one to use. Also, I used Q-tips, and can say that they will leave some cotton strands, but you can use compressed air to remove them. I really had a heck of a time cleaning between the polarizers on this PJ for one of the light paths. I don't think you could do a good job with cardboard and cloth wrapped around it.

Also, if you saw the amount of dust on the inside of my PJ you might not be worried about one or two small fibers, although it depends on where they are located in the light path.

I didn't see a way to remove the LCDs without removing a lot of other parts. In my case, cleaning everything else fixed the minor pink areas I had....and made the picture about 15% brighter/sharper.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT

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post #10 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Also, thanks for the tips Andreas, which finally enabled me to get into the case. I took it apart and cleaned it up, which made the picture brighter and got rid of the shadowy spots.

Unfortunatley I hit a bit of a snag. I have very faint vertical lines about an inch apart going all the way across the screen, which are only visible on solid light colors. I think I have something slightly out of alignment. Going to take it back apart tommorow and see if I can figure out what is causing it. I think it may be the polarizers mounted on the cover, as I had a difficult time getting them back into thier slots. Any tips on reinstalling them?
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post #11 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 03:40 PM
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Did you take the polarizers out of that mount? I didn't. I don't remember having a problem getting them back in either. You might also want to check that your ribbon cables are seated properly. I would suspect that if you go right up to the screen and notice that the lines are contained within (or "are") the pixels. If the lines don't correspond to the pixel structure then I assume it would be the polarizers....but then again, I'm just guessing!

Good luck, and let us know how you do.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT

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post #12 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appalachian View Post

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Also, thanks for the tips Andreas, which finally enabled me to get into the case. I took it apart and cleaned it up, which made the picture brighter and got rid of the shadowy spots.

Unfortunatley I hit a bit of a snag. I have very faint vertical lines about an inch apart going all the way across the screen, which are only visible on solid light colors. I think I have something slightly out of alignment. Going to take it back apart tommorow and see if I can figure out what is causing it. I think it may be the polarizers mounted on the cover, as I had a difficult time getting them back into thier slots. Any tips on reinstalling them?

This has NOTHING to do with the polarizers. It indicates that one or more of the LCD ribbon connectors is not seated correctly. If you can fire it up with the case open place a Match book cover or a business card (cut to size) in between the light source and the lens and look at the screen. The chances are that blocking one of the Panels will cause the lines to go away. Reseat the ribbon cable on the suspect Panel and you should be good to go as long as you haven't damaged the connection. Make SURE you close the connector correctly they are VERY fragile so be careful.

Good Luck

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post #13 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

My point was that compressed air would NOT clean my polarizers or even the mirrors and lenses well. I specifically said solvent, but perhaps you thought I meant organic solvent. Any liquid that dissolves is a solvent. I let the reader decide which one to use. Also, I used Q-tips, and can say that they will leave some cotton strands, but you can use compressed air to remove them. I really had a heck of a time cleaning between the polarizers on this PJ for one of the light paths. I don't think you could do a good job with cardboard and cloth wrapped around it.

Also, if you saw the amount of dust on the inside of my PJ you might not be worried about one or two small fibers, although it depends on where they are located in the light path.

I didn't see a way to remove the LCDs without removing a lot of other parts. In my case, cleaning everything else fixed the minor pink areas I had....and made the picture about 15% brighter/sharper.

Sorry but most people do not consider water a solvent. You cut the business card or use something thin but stiff to support the cloth so you can force it between the Panels and the polarizers. A Q tip tends to strand off and get caught on the panels sharp edges. The Pipe cleaner type "fuzzy sticks" I mentioned work great because you can bend them and get into hard to reach places. I have cleaned and repaired over 100 LCD projector panels (mostly Sanyos) If you have that much dust in your panels I suggest you use a leaf blower and back blow the dust out from the panels and us an auto air filter on the outside of Projector. I know it sounds strange but there is no better filter than an auto air filter since it lets in lots of air, requires much less routine cleaning and its much easier to clean when you do need to clean it.

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post #14 of 24 Old 10-28-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome, thanks Bohanna. The loose ribbon cable was the culprit. I reseated them all and now the picture looks like new. I used both methods mentioned, Q-tips and the card. They both came in very handy for different parts. This is going to make my wife very happy. I started looking at new projectors when the black spots started getting bad, which garnered me the evil eye from her. This is our second projector in 4 years, so she was getting worried this was going to be an every other year purchase. Our first was a Sanyo Z3 which got too hot and burnt a part (polarizer I think) putting a blue hue over the whole picture. Thanks very much for all the help everyone! Now that I know how to clean it I think it should last me a few more years (although I am pineing for a 1080p, but I dare not tell my wife!).
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post #15 of 24 Old 10-30-2011, 06:24 AM
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You're Welcome. My Pleasure. I would pay attention to my Auto air filter idea. You can go to the local wally-mart and look in the auto section to see which one looks around the same size of your air intake. I know it may look a little unconventional but it will increase your lamps life and help maintain a clearer screen image. If you have a High altitude or fan speed up option I would use it as well. It may make the projector a Little louder but it will help increase your lamps life as well. I try to speed up the fans a bit and increase the lamp/fan cycle off time on the projectors I sell or service.


Best of luck

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post #16 of 24 Old 10-30-2011, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohanna View Post

If you have a High altitude or fan speed up option I would use it as well. It may make the projector a Little louder but it will help increase your lamps life as well. I try to speed up the fans a bit and increase the lamp/fan cycle off time on the projectors I sell or service.

