Fixed a Broken Epson Powerlite 1080 (TW1000) myself - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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There's very limited information out there on this subject so I thought I'd share in the hopes of helping out others.

I purchased this projector new in late 2007 as part of my home theater build. As of today it has 1400 hours on it (original bulb). It's been working perfectly for the five years I've owned it, until a few weeks ago a problem started cropping up. It began as an occasional error during startup, requiring me to unplug the unit to reset it then try again. Then it quickly grew in frequency over the next week until I could no longer start up the projector anymore. So I started seeking a solution.

The error happens like this:
  • I power on the projector
  • Green light blinks as normal for a few seconds and I hear the faint rumble sound of the auto iris cycling
  • Then I hear the normal louder motor sound, which I believe to be the optical filter being cycled. When a failure is about to occur, this sound is louder and longer than normal, as though the motor is struggling. Just by listening, I can tell when the error is about to happen.
  • Then the projector kicks the fan up to the highest speed I've ever heard, and the red light blinks on and off at one second intervals. This blinking interval indicates an "internal error" per the manual. It is not a lamp or temperature issue, which would be indicated differently.

After this, the projector must be physically unplugged. Plugging it back in would sometimes result in a successful startup, but the rate of success decreased rapidly.

So I started by calling Epson. Of course, the projector is long out of warranty and I knew I'd be facing repair costs. I figured anything below $500 was worth the cost, anything above made the unit a throwaway. Epson referred me to two authorized service providers a couple of hours from my house. They also offered me discounts on their Loyalty website in case I decided to replace the projector. This turned out to be a cruel joke, since they are not currently offering comparable projectors on that site. But I can get a great discount on printer ink mad.gif

Then I tried the more reputable of the two service providers. They were very helpful and spent a long time on the phone with me, called Epson themselves, then got back to me. But the bottom line was not encouraging. Basically, they would replace the most likely culprit, the auto iris, at a cost of $200. It would either fix the problem or not. If it didn't, then the next step was to replace the motherboard or light engine. In either case, the cost would be over $1000 and this would clearly not be worth it for a 5 year old projector.

I didn't like the odds. I'm reasonably handy with a screwdriver and have repaired electronics before, so I decided to try to fix it myself, and if I failed, I'd buy a new projector. I found two tips online that helped point me in the right direction:

1. A short discussion thread where two people discuss successfully fixing the optical filter:

http://www.fixya.com/support/t6236487-after_replaced_lamp_epson_emp_tw700

2. A German website that actually tore down a unit and pointed out where everything was:

http://cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/EpsonTW700/TW700Test.htm

Right away I was intrigued by this optical filter. This was the first I heard that there was another motorized part besides the auto-iris (and of course the fans). I remembered the sounds the projector made. The auto iris sounds like a rumble. So the louder sound that occurs before the error must be this optical filter. The service rep never mentioned trying to fix that (or even that it existed). If this was the real issue, would the service rep consider that part of the optical engine and hit me with a $1000 bill? Hmmm. So that was my target for the repair.

I took my sweet time with the disassembly but it wasn't overly difficult. I took photos at various stages to carefully document the correct locations of cable connections and screws, and this was invaluable for the reassembly.

After removing the motherboard, my first step was to remove and check the auto iris. I wasn't certain I could eliminate this as a possible failure point. Removal was easy. I did have to push the motor gear to get the iris doors in the vertical position before I could lift out the assembly. The gears moved smoothly without any resistance, and the motor gear seemed firmly attached to the motor shaft. There was plenty of silicone lubricant. I did not see any problems. I did go ahead and clean a little sensor underneath one of the "half circle" black gears that detects the position of that gear. Used canned air and a lens wipe. Then I carefully repositioned the gears so that the one dot on the upper gear centered between the two dots on the lower gear, and reinstalled the iris.

Next I moved on to the optical filter. I removed the metal bar that covers the sliding filter. See photo. The filter can then easily be pulled straight up and out. I noted before removing it that it the back edge was exactly centered on the glass lens. This probably doesn't matter since I think the projector cycles this filter back and forth on startup until each limit switch (on the metal bar that I just removed) is activated, thus calibrating its position.

After removal, I blew out a light amount of dust with an air can. Then I visually checked everything out. I could not see anything wrong. I then tested the limit switches with a homemade continuity tester (flashlight bulb and battery connected to wire leads) and verified that they were making proper contact when closed. I had suspected the switches were the issue, because the bad sound I was hearing kind of sounded like the motor was attempting to move the filter past its limit, as though the switch wasn't giving feedback. But I could not detect a problem with them.

