When Projectors Explode

It’s been over three years since I set up my movie room in my house. Over those three years, I’ve had no complaints. It’s been a splendid experience, and it remains one of my favorite things about our house. (Yay for successful renovation projects!)

Last Friday evening, however, MC was up watching Netflix in the movie room when suddenly the projector let out a loud sound, as if it had been shot. She came running in, crying and scared, saying she’d broken it somehow. Of course, she hadn’t actually broken anything. The bulb (“lamp” if you’re being picky, Steve) had given up the ghost, exploding into a lot of little glassy pieces. (All of which remained in the projector casing, thankfully, so no one was injured.)

It was at that point that I realized just how much I’d come to take that projector for granted. Being able to go upstairs, press a button on my remote, and have a lovely viewing experience was just something that had become par for the course. All at once, the largest screen I had in the house was my laptop. Going from 105 inches down to 13 is . . . quite the jump. Especially when you were planning a family Oscar party for that weekend.

I got online, hoping there would be an easy fix for this. When you live in the hinterlands of Maine, there is no easy fix for anything, unless it’s “I want to go for a hike.” A brand X replacement bulb would be $100, and a name-brand one would set me back $250. I went with the name-brand, because I wasn’t confident enough in the no-names that I wanted to save money risking them. If one bulb lasts me 3+ years, then I think I can shell out $80/year or so to keep my movie addiction satisfied.

It didn’t arrive until yesterday, even paying for 2 day shipping. In the meantime, I checked a projector out of the library, and I sat it on a table in our movie room, hooking my laptop up to it and then my laptop’s sound up to my surround sound. It got us through the Oscars and a few nights, but it was far from ideal. (Mainly because I didn’t have an easy way to control the thing. Pausing meant getting up from my chair and walking across the room. #firstworldproblems)

I swapped the bulb out last night, and it was a smooth, easy process. I just had to unscrew three screws, take out the whole bulb package and swap it out with the new one. Once that was done, I just screwed it all back together and pressed power. The whole thing was back to normal.

When I originally went with a projector over a television, this was the part that had scared me the most, to be honest. What if they bulb blew, and it was hard to replace? Now that I’ve done it, I know the scariest part of the whole thing was when the actual bulb shattered, just because it was loud. If I’d bought a replacement bulb and had it on hand, I could have been up and running again an hour later. (Just need to give the thing time to let it cool down, because who needs bad burns?)

Hopefully I’m good for another three years!


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