ICT Grants – Upgrading Projectors – Part One
A previous posting on the TeachNet Blog “Show me the Money – Funding On Its Way” https://blog.teachnet.ie/show-me-the-money-ict-funding-on-its-way/ welcomed the fact that a Grants Scheme for ICT Infrastructure in Primary and Post Primary schools was announced by Mr. Richard Bruton T.D. – Minister for Education and Skills in the early days of 2017. In the Department’s own press release and circulars it is recognised that multimedia projectors are among the items that might be required in schools. This is certainly the case in our own school where we began installing our first interactive whiteboard and projector back in 2005. The absence of any ICT funding in the last 7 years has presented a major challenge in keeping our ICT infrastructure in working order – replacing bulbs and indeed servicing, repairing and replacing aging projectors. Our first projectors, were long throw, ceiling mounted projectors. When replacing these, the companies supplying such equipment on the PDST Digital Projector Purchasing Framework and other local ICT suppliers will be very happy to quote for a new short throw projector and also quote you for €309 to €581 depending on the supplier for the mounting kit and installation! So I think, it is easy to see with these kinds of costs, the new ICT Infrastructure grant isn’t going to go very far unless one is prudent. This series will look at some options for replacing Sanyo PLC-XU70 long throw projectors (ceiling mounted); Sanyo PLC- XE40, Sanyo PLC-XE45 and Promethean PRM- 10 (short throw) fitted to the AB +2 Version interactive whiteboards; Promethean PRM 20 (LCD projector) and Promethean PRM 25 (DLP projectors) which were supplied with the AB 378 series of boards (built in speakers and USB sound interface.
When funding wasn’t available, I was searching the internet for the most cost effective replacement options. Our earliest projectors were ceiling mounted such as the Sanyo PLC-XU70 pictured here. The mountings used by Promethean when installing interactive whiteboards using either Sanyo or their own Promethean projectors were specific to the projector being installed rather than universal mountings which could be used for many different makes and models. So a new universal mounting to fit your new projector may be required. I have successfully used a Vision TM-CC Close Coupled Projector Ceiling Mount (approx. £45) when upgrading these units. I was able to adapt the mount by detaching the part that is designed to attach to the ceiling and use two large washers with the existing nuts and washers to secure it to the threaded component of the ceiling mount. A U.K. based engineering company RA Technology – http://www.ratechnology.co.uk/ have a range of retrofit mountings suitable Promethean, Smart etc. interactive whiteboard installation. They offer two products for these ceiling mounted projectors which can easily be installed by unbolting the Sanyo mounting as pictured above (2 X 24mm spanners or adjustable wrenches required). One allows a long throw projector to be fitted – RA Promethean Ceiling Mount (available in two sizes, small and medium approx. £65), the other a short throw – RA Promethean Zoom Mount (approx. £90). I think if you have a caretaker, teacher or parent with an interest in DIY, the school could easily save on installation costs.
Our next boards were the Promethean AB +2 (Version 1) height adjustable IWB’s. These systems were fitted with short throw Sanyo PLC-XE40/45 or Promethean PRM 10 projectors. These were the older blue/grey boards with external speakers and amplifier. RA Technology have a retro fit universal mount that can very easily be swapped out (approx. £90) on the Promethean AB +2 systems making fitting a replacement projector quite a simple operation.
Choosing a Replacement Projector
First thing that you need to establish is the exact make and model of projector that is already installed. Once you have established the exact make and model you can check the technical specifications either on the
manufacturer’s website, using a Google search or try the ProjectorCentral.com website. This site has a database of specifications of projectors from various manufacturers worldwide. By establishing details such as the resolution (XGA, WXGA), Lumens, Throw Ratio, Technology (LCD or DLP), Lamp Life, Aspect Ratio etc. you will be better equipped in choosing the best replacement.
If seeking quotes for a projector upgrade from suppliers on the PDST Projector Frameworks, I would suggest that you give as much details as possible – Make, Model, Technology, Throw Ratio etc. of your existing projector and specify that the supplier must supply you with the details above and the Lumens, Lamp Hours, Warranty, Lead Time, Delivery and Installation Costs that applies with the product that they quote you for. This should be of help to the school when comparing quotes from the various suppliers and deciding which best suits your particular requirement.