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Pearl Lamp SUDDEN dimming

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
My Pearl has just under 500 hours on it, and the bulb suddenly, and I mean SUDDENLY got very dim. I know it's difficult to judge with one's eyes, but subjectively I'd say it lost half it's brightness. The PJ was fine one night, and the next time I turned it on 2 nights later, it just never got bright.

It even got the wife to comment, so it was a significant drop, not a gradual process.

Considerations:

1) Checked to make sure the lamp setting on the PJ is still "High"

2) Looked at the indicator lamp. It seems to flash faster now when I turn the PJ off for the first half of the cool down cycle (i.e. 2 flashes/sec for the first minute or so, then down to 1 flash/sec until it goes off completely). These are green flashes. All of the diagnostics in the manual discuss red flashes for error conditions.

3) I've not yet removed/cleaned the filters, but I've seen no warnings either. The manual indicates filter cleaning at 1500 hours... I have only 1/3rd of that on the PJ in a non-dusty environment.


Thoughts?
post #2 of 90
I believe that is common for all LCOS projector, inlcluding my newly bought JVC HD-1
post #3 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_k View Post

I believe that is common for all LCOS projector, inlcluding my newly bought JVC HD-1

I don't believe this has anything to do with the panels. It's a UHP lamp, the type of which used in a variety of projector technologies.
post #4 of 90
Bad lamp, replace it before it explodes.....

Vern
post #5 of 90
500hrs on mine and still looks just as bright.
post #6 of 90
It's rare, but several others on the forum have reported major catastrophic bulb failures shortly after the sudden dimming event.

I suspect, from others descriptions, that the bulb seal has been compromised. This results in severe blackening of the bulb envelope, which increases the heat absorbtion by the glass which leads to the catastrophic failure.

At the very least, remove it and take a look at it.

Vern
post #7 of 90
I had this exact thing happen with my Epson 500 back in 2005, the lamp got very dim suddenly at around 1290 hours and then worked for a few days before it refused to start up. I replaced the bulb with a new one and have near 1800 hours on the new bulb and it still looks bright enough to my eyes.

As Vern said just replace the bulb. It true what they say, minimizing startup cycles and running for long periods are the two best things for maximizing bulb life. If I turn on the projector in the morning it stays on all day even if I'm not watching it. With the bulb that failed at 1290 hours, I more or less used it like a tv set, off/on several times a day.

My Ruby has 817 hours on it and looks amazing. Same deal with this one, if it goes on it stays on.
post #8 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses.

In my particular case, I'll have to assume this is a flaw if the lamp has indeed lost it's seal. The projector was inverted and hung new six months ago, and it's not been handled, shaken, stirred, or in any ways abused. The lamp has never been touched, removed, or even seen since the box was opened.

The lamp has rarely been struck more than once a day, and never has been shut down hot.

My LCD business projector has gone thru much more abuse than my Pearl ever has.

While I know bulbs are not warranted for their rated life, has anybody ever had success for arguing something like this with Sony? Somehow having a bulb do this at less than 25% it's rated life in a $5000 MSRP projector leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth...
post #9 of 90
I just wanted to say that I noticed something similar last night, the picture just seemed too dim while watching a movie. I'm also just under 500 hours. I changed the setting to high lamp and the picture looks great again. Reading this thread scares me though, as I'm hoping the bulb isn't defective.
post #10 of 90
agree with vern. hopefully this doesn't become a common issue with the pearl... i'm loving mine....

i seem to remember that happening (suddenly) on my old vw11ht, but probably just a coincidence. i had a spare bulb so big deal...
post #11 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by scaesare View Post

While I know bulbs are not warranted for their rated life, has anybody ever had success for arguing something like this with Sony? Somehow having a bulb do this at less than 25% it's rated life in a $5000 MSRP projector leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth...

