Support & Troubleshooting - Data Projector

Check that you are using the correct remote control. Panasonic and Toshiba remotes are for DVD players, Sharp, and NEC remotes are for Data projectors.
Make sure that none of the remote buttons are stuck in the ‘down’ position (a common problem with SHARP projectors).

Get as close as possible to the front of the projector and hold the power button down for at least five seconds.

You can determine if the remote is working properly by testing the built in laser pointer. If that fails, the remote probably needs new batteries. In most cases, there will be spare batteries in the cabinet, or the batteries from the DVD remote can be used in an emergency.

Try using the remote from the rear or sides of the unit (there are usually 4 remote sensors – one for each side). Remove the batteries from the remote and re-insert them.

If there are any red or flashing status lights, the projector may need servicing. Note that it is normal for these lights to flash during warm-up and cool-down periods which can take up to two minutes.

If there are no lights anywhere it is probable that the data projector main power switch has been turned off. This switch is located on the side or back of the unit where the main power cord is attached. If possible, flip this switch to the ON position and ensure that the power cable is firmly connected.

If these steps fail, try using the desktop projector control software.

This is usually caused by the wrong input being selected. The standard settings for input are: Input 1 or Computer 1 or RGB 1 is for the laptop, Input 2 or Computer 2 or RGB 2 is for the desktop computer, Input 3 or Video is for the DVD/VCR player, Input 4 or S-Video is for miscellaneous devices.

On Sharp remotes, the inputs are selected by repeatedly pressing the ‘Input’ button.

On NEC remotes, there is an individual button for each input source.

It is fairly common that users will unplug the video amplifier boxes in order to use the outlets for their laptop power adapters. Check to ensure that all power bars are turned on and that both VGA amplifier boxes are plugged in. Generally speaking, there should be no unplugged cables in the cabinet or under the desk. Use power outlets on the side of the desk for laptop connection.

Check the VGA connector cable. If there are any bent or missing pins it can prevent the video from transmitting properly. Most connectors have a disposable end that can be removed in the event that the pins are damaged. When this is done, the user can connect the cable directly until a technician can replace the connectors.

This scenario can be caused by a few different problems: overheating, dust filters need cleaning, power-save timeout due to no input being detected, lamp hour meter reaching maintenance point, power interruption, and mischievous students screwing around with the remote.

If your laptop or the desktop computer have gone into power-save mode, or the connection between your laptop and the projector has been interrupted for a few minutes, the projector can shut off automatically to save power. This is normal behavior. Turn the unit back on using either the remote control or the control software. You can turn off power saving options in the control panel of your laptop.

If the lights are flashing, wait a few minutes for them to stop – this may be an indication that the projector needs to cool down. When the lights stop flashing, try to turn the projector back on with the remote control.

If the lights are solid, try to turn the projector on immediately with the remote. You can also use the desktop computer control software to restart the projector. This option is preferable because it issues a command to “reset” the projector’s error status – which can clear common warnings that would prevent the unit from starting.

If both the remote and the control software are not responsive, a technician will be required.

Resetting the lamp hour meter is not advised as it will interfere with the maintenance schedule of the projector. Clearing the “clean filter” warning can be done from within the projector menu as long as a help desk request is completed to arrange for cleaning.

If there are no lights flashing, try resetting the projector by switching the main power switch off for a few seconds, then back on. If this does not cause the lights to illuminate, then the circuit breaker has tripped off, or the projector’s internal power supply has problems. In both of these cases, a technician will be required to fix the problem.

The projectors will display on-screen diagnostic messages from time to time. These messages will usually clear after a couple minutes of viewing unless they indicate an urgent problem. In the event that one of these messages is obstructing important information, you can clear it from the screen by pressing bringing up the on-screen menu and then cancelling out of it. Please complete a help desk request if the projector has a maintenance warning message.

There are a few critical messages that cannot be cleared from the screen. These messages will require a technician to remove. If the class cannot proceed with the message on screen, a temporary projector cart may be used in the interim.

For alerts that appear after a specific time interval, turning the projector off and then back on again, or pressing the “cancel” button for a few seconds can make the alert disappear for a few more hours.

