I have been a home cinema enthusiast for years and am always looking for the next upgrade or DIY project.
This guide will help you solve the problem of your HD20/HD200x projector flickering blue and/or green. These projectors are the same internally (even though one has a black case and one has a white case), so this guide works for both.
I have had my Optoma HD20 projector for a couple of years now and have put about 2500 hours on the lamp. It was fine up until recently, when after about 20 minutes or so, the colours on screen would start flickering. This is how I fixed it.
What I did at first was turn the projector to high altitude mode. This works for the short term, but it's obviously not a long-term solution. What you really need to do is clean the inside of the projector, which means removing all the dust and cleaning the colour wheel. You can only do this by taking it apart.
Before I took my projector apart for the first time, I was a bit nervous. But it was actually really easy, and the fix worked perfectly. I took some photos while I did it and I have written this guide in the hope of helping some other owners out.
Why Is It Flickering?
The problem that causes the flickering is the buildup of dust inside the projector over time. This stops it from working properly. To get it to work again, you have to clean the dust from as many places as you can, but specifically from the colour wheel.
The colour wheel is the part that the lamp shines through to give you the colour on screen. The technical side of how it all works isn't really important, you just need to know that dust all over this part is a bad thing.
I read about other guides where people used compressed air sprays, but this didn't seem to make sense to me. You're trying to remove dust, not just blow it about. That's why I used a vacuum cleaner—to suck the dust away rather than just move it.
How to Fix a Flickering Projector
- A small-headed Philips screwdriver.
- Some lens cleaning tissues, typically used for cleaning camera lens. These won't scratch the wheel or lens. If you don't have any, buy some. Don't scrimp with an old sock or something as it won't do the job properly.
- A butter knife to help tease open the clips.
- A vacuum cleaner, ideally one that has some decent sucking power, so empty it before you start!
- Some patience.
To clean it, just follow these steps.
Unplug the projector and put it onto a clean surface. If you've had it on, then leave it some time to cool down before you start fiddling. There are three screws that you'll need to undo. They are labelled on the next photo.
The next thing to do is to take the lamp out. To do this, you need to open the lamp flap and pull it out. This requires you to undo two screws (pictured below). One of them is underneath the sticker telling you to read the manual. Pierce the sticker and undo it.
After you've done this, then pop the flap open and undo the screws that hold the lamp in. There are two. You can see from my photo how dusty the lamp was, so I knew there'd be a fair bit of dust inside. My projector is mounted on the ceiling, so although I thought it would be fine up there, over time it had obviously sucked a fair bit in.
After you've undone those screws, then just pull the lamp out. Please reference image below.
The next stage is to take off the lens adjustment cover. This simply pulls off. Once you take it off, you'll see that there are three screws in there that fit into the recessed parts of the cover. It's pretty self explanatory, but you just have to line the screws up when you put it back on.
After this, you get to the exciting part, which is taking the top off. This is actually pretty easy. I used a butter knife and put it in between the case from the back. This then pulls apart. I then lifted the top off, lifting it upwards and forwards with a bit of wiggling, to undo the clips that hold the front on. If you take your time you shouldn't break anything.
Once the case is undone, then you need to undo the ribbon connector, that connects the buttons on the top of the case with the mainboard. This is pretty easy to do, the ribbon is held in place by a black clip down clip that clicks into place. You just need a fingernail or something to flick it up and the ribbon then comes out. Taking the ribbon out is actually pretty easy. Unfortunately my photo skills weren't great with this part, but just flick up the black clip and take the top off the projector.
Once you have taken that off, then you want to get your vacuum cleaner and give everything in there a good clean. I stuck a pencil into both fans to stop them spinning and got the vacuum cleaner as close as I could. The next part is to wipe the colour wheel with the lens cleaner—I've labelled it on the photo. This part was covered in dust, but fortunately you can put the lens cleaner tissue against it and spin the wheel with your finger to clean off both sides.
There is a close up of a colour wheel below, so you can see which part you need to clean. The dust wiped off it pretty easily. While I was wiping stuff, I also cleaned the lens as this had a bit of dust on it.
Finish Up By Putting It All Back Together
After you have done this, then simply reassemble the projector: put the lamp back in, put the top back on, put the ribbon back under the black clip, pop it back down and then clip it together. Lastly, put the lens cover on. The whole thing popped back together easier than it came apart.
That's it! Once I did this my projector started working properly again. No more flickering and I can watch films and game again. I can't take any responsibility for yours, but if yours has started flickering recently, you have very little to lose by following this guide—it will only take you 15 minutes or so. Just take your time and try not to break anything!
Hopefully this will see me through another couple of thousand hours and as it cost nothing, then it was definitely a worthwhile fix.
Good luck and thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Sebadtien on March 22, 2019:
Works like a charm, thx dude!
Mynameismart on December 20, 2018:
Not the same bramd of projector but has sorted out my old projector a charm. Thank you.
Jacob Jacobson on August 26, 2018:
Hats off to you Sir!! That was an excellent, clear and concise tutorial. After trawling the net and finding nothing useful to resolve my projector issue I then found this and it was a breeze to fix things. Cheers!
Andrew Yan on June 29, 2018:
Thanks for this very helpful instruction! You’ve saved my day and many hundred dollars!
modinside on April 02, 2018:
Excellent write up and now working perfectly again, the one thing i came up against was the zoom wheel wasn't aligned properly so was missing the latch.
Quick open back up again to re align and all was well, but pain in the neck to remove from ceiling again !
Other than that a brilliant write up.
Vicky on February 08, 2018:
Very good instructions!!We just cleaned and work like before!
Ps you mustn’t clean the disk with the color just dust it out!
Steven C on January 24, 2018:
I have just opened and cleaned my Optoma GT1080 and followed the exact same instructions you show. I cleaned the wheel, very dirty, but no luck. Still same problem, so I looked on ebay for spare parts and found out there is a small black sticker on the wheel that the projector reads to know the wheel location. This was missing or burnt off on my wheel, so I took a little of the black tape that holds the wires in place above the wheel, cut it to size and sprayed it with contact adhesive and stuck it on. Put it all back together and BOOM it works like new apart from I need to clean the lens a bit as it has not been used in over a year. But thank you very much and you could also mention the GT1080 is the same fix and also the sticker may be the same problem for other people! Keep up the good work!
Benjamin Fougere on January 10, 2018:
Thank you very much for your tutorial. I was thinking about changing the lamp of my optoma after 7000h of use before finding your instructions to clean it.
You have made me spare a lot of money, thank you very much.
Best regards from Paris, France.
user on December 29, 2017:
Directions not clear.
Adam on December 16, 2017:
Good instructions. Not sure if this has happened to anyone else but the color wheel fell apart on me as I was trying to clean it. Each piece separated. There's no mention in the instructions of being able to pull the color wheel out. I tried to gently clean it attached to the projector which seemed like the only way. I see in other posts that you can pull the color wheel assembly out. Not sure there's a way to save it once they've separated.
Ted on May 13, 2017:
Second time I've used your simple, perfect steps to clean my projector (other time was several years ago, so it was time again). Thanks!
Robbyg on April 20, 2017:
I wish I had come across your excellent page here prior to attempting maintenance on my HD20.
I neglected to take caution in removing the lid, and unfortunately, broke the tiny end piece plastic connector that connects the ribbon.
Is there any advice you can offer on how to fix?
-Rob G in Oakland
Calvin in Connecticut. on October 24, 2016:
Thanks very much. This seems to work well. thanks for taking the time to help us all out. Legend.
Ron on October 06, 2016:
You are a genius. My original bulb popped and I bought a new one. I put it in and it started flickering after about 20 min. I'd turn it off for couple min then start it again and it would be fine for another 10 or 15 min. It took it apart, cleaned the wheel and voila, no flickering. I was already to buy another bulb thinking this new one was somehow damaged.
Onur on June 16, 2016:
Thanks your a life saver.
Pat on June 05, 2016:
Great! Thanks for making this awesome tutorial!
Shane on February 29, 2016:
Hey Guys - "think" I have the same problem here - My projector seems to run fine but then after 30-40 minutes, it flickers and turns off, giving the "lamp fail" blinking lights on the unit? Any thoughts?
Nicolai Winther on February 09, 2016:
Very easy user guide of how to clean your optoma projector.
