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M20X reliability problems?  

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Hi, new here. I'm just wondering if anybody else has experienced any of this, or if I just have a fluke.

Two months back I got a Sharp PG-M20X, and as impressive as it is, it had a dead pixel. I mentioned this to the dealer, and they arranged through Sharp to have it swapped. However, before getting it swapped, I had noticed that it would sometimes take a long time between hitting the power button and when the lamp would turn on.

After hitting the button, I'd hear the fan kick on, and then I'd hear a sound like a motor winding up. Nothing. About 20 seconds later I'd hear that motor winding up sound again, and still the lamp wouldn't turn on. Eventually the lamp would come on, the warm up screen would display and life would return to normal. However the delays between hitting the button and getting the lamp to turn on had been increasing to over 2 minutes.

I hadn't thought much of the problem after getting it replaced for the dead pixel, until the startup delays started happening on the new projector. Yesterday, it went on for about 5 minutes, and then "gave up". The lamp LED is glowing red indicating a lamp or circuit failure, which doesn't seem to make much sense after 50 hours of use.

I had poked through this board for a bit and hadn't seen any comments regarding lengthy power-up times, or any experiences like my own. I'd have to think that this is somewhat of a unique case being that otherwise I'd be seeing a lot of screaming out here, but two projectors showing the same odd behavior?

Anybody else have any suggestions? I'll be calling Sharp on Monday to arrange for #3 to arrive, but this is getting somewhat worrisome.
post #2 of 103
I had the same problem, but it would sometimes take up to 20 minutes to get the bulb to light. I think the M20x tries to light the bulb 4 times and then the red light comes on. I would get to the red light stage, unplug the projector for a few minutes and then repeat. I sent it in and it came back as a bad bulb. They replaced the bulb (I figure I got 120 hours free). Since, then I have noticed it failing on the initial bulb light sometimes, but it always lights on the 2nd try maybe 30 seconds later. By this I mean that it never gets to the red light stage and I haven't had to do any hard resets. Sharp should take care of you, but I hope this is just a bad batch of bulbs and not a long term problem.

post #3 of 103
Thread Starter 
Ick... I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I take it that these aren't normal incandesent bulb then. By any chance is the high pitched whine a capicitor charging up?

Oh, and does this sort of thing happen to other brands of projectors, or other Sharp projectors? I'd much rather get a different brand of projector rather than worry about having dumped almost three grand in the toilet.
post #4 of 103
Same deal. I bought the m20x to replace an infocus lp330. First time I try it, it won't light. Takes about 5-6 unplugs to get it to work. Sent it in for repair, part is on backorder, they claim it is the PCI board???? I don't think the reps know what they're talking about, but anyway, the part is on backorder, which they didn't bother telling me, so finally, I call them irate, demanding to know what is going on. They take down my info to send me the loaner, 3 days come and go, still no loaner. I call back again, really flip out this time, and finally get the loaner next day. Well, I hook up the loaner, a refurb unit, same deal. Lamp takes two or three times through before it lights. Makes me real nervous. Didn't spend $2800 to have a projector that takes 10 tries to light the lamp. My biggest concern is three years down the road--my intention is to have this thing for quite a while. I'll be pretty upset if I have to pay to have this thing fixed after my warranty period expires!! Just my thoughts.
post #5 of 103
Thread Starter 
"PCI board"... well it IS a Linux box ;-)

Now, my question is why are you getting a loaner? When I called, I got a new one the next day. Did you call directly, or did you call your dealer, and have your dealer call Sharp?

As for your three years down the road concern, that's exactly where I am, however I'm still within the period where I can just return the little bugger and go pick another brand. That's why I'm posting this here. Are some of these just flakey, or is there a design issue that no amount of parts swaps will fix?

Like I said earlier, I havn't seen screaming out there so I was leaning towards the idea that I just have some screwy PJs. Then again, that makes 4 PJs so far.....

You know if other brands have this problem?
post #6 of 103
I have probably less than 30 hours on mine but I have not had a single problem yet.

I will follow this thread closely.

How about other people with good or bad experiences? Be sure to post the # of hours.

post #7 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thank you for responding. The fun started after 50 hours or so.

