“I have to be honest with you. I’m surprised that more people don’t know about them. Not having to replace bulbs is a fantastic deal.”
That’s Joe Nowak, Director of Technology for Community Consolidated School District 46 in Grayslake, Illinois, talking about the Casio LampFree® projector.
Nowak was an early adopter of this technology, buying the district’s first Casio unit back in 2011. Since that time he has purchased more than 150, and today any new projector orders are from Casio.
Nowak says there are three main reasons he has standardized on Casio.
- Replacement lamps and the labor required to install them is very expensive. “With the older projector technologies, you might buy a $500 projector but you’re buying $300 bulbs year after year after year,” Nowak says.
- The image quality is very high and, unlike lamp-based units, the Casio projectors look good even after years in operation. The images don’t turn yellow. They don’t grow dim. “Because they’re so bright, teachers can use them in the daytime without drawing the shades.”
- They are maintenance free. “Once they go up into the ceiling, we don’t have to deal with them...They just work.” There’s no lamp to change, no filter to clean or replace. Nowak says repairs, when needed, have been surprisingly inexpensive as well. “For the very few times we’ve had an out-of-warranty repair, our cost has been less than half of what we used to pay.”
“When you’re talking public money,” he adds, “it’s important to get away from recurring costs. When we make the initial purchase, we might get some money from our PTOs or from some other source. But my department is responsible for the cost of lamps and maintenance, and with a lamp-based projector, that’s an expensive proposition.”
The teachers, he says, love the brightness and picture quality, but they especially love the fact they don’t have to worry about them. “With the old projectors, we always wondered, is it better to leave them on or to keep turning them on and off? Now they just use them however they want.” The LampFree® projectors power up instantly, and there’s no cool-down period where the fan must run while the bulb is still hot. Nowak says forgetting to turn projectors off at night or over the weekend used to be a big problem, one that shortened the district’s average lamp-life to about a year. But the Casio projectors go into a standby mode that uses only one watt per hour and sends no power to its LED/laser light source.
“I mention these to other technology directors, and of course people are fascinated when you say you have a bulb-free projector. They don’t understand that concept until you say ‘lasers.’ I took a chance on the Casio projectors because I knew lasers were going to give a brighter picture and I was fascinated by the technology. I had a background with LEDs, I had a background with lasers, so I ordered one. I really wanted to see it, and I was really impressed with the brightness. I said wow, these things are super sharp and super bright.
“My advice to other technology directors is to just buy a unit. Take a look at it. Check out how bright it is, how sharp it is. And then hold onto it and use it. And know that, even after a number of years, it’s going to be as sharp as the day you bought it.”