The lamp is the integral part of any projector, so this is one area you
can’t afford to skimp on – although it doesn’t have to be as expensive as
you might think. Original Toshiba projector lamps are precision made to
exacting standards – currently, there are only four or five manufacturers
worldwide making high quality projector bulbs – so it makes sense to
purchase one recommended by the manufacturer, rather than a cheap and
If this makes you balk, you can make substantial savings by buying your
Toshiba projector lamps online, from a supplier endorsed by Toshiba. To
bring costs down further, these same suppliers often sell duplicate lamps
as well as manufacturer’s originals. These are not always inferior
products; they can be as good as the real thing, but use different
materials (such as the housing, packaging etc). The important part – the
bulb – will either be a Toshiba original, or a top quality alternative from
a manufacturer such as Osram or Phillips.
The things to look out for are suspiciously cheap “Toshiba projector lamps”
packaged to look like the original and delivered from a foreign supplier.
On closer inspection, these lamps are often fake and have not passed the
rigorous quality controls imposed upon genuine alternatives. They are
illegal, and often dangerous; nobody wants to have a mercury vapour bulb
explode in their face. Yet this is what can happen if you buy projector
bulbs from a disreputable source.
Of course, you can’t “see before you buy” online, which is why it’s so
important to only use sites endorsed to sell the original product. If they
also sell replica projector lamps, these should be clearly packaged to
reflect this fact and you should always get a full guarantee and “no
quibble” returns policy, whichever brand you choose.
When you see how projector lamps are made, it’s easy to see why they’re so
dear. This is not a high yield, bulk-consumable product. Mercury vapour
bulbs are designed to last a long time, and replacements have a finite
lifespan (owing to the possibility of loss of pressure over time, leading
to a duller output). Consumer demand is therefore quite low, meaning
Toshiba projector lamps are made in relatively small batches. The machinery
is very expensive, and since it is used throughout the entire Toshiba range
it must be carefully reset and recalibrated for each batch. The process
uses exotic raw materials, such as quartz glass and mercury. It is also
extremely labour intensive, with a team of specialist scientists and
engineers overseeing quality control, calibration and more.
Toshiba projector lamps are sold as a sealed unit, complete with the
housing and lens. Replacement of the ARC bulb alone is a highly specialised
process and outside the realm of DIY. In fact, the housings are made so
they can’t be dismantled. There are numerous reasons for this – the main
one being safety. The arc tube is sealed with mercury vapour at ultra-high
pressure. Mercury is essentially hazardous, as is exploding glass. Buying
bulbs in sealed units ensures safety of both user and machine. It also
ensures that Toshiba projector lamps run 100% efficiently, with efficient
wiring and a scratch-free reflector.
Whether you choose to buy the Toshiba original or a reputable copy is up to
The author James Kean represents JP-UK, a specialist UK supplier of
projector lamps and bulbs as well as ink toners and cartridges. For further
information, follow the link for projector lamps and find out more.
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