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DLP longevity

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
ole gezzer in training

Join Date: May 2005
Location: PNW Oregon
Posts: 224
Default DLP longevity

Maybe this post will be useful to some.

In recent months have noted the picture wasn't as nice as it was when new. Not as sharp but more importantly lacking contrast. Service contract still in force so I called and scheduled an appointment. The lack of contrast and light spilling over into the "black" borders on std def I was thinking dust and-or dirt had gotten into the projection area causing light scatter. Repairman came out and didn't take him but a couple min to determine real cause was DLP chip and possibly some other portion of the light engine was beginning to fail.

No repair parts available plus take a lot of hi-tech equipment to align the light path. New light engine placed on order. Unfortunately for me, Toshiba didn't respond to the order for ~6 weeks. NO NEW assemblies available. Had to pull the light engine out and send in for rebuild. 2 weeks later set is back in and operating like new.

Repairmen that came out (different one for pulling the assy and replacing same) were both informative about longevity of DLP's. Info on longevity of the DLP chip is still spotty. What is known is as the chip ages (time or use?) the hinges on the mirrors grow stiffer and the mirror elements themselves start to warp. These conditions affect both brightness/contrast and sharpness of the display.

With rear projection sets all but dead ability to return set to near new operating conditions is going to be harder and likely more spendy. I also suspect for many models getting new light engines is all but impossible. Due to slow response from Toshiba, my 2 week repair dragged on for close to 8 weeks.

How long does the DLP chip last, not sure but my set is almost 4 yrs old and has ~10k hrs on it. Not sure of the cost to replace or repair as my service contract took care of the charges. Have noticed on the forum someone else reporting the replacement of their light engine about a yr ago and cost was somewhere in the upper $600 range.

Have started giving thought to selling the set while it is operating like new but then again with projection sets all but dead I'm sure it wouldn't bring much. If I had to have paid for the service I've had to have in the last 4 yrs, operating costs would be excessive. One lamp and rebuilt light engine would have cost in the $1k range, maybe even more. After paying $3k to buy the set, that translate to $1k/yr for ownership if I were to replace it now. Way too much.

Well, there you have it, if you own a DLP set and have not had to have DLP/light engine replaced, there is a big repair bill in your future if you hold on to the set. I suspect DLP chip started going, back 1000-1500 hrs ago.
Toshiba 56MX195
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
High Definition is the definition of life.

Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 239

I doubt that the DMD is going bad. If you can calibrate correct black levels and contrast levels with your system using a calibration DVD, you probably have an OK micromirror chip.
Commercial theaters use DLP projectors that rack up many hours with great reliability.
Many home DLP sets have suffered from loss of contrast related to cooling issues resulting in deposition of a vapor film on internal optics. If you experience a halo effect around white objects on a black background such as screen credits, you more that likely have dirty optics.
I had this problem with my 65" Mitsubishi and the light engine was replaced under contract. A shame as it just had dirty lenses and if it was my nickel I would have gone inside to do a little cleaning.
Regardless of problem cause/solution, home DLPs are a bit of a pita, but when they're good, they are very good!

Last edited by BANDB; 12-09-2009 at 01:17 PM.. Reason: url would not load
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