Just be thankful you don't have an Optoma H79 like I do. That sucker cost me $8K Canadian. My first H79 started having its' infamous startup problem after 550 hours. It was replaced with a new unit by Optoma. The "new" unit is also acting up in the same way, ironically at the same bulb hours. In both cases, I was told the lamp was getting old. It's in Optoma's repair shop right now. Hopefully, it'll fail on them because this problem is sporadic. How can it be a bad bulb if the damn thing doesn't always fail?

With the Sony, chalk up this incident to a bad bulb. I have to live with bad bulbs/bad design. $1/hour of operation is quite steep. And the price of the H79 dropped like a ton of bricks after I bought it. Nice of Optoma to support its' high end piece with the introduction of an identical H78DC3 product literally weeks after the release of the H79. I'm getting upset and getting off topic.

Anyways, my point is that you should thank your lucky stars you don't have an Optoma H79. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Sometimes, what you thought was green grass on the other side was just bright green spray painted cement.
post #12 of 90
Have to second FerretHunter's remarks. Had the Optoma H78DC3 and the reports of most folks along with the original H79 sibling was that if you hit 1000 hours count yourself lucky. There was so much bulb insanity that people were building their own fans and adding them to the units in hope of cooling it "better" to improve bulb life.

People were rigging all kinds of fans to the electrical portion of the unit to do so which I thought was absolutely nuts. But that's how desperate folks were to avoid the $350 replacement lamp.

You can check the housing of the bulb on the Pearl and reseat it and power up to see if that helps but it does sound like a replacement bulb is the smartest and safest way to check on the next step.

http://projectorusa.com/cart/products.aspx?pid=5453

This was the cheapest I've seen for $276 at projector usa. Good luck.
post #13 of 90

As you may know, I have replaced a BUNCH of bulbs over the past 4 years. I have kept and examined the bulbs and this is what I have found:

The electrodes which support the arc are NOT burning out from having their lifetime used up.
An internal part of the bulb is melting and destroying the geometry, causing a failure.

I think this is a design defect and its behavior matches what Steve (original poster) has described.

The scenario is you are rocking along for months and suddenly one day right after you fire it up, you notice that the image is dimmer. It seemed fine the last time you watched it, and now it is a lot dimmer. You immediately start to doubt yourself, thinking it was happening gradually and you didn't notice, and this is just normal bulb deterioration. I don't think that's it at all.

My bulbs have a piece of glass tubing in the center that holds one electrodes and keeps it in close proximity to the other electrode which comes from the side. If it was a flower, you would call it the pistil. That tubing apparently positions the arc so that it will properly reflect off of the parabolic mirror/bulb reflector/whatever.

This is what happens (as it has happened to me every time): the pistil develops a bubble near it's base. It looks like a little glass blower went in there and tried to make a vase with the middle of your pistil/filament support. Sometimes it is clear and sometimes it looks brown and little burnt. The result is the glass tube essentially falls over a little and moves the filament out of position. This pistil support has a new elbow in it now (where the bubbling evidence of melting is).

Take a look at your failed bulb and see if you can see this. If you are looking for it, it is easy to spot, as the bubble/failure is usually substantially larger than the original glass pistil/support. Please post or IM me if you can identify the same defect.

My particular bulbs have been Model: POA-LMP38, made in Belgium. They are installed in the Sanyo PLV-70, PLV-75, PLC-XP40, PLC-XP45, as well as the Eiki and Boxlight versions of these Sanyo projectors. They are 200W UHP bulbs.

It is interesting to note that they say the lamp life is 2000 hours but the warranty is 3 months or 500 hours. Its list price appears to be $600.


Edited by JHouse - 7/16/12 at 7:54am
post #14 of 90
Thread Starter 
Jhouse's failure was EXACTLY the failure mode of my bulb. In addition to the actual stuctural failure of the glass, it was also very dark and discolored.

I'd very rarely have my Pearl fan kick in to high gear and the filter was not very dirty at all... so it would seam the unit didn't feel like it was being subjected to too much heat...

Interesting.
post #15 of 90
Total speculation here but I suspect the Pistil/glass tube in the center is a seperate part from the bulb enclosure itself. It may be that it can't take the heat, or that heat is focus in one spot or perhaps even that the glass may have a tiny impurity that gets hot and melts it.

