As a Technical Support Specialist in a community college, I had the opportunity to set up computers to display an image to instructors on a Dell monitor and a mirror image to a fixed or portable projector for the students to view and can assist in troubleshooting classroom projectors located on a portable cart or that is mounted in the ceiling or wall.
Before you get started it is a good idea to have some tools and spare parts especially if you will be doing this on a regular basis. Also, when troubleshooting issues with the projector, I find working backward helps in narrowing down issues and lets me know if I have to make a call to a vendor of the projector for additional parts and services, or the Facilities Department for an electrician.
I always start by checking out the LEDs on the projector to see if it will identify what issues the projector might be experiencing such as a blown or old lamp, overheating from clogged filters or fans. I’ll switch out the lamps if the LEDs alert me and clean the filters with compressed air or replace them if they are extremely bad.
Along with the LEDs, I listen to the noise being generated from the projector. The noises from a fan can indicate that it is overheating or debris is inside. This is where compress air can be helpful but extreme caution is needed as not to send the debris further inside the unit or damage the bearings by spinning the fan blades too fast or by bending them with the air pressure.
If the menu for the projector shows when powered up but no image from the computer even when changing sources, my next step is a direct connection to the projector with a laptop and a known working video cable (that I tested by hooking it up to a monitor previously) and try to get the desktop to appear. If the desktop shows, then I connect the original video cable to the laptop so I can see if it went bad so the needed part can be requested from stock.
With a projector on a cart, I can easily replace the cable that is between the computer and projector but those that are ceiling mounted have a cable running in the walls and ceiling and that needs an electrician. There is a second video cable from the computer to a receptacle on the wall and that can be easily replaced by the owner/user or IT Department.
Spare Parts and Tools
* A Laptop with a known working Video Cable
* A known working Lamp/Bulb and clean filters
* A magnetized Flathead and Phillips Screwdriver
* A sturdy step ladder (for ceiling mounted)
* A copy of the custom projector settings
* A can of compressed air or air compressor.