Help me repair my Epson EX51 projector
November 6, 2012 9:11 PM   Subscribe

I want to repair my Epson EX51 projector. Help me find the resources to do it.

My question is about my Epson EX51 projector. I’ve been having some problems with it. Hopefully some of you have some experiences with projectors generally or this specific projector. I would prefer to repair this projector rather than buy a new one. I had the projector for about a year before it had any problems, and then about 8 months where the problems didn’t interfere with normal operation much. The projector is ceiling mounted and is exposed to cigarette smoke pretty much whenever it is in use.

The first sign of trouble was that sometimes the projector bulb would have a hard time striking/lighting. I’d turn the projector on, and it would spin its fans for awhile (maybe a minute and a half?) before finally the bulb warning light would light up red and the fans would shut down. The projector would at that point not respond to panel buttons and had to be unplugged to try again. Very rarely, if I left the projector on when this happened (before the fans shut down), the bulb would light in a minute or so. Mostly, I fixed this problem by removing and reseating the bulb. 99% of the time this would result in the projector lighting up right away and working fine for hours on end. I persisted reseating the bulb as my method of getting it working for about 8 months. Sometimes (rarely) I’d just unplug the projector and power it up again and it would work, but usually I had to reseat the bulb.

What’s happening now is similar, but slightly different. I turn on the projector, it lights right away, no problem. It projects the Epson logo for a few seconds, then I will usually see a split second of my computer desktop and the bulb goes out and both Bulb and Temp warning lights light up, and the fans go into jet engine mode. I have been unable to get it to do anything else for about a week. This week, I took the top cover off the projector and blew compressed air into the fans and ducts, cleaned the filter, reseated the fan connectors too. The projector was pretty clean, considering it is exposed to cigarette smoke a lot. This wasn’t just canned compressed air either, I used my shop air compressor. It blows pretty freaking hard. After cleaning I re-assembled... same problem.

Btw, in all of the above, you can swap “reseat” for “exchange” - when I reseated, I would sometimes swap the bulb for another bulb. I have 3 bulbs and like to spread out usage over them - I have used each for approx. 300-400 hours, well below their supposed operational lifetime. Exchanging bulbs worked just as well as reseating.

My googling has revealed someone else who had a similar problem. He was advised that his issue might be the “fan sensor” - which would have to be replaced.

I’m hoping that my problem is simply that cigarette smoke has fouled the “fan sensor” and that if I could locate this part I could clean it or source a replacement.

So does anyone know what’s going on with my projector? Can anyone find me an Epson EX51 service manual? Can anyone that fixed their own projector before offer me advice or tips of any kind? I am hoping not to have to buy a new projector. The bulbs for this one cost about 200 bucks a pop so it’d be a shame to waste them.
And yes... I’m aware that smoking around a projector is really stupid. If I can get this fixed, I’m going to use a length of dryer hose and an outside vent so the projector can pull in fresh air from the outside.

tl;dr I want to repair rather than replace my broken Epson EX51 projector, help me find resources to help me do that.
posted by signsofrain to Technology (2 answers total)
Sounds like false detection of a parameter that would fall into 'safety' territory. Hence, any advice I would give to circumvent it would be unwise. These things get hot. It's doing what it's supposed to do if things get out of hand, and you don't want to disable the behavior, you want to correct the incorrect sensing.

Personally, if it's a breed weakness, I'd lean on the manufacturer for advice and because of the economics and the safety issue, not to mention the intermittent nature of the problem, I'd recommend factory maintenance. it would be out of service for a bit, but the trial and error nature of your blind troubleshooting without a schematic isn't safe.

fixing this type of thing is something I'd do, but I've been fixing stuff like that for 35 years. I recognize parts, topologies, techniques that are non-obvious. I'm also used to inserting things like chilling spray, board flexing under power, looking for cold solder joints and other evidence of intermittents, taking apart large complex/multiboard assemblies, etc.
posted by FauxScot at 2:42 AM on November 7, 2012

Here's the user guide. It suggests that you may have a dirty, clogged filter.

I'd check that and also do some clean up with some contact cleaner before hitting it with air again.
posted by snsranch at 4:01 PM on November 9, 2012

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