How to remove a DLP color wheel (and in my case also destroy the projector)

Wanting faster curing time with my DLP printer (LittelRP) I decided to further hack my projector and remove the DLP color wheel. Here is a nice explanation of what a color wheel does and why it’s there. For DLP 3D printing, the color wheel gets in the way and (supposedly) blocks some of our coveted UV light.

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Here is my poor Acer X152H, without the top cover. That red circle is the DLP wheel. We will need to disassemble quite a bit of stuff before we can reach it. Take out the light bulb, then open all those screws on the electronics board on the top right. Unscrew the lens optics housing and pry it all loose.

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There is the DLP wheel, but sadly we can’t just disconnect it. The projector synchronizes the frame-rate with the rotation of the wheel, without the wheel it won’t even turn on. Our only option is to relocate it.

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Since the insides of the projector are packed tight, I opted to mount it outside, glued to the top of the unit. I even covered it with a small plastic housing, so nothing would touch it. Remember – it needs to be somewhere it can spin freely, or the projector won’t function properly. Another option is to keep the wheel motor and remove the glass. I am unsure if the projector can cope with this, as the wheel will have a different mass and rotation speed.

Another thing I did at this point was to remove the bulb UV filter, which is a small glass window that sits right on the bulb itself.


EDIT: DO NOT REMOVE THE UV FILTER

A commenter has mentioned that after removing the UV filter the same lens exploded inside his projector. The UV filter acts as a heat shield, and removing it will kill your projector.


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And now for the bad news

While putting everything back together, I accidentally placed the main cooling fan backwards. It was sucking air instead of blowing it on the light bulb. A few minutes into the first test print the projector overheated and shut down. Further inspection lead to a sad discovery, the first glass lens in the light path was shattered and half melted it’s way out of the plastic housing.

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The projector still works, but the light output is now a fraction of what it should be, rendering it almost useless. Finding a replacement lens is impossible, I have no idea what are the required optical properties or even the overall shape. It exploded beyond reconstruction.

Conclusions

Honestly, I have no idea. Did the lens explode because I removed the wheel or because I installed the cooling fan wrong? Maybe it was a combination of the two? Perhaps the DLP wheel also acts as a heat shield. I really don’t know.

What do you think? If you have any ideas or questions, drop me a comment below.

 

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9 thoughts on “How to remove a DLP color wheel (and in my case also destroy the projector)

  1. Hi!

    I buy a broken Acer X152H from ebay so after delivered i will open to fix. Will be of any help if i will make some hi resolution photos to that lens and i will send to you?

    Marius.

    1. That’s very nice of you, but it won’t help. I need to replace the lens and it’s housing, and it has to be a perfect match or the optics won’t work. Anyway, I have a new projector by now.

  2. Hi brother of arms x152h !
    I guess I’m second bad lucky man in this universe as author this topic .
    unfortunately I also buy acer x152h and after remove UV filter and color ring , I destroyed exactly the same lens .

      1. thanks to you for detailed explanation !
        what model of projector you buy new ?
        I try to fix acer , if I can , I will send info to you .

  3. but I don’t disconnect any wires from fan . so I guess the lens broken because light is to strong , but the lens material is cheap glass , not optical quartz .
    Broken lens stay behind the optical prism , its meaning hot air cannot destroy it , it cannot pass optical prism !

  4. HI ! again .
    first of all correcting my mistake about prism in previous message , there is not prism , there is mirrored tunnel .

    I do few experiments and modification , I replace broken lenses with other , re cutting it and re position , in finally get some accepted result with around 85% of working area .
    but to day is lucky day !
    I found original Acer X152H Cover Optical Engine Body !
    the Part number is :
    57.JLEJ4.001
    you can order it here :
    http://www.zandparts.com/en/Acer-57.JLEJ4.001
    as I did 🙂
    all need parts , it’s there !
    regards !

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