I put the optical filter back in the slot and meshed it with the gear, then slid it back and forth with my fingers. I felt what seemed like the proper amount of resistance from the motor, indicating that I probably didn't have gear slip on the shaft (gear slip was described in one of the links I provided above). I really didn't want to pull the whole optical engine to get underneath and inspect those gears directly. So I relied on this test to assume that I probably did not have gear slip.

To make a long story short, I actually did not find any obvious problems at all. I carefully reassembled everything in the hopes that I would get lucky. And I did! The projector works fine now. I've started it up at least 6 times with no issue at all. In fact, the motor sound during startup is quieter and shorter than I remember even when the projector was previously working okay.

So what did I do? I have to assume something was not in perfect alignment in the motorized optical filter (maybe it never was), and the reassembly fixed this. I did not grease it by the way (it was dry when I removed it, unlike the auto iris, so I didn't want to grease something that is not supposed to be greased).

If the problem does crop up again, I will try to order replacement parts for the optical filter including the motor and gearbox, and do the repair myself. By the way, after reassembly I turned the unit on with the top cover lifted up a little, and listened carefully to try to localize the sounds I was hearing. I'm almost certain the larger motor sound does come from the optical filter, not the iris.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone, because I know others have had similar problems with their Epsons. If you don't want to attempt this repair yourself, at least you can point your repair person to this thread.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Just thought I'd report back that my projector is still going strong 6 months later. Not a single issue since that repair. Eventually I will replace it with a new, much brighter, 3D one, but I can do it when I'm ready and can get a little cash for this one since it's still working. I hope this post has helped someone.
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:33 PM
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Thanks for the heads up, this gives me hope that I can fix my broken 6500ub that has two blinking lights, which is supposed to be the filter I believe. I took mine in to have it repaired and paid 50 bucks for them to tell me the whole optical lens needed to be replaced as its one unit. The parts cost was 1200 dollars without them even installing it. Strangely enough it was the same price as a refurb, which I don't quite get but maybe I can take it apart and see if I can solve it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:03 PM
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I always love it when people dare to fix something themselves.

This is what we USED to do long ago. Nowadays you get a quote for an entire assembly because we have become a culture of board swappers. There are few technicians left that repair to single component or are not to lazy to do so.
It's just become easier to toss out a big quote and see.

Congratulations!!
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Welcome to the darkside.....
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:15 PM
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Redman042,

  Thank you so much with your help i fixed my epson projector home cinema 3580. The one thing i would add to yours it to place the optical filter in front of the lens for proper alignment. I had to take mine apart twice to figure that out. Thank you again great post!!!!

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Old 03-31-2015, 05:41 PM
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Question

@redman042 - thank you so much for this awesome guide. I've got a very similar projector, the Epson 8350, and it's doing the same thing yours was. Only, I'm not positive the cause is the same. I've already done what you've done in this guide and it didn't help. Furthermore, I've run the projector with the cover off and lamp out so i can see the cinema filter and auto iris do their thing. They seem to function OK. I actually wonder if I have a thermal switch issue. I was wondering if you could please, take a look at my post here:
The Offical Epson 8350 Owners Thread

And let me know about the things I listed there? I appreciate any and all feedback you can provide!

Harman Kardon AVR 254 ● Energy Connoisseur C-7 ● Epson PowerLite 8350 ● 100" DIY WA DW w/ 80/20 frame
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
I always love it when people dare to fix something themselves.

This is what we USED to do long ago. Nowadays you get a quote for an entire assembly because we have become a culture of board swappers. There are few technicians left that repair to single component or are not to lazy to do so.
It's just become easier to toss out a big quote and see.

Congratulations!!

Yea good write up. Hope it helps people who are a googling.
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:03 PM
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ok, Have to agree with Redman042......you must put the filter back directly in front of the Lens for this work, and yes I had to do it twice also.
And now it works again. Again I did nothing but pull the filter, clean it then re-align it in front of the lens. and presto, fully functional.
Cheers to you all, good work.
Dean
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:51 PM
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Redman042.
Thank you, thank you, thank you......
You save my Epson TW700 (almost 7 years old, about 3000 hours of use).
I would like to point the following:
We must be very carefull with the film-wires of the motherboards, they 're fragiles.
I carefully filled the joints and the gears of the auto-iris and the gears of the motor of the cinema filter with Lithium grease.
VERY IMPORTAND: The cinema filter must be initially alligned in front of the "fly -eyes" lens, with carefully touch to the midle microswitch of the bar-base.
I opend the cover of the optics (in front of the optical master lens).
First, I use air can to remove the dust and I use a photo lens cleaning gel and microfiber cloth for cleaning the lenses and the pollaroid filters.

