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post #1 of 93 Old 12-26-2015, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Managing Projector Bulb Flicker

I started to have flickering after 30 hours on my new Sony VPL-HW55ES projector. At first I thought I had a bad unit. I'm still not certain about the cause, but I suspect it is bulb flicker, which I am reading is one of the most common and annoying problems that can be had with projectors.

So I thought I'd start a thread to explore this topic a little more, since it can be the bane of many that choose front projection for their entertainment needs.

I'll post a little of the research I have read that seems most relevant, but I'm hoping those of you that know more can please post what you know.

It would also be nice if people have flicker to post here the make/model, and number of hours on the bulb. Maybe we as consumers could note some trends that might be informative.

CAUSES...

Bulb flicker appears to be most commonly caused by something called "arc wander" and "arc flare". Can also be power quality issues or projector ballast/power supply issues, but these are less common.

This site has a great illustration of the problem: http://zeiss-campus.magnet.fsu.edu/t...ndexflash.html

Arc wander can happen for various reasons, but it is when the arc start/end points wander on the electrodes, causing the arc's brightness to fluctuate.

AVSForum member "coldmachine" describes it well: "The point at which the arc strikes begins to move slightly on the electrode, and makes a track that the arc "wanders" along. When this occurs, flickering frequently results. A period on max power may solve it, but if the arc track is well established, it cant be reversed. Its a fundamental problem with any arc discharge lamp. The good news is that its a lamp issue, not a PJ issue."

A description of some of the causes I found (http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f1/t003983.html):

The arc looks like a candle in the wind.
This can happen under some of these circumstances:
1. The cathodes and anodes are badly eroded due to age or defect.
2. Deformed anodes and cathodes due to poor power supply filtering.
3. Deformed anodes and cathodes due to excessive in-rush current.
4. Deformed anodes and cathodes due to long igniter "lay-on's."
5. Weak or mis-adjusted magnets if the bulb requires the use of them.
6. Operating a bulb with magnets when it does not want them.
7. Stray magnetic fields getting too close to the bulb.
8. Bulb being operated outside the recommended electrical parameters.
9. Bulb being operated outside the recommended mechanical parameters.

I'm also assuming manufacturing defects or quality control can make a bulb prone to this as well.

I also would suspect some bulb designs are more prone to the problem than others, as well as bulbs with lower quality control, third party knockoffs, etc.
One thread suggested that the Sony bulb (LMP-H202 - my bulb) is more prone to the problem that some. It's used in their HW30/40/50/55/95.

SOLUTIONS...

The most common solutions I've read:

- Switch to another lamp power mode (i.e. from high to low or from low to high) for a few hours, then back to your preferred bulb mode
- Usually it is to switch from low to high, as low or eco mode is more prone to the problem
- Change picture modes and then switch back
- Get a new bulb
- Run in high power mode for the first few tens or hundred hours on a new bulb to establish solid strike points for the arc
- Then switching to low power mode the arc will be less prone to develop wandering
- Place a magnet over the lamp area, if the wandering conditions are suitable that may stabilize the arc. Do at your own risk though of causing other problems with PJ
Most of these only seem to mitigate the problem or help stop it for a while, but if a bulb is prone to it, it may be very difficult to stop
Some say that going to high lamp at the first sign can help curtail it, but if it has been going on for a long time it is likely the bulb is too damaged to get it to go away with that bulb.

- Get a laser projector!

Who knows, maybe laser light sources will come down in price, and they will be less prone to flicker problems! If they do flicker, it won't be due to arc wander, that's for sure...

I would also REALLY like people to chime in if they found it to be a power supply issue or it was fixed by moving your plug, using different power conditioner, etc.

So please, if you have more info on the causes, solutions, or just want to complain about your bulb flicker problem - post it here!

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post #2 of 93 Old 12-28-2015, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for list of models/bulbs this has been seen on and possibly a tally.

x1 - optoma hd141x, have used it for like 85 hrs
x8 - Sony HW40/55/65ES - varying from 15 hours to 600 hrs - quite a few around 400-600 hours.
x2 - Epson 8350
x2 - Epson EX3200
x1 - Panasonic PT-AE8000

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post #3 of 93 Old 12-28-2015, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I've read about at least seven specific cases on the Sony VPL-HW55ES of bulb flicker within the first 500 hours, and 3 cases on the VPL-HW40ES.

