Lately, your projector lamp has been looking a little dull. Eager to find the cause, you perused its settings to find out how many lamp hours it has left and determine if it’s time to replace your projector lamp. However, when you found the lamp hours setting, you were met with an interesting value: equivalent lamp hours.
What do all these lamp hour settings mean and how can you check your projector’s lamp hours?
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to do both these tasks and more on Epson, Optoma, and BenQ units.
Let’s get started!
Meanings of Projector Lamp Hours
Your projector’s lamp hours refer to how many hours your unit’s lamp has been in use. So, if you’ve just turned on your projector for the first time and used it for two hours, its lamp hours should read “2.”
Every projector lamp model will boast a different lamp life depending on its lamp type and quality. However, you’ll find that many units’ lamp lives range anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 when in standard mode. Once the unit’s lamp hours exceed the lamp life, the projector bulb will dim by 50%, making the picture look dull.
However, if you fail to properly maintain your projector lamp, it may dim before reaching its expected lamp life.
So, if you notice that your projector’s lamp hours have exceeded its lamp life or that the lamp is looking dimmer than usual, it may be time to replace your lamp.
To learn more about how to tell when your projector lamp needs to be replaced, check out our article Projector Life Expectancy: How Long Do Bulbs Last?
Epson projector settings separate the lamp hours into two distinct sections: how many hours (represented by “H”) in Normal and ECO Power consumption mode.
Combined, these two values represent the total number of lamp hours your projector has been in use.
Epson makes it easy to identify if your projector’s lamp hours have or will soon exceed its lamp life by displaying them in yellow. So, if these values are yellow, then it’s time to start shopping for a replacement lamp.
Like Epson projectors, Optoma also categorizes its lamp hours in different sections depending on which mode was used. In your Optoma’s Info settings, you’ll typically find five lamp hour sections: Bright, Eco, Dynamic, Eco+, and Total.
The values next to Bright, ECO, Dynamic, and Eco+ plus represent how many lamp hours were used in each of these modes. Meanwhile, the value next to Total refers to the total number of lamp hours used. So, if you’re trying to compare the lamp hours to the lamp life, check the value beside Total.
BenQ projectors have, by far, the most complicated lamp hour settings. Under your projector’s Information tab, you will find Equivalent Lamp, which represents to the total number of lamp hours used.
However, calculating the Equivalent Lamp hours is not as simple as adding the number of hours in both Normal and Eco mode. Instead, your projector uses the following formula to come up with this total:
(2.4 x Hours in Normal mode) + (1.5 x Hours in Economic mode) + (1.0 x Hours in SmartEco mode).
Since all these modes use different amounts of energy, this formula is meant to demonstrate their effects on the lamp, thus creating the Equivalent Lamp hours.
How To Check the Lamp Hours on Your Projector
Now that you understand what your projector lamp hour values mean, it’s time to learn how to check them!
I recommend checking your projector lamp hours regularly to ensure you give yourself enough time to purchase a replacement lamp before they run out. Again, your projector lamp may expire earlier than expected if you overuse it or do not frequently clean and maintain it.
Step 1: Head to your Epson projector’s Menu screen by hitting the remote’s Menu key.
Step 2: Go to the Info tab followed by Projector Info.
Step 3: Navigate to the Lamp Hours section.
Step 1: Find and press the Menu button on your projector’s remote or control panel to navigate to the Menu screen.
Step 2: Go to Info and click on Lamp Hours.
Step 3: Here you will find your projector’s Lamp Hours information as shown.
Step 1: Hit your BenQ projector’s Menu button found on its control panel or remote.
Step 2: Open the Information tab to find the Equivalent Lamp section which displays the lamp hours.
Alternatively, go to SYSTEM SETUP: Advanced, followed by Lamp Settings. Here, you’ll find Equivalent Lamp which represents your unit’s lamp hours.
To learn more about how to check your BenQ projector’s lamp hours and how to extend its lamp hours, check out our detailed guide How to Check Lamp Hours on a BenQ Projector?
Bonus: Check the Lamp Hours on the Projector’s Service Menu
If your projector doesn’t have a remote or you need to try another method to check the lamp hours, consider using your unit’s service menu instead! This method is equally simple and will only take a few moments.
Let’s learn how to use your projector’s service menu to check the lamp hours on Epson, Optoma, and BenQ units!
Step 1: Locate the Menu button on your Epson projector’s control panel, and press and hold it for at least eight seconds before releasing it.
Step 2: Within four seconds of releasing the Menu button, quickly press the ESC button twice to open the Service Menu screen.
Step 3: Now, you will be able to see your projector’s Lamp Hours on-screen.
Step 1: To open your Optoma projector’s Software Settings screen, press the following control panel buttons: Power > Left > Right > Menu.
Step 2: Head to the Return to Service Menu and click the control panel’s Enter button.
Step 3: Now, you’ll be able to see your projector’s Lamp Hours on-screen.
Near the top of the screen, you will see a value labeled “Projection Hours,” which represents the total number of hours your projector has been in use since released from the factory. This number is different from the Lamp Hours, which refer to the number of hours the lamp has been in use.
The OSD Lamp Reset function will reset the OSD Lamp Hours and service mode Lamp Hours, returning them to “0.” This function should be utilized whenever you install a new projector lamp. However, the service mode Projection Hours will not be reset by this function.
Step 1: Press the Menu key on the projector’s control panel.
Step 2: To open the Service Menu screen, simultaneously press the Enter and Source buttons.
Step 3: Click the Right navigation button to highlight option 6.
Step 4: Hit the Down navigation button to see your projector’s Lamp Hours.
Wrapping Things Up
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your projector’s lamp hours to make sure your unit lamp is always in optimal condition. Expired projector lamps can produce images at 50% of their original brightness. So, make sure you get the most out of your unit by keeping its lamp in tip-top shape.
Depending on its brand, your projector will categorize and label its Lamp Hours settings differently. Luckily, these settings are easy to understand once you learn what these labels mean and how their values were calculated.
What’s your experience checking your projector lamp hours?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.