York County Public Schools
4 High Schools
1 Technology Charter Schools
The York County School Division in Yorktown, Virginia was faced with a unique challenge: to replace its aging fleet of 830 classroom projectors, more than half of which were at the end of their life cycle. The division created a new specification requiring projectors to have a 16:10 aspect ratio, a native resolution of 1280 x 800, and at least 3000 lumens brightness. The plan was to replace all classroom projectors over the next five years—oldest first.
You would think it would be an easy problem to solve.
“We initially replaced 160 units on the first rollout with a previously-vetted projector,” recalls James McCann, Assistant Supervisor of Computer Maintenance at YCSD. Yet while planning for the next rollout, “We discovered that unit was no longer in production.” That put YCSD in a bind. “We were nursing a fleet of 10-year-old 4:3 aspect ratio projectors with expensive and frequent bulb replacements, increased client down time and cost-prohibitive repairs.”
In the search for a replacement projector, McCann says he happened across Casio’s Signature Series projector, which uses hybrid laser and LED technology instead of a projection lamp. “After an exhaustive evaluation, the Casio projector proved to be the best choice to place in our classrooms.”
Do the Math
One of the biggest expenses in many technology programs is the cost of maintaining projectors. McCann says in York County, they were spending $25,000 to $30,000 each year on replacement bulbs, plus almost $11,000 for dust filters.
The Casio projectors completely eliminated the expense, since their maintenance-free hybrid light source has an expected 20,000 hour lifespan, with little change in image quality as they age. That’s ten times the 2,000-hour life typical of projection lamps.
“There’s where the savings are, in the cost of bulbs and filters,” says McCann. “When you calculate the impact of downtime to the client, cost of consumables, time to service and future reliability the choice is obvious.”
“We also know that each Casio LampFree projector is using just 190 watts of power compared to 350 watts by the older projectors,” says Doug Meade, YCSD Director of Technology. Since each projector averages more than 720 hours of use per year, that will add up to another $8,500 in savings for 830 units. “I pay the electric bills, so I’m in a position to know,” Meade adds.
Thus when the division finishes replacing all 830 projectors, the savings for lamps, filters and electricity will total roughly $50,000 each year, plus the cost of labor.
The Right Tools
Because the Casio LampFree technology was new at the time of their first purchase, YCSD asked their contact at CDW, where they bought the projectors, for a hands–on demonstration.
“I was able to set them up with some demo units that they could use in a classroom environment. That way, they could find out if they were going to be a good fit,” says Mike Durand, Regional Sales Manager at CDW Atlantic.
“I’ll say the picture was better than anything else we looked at, with a slight improvement in color and clarity,” says McCann. “When we considered the savings in operating costs, the LampFree Casio just rose to the top.”
“Then too, we know we needed at least 3,000 lumens brightness. If I put anything less in my classrooms, then I need to put in shades and use various lighting control measures. It’s much simpler to purchase a professional projector that we know is going to work.”
The division’s initial purchase was 320 Casio projectors. They bought 300 more the following year, and they have bought a handful each year since, just to have them ready and on hand when an older projector fails. The goal is to be completely LampFree within the next two or three years.
“It’s an excellent projector and a real asset to the division,” says Meade. “It serves our purposes very well and has provided us with reliable operation from day one.”