I've read about a case on the Panasonic PT-AE8000.

I read about a case on an Epson 8350.

Definitely not vendor specific, though I'm seeing more cases with the Sony "LMP-H202" lamp. But that might be since I have a Sony I've been researching more in the Sony specific forum areas

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post #4 of 93 Old 12-28-2015, 03:18 PM
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I have a brand new Sony VPL-HW65ES and bulb flicker began at 154hrs in low lamp mode.. I have since found out,it ONLY happens if my projector has been on and a screensaver of some sort is playing,specifically one with very little movement..
Normal use,i do not see the flicker at all,as it isnt present in low lamp mode..So it only happens after extended periods of pausing a bluray for example,and then a high lamp for 30 mins fixes it..
However,i NEVER experienced this with my optoma hd82
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post #5 of 93 Old 12-28-2015, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsunamijhoe View Post
I have a brand new Sony VPL-HW65ES and bulb flicker began at 154hrs in low lamp mode.. I have since found out,it ONLY happens if my projector has been on and a screensaver of some sort is playing,specifically one with very little movement..
Normal use,i do not see the flicker at all,as it isnt present in low lamp mode..So it only happens after extended periods of pausing a bluray for example,and then a high lamp for 30 mins fixes it..
However,i NEVER experienced this with my optoma hd82
I am beginning to wonder if there is something going on with the Sony lamps, or the circuitry in the 40/55/65 that run the lamps. And while a new lamp may fix the problem for a time, if it is lamp manufacturing or problems with the projector and how it runs the lamps. Really hard to know. I wonder if Sony is aware too...

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post #6 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielrg View Post
I am beginning to wonder if there is something going on with the Sony lamps, or the circuitry in the 40/55/65 that run the lamps. And while a new lamp may fix the problem for a time, if it is lamp manufacturing or problems with the projector and how it runs the lamps. Really hard to know. I wonder if Sony is aware too...
It is not the lamps/bulbs. It is the design.. I think sony in their eager to extend lamp life,and save electricity, don't run enough power to the lamp in low mode,but this is not only a sony problem, a lot of other manufacturers have this problem, although not this consistently..
I personally have not had the problem on my 1 chip dlp optoma,so maybe it is an inherent design flaw in 3 chip systems.
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post #7 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 08:55 AM
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When you buy a Bulb then don't complain it's a Bulb!

Anyone that buys a projector with a bulb is buying all the problems that come with bulbs.
I so can't understand then why they complain about getting what they paid for?

A little research shows that projectors with bulbs are history!

LED and Laser's are here. I only have pity for the complainers that
keep buying the bulb propaganda cool-aid.

Bulbs are nothing but problems and headaches period.

Sorry you spent so much money on your UHP bulb projector!

Stop living in denial and switch to LED or Laser.

