Unlike televisions, projectors don’t operate instantaneously. In other words, you cannot suddenly turn your projector on and off like you would a TV.
Depending on the usage and environment, projectors can get hot relatively quickly. And when that happens, it’s advisable to turn off the device and let it have a breather.
Such thermal issues, however, are pretty much non-existent with televisions. And even if there are, they do not impede performance or prevent you from using the device as usual.
If you’ve been a TV user all your life and have just bought your first projector, you must know a few things about projector usage. This article shall discuss them all so that you do not inadvertently hurt your projector or cause it to underperform.
- Is It Bad to Turn On/Off a Projector Multiple Times in a Day?
- What Happens When you Suddenly Turn Your Projector On/Off?
- Is It Okay to Leave the Projector on All Day?
- Put the Projector on Standby Mode
- What are the Dos and Don’ts of Projector Usage?
Is It Bad to Turn On/Off a Projector Multiple Times in a Day?
Yes, turning your projector on and off multiple times a day is detrimental to the machine.
Turn off a projector only if you’re not going to use it for the next hour or two. However, if you’re taking a short 10-minute loo break, pause the device.
According to users on this Reddit thread, firing up a projector for a few minutes and turning it off right after is akin to running the device for hours together. That means a steep decline in lamp life non-proportionate to actual use.
In other words, the exertion or thermal impact on the bulb and other components would be pretty much the same. That said, the information is anecdotal and there are no credible sources or industry experts validating that information. Therefore, take it with a grain of salt.
You can also put the projector on standby. (More on projector standby mode later.)
What Happens When you Suddenly Turn Your Projector On/Off?
For starters, turning off a projector and restarting it right away puts stress on the bulb and shortens its lifespan. The exact number of hours you knock off the bulb by doing that depends on the lamp type.
High-pressure mercury lights that projectors traditionally use have a shorter lifespan compared to the more efficient LED lamps. On the other hand, a LED bulb trails laser lights in terms of longevity.
Projector bulbs take time to cool once the projector is shut down. If you hear the fan running loud and clear, that’s the device trying to dissipate the heat.
It’s not just the bulb that faces the brunt when you power on the device immediately after having just turned it off.
The power surge that occurs when you restart the projector can damage the other built-in components.
Therefore, do not unplug the projector immediately after shutting it down and while the lamp is still warm. Wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes before calling it a day or and only turn on the device if it has been off for that minimum time period.
Though the bare minimum time between subsequent power on and offs is only 10 to 15 minutes, An hour break or more is preferable.
The damaging aspect aside, bulbs take time to perform at full capacity. When you turn off a projector and turn it on after a few minutes, the picture may not be as bright as before.
As a precautionary measure, some manufacturers do not let you turn off the device until the lamp is stable enough to perform at its best.
Is It Okay to Leave the Projector on All Day?
It is okay to leave your projector on all day if you’d use the device intermittently during the day.
In fact, leaving the projector on is better than turning it on or off multiple times a day, as the latter practice will hurt the bulb.
But it is not advisable to leave your projector on all day if you are not going to use it.
After all, your projector is not some refrigerator that needs to stay on to keep its contents fresh or prevent them from going bad. Doing so with a projector will have the exact opposite effect and overheat it.
Remember, when you leave the projector on, it’s still consuming electricity.
Although the usage level is likely to be minuscule, it’s technically still sipping on power. And when it continues using energy for days on end, the power consumption would likely create a dent in your utility bills.
Not to mention, increased traditional electrical consumption is bad for the environment.
Projectors Have a Tendency of Overheating
Projectors are notorious for running hot. And when you do not power off the device, it remains warm, preventing the various parts within from taking a breather. This negatively reflects on the device’s performance.
The continuous use shortens the bulb’s lifespan, which is purely runtime-based. Luckily, the bulb is replaceable and may get covered under the warranty. Some replacement bulbs could be hard to find or outright expensive, however.
And your projector will run hotter than usual if placed in a “non-friendly” environment.
In other words, high room temperature, dust, and inadequate-to-no-ventilation are settings in which your projector would feel the burden even more.
The fan will constantly run, and based on the environment, it will accumulate dust and become noisier.
The air filter will become dirty quicker. And to clean all that soot, you’ll have to take the filter out after turning off the projector.
It’s not plausible (or safe!) to tend to the filter while it’s still cradled inside, much less when placed inside a projector that’s still running.
Put the Projector on Standby Mode
Instead of letting your projector stay on throughout the day, leave it on standby mode. When the device is on standby, it’s awaiting immediate deployment.
There’s minimal electricity consumption on standby, akin to being powered off essentially.
Most importantly, the power surge effects discussed earlier would not be an issue if a projector is activated from a standby state.
Turning off the projector is still recommended if you do not use your projector every day or will be out of town for a few days.
While there’s no actual harm in leaving the device on standby for days together, there’s no need for it if you’re going to be away for some time.
That is unless the first thing you want to do upon return is turn on the projector and use it right away, unwilling to wait for the device to warm itself up for action.
And in case you were wondering, standby mode and “black screen” features are not the same thing.
The projector lamp is still in use with the black screen functionality enabled, which isn’t the case with standby.
You may, however, employ the black screen when pausing sessions.
A Few Things to Do If You Plan to Keep Your Projector Always Running
To reiterate, leaving your projector on all day is not ideal. But if you choose to keep the device powered on continuously, ensure the following:
- Make sure the projector is in an air-conditioned room, particularly if you live in a hot area.
- Buy an extended warranty for the projector lamp because you’ll need it.
- Keep the lamp at its lowest brightness settings or enable efficiency mode.
What are the Dos and Don’ts of Projector Usage?
Besides being sensible enough not to leave your projector on and forget about it, here are other things you must be mindful of after or before buying a projector:
- Read the manual before installing the device or powering it on. If you don’t have the time and patience to read the entire thing, at least scan through the texts to glean essential information. Those will come in handy when you hit a roadblock when using the device.
- Decide your projector mounting spot after meticulously planning and considering multiple aspects such as projector angle, ventilation, etc. In other words, do some math. If your projector has a fixed lens, that must be considered before setting it up.
- Do not place the device anywhere near a fireplace or any other heat sources. It will only exacerbate your projector’s inherent tropical tendencies.
- Know what cables and other accessories you’ll need to create the proper projector setup.
- For optimal viewing experience, have the ambient light in control. If you’re using the projector during the day, ensure the window blinds are on to let in very little light.
- Keep up with the projector’s routine maintenance schedule, even if you do not actively use the device. An unboxed projector is vulnerable to airborne dust and temperature, and it will require sprucing up too.
Projectors have been around for quite some time now. But they still haven’t become the mainstay or dethroned the TVs due to the several quirks with their setup and use.
Not being able to turn a projector on and off with little to no time gap between the two subsequent actions is one of those minor annoyances.
While you can technically still use the projector without paying heed to the cooling phases, it’s strictly advised not to do so.
Use the television instead.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.