I think I'm going to try to find a forensic bulb expert. Anyone ever heard of one?
post #16 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

As you may know, I have replaced a BUNCH of bulbs over the past 4 years. I have kept and examined the bulbs and this is what I have found:

The filament is NOT burning out from having its lifetime used up.
An internal part of the bulb is melting and destroying the geometry, causing a failure.

I think this is a design defect and its behavior matches what Steve (original poster) has described.

The scenario is you are rocking along for months and suddenly one day right after you fire it up, you notice that the image is dimmer. It seemed fine the last time you watched it, and now it is a lot dimmer. You immediately start to doubt yourself, thinking it was happening gradually and you didn't notice, and this is just normal bulb deterioration. I don't think that's it at all.

My bulbs have a piece of glass tubing in the center that holds one end of the filament which comes from the side. If it was a flower, you would call it the pistil. That tubing apparently positions the filament so that it will properly reflect off of the parabolic mirror/bulb reflector/whatever.

This is what happens (as it has happened to me every time): the pistil develops a bubble near it's base. It looks like a little glass blower went in there and tried to make a vase with the middle of your pistil/filament support. Sometimes it is clear and sometimes it looks brown and little burnt. The result is the glass tube essentially falls over a little and moves the filament out of position. This pistil support has a new elbow in it now (where the bubbling evidence of melting is).

Take a look at your failed bulb and see if you can see this. If you are looking for it, it is easy to spot, as the bubble/failure is usually substantially larger than the original glass pistil/support. Please post or IM me if you can identify the same defect.

My particular bulbs have been Model: POA-LMP38, made in Belgium. They are installed in the Sanyo PLV-70, PLV-75, PLC-XP40, PLC-XP45, as well as the Eiki and Boxlight versions of these Sanyo projectors. They are 200W UHP bulbs.

It is interesting to note that they say the lamp life is 2000 hours but the warranty is 3 months or 500 hours. Its list price appears to be $600.

I experienced early lamp failure just like described above. One day I fired it up and it didn't get bright at all and was totally too dim to watch. Last time I used it, there was no problem.

My lamp was also UHP but 250W. Other information printed on the reflector: Philips, made in Belgium, TOP 222.
post #17 of 90
Do you see the melted/bubbled up part of the center stem?
post #18 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

Do you see the melted/bubbled up part of the center stem?

Yes. It seems to be stained and malformed (bubbling upwards), about two times bigger than it appears to be in a brand new bulb.
post #19 of 90
I've got to find a bulb guy/glass/heat guy and figure out what is going on. I doubt if this is the failure mode anticipated to occur at 2000 hours.
post #20 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

I've got to find a bulb guy/glass/heat guy and figure out what is going on. I doubt if this is the failure mode anticipated to occur at 2000 hours.

Indeed it would be interesting to hear from a bulb expert about what can cause this. I wouldn't mind if this happened when a bulb has reached its rated life, but when it happens way too early even if you have been taking good care of your projector, it makes me think something is not right.
post #21 of 90
Thread Starter 
I agree.

It would be useful for us to perhaps chime in on our average run-time per session... that would give us an idea on the number or lamp strikes, and number of thermal cycles.

I'd venture that my average run time is in the neighborhood of 3 hours or so. That's something like ~160 sessions for me by the time I hit my failure point at just under 500 hours. Incidentally, I ran in "high" lamp mode all the time.

Given that the PJ rarely kicked in to high fan mode, I wonder if the number of heat/cool cycles affects that "glass stem" more so than jus the absolute temperature.

Is there anybody here with substantially more than 500 hours on a Pearl? On any model UHP bulb in another projector?
post #22 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern Dias View Post

Bad lamp, replace it before it explodes.....

Vern


I had this happen, though the bulb had gone beyond its suggest change period (1,300 hr).

