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Projection Training at InfoComm

May 27, 2014 10:20 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription. Projectors come in all shapes and sizes but how much do you really know about what’s going on inside? Erica Strickland, Training Manager for the Americas at Digital Projection will be teaching some courses at InfoComm that could tell you more than you knew there was to know and she’s here with a preview. That’s coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

Erica, welcome to the SVC Podcast and for once I’m just calling across town here in Atlanta. You’re Training Manager for the Americas at Digital Projection and that sounds like a mighty big job.

Yeah, it’s pretty widespread. I’ve got a pretty big region.

And you’re going to be conducting some tech courses at InfoComm. One of those is Understanding and Designing Warp and Blend Applications and the other, I believe, is slated to be Solid State Illumination and Projection Technology 101.

That is true. I’m teaching both of those classes. I’m teaching the 101 course three times, the Warp and Blend course twice.

I’m sure they’re going to really be packed in for those because you don’t often have the opportunity to talk face to face with the experts and ask whatever question comes to mind right then and there.

Yeah absolutely, and I actually prefer it when people interact. It definitely makes the class go by a little bit faster and makes things a little bit more interesting because then I actually get to hear about what people want to know about, you know? [Timestamp: 1:45]

And I’m sure that there will be plenty of questions. There are so many aspects to projection technology and so many different types in everyday operation and they’re being used in so many different environments, some of them in high up-time situations. What do you see as the most common problems with projectors in high up-time environments?

Well the most problems actually occur as a result of not keeping up maintenance schedules for fans and color wheels, cleaning and replacing filters regularly. A lot of times improper ventilation can also cause a lot of problems. If you keep up with the maintenance but if you put the projector in maybe a hush box or up against a wall and you don’t follow the ventilation constraints, then you can pretty much make sure that air is not circulating properly and that exhaust can collect and eventually circulate hot air back into the projector causing pretty serious overheating problems. [Timestamp: 2:31]

I’ve noticed that when I’m cleaning filters between semesters, the rooms that have carpeted floors seem to have by far the dirtiest filters, much more so than the hard-floor rooms. Maybe we need to talk to the HVAC guys about that.

Yeah. The carpet is probably retaining a lot more dust where the hardwood floors are probably a lot easier to clean, so it’s getting up there in the filters.

And our projectors are on and off all day long so what sort of effects to you see these repeated daily heating and cooling cycles having on internal projector components over time?

Well the wearing on the mechanical components is the main thing. That would be fans and whatnot, but especially the lamps. Lamps usually do much better if they can just stay on. Every time you strike a lamp it wears on the inner components and it can really heavily contribute to the light output diminishing over time. [Timestamp: 3:20]

Running a lot of the same make and model projectors on an everyday cycle we tend to look for the same problem to occur in a number of them after I’ve seen a particular issue begin to start happening with one or two of them. Toward the end of the life of the lamp we start getting more muted colors and the output isn’t quite the same so other than just looking at color bar displays, how is subtle color degradation detected? What kind of things do you look for?

Well it depends on the type of projector. In a single-chip projector, the colors are maintained by the color wheel. The color wheel doesn’t really degrade at the same rate as, say, an LCD projector. But in a three-chip unit, color is made from a light path being separated into a prism – into red, green and blue, each on their respective DMD’s – and then recombine and then come out the lens in full color. So if you think you see a color shift, in that case you’re actually, like you said, seeing the light output diminish over the life of the lamp. Color degradation can be really difficult to detect and may be more so contributed to the loss of light output. If you want more of a constant color, you can run a projector in eco-mode. It’s going to keep your color a lot longer or in a pass lamp, if you have a dual-lamp system, maybe you only run one lamp at a time so that you won’t see that as much over time. [Timestamp: 4:35]

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