I don't think I've seen this here anywhere before--brilliant! In my 4 years of pj ownership, I've never heard the cooling fan in operation so speeding it up would be great to be able to do. Unfortunately my Mits HC4900 does not have a high altitude setting...

Off to the HC4900 thread to see if anyone knows of a Service setting for the fan.

BTW I don't care about lamp life--for me it's all about preserving the polarizers & other internals that are plastic.
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post #17 of 24 Old 10-31-2011, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laserfan View Post

I don't think I've seen this here anywhere before--brilliant! In my 4 years of pj ownership, I've never heard the cooling fan in operation so speeding it up would be great to be able to do. Unfortunately my Mits HC4900 does not have a high altitude setting...

Off to the HC4900 thread to see if anyone knows of a Service setting for the fan.

BTW I don't care about lamp life--for me it's all about preserving the polarizers & other internals that are plastic.

The polarizers and LCD Panel that ALWAYS burn first are the blue ones. It has to do with filtering out UV light. The fan speed up option is to keep the lamp from overheating and distorting the Light Chamber. The extended fan cool down trick is the best way to keep the chamber from getting shocked. If you want to extend the life of the LCD panels Keep the airpaths clean and use the economy settings or use the service menu to turn the ballasts power output down a little which is what the economy mode does. JUST make sure you have done the research before entering the service menu because you can get yourself in to some trouble if you mess with the wrong settings


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post #18 of 24 Old 10-31-2011, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohanna View Post

Sorry but most people do not consider water a solvent. You cut the business card or use something thin but stiff to support the cloth so you can force it between the Panels and the polarizers. A Q tip tends to strand off and get caught on the panels sharp edges. The Pipe cleaner type "fuzzy sticks" I mentioned work great because you can bend them and get into hard to reach places. I have cleaned and repaired over 100 LCD projector panels (mostly Sanyos) If you have that much dust in your panels I suggest you use a leaf blower and back blow the dust out from the panels and us an auto air filter on the outside of Projector. I know it sounds strange but there is no better filter than an auto air filter since it lets in lots of air, requires much less routine cleaning and its much easier to clean when you do need to clean it.

Bohanna

Water is a solvent by definition. Good tips on cleaning though. I will use them next time. Q tip worked fine for me....just had to look for cotton strands afterwards. It was really no big deal. Do the fuzzy sticks have a metal core?

I don't own a leaf blower either! I had that much dust because I had the PJ on the floor out of necessity, but that isn't the case anymore.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT

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post #19 of 24 Old 10-31-2011, 02:36 PM
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Got that right. Water is considered the "universal solvent." Alcohol comes close, as a second, but it doesn't get any more basic than water. Science 101. Sorry to pick sides (I usually just lurk) but I could see my 4th grade Science teacher cringing with that one. I can hear him now.... "and most people would be wrong!". Lol.

I'm getting there....!!!
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post #20 of 24 Old 11-01-2011, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohanna View Post

If you want to extend the life of the LCD panels Keep the airpaths clean and use the economy settings...

I've done all I know to do with my Mits HC4900 which is to keep it in Low Lamp mode. I asked about Service Menu options to tweak fan speeds in the HC4900 thread to no replies. Might you have any knowledge of the Mits HC4900, 5xxx, 6000 pjs?

Thanks for your comments!
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post #21 of 24 Old 11-01-2011, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

Water is a solvent by definition. Good tips on cleaning though. I will use them next time. Q tip worked fine for me....just had to look for cotton strands afterwards. It was really no big deal. Do the fuzzy sticks have a metal core?

I don't own a leaf blower either! I had that much dust because I had the PJ on the floor out of necessity, but that isn't the case anymore.

Technically you may be correct but for all intents and purposes MOST people think of water as water and not a solvent. Saving "water" removes any doubt,,,,, saying "solvent" creates it. The Cotton strands were the problem I was talking about. If they get caught around any of the optics (which they usually do) you can damage the alignment trying to remove them. Some people try to use tweezers to remove them and they GROUND or short them to a component and the unit is TOAST. The fuzzy sticks have a wire core but there is plenty of wiggle room before any wire touches a damageable component. You can also use a Basketball needle attached to a flexible surgical tube that is attached to an air nozzle to get behind and around the Pre LCD Block and Polarizer lens. These are the optics that are on the back side of the LCD Block Chamber.

BTW,I can't believe that I am giving some of my best secrets away.

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post #22 of 24 Old 11-01-2011, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laserfan View Post

I've done all I know to do with my Mits HC4900 which is to keep it in Low Lamp mode. I asked about Service Menu options to tweak fan speeds in the HC4900 thread to no replies. Might you have any knowledge of the Mits HC4900, 5xxx, 6000 pjs?

Thanks for your comments!

Nope.. Sorry,,, My experience is on Sanyo Projectors but you may want to call MIs tech services and ask them if you can buy a SERVICE manual. I am sure they will sell you one or refere you to a place you can buy one.

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post #23 of 24 Old 11-01-2011, 02:37 PM
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Nope.. Sorry,,, My experience is on Sanyo Projectors but you may want to call MIs tech services and ask them if you can buy a SERVICE manual. I am sure they will sell you one or refere you to a place you can buy one.

OK, thanks again for giving away your secrets!
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post #24 of 24 Old 11-01-2011, 06:55 PM
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I need to clean out my old Sanyo z5 just to do it, as I may give the projector away to someone. Sounds like a lot of work, but I'll give it a shot and post back and let people know if it improved the image any.



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