Building an Overhead Projector Survival Kit

Many times I am asked what I would presume to be the appropriate tools to
have when using an Overhead Projector to make a presentation. Without stating the obvious I would assume that all of you are aware that
you would certainly need to have an Overhead Projector. Ahh, but what type
of Overhead Projector should you choose?

If you are traveling quite a bit and use your Overhead Projector to make
your sales or training presentations then you should consider using a
portable Overhead Projector. Now some of these portables fold to the size
of a briefcase making travel through airports easy. Other types of Overhead
Projectors have a folding post which makes the projector easy to transport
and will easily fit in your car.

Once you have decided on which type of Overhead Projector best fits your
needs its then time to put together what I call an “Overhead Projector
Survival kit”. Keep in mind there is nothing worse than a room fool of
students or potential clients and finding yourself caught unprepared. With all that said, here is what I would consider to bare essentials for an
“Overhead Projector Survival Kit”

The spare lamp: Always have a spare lamp with you, even if your Overhead Projector is
equipped with the lamp changer feature. Projection lamps are fairly
inexpensive and I suggest having several spares on hand. One more note that I would like to add here. Make sure you carry on your
person or noted inside of your Overhead Projector what the ordering code is
for the projection Lamp. If for some reason you would need to purchase
additional spares while on the road this information could prove to be
invaluable to you in a moments notice. It is also very helpful to have the
800 number of your favorite AV Parts supplier on hand for easy access to
all your Overhead Projector needs while you are on the road.

Transparency pens: Never assume that the classroom or the Board Room where you will be
putting on your presentation will have the proper transparency pens and
transparency film on hand. My personal preference are the water soluble
pens, there are many instances where I tend to wear more of the marker than
my transparencies. Water soluble pens are easy to wash away where the
permanent pens require a bit more effort to remove from ones hands! A
selection of different colored pens always makes for a nice presentation as

Cleaning towels and water: That’s right, water. When it comes to cleaning the optics of your Overhead
Projector nothing works better than water. I have seen more damage done to
the optics of Overhead Projectors by end users using chemicals or even
something as simple as window cleaner. Stick with the water; we use it as
an optical cleaner everyday in our repair shop. Now in conjunction with
your water you will need a quality cleaning cloth. Paper towels will NOT
do. They scratch the sensitive surface of your optics. I suggest using a
fiber optic towel or something similar. They are specially designed to
clean surfaces of Fresnel Lenses and Optical Glass without scratching.

Extension cord and adapter: I can’t tell you how many times I hear stories about someone having all
the right tools, but no way to get power to their Overhead Projector
because the cord will not reach across the room to the only available AC
Outlet. I suggest having an extension cord with a minimum length of 25
feet. Now once you have accomplished reaching the AC Outlet, how
frustrating is to find that the receptacle does not take a grounded plug.
Oh how I share your frustrations. Always and I mean always, have at least
two AC Adapters that will allow your grounded AC cord form your Overhead
Projector to plug into those old style AC outlets that have no ground plug.

Spare Parts: Now if you are somewhat mechanically inclined, then you may want to
consider having a few spare parts available for some simple repairs that
could be done either in your hotel room or at home. A simple set of tools
will also be required. Your Electronic tools should include wire nippers
for cutting and stripping wire, a cordless solder iron with some solder, a
small amount of 1/8″ heat shrink tubing and a small set of screwdrivers
with both flat blade and Phillips type heads. Now needless to say any
serious electrical problems should be left to a professional electronic
technician, but a change of a lamp socket which requires only a screw
driver in most instances or replacing a broken stage glass are simple
repairs that can be done in the field if you have the spare parts on hand.
This could save you many hours of searching for either a repair shop or
rental store trying to find a back up Overhead Projector.

You most likely will have some of your own items you will want to add to
your own “Overhead Projector Survival Kit”. This article should give you a
good foundation to build on and help save you some embarrassing moments the
next time you go to make your presentation with your favorite Overhead

Mark Boehm is the president of M-B Electronics
[] He has over 25 years of experience in the
Audio Visual and Electronics Industry. You can contact M-B Electronics
[] at 800-872-9456 or

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