The sounds of gears are smooth and nice.

I enjoyed the "Escape of NY" with my brand new projector!

Be well , strong and healthy.

Thank you again
greetings from from Greece

Chris
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Old 05-13-2015, 04:22 PM
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Disregard this response. I got it. Two small screws at top of rear panel.

Chris

Well - I feel like an idiot because I'm going to try to perform this repair/lubrication of the iris and optical filter and I can't even get the case open.

Epson ProCinema 9350. Got the side panels off and 7 screws out of the underside that seem to release the upper portion of the case. The front edge will lift free no problem, but there's something still holding the rear together. Help?

Chris

Last edited by chrison600; 05-13-2015 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 05-13-2015, 06:47 PM
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I have completed this repair and it looks like I screwed up one of my LCD's. Appears that red is gone.

Does anyone know how to put the projector into test mode to see if the red LCD has indeed failed?

Follow on question: Are the LCD cables replaceable? Should I look for a replacement cable/LCD or have I basically forced myself into another projector?

Chris
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:05 PM
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After a little more research, it appears this might be due to a misaligned cinema filter panel. Does anyone know if that misalignment might cause what appears to be a lost LCD color?

Chris
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:51 PM
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This fixed my 8350! Thank you very much for the help.

EDIT: Unfortunately this only worked for a short while then the gears on the motor broke. I applied this fix and have been working since.

Last edited by matt25rs; 09-04-2015 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:16 AM
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Couldn't post the link due to number of posts.......
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:17 AM
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:56 AM
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I know this is kind of an old thread but wanted to say thanks. This saved me too.
I had the exact same symptoms as the author. I have an old Home Cinema 1080 - purchased the 1st year of the model (2007) so it's 8 years old. Similar to others on this thread, I know I need to replace this unit with a better, more up to date model but I just don't want to deal with it nor do I have the funds right now.
So I took the unit apart to see if I could figure out what was up (nothing to lose). After messing around with it I found this thread. Took the filter mechanism apart and blew it out and manually moved it back and forth a few times. Tested with it half pulled apart and viola! It worked. Tested it about 4 more times during each stage of re-assembling it. Popped it back on the ceiling mount and I'm good to go. I figure if it happens again I'l repeat the process....maybe look for a part on line if I'm still not ready to buy a new unit.
So once again, just wanted to say thanks! and reiterate to anyone looking at this thread that it works and it's not that difficult.
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:34 PM
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Another 1080UB owner chiming in here. I originally purchased mine back in 2008 and the noisy motor / flashing red with turbo fan started about 2 months ago.

First, I'm writing to say thanks for the original poster. Excellent description and pictures.
Second, I'm writing to share my slightly different experience in case someone else finds it useful.

I tried the open/jiggle/close attempt, but that didn't work for me. In the end I had the "stripped gear" issue that is referenced. I had to pull a bunch of the components out to access the small geared motor housing that drives the optical filter carriage.

Here is a test to see if your problem might be similar. If you can slide the optical filter back and forth manually, then your gears are (at least partially) stripped. They may have enough friction in the short term, but you'll likely see slow degradation until it just whirrs and then errors out with the flashing red light again.

When I had the geared motor section detached, there is a brass shaft with two larger exposed white gears attached that drives the optical filter carriage. The brass shaft enters the small black gear box through a brass bushing and gets turned internally by the small motor. The brass rod is splined and friction-fits into a tiny gear in the gear box. This connection was what was slipping for me.

I fixed it by taking the brass shaft out and carefully used a thin wire to place a small amount of CA glue (super glue) into the gear box on the inside of the small gear. Don't get any glue on the bushing. Then, re-insert the brass rod until it fits snugly and screw in those tiny screws.

At this point I hooked the motor up to a 5V power supply and confirmed that all the gears turned as they should. It was also at this point that I discovered that, with the motor stopped, I was unable to turn those larger white gears manually. If they can be turned manually, then some gear connection somewhere is slipping!

I re-assembled everything and all my tests so far show a fully functioning projector. I'll try to remember to post again here to confirm the fix is working longer term.

I love the dive-in-and-fix-it attitude in this forum. It hurts me to think how many of these projectors got tossed because of a tiny slipping brass to plastic connection. Good luck!
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