Oh, and bjohnson1105, I yanked the plug and fired it up again. It was able to start up after the fourth "wind up" sound. The next time I started it up it powered up on the first try. Weird.
post #8 of 103
>100hrs, no probs. Love the projector :)
post #9 of 103
As a comment to TheGeek. All digital projectors I know of use high pressure
gas arc lamps that require an igniter. These lamps put out the the right temperature of white light at very high lumens. It would be nice if you could use plain ole lamps but I have heard of some new technology light sources that may be coming that have life spans over 20K hours. Most of the time my M20X lights on the second try, about 20 seconds and the noise you hear is the color wheel spinning up. All DLP's have this and it is normal to hear it. I still have no regrets buying the M20X and it is so much better than the LP340 I had. So far I have about 54hrs on it.
post #10 of 103
Another happy customer with the M20X. I do not know my lamp time to date, but probably 50 to hundred hours. I did get my first unit replaced because the brightness, even warmed up, seemed awfully low. The replacement was much better, and neither has shown trouble with lamp start up.

post #11 of 103
I too have this projector. At 70 hours it would tun on but then turn off after about 5 mins then it would sit for a while and during this time tries to restart a few times. The one time I had the patience to wait, it managed to light up again but shut down after about 2 to three minutes- just enough time for me to note the lamp hours.
I was hoping I could deal with the headaches I got from this thing but it looks like I may be getting another type of headache. When they're done servicing it, I just might have to fing a way to get rid of it and stick to LCD
post #12 of 103
The Geek,

I got the loaner from Sharp while waiting for mine to be repaired. I've dealt with both Sharp and the place that I purchased from. Sharp seemed to be the better of the two, with the express repair option. The place that I purchased from was going to charge me the shipping to get it there, which didn't make me happy. It took me 3 phone calls to Sharp to get them to let me send it back, and I had to get "huffy" and explain what their warranty said before they would let me ship it back. Now that it's been almost two weeks, I'm rather upset with Sharp, since it's taking so long to repair, and the loaner doesn't work that well. I was hoping they would just replace the unit and move on. Like I said, the worst part is that the refurb unit they sent as the loaner does the exact same thing, so I'm beginning to wonder about Sharp's engineering on these units. I've got an older Infocus LP330 that lights on the first try every time--maybe my logic is wrong, but this leads me to believe other DLP projectors should have no problem lighting every time on the first try. I also use a variety of other machines at work--all Infocus--which also light on the first try every time. Who knows, maybe I won't have this thing longer than three years, but at this point in time, that is my intention. It seems to me if I'm experiencing these kinds of problems with a brand new unit, this thing is really going to give me problems down the road. This really takes the excitement out of making such a big purchase!
post #13 of 103
Thread Starter 
I called Sharp today and Carlos (good guy, I dealt with him last time around) arranged for getting me to ship into them on their dime. My wife got in contact with Lori at United Visual, and she's going to contact Sharp with the case number and see what she can do. So far she's been just wonderful through all our dealings, even though I'm sure we've taken up a disproportionate amount of her time.

We'll see what happens. I'm really glad to hear that some of you have had no problems whatsoever, which is what I pretty much hoped to hear. To me that means that there is hope on this working out right in the end.

Oh, one question to you all.... I've got the thing set to econo mode. Perhaps this might have something to do with this? To me it would seem like a good guess that on econo mode less power is going to the bulb. Then manual states that econo mode is only 80% power, and just that might make it tougher to light. If you're having a problem or not, please post here if you're using econo mode. Who knows, maybe this is something they can fix with a firmware update?
post #14 of 103
I have a M20X and no problems to date, although only 25 hrs

I think it would be usefull to know how the people with problem units are using their pjs.

Specifically, Tabletop or ceiling mount. Mine so far have been only tabletop, and ported to location to location.

post #15 of 103
Thread Starter 
I've mostly had it on inverted on top of wall unit. We're still in an apartment for the next couple of months until our house is built, and we'll be getting a backet then.

Oh, and I have brought it to a few LAN parties. Video games are really awesome even if the screen is split 4 ways, everyone still gets their own private big screen TV equivalent. I've never owned something where so many people have come up to me and asked me how much it cost.
post #16 of 103
50 hours and no problems to date. It is hanging from my ceiling. Progressive in from DVD. S-VHS from my VCR. Mine is a 20XA. I ownder if the problem is with both the X and the XA?
post #17 of 103
Thread Starter 
Oops, double post....IE went wacky for a minute there.
post #18 of 103
Thread Starter 
Well, Lori spoke with Sharp and they are supposed to be sending out a new PJ. Hopefully this one will be fine, because otherwise we just love this thing.
post #19 of 103
Thread Starter 
One oddity is that I've switched off the econo mode, and so far it has been pretty good about powerering up promptly. This is still the old PJ. Havn't gotten the third yet.
post #20 of 103

"One oddity is that I've switched off the econo mode, and so far it has been pretty good about powerering up promptly."