One night at about 1,440 hours on the bulb (250 watt UHP), I turned on the projector and we agreed that the picture looked dimmer than usual. (We watch our Hitachi SX-5600W LCOS in "whisper" mode.) I kicked up the bulb to "standard", and almost exactly one hour later the bulb exploded. Luckily all of the shards were contained within the glass lamp housing.

On our next bulb, one night at about 1,664 hours we agreed that the picture looked dim, so I didn't wait for the bulb to explode. I replaced the bulb and found that the old one has a nodule/bubble in the central filiment glass. I have this bulb in a box in the closet for possible rebuild.

I now have about 2,200 hours on the third bulb. My wife thought that it looked a little dim back in December, but I've yet to replace it and it just keeps going, and going, and going, and going.

Sometimes, (even over 1,000 hours ago), this current bulb would flicker. Playing the projector for a while at standard mode always cured this or it passes on its own. Lately, I've been hesitant to kick it up if it flickers.
post #23 of 90
I just bought a used Sony Pearl with 196 Hours on it. To me, the projector seems like its not as bright as it should be, even if I max out contrast and put the lamp on High mode. No matter what I do the picture just looks kinda washed out without any true whites, even in totally dark room.

In the menu, there is a Lamp option section or something that asks if you replaced a bulb, then it resets to 0. I accidentally selected yes and the lamp hours display as 0 now. Does the Sony Pearls lamp light come on according to the hours or is there some sort of sensor inside that detects light levels?
post #24 of 90
Are you cleaning your air filter regularly? Poor airflow could cause early bulb failure.
post #25 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdalcanto View Post

Are you cleaning your air filter regularly? Poor airflow could cause early bulb failure.

I don't know who you are asking, but I mentioned this:

"I'd very rarely have my Pearl fan kick in to high gear and the filter was not very dirty at all... so it would seam the unit didn't feel like it was being subjected to too much heat"

This was when I replaced the bulb at 500 hours. The manual states that the filter should be replaced at 1500.

I don't think it was a filter issue.
post #26 of 90
Greetings,

Quote:
Is there anybody here with substantially more than 500 hours on a Pearl? On any model UHP bulb in another projector?

I have around 540 hours on my Pearl. I have had the unit since late December. I strike mine twice a day (once in the morning for around 1 - 1.5 hours) and then in the evening (2 - 3 hours) and on occasion a thrid time during the day.

My unit is run in low lamp mode and I have no issues with dimming at this point.

I generally by a spare lamp once the original reaches the point where it is out of warranty ( 3months) and install the new lamp and keep the original as a backup. I have not done it yet but will soon. So far (knock on wood) my unit has been just fine.

I did check the air filter last week and it looked pretty clean.


Regards,
post #27 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by scaesare View Post

I don't know who you are asking, but I mentioned this:

"I'd very rarely have my Pearl fan kick in to high gear and the filter was not very dirty at all... so it would seam the unit didn't feel like it was being subjected to too much heat"

This was when I replaced the bulb at 500 hours. The manual states that the filter should be replaced at 1500.

I don't think it was a filter issue.

The manual on the Panny 900U said to clean the filter every 60 hours. I was always surprised how dirty it was, despite a low dust house with central vacuum. You are supposed to replace the filter when replacing the bulb, but still clean it regularly. On my RS1, they say to clean it regularly, but don't give an interval.
post #28 of 90
My Pearl did exactly the same thing. One day it was nice and bright and the next was much dimmer. This was around 500 hours. I now have 1300 hours on it and am going to replace bulb. It is just to dime for me. I just thought it would give me more life at a much brighter level than this...Bummer
post #29 of 90
This just happened to me this afternoon at 754 hours (was fine this morning). Some posters in this thread talk like it's just a little dimmer. Mine went dim to the point that you can barely see anything.

If this happens on my next bulb, the Pearl, as much as I have loved it, goes bye bye.
post #30 of 90
I'm trying to figure out if it is the bulbs or the projector. I have someone looking into it. The bulb maker will say it's the projector and vice versa. I'm going to figure it out. Since this problem goes across quite a few projector lines, I'm betting it's the bulb.
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