Stop the crying and complaining please!
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post #8 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 09:36 AM
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I will gladly switch to LED or laser when the price/performance ratio merits. In the meantime I've never met a flicker that wasn't corrected by temporarily changing the lamp power setting.
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post #9 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
I will gladly switch to LED or laser when the price/performance ratio merits. In the meantime I've never met a flicker that wasn't corrected by temporarily changing the lamp power setting.
hello! I have optoma hd141x, have used it for like 85 hrs. all in mostly in eco mode. yesterday, I was watching a movie, and after half hr, colors went dull, so I restarted it. then after 5 mins it started flickering heavily for a few secs and then the color went dull. I google it a bit and found that changing mode solves this issue. so I did change mode, after 5 mins it happened again!!! Any idea what to do now?
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post #10 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubixotic View Post
hello! I have optoma hd141x, have used it for like 85 hrs. all in mostly in eco mode. yesterday, I was watching a movie, and after half hr, colors went dull, so I restarted it. then after 5 mins it started flickering heavily for a few secs and then the color went dull. I google it a bit and found that changing mode solves this issue. so I did change mode, after 5 mins it happened again!!! Any idea what to do now?
Just 5 minutes is way too short a time to correct a flickering lamp. Typically you need to run the lamp in another mode for a number of hours which varies from lamp to lamp and projector to projector. Last time it happened to me it took about 20 hours at full lamp power before all flickering went away and I could switch the lamp back to eco.
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post #11 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 10:46 AM
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thank you for the quick reply, one thing more, when flickering starts the projector makes noises too! did it happen with you too?
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post #12 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubixotic View Post
hello! I have optoma hd141x, have used it for like 85 hrs. all in mostly in eco mode. yesterday, I was watching a movie, and after half hr, colors went dull, so I restarted it. then after 5 mins it started flickering heavily for a few secs and then the color went dull. I google it a bit and found that changing mode solves this issue. so I did change mode, after 5 mins it happened again!!! Any idea what to do now?
If its making noise then your describing a failing color wheel, noise and dull color are the clues.
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post #13 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 12:47 PM
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If its making noise then your describing a failing color wheel, noise and dull color are the clues.
hmmm should I open it up and check for dust???
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post #14 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 05:26 PM
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Lamp flicker is silent. I think rekbones made a good analysis of your problem. Cleaning dust out would not fix a failing color wheel. If the projector is still under warranty you should contact Optoma.
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post #15 of 93 Old 12-29-2015, 11:32 PM
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Thanks A lot Dave in green and rekbones ,
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post #16 of 93 Old 12-30-2015, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creditcardman View Post
Anyone that buys a projector with a bulb is buying all the problems that come with bulbs.
I so can't understand then why they complain about getting what they paid for?

A little research shows that projectors with bulbs are history!

LED and Laser's are here. I only have pity for the complainers that
keep buying the bulb propaganda cool-aid.

Bulbs are nothing but problems and headaches period.

Sorry you spent so much money on your UHP bulb projector!

Stop living in denial and switch to LED or Laser.

Stop the crying and complaining please!
Well, I totally agree that bulbs stink... but I do not agree that LED and Lasers are here. There are brand new projectors coming on the market using bulbs still. Why? Laser and LED haven't reached the right prices yet. Though I think the Epson LS10000 is making a great showing.

Since there are thousands using bulb-based projectors, I'm hoping a consolidated thread on managing bulb flicker issues could be useful to them, certainly telling everyone to go buy LED and Laser isn't going to work for all situations. So I think the crying and complaining must continue. Though I'm hoping the thread can be more useful to those trying to deal with a very real issue then just a place to whine. I don't think whining is very useful.

Though - that is one of the solutions I listed! I'll be going that route too - when I can afford it. As soon as I can get a Laser 4K projector for <$4K... I'll be a happy camper.

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post #17 of 93 Old 12-31-2015, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielrg View Post
Well, I totally agree that bulbs stink... but I do not agree that LED and Lasers are here. There are brand new projectors coming on the market using bulbs still. Why? Laser and LED haven't reached the right prices yet. Though I think the Epson LS10000 is making a great showing.
I have replaced my Epson LCD projector with an LG, Model PF1500 last April for $842.00.
I now have a 50,000 hour instant on/off LED using less that 100 watts to power a 110" screen.

Very happy with with the picture quality.

I can tell you right now with certainty bulbs are dead history. The Manufacturer's are just milking
the uneducated as long as they can...

It's all over but the "kicking and screaming"

m.
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post #18 of 93 Old 12-31-2015, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creditcardman View Post
I have replaced my Epson LCD projector with an LG, Model PF1500 last April for $842.00.
I now have a 50,000 hour instant on/off LED using less that 100 watts to power a 110" screen.

Very happy with with the picture quality.

I can tell you right now with certainty bulbs are dead history. The Manufacturer's are just milking
the uneducated as long as they can...

