Replacing projector lamps - know your make & model
At some time in your projectors life, the bulb (officially known as a lamp) will need replacing. Like all bulbs, projector bulbs are delicate and must be handled with care, so if your projector takes a nasty knock then you will most likely need to buy a new lamp.
Projector lamps are one of the few parts of a projector which is replaceable, so although they are expensive to replace, they are far cheaper than buying a whole new projector. If you are looking for a new lamp for your existing projector, be careful - projector lamps are not uniform and each manufacturer has a different fitting, and sometimes the lamp for each model by the same manufacturer can be different too. Therefore you need to know your make and model before trying to buy a replacement lamp. It is also advisable to seek out an authorized dealer to buy your lamp from.
Choosing a Projector Lamp
If you have a choice of lamps for your particular model, it is advisable to buy the best one that you can afford. Sadly, lamps are very expensive, but you can probably save yourself some money by purchasing a good quality lamp that will last for a long time rather than repeatedly buying lesser quality versions. Also, if your projector is permanently mounted to the ceiling then it will cause you far less hassle to replace the lamp less often. Most lamps will clearly state an approximate number of hours of usage. As a guide, a lamp that will give you around 2000 hours of use will probably be a good quality lamp and hopefully not need changing for a long time. Some lamps are also equipped with an eco-mode, which will potentially increase its life even further.
How much will it cost?
The cost of replacement lamps can be anything from $100 to over $500, depending on the make, model and brightness of the lamp that you need to replace. If you drop your projector or have another type of accident, there is a strong chance that the lamp will need replacing. As we never know when these accidents are going to happen, it is highly advisable to have a spare lamp and carry it with you if you can when you are on the road.
Disposing of Projector Lamps
Disposing of projector lamps is not as simple as throwing it in the trashcan. Most projector lamps contain mercury, and so federal law requires them to be labeled clearly disposal. For more information on how to dispose of any old projector lamps that you may be in possession of, contact your state's environmental agency. Be warned that you can be fined if you are found to have illegally disposed of any products containing mercury.