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Projector Light Bulbs are too expensive, Lets make an LED based one! Answered

The idea is very simple
PRojector Bulbs last average 2000 hours and cost $500 plus dlls.

Lets make an LED based projector that will last at least 15 times that and cost under a hundred.

With these:

And this instructable:

Yes, light issues due to wavelength variations are expected as well as fan issues but all is needed is an old projector and +/- 10 high power LEDs and lots of instructa- bility.
I am currently hunting for a damaged projector to experiment with...

Please feel free to comment



Just thought I would add a little or my knowledge, I’ve been working with refurbishing all types of projectors for many years now, I have retrofitted a projector with a 100w led which actually works quite well although a little dim, the LED is stated to output 8,000 Lumens but I have not tested this, however it’s probably worth noting that the reason it’s so dim is because a standard short arc UHP lamp in a projector outputting let’s say 1,000 ANSI lumens will produce close to 15,000 lumens they are INSANELY bright I have run some without a projector (don’t try that at home) and they are easily capable of burning objects and your retinas at a distance of around 60cm from the lamp, but that’s off topic, it’s also worth mentioning that an LCD projector will output around 20% more light from the same power lamp than an DLP (don’t confuse that with contrast though) so it makes sense to use an LCD projector, I have seen somewhere on the internet that you can now get 500W LED chips if I can get my hands on one I would give it a try but part of the brightness issue with LEDs is down to focusing, projector lamps use reflectors to focus the beam down to around 8 – 20 degrees (lamp dependant) whereas most LEDs I’ve seen have a bean angle of around 120 degrees and light is lost by focusing it, it can be done… keep the faith people.

you cant use leds to replace the bulb.you have to trick the circuits into thinking there is a bulb in there ,and this requires a direct short like in those start up things you get in fluorescent lights .also has anyone tried using a car headlamp there cheap.ive only got 200 hours left on mine,and the worry is slowly creeping in lol.

Tricking the circut is easy. the PSU just sends a +5v signal to the Projector telling it to start working. all you have to do os keep that live and you can get rid of the PSU (assuming is a seperate part.)

I made one. Well, at least I tried. Here it is:
The projector is a Toshiba LCD projector I bought cheaply without the bulb.
As you can see, I bought the most expensive LED I could get my hands on. There are better ones, though. The light output is fairly low, see the photos im my album above. Nevertheless, a not too dark movie is perfectly viewable.
Right now I'm thinking about using a 9 LED matrix (some Nichia LEDs I also bought. The total lumens output should be above 2000 lumens. Hopefully this idea will yeld better results. Time is an issue right now as this week I'm going to be a daddy :-) For the first time.

I forgot, this led was a white CREE MC-E M LED, Star, white, 752 lumens, 4 chips, 110 degree (light beam) + one diffuse 45 degrees lens. Three or four of those would work great. However there's no way to connect 4 of them in a matrix so close to each other. And you need them to be as close as possible.


Ebay is loaded with HighPower LED's I just ordered a 50w (4000lm) LED for $50USD with a powersupply.

This thread is about a year old but anyone still looking a 20W led from ebay will put out about 1100 to 1600lm a 50w would do 2000. I am trying to do this with a projection TV. There are 2 options for focusing the light. (or mix both) one is use the reflector of the original bulb, cut the base of the bulb out and mount the led with a 90 degree lens. or just mount a Fresnel lens ahead of the LED. If you do both you will get the total effect of the LED and use all the light. they are really cheap on ebay. around $50US for the 50w. You do need a heatsink with a fan. The cooler you keep the bulb the longer it will last. 5000 to 10000 hours. maybe more. My hurdle right now is to get rid of the original power supply. My tv wont even start unless the bulb starts. So I have to simulate the command the Power supply would send to the mainboard. If anyone has an Idea on that I would have a functional LED Projector mod.

Correction, the 50w is said to put out 3500 4500 lm. I have ordered one and disabled the PSU.


8 years ago

you're right about having to trick the circuits. You will also need to do the same with a car headlamp and if you happen to have a DLP projector, then you are stuffed like me because the pount source needs to be tiny to get adequate light inside the light tunnel. So just like to thank Gizmotech for providing us with the link as I had searched everywhere in the hope for a replacement bulb. Never thought it was available. I now have my beloved Infocus SP5700 running for another 2000 hours! Saved myself over £300. My hats off to you :-)

www.lumenarc.co.uk sells just the bulb on it's own. I think there is far less inolved not to mention have an external power supply for the led for this mod.

We'll have to wait for a long time to see a viable LED bulb that's fit for home projectors. It can be done by today's standards but the resulted contraption will likely to warm up a whole room while being a bulky as your microwave oven placed on top of your projector. And you'd still have to deal with lower luminosity or distorted chromatics. Not to mention fans noise for that huge heatsink it will require. Or the hole those OSRAM LEDs left in your pocket.


10 years ago

LCD projectors won't do! - Use a DLP projector and remove the colorwheel. - Install red, green and blue LEDs. - Then build a circuit to light up Red, Green, and Blue LED's in synch with the colorwheel. With this method you only lit the LED's a third of the time and can overdrive them a bit without overheating them.

I used to work in the projector industry and believe me the idea has been broached.

Go to http://www.laminaceramics.com/ and you might find something that could help.


10 years ago

You could look into CREE or Luxeon LEDs for something like this... these are a bit expensive, they're used in high-end flashlights, but they are far, far brighter than regular LEDs.

Check the lumenlabs site. They've got a great projector bulb for $30 that lasts I think 10,000 hours.

X X (me crossing my fingers)

Yes!! I'm counting on you guys. I'm throwing visuals for Magic Mike and De La Soul in Nov. I know this venue and I'll be fine with my current bulb, but at $500 a pop I'll be hurtin real soon. I heart you dejabox, LasVegas, and NatchoMahma for putting your heads together1 -karen

As nacho points out. To get the brightness you need would require a lot of LEDs (or a very, very large one). Even the cheapest home projector needs about 800-2100 lumens. And that's for a small room! They also require a more accurate color temperature (Somewhere around 8300) than LEDs can supply. White LEDs are actually blue LEDs with a phosphor that glows yellowish with the blue giving an illusion of white. While it looks white, it's not going to produce effective colors when projecting color pictures.

. What is the lumen output of the projector bulb? The white LEDs you link to are only 70-80 lumens each.