My DIY projector, the whole process from idea to 100" widescreen!

The plan is to make a projector with 2 fans. One to a seperate lampchamper and one for the lcd-area. There will be an airtunnel under the lampchamber where also the power and vga cables for the lcd will run. Here is a drawing of my design:

Parts list:

  • " MDF for the box and internal walls. CNC cut by an funiture compagny.
  • HPS ballast/cap/igniter from a growthlamp.
  • 400W Philips HPI-T PLUS bulb
  • Ikea bowl as a reflector (20 cm)
  • 2 Titan 120mm 12V fans, 73 cfm airflow.
  • 9 V AC-DC adaptor to supply the fans.
  • Lumenlab lens set (fresnels and triplet)
  • Lumenlab UV filter
  • 4 pieces of glass to sandwich the fresnels
  • Temp. glass.
  • Aluminium sheet metal for heat protection
  • IIyama BXU3814 UT or Benq 567 v.2 LCD. I havn't made up my mind yet, but the IIyama has FCC issues and the Benq dosn't, so I'll propably will go with the benq.
  • + all sort of items, like screws, wires, connectors and so on.
Here is a picture of the growth lamp before i tore it apart. The original bulb was a Philips SON-T agro (HPS) later to be replaced by a HPI-T PLUS (MH).

Here is the MDF for the box.

Making progress:

Been busy painting the inside black and have started on installing the electronics. On theese pictures you can also see how all the electronics are gonna be behind the lampchamber.

I know the pictures dosn't show it, but there is 15mm space under the bottom of the lampchamber to ventilate the LCD area. The frame with the square hole in it is for the rear fresnel, and there is also a 15mm x 300mm hole in the bottom of it.

Flashing done, and started on the electronics

Here is the easy removable backwall.

Backwall mounted in the box.

Another shot of the projector with the backwall in place.

Tried to put in all the frames and modules just for the fun of it.

Removed backwall and completed the wirering. I need to take out the bulb and right fan to remove the backwall, but its a pretty easy task though.

The VGA and power cable for the LCD is running under the lampchamber in the airduct for the LCD-area. That way I have connectors on my projector only in the rear.

I am now done ripping my benq apart and completing the LCD-module. During the dissambling of the monitor, I made sure to ground myself, but when testing the monitor after mounting it on the LCD-module I ran into trouble!!!

The dissassembly itself went smooth and I'm sure I did the dissassembly correct, with no violence whatsoever. I really took my time (more than 3 hours) and it was 2 am when I was done. I tried to hook it up to my laptop and test it with a flashlight, and it LIVED

Then, I put it in my box and turned both the LCD, fans and the MH bulb on, but in the same second, I saw a little cloud of smoke rising, aswell as I could smell something burned. I pulled the plug in a hurry and knew that this ment $400 down the drain. There I was, tired and angry, in the middle of the night, and my wife trying to comfort me, but the worst part was not knowing what went wrong...

I desided to take the LCD-module out of the box to study it. I removed the printboards but couldnt see any visual faults. Then I tried to sniff out what was burned, but the only thing I found that could remotly remind me of a burned smell, was at the microphone jack on the small controller board... strange, cause I expected to see a cracked IC or something.

Anyways, I put it all back into the LCD-module and took the chance of hooking it up again... hmm there was no smoke comming from it... and no burned smell... wery strange...

THEN, almost feeling stupid, I found the flashlight again and guess what! It still worked! My night was saved!

Now, after testing it some more (and it still works) , I still don't know what happend that night. I figure the smoke might have come from som dust on the bulb or something but I dont care cuz it all works.

Here are a few pics of the completed LCD-module:

This picture is from my very first test on the back of my garagedoor, with no adjusting and with a bowed front fresnel. It was also taken with daylight slipping in from 3 windows, and its shaken cause I was holding the camera. The resolution on the laptop was only 800 x 600, and that is making the picture more blurry too, so please be patient to see my "real" results pics.

I know about the line above the picture, and have already fixed it. All I need now really is a new fresnel.

The front fresnel was a little bowed, and I tried to sandwitch it, but one corner was higher than the rest, and as I tried to cut it down the knife slipped, and I scrached my fresnel bad.

Lucky for me, Brainchild from are gonne send me a replacement for the price of the shipping. Now thats what I call service!

I recieved my replacement fresnel from lumenlab (thanks alot Brain!) and got it in my box. Here is a shot of Bob the Builder taken from VHS through my tv capture card.

I got lucky and found a cheap 15" tft monitor with blown backlight, but this really put me in a dilemma cause this one only has a contrast ratio on 200:1 and a responcetime at 40ms. Not very promising...

Should I go with this one, hope the specs would be just OK, put my benq back together and cut $300 of the total cost???

Anyway, thats excacly what I did.

I think Im the first to actuallty put a benq 567 back together again. And I even did it twice because the first time I accidently left some dust between the panel and background lightning that turned out to look like pixelerrors. The second time I got it right, and now it looks like new again.

Now I can afford to mess around with my projektor without beeing to sorry if I destroy the LCD.

I can inform that the responcetime of 40ms is no problem at all, but the lower contrast ratio can be seen. Anyway, this gives me time to look for another blown monitor with better specs.

Dissasemmbly pictures follows...

As you can see the printboards of this LCD has to swing sideways, and I had to make a new frame, and rearrange the way the frontfresnel was attached.

Hmm, its actually a HYUNDAI panel. The monitor was labels Amitech, wich is a danish brand

OK, I admit, this time I didn't ground myself while ripping it apart.

This was actually the first time I saw it working.!!! I put a flashligt behind the panel and you can see win2000 loading. The original powersupply was broken, so I had to use a AT PSU from an old computer. This monitor was a little special, cause it needed both 5 and 12 volt.

I had to shape the metal plate like this to support room for the front fresnel and make room for the connectors.

I now have put my projector in the cieling (pictures follow later) and got myself a blackout cloth. This picture was taken while projecting on a white wall before I got the blackout cloth. There is a open door to the right letting in light from the kitchen, too bad I didn't realice how much it destroyed my picture.

Another pic from before I got my blackout cloth up. Light from the kitchen still disturbing the picture.


Yet another...

After I got the blackout cloth up, my setup is like this:

I drilled some small holes (3mm) through the cieling and hang the projector in steelwires attached like this:

Still needs painting...

My keystonecorrection angle is about 11, and does not cause any trouble. This picture is taken after I got my blackout cloth up, and represent my final results for now. The image is 2 meter wide.

My blackout cloth is a model "TUPPLUR" from IKEA
White, 200 x 195 cm
IKEA - TUPPLUR blackout
It was about $40.

A drawing of how I have attached the projector.
The steelwires goes through 3mm holes in the cieling. Meaning the holes will not be seen if I deside to take it down.

I recently got the projector totally done. All the holes are filled, so its nice and smooth now. Besides that I removed 3 pieces of glass (used to sandwich the fresnels) and it made the picture a little brighter. Here are the final result:

Thats all folks!

Copyright 2003 Jimmy Hansen All rights reserved. Email: