How To Fix Optoma HD20 / HD200x Projector Flickering Image / Colour Wheel

A HD20 projector

This guide will help you solve the problem of your HD20 / HD200x projector flickering blue / green. These projectors are the same internally, 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 hrs 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 does work in the short term but it's obviously not a long term solution. What you really need to do is clean all the dust out from inside and clean the colour wheel. You can only do this by taking it apart.

Before I did it I was a bit nervous about dismantling it, 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 is that over time dust builds up inside the projector. 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.

Tools needed

  • 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.

Step 1. Unplug it 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.

Take these out

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. To do this just undo the two screws. One of them is underneath the sticker telling you to read the manual. Pierce the sticker and undo it.

Undo this screw and the one under the sticker to the left

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.

Only undo these two, ignore the others

After you've undone those screws, then just pull the lamp out like this.

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.

Just pull this part straight off

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.

This is the clip

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, you can put the lens cleaner tissue against it and spin the wheel with your finger to clean off both sides.

Clean the dust from everywhere, using your vacuum cleaner/wipes on the wheel & lens

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.

This is what the colour wheel looks like

After you have done this, then simply reassemble the projector by putting the lamp back in, the top back on, put the ribbon back under the black clip, pop it back down and then clip it together. Then 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 stopped flickering recently, you have very little to lose by following this guide and it will only take you 15 minutes or so. Just take your time and try not 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.

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Comments 51 comments

Dan 3 years ago

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.

Charlie 3 years ago

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.

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK Author

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.

SveinK 3 years ago

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 profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK Author

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!

Dickie 3 years ago

Brilliant , thank you .

If your ever in Cannock I will buy you a pint or two!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome, glad the guide came in useful for you!

Jorge Ruiz 3 years ago

Thank Rain!

I sow everyone like Hulk

Now it works properly again

toptenluxury profile image

toptenluxury 3 years ago from Cedartown, GA

Nice! I think this is an amazing hub! Voted up!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK Author

Did you use it?

Thanks! 3 years ago

Good instructions, I was almost going to buy a new projector. You save me 1k! Cheers.

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK Author

That's great to hear, glad you found it useful!

AndreV 2 years ago

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.

Thanks again!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome, nice to see people find it useful. Thanks for your comment.

Damian 2 years ago

Another thank you from me. Worked like magic!!!!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Great! I'm glad you found it useful.

Thanks! 2 years ago

Worked like a charm !

Thank you for the help :)

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Great news, glad to help!

Chris P 2 years ago

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 profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Nice tip. My vacuum was powerful enough not to need to do that, or maybe I was just lucky with the dust placement.

Bribo 2 years ago

Thanks, worked great !

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome!

Voitto Seppälä 2 years ago

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 profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

You're absolutely right, air pressure alone isn't enough. Lens cleaning wipes are essential.

Iqbal Singh 2 years ago

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 profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for your comment. I haven't had to do it since so hopefully you won't either for a long time.

Hemmo 2 years ago

Great help! Thanx Rain!!!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome. Always glad to help.

Ola 2 years ago

Hi, after I did all this. I got a bunch of lines cutting my image. Any idea what I've done wrong/what happened?

Aria 2 years ago

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.

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for your comment, glad it helped.

Flore 2 years ago

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

Flore 2 years ago

Nevermind, it worked. Thanks!

Ale 2 years ago

Thanks a lot! I'm from Rio de Janeiro. Your post save my hd20!

Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Great to hear! Thanks for your comment, always nice to hear people finding any of my articles useful.

aly 2 years ago

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 profile image

Rain Defence 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks, glad you found it useful!

Dale Daniel 2 years ago from Bishop Auckland

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.

Chris 2 years ago

Awesome - that worked for me and saved me X bucks for a new projector.

SGR 24 months ago

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.

HB 23 months ago

Tops. Got my beamer working again. Super thanks!

CW 21 months ago

Works great! thank you!!!

spiro4630 20 months ago

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!

elgringo81 19 months ago

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.. :)

LaTanya 15 months ago

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!!

Limbo 9 months ago

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.

Nicolai Winther 8 months ago

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.

Shane 7 months ago

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?

Pat 4 months ago

Great! Thanks for making this awesome tutorial!

Onur 4 months ago

Thanks your a life saver.

Ron 2 weeks ago

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.

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