– Ben Martens


Epson 8350 Projector Repair

WP_20150329_17_15_04_RawAfter 3.5 years of faithful service and 1100 of operation, my Epson 8350 suddenly decided that it had an internal fault. The symptom was a red flashing temperature light. A quick call to Epson verified that I was way out of my warranty period. The closest official repair place was down in Vancouver, WA. I chatted with a local (unofficial) place too but didn’t get a warm and fuzzy so I shipped my projector down to Compass Micro down in Vancouver. Thankfully I had stored the original box and foam up in the rafters in the garage so I wasn’t too concerned about damage in transit.

Shipping only took a day and was about $20 (each way.) The gang at Compass Micro diagnosed it the same day it arrived. The lamp fan was dead and the part was $29. Tack on their $60 minimum labor charge for the first hour and I was back in action. The part took a few days to arrive and then they quickly shipped it back to me.

So while it would have been nice to not have this problem at all, I was very happy with the service and the total bill was a lot less than buying a new projector. If I have something like this happen again, I might be inclined to open up the projector myself and see if I can tell that a fan obviously isn’t spinning.

Build Your Own Theater

I’ve gotten a few questions about my theater room and how much it costs to put something like this together. I know it’s impolite to talk about stuff like this in public, but on the flip side, I also want to point out that this might not be nearly as expensive as you think. Plus when I was putting this together, it was very helpful to read through other people’s build list. So I’ll just list out all the gear that I used and you can click the links if you want to look into buying it for yourself. I did this almost as cheaply as I could except that I splurged and spent a couple hundred extra to get a slightly better projector that had a lot of lens shift. That makes it a lot easier to mount it wherever is convenient and adjust the lens to hit the screen. And I suppose you could save some more money if you go for a 720p projector instead of 1080p, but if you can afford it at all, go for 1080p. At this size of a screen, you’ll notice the difference.

I think that about covers it. I still want to buy some curtains to hang over the windows. There are blinds on the windows already but now that the days are getting longer, we find ourselves watching the projector more when it’s not completely dark outside. A little extra darkening would help.

The bottom line is, if you’re interested in a project like this, take a peak at the costs first. A projector isn’t much more expensive than a good quality TV. Yes you have to replace the bulb every once in a while for $200-300 but at the rate I’m using this (and it seems pretty heavy) my bulb will last for 3-4 years with no problem. By then I might be interested in upgrading to a new projector anyway. The rest of the room can be as fancy or simple as you want. In Jersey we just had it projecting on a blank white wall and it was still a lot of fun!

If I had money to upgrade a single piece in the room, I’d go for a nicer screen. I’m learning to live with the hot spots and a bit of streakiness because it was 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost of a good screen, but I think that improvement would give me the most bang for my buck.

[UPDATE] Thanks to Nancy for reminding me about the rope lighting. We found it was sometimes difficult to see our food when we were eating and watching a movie. I added some rope lighting behind the couch. It provides a nice light distribution and the color of white is good. I added a dimmer switch to the outlet where the lights are plugged in and the switch has an infrared remote control. I was able to program the Harmony One Remote to control the rope lights.

Theater Room Paint

The “final” step in the theater room is complete. Logan came over a week or two ago and helped me paint the walls. I was going for a dark gray color with a little blue but I ended up with a dark blue color with a little gray. It still looks great though so I’m not planning to change it. The darker color really looks nice when we’re watching movies.

I put final in quotation marks because there is always more that I want to do to the room (ie. better drapes), but this is the end of the list of top items (furniture, screen, mounting the speakers, running cables up the wall to the projector, etc.) I hope you get to stop by and enjoy it soon!

The Home Theater Begins

Tyla thinks we bought this house so that we’d have more room, own some dirt, etc etc etc. Wrong. We bought this house so that I could have a projector again. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember that back in Jersey, we had a little theater room set up on the ground floor. That projector was only 800×600 but boy was it fun! There was no room for a projector in the condo, and ever since leaving that projector behind in Jersey, I’ve bided my time waiting for the opportunity to arise again.

As we walked through various houses, the thought of “where can I stick a projector” was never far from my mind. When we walked into this house, it was obvious. Upstairs there is a 15’x25’ bonus room with a huge wall just begging for a projector. I patiently (I’m lying) waited until we bought the important things like a fridge, but it wasn’t too long before I couldn’t wait anymore. I pulled the trigger on a new projector.

I present to you the Epson 8350. It’s a 1080p 3LCD projector, and depending on how it looks, I’m shooting for roughly a 120” diagonal screen. It’s going to blow my mind when it arrives. I won’t even have any furniture to put in that room yet, but details details, first things first! You can expect a lot more photos of this as soon as I get it set up. After that I’ll have a lot more projects lined up to make this into an incredible man cave!