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NEC Projector Iris Error: Cause and Solution

NEC Projector Iris Error: Cause and Solution

When something has gone wrong with your projector’s iris mechanism, the projector may not switch on when you turn it on.

The good thing is that most causes of the iris error are easy to identify and correct without expert intervention.

Below, we show you how you can solve the NEC projector iris error.

What Causes NEC Projector Iris Error?

The iris error on NEC projectors registers when the iris mechanism isn’t operating as it should.

The projector iris has blades that open and close to control the amount of light projected onto the screen. It fully opens when casting bright whites and remains closed when projecting the darkest shadows.

iris blades

If something is wrong with the mechanism, the iris may stop moving, or its movement could become erratic. At this point, the projector detects a malfunction and sends an error alert. Then the projector’s status indicator turns red and blinks nine times.

There are numerous reasons why the NEC projector iris unit may fail. Let’s discuss the most common ones:

Temporary Startup Failure

Your NEC projector can suffer temporary system failure during startup. This could happen if the projector software does not load correctly.

Improper Connection

You could be getting errors because you haven’t connected the projector properly.

Check both the port connections and the wire connections inside the projector, especially if you had previously opened the device.

a projector on a table with VGA cable plugged in

You may have unwittingly disconnected the iris cable, for example. And when you turn on the projector, it will register an error because it cannot detect the iris.

Accumulated Dust

When dust accumulates on the iris mechanism, it can interfere with the component’s proper functioning.

Cleaning the iris can rectify the problem.

dust in the air through projector light

Increased Friction

As the metal bits of the iris mechanism rub against each other during use, the friction this causes can reduce the functionality of the iris.

Movement can eventually grind to a halt, and the projector will register this as an iris error.

Mechanical Failure

The iris is a moving component with parts that can malfunction due to regular wear and tear.

Parts like the motor and gear could also malfunction due to a mechanical issue that has nothing to do with regular wear.

In both cases, the unit will stop working.

Auto Iris on a Projector lens

How to Solve a NEC Projector Iris Error

Here are the steps you can take to solve the NEC projector iris error:

Power Cycle The Projector

Begin by turning off the projector for a few minutes and then turning it on again.

If the iris error was a temporary glitch caused by a system failure during startup, rebooting the projector may solve the problem.

turn off projector by clicking power button

Check The Connections

If restarting the projector does not solve the error, check your connections.

Unplug the power cord and then open the projector and inspect it for any loose wires.

Check whether the iris cable (the multicolored cable with the most wires) is loose and reattach it to the connector if so.

unplug a projector

Clean And Oil The Iris Mechanism

If all the connections seem okay, try cleaning and oiling the iris mechanism.

You’ll need to open the projector to access the iris unit. However, only do this if your warranty is exhausted otherwise you may render your warranty void.

The iris mechanism is right next to the lamp. And for most NEC projectors, to get to it, you have to remove the motherboard.

With some models like the PA500X, PA500U, and others, you can remove the iris without lifting the motherboard.

NEC NP-PA500X - LCD Projector - 3D Ready - 5000 ANSI lumens - XGA (1024 x 768) - 4:3 - no Lens
  • Display Technology: 0.79" LCD w/ MLA
  • Contrast Ratio (up to): 2000:1
  • Lamp Type: 330W AC/264W eco

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Follow the steps below to access the iris. You can also watch how Youtuber Steve Fixes Stuff diagnoses his NEC PA500U on his Iris Failed video tutorial for further guidance.

NEC PA500U Projector Disassembly, Diagnosis & Repair Calibration of the Iris has Failed Error
  • Switch off the projector and unplug it from the power outlet.
  • Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws on the projector casing.
  • Remove the air filter(s).
  • Lift the casing
  • Disconnect the lens cover sensor wire from the motherboard.
  • Remove the casing.
  • Check whether the iris is accessible. Can you see a metal shield next to the lamp?
  • If yes, great. The iris is right beneath that shield, and you don’t need to remove the motherboard.
  • If you can’t see a metal shield or can only see a small portion of it, you have to lift the motherboard to access the iris.
  • Disconnect the cables on either side of the mainboard so you can flip the board.
  • Loosen the LCD ribbons.
  • Lift the motherboard and rotate it to its side. You’re lifting the motherboard from the rear side (side with no cables) and rolling it to the front side (side with multiple cables/connectors + the lens).
  • Place something sturdy underneath the motherboard for support. This will ensure that the wires on the motherboard don’t stretch or break.
  • You should now be able to access the iris unit.
  • Loosen the screws and remove the metal shield. Then remove the iris.
  • Next, disassemble the iris unit.
  • Remove the motor and disconnect the motor PCB from the iris. Then loosen the gear and remove the blades.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the larger parts of any dirt and dust. To clean tighter, harder-to-reach bits, use a compressed air duster.
  • Next, apply some lubricant on a cotton swab and oil the moving parts—the gear and blades.
  • Examine all the parts for signs of wear or damage. If some parts are damaged or worn out, they may not be working properly and could be the culprit behind the iris error.
  • But before making that conclusion, you need to test the unit to see whether cleaning and lubricating it makes a difference.
  • Reassemble the unit and turn on the projector.

Still getting the same error? Try replacing the gear or motor.

Replace The Gear

The gear is responsible for helping the iris blades move. If the gear malfunctions, the iris mechanism dies.

Try moving the gear wheels with your thumb. If they don’t move, you definitely have a faulty gear system.

Contact NEC Support to find out if the gears on your projector model are replaceable. If they’re not replaceable, you may need to replace the entire iris unit.

Iris of Projector

Replace The Motor

If you have a replacement motor, this will be a breeze. You can also get one from a local electronics shop or order one online.

I have to say that this option works best if your NEC projector is no longer under warranty. Remember you are replacing an original component. Your dealer may consider this a major alteration that invalidates your warranty.

If no solution seems to work, contact NEC’s customer support service for advice on what to do next.

They could refer you to your dealer for help, send a replacement unit, or ask you to send it in for repair. It all depends on the Terms & Conditions stipulated when you bought the projector.

Replace The Iris Unit

The last option is to replace the iris unit.

For a unit that’s warranty has expired, you can buy a new or used iris to replace the faulty one in your projector.

NEC NP-350W LCD Video Projector Auto Iris Replacement

You can get in touch with NEC for further guidance if unsure of how to source a replacement part. They may be able to send you a replacement unit or repair the device for you.

Seek Professional Help

If nothing changes even after replacing the iris, the issue may be more complex than you can handle on your own.

Talk to an NEC dealer to get further help.

Conclusion

Different factors can cause the iris error on an NEC projector.

Things like system failure, dust, a faulty motor or gear, and mechanical failure can all lead to iris failure.

The steps discussed above can help you counter these shortcomings and correct the error.

In the worst scenario, you may need to replace the entire iris mechanism. But that’s usually a last resort, applicable only when every other solution has failed.

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