Troubleshooting Problems on Samsung DLP Projection Televisions

By Omar Saad

Over the years, the Samsung DLP has become one of the most popular HDTVs. These televisions offer sharp, high-definition images on large screens at prices competitive with those of flat-panel TVs. But like all electronics, they're prone to a few specific problems that tend to crop up after years of use.


Samsung DLP TVs are projection televisions, and the most common problem for any projection television is a lamp failure. Every DLP TV will eventually have to have its lamp replaced--the lamps last somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 hours, on average. The vast disparity in lamp life is related to the lamp manufacturer and the way the lamp is used. For example, since heat is the biggest enemy of lamp life, it is best not to turn your DLP TV back on directly after turning it off. Doing so does not allow the lamp to cool off and causes excess wear on the bulb.Replacing a DLP lamp is relatively easy. New lamps cost about $150 and are designed to be easily inserted and removed from the unit. You'll know that a lamp is getting close to the end of its life when the picture seems significantly dimmer and when the bulb takes an excessively long period of time to turn on.

The Color Wheel

The color wheel is the second most common component to fail in a DLP TV. While Samsung has not released a life expectancy on the component, anecdotal evidence shows that the part may need to be replaced after three to five years. The most common sign that the color wheel is beginning to go bad is a high-pitched hum that it tends to give off. This hum can be noticeable as long as six months before the wheel goes out and is caused by the bearings starting to fail within the color wheel. Eventually, the image on the screen will freeze and lose color. The color wheel, which costs around $180, requires some expertise in replacing and thus can set you back several hundred dollars for the cost of a technician. Newer color wheels are made with an air cushion as opposed to bearings and are expected to last much longer than their predecessors.

The DMD Board

Of all the things that can go wrong with a DLP TV, none will cost more to replace than the DMD board. In fact, unless your TV is under warranty, it may be more cost-effective to simply purchase a new television, because the part alone costs about $1,500. That said, this component is not known to fail often in the newer DLP TVs. The telltale sign of a failing DMD is an overheating TV. Like many failing electronic components, the DMD board will overheat as it is reaching its end. Your TV will automatically shut itself off, reboot, and try to turn itself on again, without success. To turn it back on, you'll have to do a hard reboot by unplugging the unit.