The most common reason for a projector remote to fail is low batteries. To determine if the remote has power test the built in laser pointer. If using a Sharp remote, you can also use the backlight button to test this.

There should be additional batteries located in the desk cabinet. When these batteries are used, it is a good idea to complete a help desk request to have them replaced. In an emergency, the batteries from the DVD remote may be used.

Some of the remotes have buttons that can be easily jammed in the ‘down’ position. Before replacing the batteries, take a look to ensure that none of the buttons are jammed (especially the power and volume buttons on Sharp remotes). When one button on the remote is stuck in this fashion it will prevent any of the other buttons from functioning.

If it is a specific function of the remote that is not working (ie Black-screen, laser pointer, mouse function) you may need to set the remote to the correct mode. Sharp remotes have a small switch near the bottom that will switch between ‘Mouse’ and ‘Adjustment’ modes. NEC remotes have a round PRJ button that toggles between projector control and mouse control modes. It is also useful to note that the laser pointer requires more battery to work reliably – therefore it may stop working before other remote functions do when the batteries are low.

It is possible (though rare) that the batteries may become loose inside the remote control. In this case, simply re-seating the batteries will correct the problem.

The projectors can handle a wide variety of resolutions, color depths, and refresh rates. It is almost always a good idea to use the projector’s ‘native’ settings for best results. All of our projectors currently operate at XGA resolution (1024x768).

In your laptop’s display control panel make sure the resolution is at 1024x768. The colour depth is 32 bit, and the refresh rate is 60Hz.

Having your resolution set lower then this will result in larger text and graphics, but with slight blurring of details as the image is being stretched to fill the entire screen.

Having your resolution higher is usually more problematic. Text may appear unreadable and images will lose pixels, giving them a grainy or disproportionate appearance.

The VGA amplifiers that are used also have restrictions on the type of signal they can process. If you exceed the supported resolution of the VGA amplifier, you will get an error on the projected image that says either ‘No Signal Detected’ or ‘Out of range’.

When you are using settings that do not conform to the ‘native’ settings of the projector, the images may appear distorted or not aligned with the edge of the screen. Most projectors have menu adjustments that will allow you to fine tune the picture quality – most of these problems will be eliminated by pressing the ‘Auto Adjust’ button once on the remote. Some video drivers will have additional settings in the display control panel to address these problems.

The video signal from computer inputs is divided into red green and blue channels. If one of the small cables in the video connector is damaged, you can usually see that the image is missing that hue, and will therefore be tinted the opposite color. The most common cause of this is a worn or damaged laptop video connector. Ensure that the connection is secure and remove the replaceable VGA connector if necessary.

To determine if it is a problem with the projector or with an individual piece of equipment, you can test one of the projector’s other inputs (ie. the desktop computer). If the problem is evident on more then one input it is likely a projector menu setting.

If you are using the desktop computer, make sure that the video cable is securely attached to the back of the PC.

The projector settings will also allow you to adjust the level of red, green and blue saturation. If these settings have been changed in a previous class, they may need to be reset to get the best picture quality. If possible, press the ‘Auto Adjust’ button on the projector remote.

For SHARP projectors, in the main menu – make sure that the signal type is set to RGB instead of ‘component’. When this is not set properly it will cause the image to appear tinted red.

Not every classroom is equipped with the desktop control software. Every room which has the capability should have the desktop software installed. The user must login before the program can be used due to the permissions needed to access the serial port or web interface.

When the projector is turned on or off, the control software will become unresponsive while the unit warms up or cools down. This is to protect the machine from damage that may occur from overheating or rapidly turning the bulb on and off.

Not all projectors support volume control and screen blanking, therefore these features may require use of the remote control instead.

The connection for network and serial control can be enabled and disabled in the projector menu. Units that lose power or are reset can have these features disabled until a technician can visit the room.

If the buttons appear ‘grayed-out’, that indicates that the projector is being controlled by another user and the serial port is unavailable for transmission. In this case, the software should work properly once the user has control of the serial port again.