Continuing the theme of entertainment hardware failure, I experimentally fired up the Dumpsterama on Thursday and found to my sadness that the projector appears to have failed.

Naturally, I posted to AVSForum.

Today, trying to work through some configurations for the sake of completeness, a weird image which appears to be native to the projector partially displayed on the screen. The device seems hosed but shows signs of life. Given that crappy consumer projectors are at $100 on Amazon it seems foolish to spend much time worrying about something I rarely use. Undoutedly I will continue to do so.

Here are the AVSForum posts, and below them a link to a community with lots and lots of LP350 hacks. I suppose I should pick up on the Epson 76c too while I’m at it.

InFocus LP350 weirdness

Hi all – I know this projector is practically stone-age by now, but I love keeping old stuff running as long as possible. Anyway, I had this set up and operating for a few years sharing inputs between an S-video out pre-HD DVD player and an HDMI-out ATV2. It worked with both inputs just fine (up to a point – the ATV2 enforces HDCP on some media and the projector predates HDCP, which is another tale). Our use patterns changed and it’s been hanging from the ceiling unused for a couple of years. Today I got a wild hair and hooked it up to a PC running Win 7 with both onboard VGA/HDMI out and a GTX 470 with dual DVI.

Windows recognizes the projector when it is attached to the HDMI out. I did not get as far as testing the 470 DVI connection due to some oddities.

First, I did not note any visible startup screen. I didn’t think anything of this as the machine always powers on with the lamp running quite dimly and since I was shuffling cables around I wanted the room illuminated.

Second, I was only able to note the menu displaying for a brief instant before I had set the focus.

Third, after realizing there was clearly something going on with the projector, I was able to get it to display the HDMI out at the correct and expected resolution of 1024×768 – but again, just for a couple of seconds, and the display went blank.

The bulb illuminates. It does not appear to be reaching full brightness. The output on the projection screen is a bordered square of indeterminate color. If I look directly into the projection beam and sweep my eyes across it, I can see the rainbow shifts associated with the display technology of this era.

The bulb was replaced some time ago after the typical series of bulb failures associated with this model. The last time I had occasion to check the use hours on the bulb, it was along the lines of 20 at the most.

The keypad appears to be operating correctly, with the standby button placing the unit in standby and waking it, the menu button illuminating the menu navigation keys (and as glimpsed the menu proper).

I am stumped. I have attempted a bulb-timer reset. What the heck is going on here?

Second post in-thread:

Continuing to mess around with the projector. I hooked up an old VCR to the RCA S-in and started running a tape just to see if I could get anything. Yesterday late and at first power-on today I noticed a faint black bar appearing across the projection area, something like the frame gap that would occasionally occur in non-digital broadcast days if your reception was slightly out of sync. The bar appears in different locations each time the projector comes out of standby. After one of the standbys I noticed the the bulb flickering more than usual, accompanied by some faint clicks, and then it began to ramp up to normal brightness.

A bar began to appear at the top of the screen, but bright white with a black stippled pattern. After it stabilized, it appeared to be the top eighth or so of a bitmapped image which looked somewhat like it might have been originally taken from a 19th century anatomy text or equally possibly a 1980s punk rock poster. There was a strange form on the left of the image which resembled a large-mammal rib and in the center there was a form which seemed possibly to be the top of a drawing of a person’s head. However it was objectively impossible to identify the subjects of the image as there was simply not enough shown on screen.

The image was a 2-bit bitmap with characteristic gridlike dithering, very closely resembling the sort of thing one might have drawn in the mid 1980s with MacPaint or a similar 2-bit graphics program. The image was displayed on screen regardless of the inputs connected to the projector, so my operating assumption is that it is an image stored in the device’s ROM or equivalent and used in assembly testing and verification at component assembly.

It was also reminiscent of cracker credit screens and the like seen on warez or malicious virus incidents. I don’t think I have ever attempted to use the device’s USB interoperability features. I don’t really think it’s too likely that there’s a virus in the machine, the image just sort of resembled that kind of thing.

Since noting the image I have standby-cycled the projector several times and the image has not recurred. I did take a couple of pictures with my cell phone so I will try to make them accessible here in time.

DIY Audio search results for LP350.