As far as repair skills, I'm about average. I'm more familiar with computers. Assuming I could find a mix of parts from projectors that go together, I expect I could reassemble one. The problem for me would be finding which parts are nonfunctional. I've never tried to replace capacitors or anything of that nature although I assume I could do it, or I'd at least be willing to try.
I've seen a couple projectors posted in the area from $25 for an old sony (10xx?). I have a neighbor with a pj that needs a couple parts (mainly cosmetic or easily replaced) but would be functional. The next level up have been around $150-200 (Barco 500, Dwin, Ampro?, Sony 1271/1272) to $350-400 (G70, NEC 6 and 9 PG, Barco 808/808s and Electrohome 8110). Most are functional without any mods, others requiring minor alterations - fans, cards, lenses, etc. Others would require accessories for HD content. There was even a G90 nearby on eBay that went for ~1500, but I assume it's a scam. Same one posted on craigslist and relisted on eBay. I've seen a nice looking sony 1292 and Electrohome 8500 locally for about 1000, out of my range right now.
Although I'm new at CRTs, it looks like something I can accomplish. Is it better to just jump to the more expensive/better sets up front and not bother with salvaging a set or choosing one of the $150 sets? I'd rather not buy a $150 pj and have to turn around and move up to the next level of set. I think I would be satisfied with the $125-150 pj's. Several have even offered to deliver, help install them and/or provide spare sets for parts. Almost all come with cables and some accessories/mounts. It's hard to ask for better service than that, but I can't really tell if there is a serious problem with the set either. I'd hate to buy a $125-150 paperweight (or set of paperweights - one person called me to get 3 sets out of his garage). I'd also rather not buy a $350-400, 150lb paperweight/ceiling fixture assuming I bought it and the repairs cost more than the pj. I'm obviously not looking for perfection, but would ultimately like to have a nice picture to watch some movies and am willing to move up to a better projector if it's worth it. The better sets that I've seen have HD support that come with them - even some of the $150-200 with either HDFury, Moome cards or transcoders.
Like anyone, I'd love to find a diamond in the rough like a Marquee 9500 or G90 in an electronics graveyard but assume they've all been picked through and found already. With many large corporations, DFW airport, flight simulators and schools in the area, there must be a large number of great sets out there to find and save from scrap. By the way, if one is reading this post - let me know!
Finally, is a spare projector necessary or helpful assuming I get one up and running? I assume since so many people have them there must be a reason.
Thanks for your help. I appreciate any replies.