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Lamp life and common failures explained for SMART projectors

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Questions & Answer
SMART projector lamps are rated using the industry standard method.
Lamp life is defined as:
  • The rated time until lamp brightness declines 50% and for which 50% of a population of lamps are still functional.  
  • Functional means the lamp hasn't failed.
    • A lamp that does not reach 50% brightness is deemed a failure.
    • A shattered lamp or one that doesn't strike and light up is a failure.  
    • A lamp that flickers is deemed a failure.
    • There is an exception during the first 100 hours of life. During this time a small amount of flicker is acceptable. After 100 hours, the flicker must disappear. If it doesn't, the lamp is deemed a failure.
  •  For a population of 10 lamps, only five of these may achieve the rated lamp life, and with a reduced brightness.

Common Lamp Failures


When a lamp is new (defined as within the first 100 hours of operation), some lamps have arc electrodes that aren't well formed. After several lamp strikes and about 100 hours of operation, this low level but possibly noticeable flicker will disappear. This is normal lamp behavior.

Severe flickering isn't normal. Severe flickering is a lamp failure at any time in the lifetime of a lamp. If a flicker is noticed by only a fraction of observers, it's not deemed severe. If all observers can see the flicker, it's deemed severe. For instance, if every student in a class can see the flicker no matter what the content, the flicker is probably unacceptable and constitutes a lamp failure. If only a few students can see the flicker and only in certain areas of the image, this isn't considered severe.

All digital projectors, no matter the technology, will exhibit some image crawl or flicker in areas of the image that are uniform gray or other color levels. This is a digital effect and will vary with picture content. Don't confuse this effect with lamp flicker.

Dim Image

All projector lamps have a characteristic brightness decay curve that describes the expected output in brightness over the lamp’s operating life. Different types of lamps have different curves. For lamps in SMART projectors, lamps that reach the rated lamp life will have typically declined by 50% in brightness.

Failure to strike or remain lit

The projector doesn't turn on or turns off after turning on. The LED status lights will indicate a lamp failure.

Shattered or broken lamp

Although not common, it is possible for some lamps to shatter or break inside the projector.  Follow the instructions in the projector system's user guide for further details.See
First PublishedJuly 6, 2016
Last Updated
Operating Systems
SMART HardwareUF35, UF45, UF55, UF65, UF75, UF70, UX60, UX80, U100, V25, V30, LR60wi, LR60wi2
SMART Software



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