Dim projectors - Design flaw or fatigue?
I look after the IT resources for a number of schools in West Yorkshire. The original tranche of funding for smartboards back in 2004/05 went to a local supplier with contacts in the LA (suprise suprise) who installed almost exclusively NEC Projectors (VT470's, VT570's etc) at massive cost.
Most of these are now on to their second or third lamp, and are increasingly dim despite the purchase of a new lamp - some of these have been sent back to NEC for cleaning, at about £100, and then needed a new 'optical unit' which has cost another £100. This is stupid when contrasted against the cost of a new projector. Unfortunately if you've ordered a lamp for £150 to correct a brightness issue, then told the projector needs a clean, you're already wandered down the garden path of spending and it's hard to stop.
I also look after a couple of schools who decided to shop around back in 04/05, and they went for Hitachi ED-X3400's and Epson EMP-S3's. Although they've received the same amount of use, these are still bright and usable wheras the NEC's are rubbish.
My questions are: Are we the only ones who've encountered this? What lifespan do people regularly achieve / expect from their projectors? I'm considering planning to replace them every 3 -4 years now, and writing this into the ICT budgets. Did we simply get projectors with a design flaw?
Lastly, does anyone reckon this scenario still applies to NEC projectors? I've seen the LP200's cheap with a 3yr hardware & lamp warranty but I don't know if I should trust NEC. Anyone got any good recommendations up to £450 inc VAT (3 yr warranty essential given previous experiences!)
Sorry to be so verbose, but I'd like a good consensus to take back to my Headteachers. Your advice is both representative and greatly appreciated :-)