Video projectors can be an expensive investment. Maintaining them is worth the effort and now more simple than ever. Projectors are air-cooled and it is critical that airflow remains constant to prevent overheating and damage to internal components. Fans bring air in from the outside, pass it through the projector, usually directed over critical sections and then out through a vented panel. Since room air is used in this process, dust that floats in room air is also pulled into the projector. The projector’s air filter prevents these particles from getting in the optical path and degrading image quality. If it is not regularly cleaned dust can clog the filter reducing airflow and ultimately damaging the projector.
Below is a typical projector. This unit has a side-mounted filter. Depending on the model, filters will generally be located on the side or the bottom. After removing the filter cover, the filter should be exposed. Every model is slightly different so please consult the user’s manual for more specific instructions on removing the filter. In this photo, the filter can be seen. Note the dust in the filter. The lines are caused by the grill pattern on the filter cover.
Once the filter has been removed, it can be cleaned in several ways. Compressed air can be used to blow the dust out of the filter from the opposite side. Most filters can also be cleaned with a vacuum or by using warm water. If you use water, be sure the filter is completely dry before putting it back into the projector.
Reassemble the filter and cover according to the manual. Many projectors also come with timers that remind you it is time to clean the filter so check the instruction guide to see if your unit has a timer and how to reset the timer if necessary.
Clean filters can make a projector last longer and help you get the most life out of the expensive lamps in the units. Dirty filters lead to many problems including overheating, poor image quality, blown lamps, and degraded optics. The filter cleaning process only takes a few minutes, but it is the single most important maintenance activity an end-user can perform.