Thank you - you saved me a bunch of $$$, I was just about to invest in a new projector. No need for that right now.
My HD20 runs smoothly again - with crisp detailed picture again.
Limbo on January 10, 2016:
Excellent - this worked. It didn't turn on after I assembled it - apparently the cable wasn't really connected. Worked fine after :)
Isn't too hard to do.
LaTanya on July 09, 2015:
So glad I found this! I LOVE my HD20!! I noticed static flickering a few months ago. Over the last month the colors are looking like I was looking through a looking glass. I'm so glad to have found these instructions! I plan on cleaning in a few days after working. I will let you all know how it turns out! Thanks!!
elgringo81 on March 21, 2015:
Fantastic. My HD200x is running fine now. I hope the internet had more good articles like this one and less crap.. Have a good weekend everyone.. :)
spiro4630 on February 23, 2015:
Good walkthrough but usually this only helps for a short time.
The flickering issue comes from dust on the sensor eye. After cleaning that, the Optoma will work like new. Steps and pictures available here:
I contacted Optoma support in Germany and a technician gave me the hint with the sensor eye. I wanted to post a picture here myself, because I followed this one when I got the flickering problem for the first time, but then I found the other walkthrough, that wasn't available at that time.
Hope it helps. Cleaning the wheel, too, isn't wrong, of course!
CW on January 04, 2015:
Works great! thank you!!!
HB on November 16, 2014:
Tops. Got my beamer working again. Super thanks!
SGR on October 30, 2014:
Worked great. Used compressed gas to clean it. No issues n been an hr. Thanks for the help. Jus make sure to attach the black ribbon correctly with blue on top or else it won't power on.
Chris on October 03, 2014:
Awesome - that worked for me and saved me X bucks for a new projector.
Dale Daniel from Bishop Auckland on September 25, 2014:
I have not used my projector very much only about 200 hours. In May 2013 after the projector had been on for about one hour it started losing its colour sort of flickering to insipid colour or greyscale. So I have not really used it since only than to test it works perfect for an hour then what I described above happens. Any ideas pleas what might be the problem? I hardly think the lamp is about finished as it has been used sparingly hence asking your advice.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on June 18, 2014:
Thanks, glad you found it useful!
aly on June 17, 2014:
Awesome.... thanks for taking the time to post this and adding the pictures. Everyone should try this before shelling out money for new bulbs.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on June 14, 2014:
Great to hear! Thanks for your comment, always nice to hear people finding any of my articles useful.
Ale on June 13, 2014:
Thanks a lot! I'm from Rio de Janeiro. Your post save my hd20!
Flore on June 13, 2014:
Nevermind, it worked. Thanks!
Flore on June 13, 2014:
Hi, I can't seem to "Just pull this part straight off"..
That part sits tight and I don't want to force it :s
Rain Defence (author) from UK on June 10, 2014:
Thanks for your comment, glad it helped.
Aria on June 10, 2014:
Thank you, its been 40 minutes and running strong. I was told its the lamp, I spent $140 and it was still flickering it. I tried your method and it worked great. Thank you. I wish I saw your post before buying the new lamp.
Ola on June 01, 2014:
Hi, after I did all this. I got a bunch of lines cutting my image. Any idea what I've done wrong/what happened?
Rain Defence (author) from UK on May 21, 2014:
You're welcome. Always glad to help.
Hemmo on May 21, 2014:
Great help! Thanx Rain!!!
Rain Defence (author) from UK on March 17, 2014:
Thanks for your comment. I haven't had to do it since so hopefully you won't either for a long time.
Iqbal Singh on March 15, 2014:
Among the more useful posts on the Net. Thank you so much for a lucidly illustrated how-to. I had saved your tutorial long back and was slightly afraid of opening the device. Did so today after my third encounter with flickering colours. And was it a breeze!
I had to use some compressed air too - with a tiny lens cleaner kit - to blow dust out from hard-to-reach areas like the fan blades.
Can someone explain how to open and take the colour-wheel out for a better cleaning? And what solutions have people used to clean the colour-wheel and the lens? I just wiped the lens with a lenspen and a lint-free cloth, and cleaned the colour wheel too, with the same cloth. Let's see how long this lasts before the next clean-up.
