Troubleshoot Projector Problems

12/7/2012 9:22:33 AM

It’s time for that makes or break presentation. You have the material down, but your projector is acting up. The show must go on, however. And with the help of these handy tips, it will.

Bring Extra Parts

You will rarely know in advance when a vital piece of your projector setup a cable, adapter, or projector lamp, for example is going to fail. To avert disaster if one of these parts fails, always carry spare parts in your projector bag. Extra projector lamps are especially handy.

Get Connected

Use as few adapters and as short a cable as possible to make connections. The more cables and adapters you use, the greater the likelihood of problems. Try to use a digital connection, usually DVI (Digital Visual Interface), HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), DisplayPort, or Mini DisplayPort. By avoiding VGA (Video Graphics Array), S-Video, and other analog connection options, your projector and notebook are more likely to work in automatic mode, where they detect the connection type and self-adjust for the best images.

Description: Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort

Connect A Remote

If you intend to use a remote control during your presentation, be sure to set up the proper connections beforehand. Some remote controls, for example, work with a mouse remote control receiver, which typically uses a USB port.

Turn On The Projector First

After making all of the necessary connections, turn the projector on before booting your notebook. This gives your notebook the best chance of detecting that a projector is attached and identifying the resolution appropriate for the projector.

Description: After making all of the necessary connections, turn the projector on before booting your notebook.

After making all of the necessary connections, turn the projector on before booting your notebook.

Test The Audio

To test the audio capability, initiate a system sound from your notebook. Adjust the volume control if necessary until you hear the sound comfortably. If you don’t hear anything, make sure your notebook isn’t set to mute audio and that you’re using the appropriate audio output jack. If that doesn’t do the trick, check that the projector’s audio volume is set correctly and not muted. If you’re using an audio system provided by the venue, ask support staff to ensure the audio system is set up correctly.

Find The Image

That heart-stopping moment when you turn your projector/notebook on and don’t see an image usually feels worse than the situation actually is. The possibilities for this problem include a burnt-out bulb, bad cables/adapters, or a notebook or projector that’s set to the wrong inputs or outputs.

Start by checking the projector lamp. If it isn’t lit, try accessing the projector’s built-in menu system or test image. If the bulb is OK, it should turn on when you use the projector‘s built-in functions. If the bulb doesn’t turn on, replace it. If the problem persists, make sure all connections are tight because cables and adapters can become loose or break down after prolonged use.

Adjust Display Settings

Generally, a notebook will detect when a projector is plugged into one of its video outputs. However, not all notebooks do this, and even those that might not produce an image if the computer’s display settings don’t duplicate or extend images to a secondary monitor (in this case, the projector). Most notebooks have a function key combination you can use to adjust how the display will be used; check your notebook’s manual for specifics. To make changes to the settings in Win7:

Description: Adjust Display Settings

Adjust Display Settings

Right-click a blank area of the Desktop and select Screen Resolution.

Use the Display drop-down menu to select the second display.

Select Extend These Displays from the Multiple Displays drop-down menu. Win7 also features a pop-up dis-play for selecting the content that will be displayed via a projector. Press Windows-P to access the pop-up and choose one of the options:

·         Disconnect Projector (turns the projector display off)

·         Duplicate (mirrors your computer‘s Desktop on the projector)

·         Extend (uses the projector as an extension of the Desktop)

·         Projector Only (uses the projector as the main display)

Focus The Image

Autofocus projectors are handy, but various environmental conditions can adversely affect the autofocus feature. Familiarize yourself with the projector’s manual focusing system. If you intend to use a remote during your presentation, be sure you know ahead of time how to adjust the focus from afar; never rely on the autofocus function to do a perfect job.

Adjust Settings If The Image Cuts Out

If the projector’s display shuts off during your presentation, you may think your notebook’s screen saver is the culprit. That could be, but your notebook’s power management settings also might be to blame, especially if the notebook is using battery power. To avoid this problem, use the AC adapter if possible. To make adjustments to the power settings in Win7:

·         Click Start (the Windows button in the bottom left of the screen).

·         Select Control Panel.

·         Click Power Options.

·         Click the Choose When To Turn Off The Display link.

·         Adjust settings in either the On Battery or the Plugged In column, depending on your situation.

Keystone Images

Keystoning occurs when the projector isn’t perfectly perpendicular to the screen. Try repositioning the projector to get it as perpendicular as possible in the horizontal and vertical axis. If the image is still a bit bent, use the projector’s keystone adjustment.

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