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Friday, November 11, 2011

Counterfeit Projector Lamps

Counterfeit Projector Lamps
Lots of distributors that claim to sell OEM bulbs in 3rd party housing may actually (knowingly or unknowingly), be selling counterfeit OEM projector lamps.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This is supposed to mean the lamp that was originally in the projector when it was new. Companies like Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Samsung and the like do not make bulbs. Instead they contract with major bulb manufacturers to make the bulbs for them. These are the OEM manufacturers that lamp distributors refer to.
You should be able to determine the manufacture of the projector bulb by looking at the back of the reflector. If it said VIP, it was Osram; UHP is Philips and USH is Ushio. Not true anymore. Now it seems that some of these reflectors are being reused by replacing the arc tube with a substandard version. The reflector is the same, the arc tube is not. These are fit into compatible housings and marketed as OEM bulbs. You see the familiar VIP, UHP and USH on the back of the bulb and you assume you are getting the OEM version. Many times you are not.
How can you tell the difference? The performance will be one way to tell. How long does your lamp work, before you see a significant lumen drop off? This is a tell tale sign of a counterfeit lamp. Another is price. If someone claims to be selling an OEM lamp and they are cheaper than everyone else online. They are cutting corners somewhere. Does your lamp have one of the OEM brand labels on the outside of the box? What if my supplier offers me a long warranty period? These lamps do not have to be extinguished to be of little value. It’s like the old LED emergency lights. They still work but they are so dim, they have lost their usefulness.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Radioactive Elements in Projector Lamps

Radioactive Elements in Projector Lamps

Recycling projector lamps is an important responsibility of projector owners as these lamps contain toxic and radioactive material.

Most people know that many of the lamps we use contain mercury. It’s usually stamped on the box of the projector lamp. But did you know that many lamps also contain radioactive elements as well?

Krypton-85 is a radioactive element that is produced in large quantities by nuclear reactors and when processing nuclear fuels. A small amount of this gas is added to many projector lamps to help reduce the ignition voltage. Lowering the ignition voltage is important to projector lamp manufacturers as this allows them to decrease the size of the projector lamp and therefore the projector.

Alternative methods to reducing ignition voltage in arc tubes have been designed by Philips. This technique requires an arc tube to contain a small cavity or bubble before the main chamber of the arc tube. This bubble called a UV enhancing chamber contains a mercury-argon mixture and molybdenum foil that ignites at much lower voltages, which in turn allows the main chamber to ignite as well.

As more and more counterfeit projector lamp manufacturers come on the scene, we have seen a variety of methods of producing copy cat projector lamps. Some manufacturers replace the complete module, some will refit old projector lamp modules and some will replace just the burner or arc tube. Many of these tubes are greatly inferior to the original lamp manufacturer as they do not have the ability (legally or physically) to produce lamps with the UV enhancing chamber. Their answer to this problem is to utilize Krypton 85 to help lower the ignition.

Our ability to identify legitimate OEM bulbs is reduced because of the practice of some manufacturers to replace the arc tube in old Philips and Osram bulbs with an inferior arc tube. The resulting lamp is then installed in an aftermarket housing and sold as an OEM lamp as the reflector still has the familiar UHP or VIP OEM codes on the back.

How can you tell if you are getting a real OEM lamp? Good question. If you buy the original manufacturers lamp it should come in the original manufactures container with all the written material from the original manufacturer. Sometime a lamp for an Eiki projector will come in a Sanyo box. That’s OK. If the lamp comes in a plain box with no brand name, then you might get suspicious. It’s virtually impossible to tell if the lamp inside is an original or a original with a counterfeit arc tube. We suggest that you buy from reputable distributors such as

By itself a most projector lamps do not compose a threat to health or safety. When stockpiled or when not manufactured or disposed of in safe controlled ways the lamp could be a threat to people and the environment.