I was watching an old episode of Dexter the other day (I know, I’m late to the party) and my projector (an Optoma HD70) image became an off color for just a second, but most alarmingly started to make a terrible buzzing/whirring/grinding noise, almost like a bad computer fan.
There are a couple of high volume brushless DC (computer) fans inside there, so I knew it was possible that one had thrown a vane. Since the HD-70 is a DLP projector it uses a complex set of mirrors to reflect the image through a color wheel in order to get the correct colors displayed in the image. The color wheel in the HD70 is seven segments. I believe that it is ordered red, green blue, white, red, grean, blue. When I heard the noise I shut the projector down as quickly as I could, and the color shift that appeared along with the noise only lasted a split second. For this reason I think that my color wheel simply lost its white (or clear, if you prefer) segment. When I pick the projector up and move it around I can hear a piece of what sounds like glass moving around.
When I bought my projector it needed a new lamp and a thorough cleaning inside. I got a great deal on it, so that was no problem, and I ventured inside the box to get it all taken care of. I am completely comfortable opening the case and working on the internals. What concerned me was that no matter how hard I Googled I couldn’t find anyone selling a replacement color wheel. I even found the Optoma part number for it (70.85S22GR01, by the way), but even searching for that yielded few results. I have one hit from Alibaba, which has been an unreliable source for me in the past (and often requires that you order 10-100 of something you only need one of) and one for a website that I had never heard of that wanted $300 for the color wheel. If I was going to have to pay $300 I was planning to upgrade to a new 1080p projector (HD80/22/33, something along those lines). Sure, it would have cost a lot more, but this projector is outdated now, even though the image quality and reliability are both excellent.
My next resort was this thread (second page) on AVSForum, where someone had kindly posted a phone number and quote from Optoma. Sadly, that number didn’t work for me, disconnected. So as my last resort (before pinching pennies for a new/used machine) was to call Optoma. I’ve never had good luck getting companies to sell my internal non-user serviceable parts directly, nor have I had luck with ordering parts for out of warranty/support machines, but the projector gods were on my side today. Optoma sold me a new color wheel for $50 plus about $12 to ship it (FedEx Ground) to me. I tried just about every number on their contact us page, and finally got to a message that said ‘for out of warranty machines please call (888) 942-2929, and that is what I did. No lies, no weirdness (the lady wasn’t very nice, at all), and I got my part. Once it arrives I may post some instructions/pictures of the replacement process.