It's all over but the "kicking and screaming"

m.
They are still too dim. Soon they will be ready for prime time. I like to let new tech hammer the bugs out a bit longer. Especially if the projector is going to last a long time. You will be stuck with a projector putting out less than 1000 lumens for quite awhile, while I will have an LCD projector that is brighter with a better picture in a few years.
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post #19 of 93 Old 12-31-2015, 01:05 PM
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The LG PF1500 is the only quality entry level 1080p LED projector currently available. The next step up in LED is a big one to the $3,000+ Optoma HD91. So the PF1500 is really a class of one with no range of choices like lamp-based entry level projectors. Like any other projector, it has its balance of strengths and weaknesses. If you love the strengths and aren't bothered by the weaknesses, it's easy to get excited about. For most people the compromises aren't worth it. There are other entry level DLP projectors available that do enough things better than the PF1500 to make it worthwhile to most people to put up with more limited lamp life. As LED projector technology matures and more competition develops among multiple manufacturers, LED will slowly start taking over the market. But that will take years, and in the meantime lamp discussions remain relevant to way more people than LED.
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post #20 of 93 Old 01-01-2016, 09:22 AM
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More Hogwash about brightness and tech not ready....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appalachian View Post
They are still too dim. Soon they will be ready for prime time. I like to let new tech hammer the bugs out a bit longer. Especially if the projector is going to last a long time. You will be stuck with a projector putting out less than 1000 lumens for quite awhile, while I will have an LCD projector that is brighter with a better picture in a few years.
This is utter nonsense! However a lot of people believe this fantasy but, it's just not true.

I own several Epson LCD projectors rated at 1600 Lumens that are now stored in the closet.
I have been an LCD user for years. If I thought the picture wasn't as good on my LG Pf1500
I would setup one of my LCD's again.

My LG is not dim and I am using it as a "ready for prime time projector" LG has made "new tech"
that is break-thru here believe me LED is now here!

Can it get better, Yes of course next years models are always coming out!

Will the manufactures still make bulb projectors until they can get the last buck
out of them. You bet!

It's very hard to let go of the past and change to the new. Hard to admit for many
that bulbs are not good value any longer.
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post #21 of 93 Old 01-01-2016, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I think creditcardman's opinion is very clear on the subject , and very pertinent.

BUT - the thread is to talk about bulb flicker issues, with specifics if desired, which does affect, and will continue to affect many of us for a while.

I'm glad that we've discussed this up and coming alternative on the thread, because that is a great way to avoid the problem altogether and to help educate people - but let's keep the arguing about it being "prime time" or not to a minimum.

There are definitely pros and cons early in adoption of a new tech and limited choices - and those reading the thread will probably find more threads discussing LED/LASER options if they wish to explore that route. I certainly will be doing so in a couple years.

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post #22 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creditcardman View Post
This is utter nonsense! However a lot of people believe this fantasy but, it's just not true.

I own several Epson LCD projectors rated at 1600 Lumens that are now stored in the closet.
I have been an LCD user for years. If I thought the picture wasn't as good on my LG Pf1500
I would setup one of my LCD's again.

My LG is not dim and I am using it as a "ready for prime time projector" LG has made "new tech"
that is break-thru here believe me LED is now here!

Can it get better, Yes of course next years models are always coming out!

Will the manufactures still make bulb projectors until they can get the last buck
out of them. You bet!

It's very hard to let go of the past and change to the new. Hard to admit for many
that bulbs are not good value any longer.
How many Lumens do you get using a light meter after calibration? Dimness is all a matter of opinion of course, But projector central got about 750 lumens after calibration. That may be fine for you, but it is no fantasy that this is way too dim for me. I also have old Epson LCDs in my closet that I would not bring out to replace my current one. What exactly does that prove other than you have old outdated LCDs in your closet?
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post #23 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 05:32 AM
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Sony 40es developed flickering at around 450 hours. Have it at high lamp currently. Love the picture on this pj but the flickering is unexceptable.
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post #24 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appalachian View Post
How many Lumens do you get using a light meter after calibration? Dimness is all a matter of opinion of course, But projector central got about 750 lumens after calibration. That may be fine for you, but it is no fantasy that this is way too dim for me. I also have old Epson LCDs in my closet that I would not bring out to replace my current one. What exactly does that prove other than you have old outdated LCDs in your closet?
Thank you for helping to set me straight. I guess I really did not realize that my old outdated junker LCD's in the closet were so not worth mentioning now. That my new LG Pf1500 is just to dim to enjoy on a 110" screen with ambient lighting going on?

