I called tonight about my 2nd dustblob unit - getting it replaced. They said they didn't have any units available right now and that I should call back next Tuesday. I told them I want to send this one back right away, because it was pretty ridiculous --- so if he could just give me the RMA number and shipping label, I'd return it immediately. He said we'll get that all ironed out when you call in next week.
Here's the serial number in case a future consumer in this thread ends up with this second projector I return - we'll see if this one actually gets fixed when it goes back in, or if it just recirculates with the same six giant dustblobs - (Serial Number X334710215L)
I'm a little jaded, even all these years later, with Epson since I had to go through 5 or 6 units last time with my 8350 to get one that was reasonable.(not even perfect). carp went through 6 or 7 8350's to get his final one almost perfect. stitch1 went through a couple 8350's too. At the time we think they were just sending them back out immediately without repairing anything in hopes some customer would be less discerning and just accept/or not notice the fault. (some people in a non light controlled room might not care too much about dust blobs, or lens/focus uniformity, or color uniformity - so that's possible I suppose. I have a friend who recently bought a new 85" TV and was happy about it. I went to his house and saw TERRIBLE backlight bleed from several spots around the frame, extending in 6-8" at least, with white smears, visible not only on black screens but most of the time.
He volunteered he knew it had some backlight issues, but said it didn't bother him. There's no way I would have kept that TV, but I just kept my mouth closed so as not to make him feel bad ------ so I know there are different thresholds of acceptance among consumers.
My buddy stitch1 had the same AE8000U projector as me and said he'd rather spend more on another brand to avoid the Epson refurb lottery, when I asked him if he was going to jump on this sale price. When I told him about the dust blobs, he said how old was your Panasonic projector? I said nearly 5 years. He said how many dust blobs does it have?