I guess that you can't really plan for this failure then; it seems like there are issues from a whole host of manufacturers on this one. I imagine that quality of environment is the major factor in all of this.
I've concluded that whilst LCD probably offers a better quality image, (lower contrast levels but no rainbow effect) it suffers from a higher chance than DLP of being damaged by a dusty environment. Apparently newer LCD based projectors are more dust resistant than the older types, although the proof of this pudding is 3 years down the line.
I've had a quote for some Sanyo PLC-XE32's, @ £349 each with a 3 year lamp and hardware warranty, next day swap out on site service. These are XGA LCD Projectors with built in alarms, 'becta' orange with no controls on the projector, and they match the throw distance on the old ones. Unless anyone has a better suggestion, I think I'm going to go with them. Less than or equal to £116 per annum is a reasonable amount to budget per IWB installation.
Thanks for all your thoughts on this one so far!
@ John: Interesting about the LP100 & LP200 there, cheers. I Wonder why they've started buying stuff in? Saying this, I heard recently that NEC had shut down their Desktop PC division so perhaps they're scaling back in other areas also. Financial climate hasn't been kind to the .jp companies I guess.
I think that was part of it, the display devision should hold though. My source of the info is a local AV specialist I've known for years who has a good relationship with NEC, Sanyo and Hitachi so they are good people and part of it was down to cost, NEC won't cut corners on there kit but the 100 and 200 were designed to be budget, NEC kit couldn't cut the mustard in terms of pricing so they bought in for them to fill the gap of el-cheapo units. When you feel them they are just not the quality product you expect from NEC and lack the NEC feel as it were.
Originally Posted by Joe_Pineapples
What should the lenses/mirrors be cleaned with? Isopropyl?
I've worked with a vast array of different projectors in my time in schools, probably every major make there is. I've concluded the following.
It doesn't matter how much you clean the projector and maintain it, it will fail eventually one way or another, and probably within a 5 year period. Schools are very dusty dirty environments, and the equipment is never looked after as well by its users as it might be in other places. It will get left on, it will be turned off without cooling down properly, and probably be in a much hotter environment that it was designed for.
DLP projectors are very poor for colour reproduction, but offer excellent resilience so are a good choice for very dirty areas such as DT labs, but a poor choice for subjects like art which need good colour reproduction. DLP projectors are generally dimmer than their LCD counterparts, but tend to run quieter in my experience.
There no doubt about it, the technology has moved on massively in 4-5 years. We had a lot of 4 year old units at my last school, which were always over heating, cutting out for no apparent reason, took an absolute age to cool down or initialise when you powered them up and didn't support resolutions past 800x600. They were very expensive in their day. Even a very cheap projector brought brand new today offers a better image than they did.
As for differences between manufacturers, like everything there will be good models and bad models with each manufacturer. The key is getting one with a good warranty that covers you for these sorts of failures. Definitely get a swap out or on site warranty, that way you don't have to send things for repair. The only one I can comment on is Epson, as it's the only brand I've ever had to claim for under warranty for a projector. They sent an engineer the next day with a brand new projector and swapped it no questions asked. He didn't even turn it on and look at it, just swapped it - can't do better than that.
I would budget to replace projectors every 5 years roughly, you don't necessarily have to tear down all of them and replace them, but just make sure the money is in the budget. I've never seen a projector work for significantly longer than this if it's used regularly.