Thank you once again.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on February 07, 2014:
You're absolutely right, air pressure alone isn't enough. Lens cleaning wipes are essential.
Voitto Seppälä on February 06, 2014:
For people who are doing this I wanna say few things.
Just "smoothly" using air pressure things to clean this isn't enough. You need to take this color wheel out and wash it with lenscleaning thing. And I suggest you clean fans too.
Working for me now.. 30min and running
Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 08, 2014:
Bribo on January 05, 2014:
Thanks, worked great !
Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 03, 2014:
Nice tip. My vacuum was powerful enough not to need to do that, or maybe I was just lucky with the dust placement.
Chris P on January 02, 2014:
Thank you for posting this! So far it's been working and I hope it stays that way.
For some of the smaller and harder to reach areas I took a ballpoint pen, took out the ink and used it as a sort of tiny vacuum device by holding it in front of the vacuum hose and forcing the suction through the pen. Worked like a charm for those smaller areas inside the projector, like behind the color wheel.
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with the rest of us! Great tutorial!
Rain Defence (author) from UK on December 10, 2013:
Great news, glad to help!
Thanks! on December 10, 2013:
Worked like a charm !
Thank you for the help :)
Rain Defence (author) from UK on December 03, 2013:
Great! I'm glad you found it useful.
Damian on December 02, 2013:
Another thank you from me. Worked like magic!!!!
Rain Defence (author) from UK on November 03, 2013:
You're welcome, nice to see people find it useful. Thanks for your comment.
AndreV on November 02, 2013:
Thanks for taking the trouble to provide this excellent guide.
Just in the process of doing this for the third time and use your guide each time - wouldn't have been brave enough without this.
Works each time but after a while the dust builds up again. Still, getting quite a dab hand at this now.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on September 24, 2013:
That's great to hear, glad you found it useful!
Thanks! on September 23, 2013:
Good instructions, I was almost going to buy a new projector. You save me 1k! Cheers.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on August 28, 2013:
Did you use it?
Adrian Cloute from Cedartown, GA on August 28, 2013:
Nice! I think this is an amazing hub! Voted up!
Jorge Ruiz on July 20, 2013:
I sow everyone like Hulk
Now it works properly again
Rain Defence (author) from UK on June 22, 2013:
You're welcome, glad the guide came in useful for you!
Dickie on June 22, 2013:
Brilliant , thank you .
If your ever in Cannock I will buy you a pint or two!
Rain Defence (author) from UK on May 27, 2013:
I didn't use compressed air. I only wanted to suck dust away, rather than blow it anywhere.
Glad the repair worked for you and the guide was useful!
SveinK on May 27, 2013:
Thanks! It worked excellently! My HD200x started to have problems with flashing colours, and it turned out it was dust (and a lot of it) that had accumulated on and around the colour-wheel. After cleaning it the problem disapared and the colours became more vibrant also. -For others who have the same problem: this is the solution, but be carefull when you dust the system. I got one tiny little spec of dust in the optical system, and got a white blotch on the screen. It is because I was not careful enough. It is easy to fix, and I will reopen it and vacum it again, but it is a bit annoying to have to do it twice. Make sure that the optical surfaces is the last surface you clean. If you can, use a vacum cleaner, but that is difficult. I used both compressed air and a vacumer.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on May 20, 2013:
That's great, I'm pleased it helped someone! Mine is still going strong after doing this with no trace of flickering returning so hopefully yours will be the same.
Charlie on May 19, 2013:
Thank you for the instructions. I broke it down as far as your instructions took me, then removed the 2 screws that retain the colorwheel assembly.
Using some lens wipes and some magnifying glasses (for my old eyes), I thoroughly cleaned both sides of the color wheel.
This has cured the flashing colors and the bad pixelation I was seeing on faces and other fine detail areas.
Dan on May 15, 2013:
This was awesome and worked PERFECT. Thanks for taking the time to explaining it step by step with the pictures to help. Scary thing to open up a projector without a guide.
Also, I thought the proj was out of warranty and worn out. I had to use fans and open window to cool it to avoid the flickering: now it is as good as new. So thanks again partner, this lets me keep a great projector that I'm very happy with.