That is an interesting comment. As I said before I've not had any problems with mine and I never run in economy mode.

Is anyone else having start problems using economy mode?

post #21 of 103
Originally posted by clayfree
"One oddity is that I've switched off the econo mode, and so far it has been pretty good about powerering up promptly."

That is an interesting comment. As I said before I've not had any problems with mine and I never run in economy mode.

Is anyone else having start problems using economy mode?
Can the projector be switched to economy mode after firing up the lamp, or do you have to start it in the intended mode?
post #22 of 103
It can be switched on the fly... You even see the screen dimming.

BTW, my experience for the first 50 hours is that the PJ always fires up on the first time.

post #23 of 103
I have my projector for about month and half with ~60hr on it.
Overall speaking I love this projector very much.

The problem started around 40-50 hrs....
1. start-up successfully at second try -- 5 times.
(you know the "zip" sound)
2. start-up successfully at third try -- 2 times.
3. takes more than 5 minutes, can't wait, restart it -- 2 times.
4. start-up and stay at a very dim level -- 4 times.
a. The first two times I only felt it dimmer, continued
to watch the movie, It shut-off by itself after a
while (red lamp light), had to un-plug to restart.
b. The third time I shut it off and re-start it -- OK
c. last time it so happened, I tried to play around with
the power saving feature. The moment I switched off
the power-saving mode, it looks to me the brightness
jumped two level up to a normal brightness. Switched
back to power-saving mode actually gives me good
result, no more too dim level.

My guess is that at power-saving mode, the starting voltage
is a bit too low ???
Will Call Sharp sometime this week and keep you guys post ...
post #24 of 103
Originally posted by bautc
My guess is that at power-saving mode, the starting voltage
is a bit too low ???
If that's the case, it sounds like an easy work-around. Just start in normal mode then switch to power save after it's fired up.

Please keep us informed if this works or you get more information from Sharp.
post #25 of 103
Thread Starter 
Is there any other benefit to econo mode other than reduced power consumption and heat generation? Everything I've seen says that lower power going to the bulb will extend bulb life. Yet, these things are based upon hours on the bulb, and theoretically they shouldn't die before the 2000 hour timer ticks by, correct?

I doubt anybody here has actually ranked up 2000 hours on theirs though....
post #26 of 103
Finally I got to sit and take a breath, have been busy like
hell since last time I post.

I've called Sharp express repair and get a free loaner and
instructions for sending in my unit.

I really like the way their customer service works.
It's a great program, they handle the shipping
charges, hassel free and painless.

will keep you guys post once I get my unit back.
post #27 of 103
We M20 owners are going to need to keep pressure on Sharp about these lighting issues. This model has everything going for it right now if the lamp reliability can be solved.
The Sharp service people will not admit to having a problem yet.
post #28 of 103
The free loaner came in by fedex this morning 10 o'clock.
I am impressed !
I am going to ship my unit back first thing tomorrow
post #29 of 103
Update on my situation: I finally received my machine back last week, after sharp had it for approx. three weeks. No indication of what they fixed, no paperwork, nothing. Kind of aggravating. Nonetheless, it has performed flawlessly since I've gotten it back. So far, it lights on the first try every time. Another quircky thing about it...Whenever I would power off the unit prior to it being fixed, there would be a pause before they screen came up and asked me to push power again. Now the screen comes up instantly...I this must have been fixed in the repair process??? I'll post about any more reliability problems in the future. I do know this, it's great to be able to watch football in a fully lit room on the weekends!!!
post #30 of 103
Congrats ! The bottom line is that
you've got your machine back and
it performs "flawlessly". They may not want to tell
you what's the problem in order to prevent from being
taken advantage of by their competitors, or the problem
is too complicated to put in plain written form.
I would try to use/test it twice per-day before the lamp's
warrenty expired.

BTW, what's your starting power mode ?
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