Your right, I'll start shopping for a nice bright new UHP bulb model right away and put away my fantasy's.

Thank you for helping to enlighten me. I almost for a moment thought my LED projector was excellant!
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I agree with Creditcardman however there are no other viable led/laser options in the $2000 and below price range. I owned the LG-PF1500 and it is just too damn dim for any serious alr screen. Unless it's dark viewing only, you can forget about any viewing in ambient light unless you have a small screen or like eye strain due to a dark, dim picture. Not to mention it's low contrast and bad color accuracy.
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post #26 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 11:33 AM
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You can add me to those with flicker on the Sony VPL-HW40ES. The flickering really started around 500 - 600 hours in low lamp mode.

When I first purchased the projector, I ran it in high lamp for about 20 hours first and then started using low. The only time I've used high since the initial break-in period is for 3D or if we want to watch a game during the day with lights on, maybe 15% of the time at most.

I'm now at 750 hours and even after keeping the bulb in high for about 200 hours, I still can't go back to low at starts flickering immediately. I guess I'll just be sticking with high until the bulb dies, but yes this is rather annoying.
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post #27 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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For those with the Sony units experiencing flickering - there is a 1 year bulb warranty - and I believe we should take it up with Sony - should be able to get new bulbs for the trouble. For the HW65ES, Sony only advertises the 6000 hour bulb life. That is running bulb at 60% of max power! They should't really be able to get away with this claim if it doesn't really work! If many see flicker before 1000 hrs on ECO, how are we supposed to really believe the claim for 5000-6000 hours in eco mode for these models?

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post #28 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by danielrg View Post
For those with the Sony units experiencing flickering - there is a 1 year bulb warranty - and I believe we should take it up with Sony - should be able to get new bulbs for the trouble. For the HW65ES, Sony only advertises the 6000 hour bulb life. That is running bulb at 60% of max power! They should't really be able to get away with this claim if it doesn't really work! If many see flicker before 1000 hrs on ECO, how are we supposed to really believe the claim for 5000-6000 hours in eco mode for these models?
Actually isn't the bulb warranty only 90 days? That's what it is for the 40ES anyways, or maybe that's only the original bulb?

When this first started and was obvious it wasn't going away, I did call them multiple times about 10 months after purchasing. I did state several times that I knew the warranty terms but was hoping they could help me out, as a long time Sony supporter, whether it was a new bulb or discount on a replacement or anything at all.

After multiple conversations they essentially said screw you, it's warrantied 90 days and we aren't going to help you with jack squat. Someone else may have better luck, but that was my experience.
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post #29 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually isn't the bulb warranty only 90 days? That's what it is for the 40ES anyways, or maybe that's only the original bulb?

When this first started and was obvious it wasn't going away, I did call them multiple times about 10 months after purchasing. I did state several times that I knew the warranty terms but was hoping they could help me out, as a long time Sony supporter, whether it was a new bulb or discount on a replacement or anything at all.

After multiple conversations they essentially said screw you, it's warrantied 90 days and we aren't going to help you with jack squat. Someone else may have better luck, but that was my experience.
Dang you're right. I was reading about the warranty somewhere where they were wrong. I was going to spend some time with the high mode to see if I could "salvage" my bulb... but I'm coming up on the 90 days pretty soon, so I think I have a chance of getting a replacement bulb and should take advantage of it.

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Love the hobby, but always have to remember to keep family first!
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post #30 of 93 Old 01-02-2016, 01:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tcramer View Post
Actually isn't the bulb warranty only 90 days? That's what it is for the 40ES anyways, or maybe that's only the original bulb?

When this first started and was obvious it wasn't going away, I did call them multiple times about 10 months after purchasing. I did state several times that I knew the warranty terms but was hoping they could help me out, as a long time Sony supporter, whether it was a new bulb or discount on a replacement or anything at all.

After multiple conversations they essentially said screw you, it's warrantied 90 days and we aren't going to help you with jack squat. Someone else may have better luck, but that was my experience.
Another example of Sony's world renowned customer service.
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