Modern projectors are one of the best tools that any conference room can have. They also make for great additions to any living room or classroom looking to increase screen size. They are an affordable way to project images into large surfaces while still maintaining a clear, smooth, and sharp image. LCD screens have become an integral part of most projector’s optical assembly units since the 90s. In this article, we will show you how to properly clean and maintain the screen of an LCD projector.
What is an LCD Projector Screen?
LCD’s or Liquid Crystal Displays are the most common type of screen found on most electronic products. They are relatively affordable and very versatile, you can easily find LCD screens that are as small as a watch, or as big as a wall-mounted television set. They are used mostly in computer monitors, television displays, projectors, mobile phones, calculators, and even in military aircraft displays.
The screen works using the inherent properties of liquid crystals. The liquid crystals are usually held between two sets of transparent electrodes. When an electrical charge is passed between the electrodes, the molecules of the crystals can be manipulated predictably to form different images. Most LCD screens have internal control mechanisms that transform the signals coming from any given device into precise electrical inputs, these allow the screen to render any image we want.
If your screen gets dirty or damaged there is no need to panic. There are several solutions to keep an LCD screen well maintained and working properly. Let’s explore some of the main reasons the LCD projector screens get dirty or damaged.
Why LCD Projector Screens Get Dirty?
There are multiple ways by which the LCD screen in your can stop functioning properly or decrease its picture quality. Maybe you can see a fractal of psychedelic colors when you project your image, or there is a visible line blocking the image that can’t be removed by simple cleaning. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons.
- Problems with the optical unit
- Improper handling
- Improper cleaning
How to Remove Stains or Dirt from an LCD Projector Screen?
Depending on the issue you are having, it is important to understand the best ways to approach the handling of an LCD projector screen. On most projectors, the LCD screen is located within the optical unit of the device. One of the most common issues is dirt and stains stuck to the outer layer of the glass. This is by far the easiest problem to fix because there is no need to disassemble the projector to access its components. On our example project, we can see that there are stains and some dirt accumulating on the screen.
Identify the Cause of the Visual Disturbance
There are different visual cues that can tell you a lot about what is happening. On our projector we can see:
- Small black dots on the projected image
- A big smear-like shadow on the projected image
The black dots tell us there is some dirt stuck to the screen. The shadowy smear is probably a stain. For this simple cleaning job, it is important to know the best tools you’ll need to proceed.
Acquire the Necessary Tools
One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to clean an LCD projector screen is rubbing their fingers on the screen to try and eliminate the issue, but this may cause further problems as hands tend to leave smears and stains on screens. If enough pressure is added you can actually damage the screen. To remove all the dust, dirt, and stains from the outer layer of the screen you will need:
- Lint-free cloth
- Distilled water
- Isopropyl alcohol
- A water-isopropyl alcohol blend (optional)
These are common household items that you might already have in your possession! A lint-free cloth is very important because if the surface of the cloth isn’t smooth, you can easily scratch the screen.
Get Your Cleaning Materials Ready
Prepare the Lint-free cloth by moisturizing it with the isopropyl alcohol or water. Feel free to use the alcohol-water blend if you want the alcohol to last longer. Make sure the cloth is not soaking wet or too dry. Once you have your cleaning materials ready proceed to the next step.
Clean the LCD Screen
Now comes the fun part! Clean the screen. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure. Begin the cleaning using circular motions and remember to be gentle. The goal is to soak up the dirt or dust with a wet cloth. Most dust will get absorbed by the cloth and the dirt will loosen up. Any stain or smear should come right off when the alcohol is applied, this happens because pure alcohol is one of the best chemical solvents around. Once you have cleaned the screen, try passing a dry portion of the cloth to soak up all the remaining solution.
Test Your Results
Now that you have cleaned the screen, you’re all set! Go ahead and test the projector and look out for any visual cues that might indicate that your cleaning wasn’t thorough enough.
Best Way to Keep an LCD Projector Screen Clean
Make sure you repeat this process as many times as possible till you see thing goes right. We recommend you keep the proper maintenance of your screen every time you use it. This is to allow the screen to remain as shiny and clear as possible. The more work you put into maintaining the LCD screen clean, the better the results will be. Save yourself the headache of seeing unwanted spots when you need to use the projector, and try to maintain it clean.
Why the LCD Screen of your Projector Stays Dirty?
If you are careful and follow proper maintenance procedures, you should be able to enjoy a clear and smooth viewing experience every time. However, sometimes some spots become difficult to remove, or they just don’t remove at all. Some of the most common persistent issues you might encounter may not be because of dust, dirt, or stain accumulation. They might persist because there is probably some deeper damage that isn’t fixed superficially.
- Scratches on the LCD screen
- Indentations due to pressure
- Dust accumulating inside the optical unit
- The screen has become deeply stained
Most of these issues will require a bit more tech-savviness in order to be fixed. Remember that if you are to disassemble the projector you might lose any warranty. So be sure to handle all the components with care.
Think About Disassembling the Projector
If you think the problem lies inside the projector’s optical unit, you can always disassemble the projector to see what is going on. We recommend you have your user manual with you in order to check what projector model you own. Do some internet research to check what type of LCD screen your projector houses, and if it can be replaced. The most common problem is the dust has entered through the cooling fan accumulating near the optical unit. To fix this you’ll need:
- A small vacuum cleaner
- A can of compressed air
- Trays to label and hold the loose screws
Remember that before accessing any components the projector has to be off and unplugged, this is extremely important so do not skip this. Simply remove the projector cover and try to see if any dust or dirt has accumulated. You can then proceed to clean it off using a small vacuum cleaner or some strong puffs of compressed air. Be sure to not allow any moisture o touch the components.
Check the Room Conditions
An often-overlooked reason why a projector might continue to stay dirty is the condition of your room. If the room where your projector is located tends to be filled with dust, we recommend you cover your projector with a cloth or a cover. Some projectors come with protective covers for this reason, so if you find out the conditions of your room are not ideal, maybe investing in some protection is a good option.
Can you Change the LCD Screen of a Projector?
You can absolutely change the LCD screen of a projector. You can do this in a few simple steps. We recommend you contact the manufacturer to see how they can help you. Changing components inside a projector is a daunting task for most people, so you can save yourself the hassle by emailing or calling the manufacturer. If you want to do it yourself you can:
- Learn what is your projector model
- Find out what LCD screen is housed in your projector
- Buy a replacement LCD screen
- Disassemble the projector
- Change the LCD screen
- Assemble the projector
- Test your results
We hope you have learned a bit more about how projector LCD screens work. We also showed you some of the most common issues people run into with their projector LCD screens. How to keep the screen of your LCD projector clean is an easy task if you make sure you treat your unit with care and follow some simple instructions. Remember that most of the tools we used (e.g. water, lint-free cloth, isopropyl alcohol) are very common household items. So give it a go and enjoy your ‘newly-bought’ projector!