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Author Topic: Light Engine failure NEC NC1600C
Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-24-2017 12:23 AM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With about 6 weeks to go until the outdoor cinema season opens I was recently confronted with a screen full of horizontal red stripes and random pixelation.

At first the tech in Sydney believed it was just the Red Formatter Board, however after noticing the pixelation decided that it was also the Red DMD and that I would need to replace these and have the light engine refurbished in Japan.

When the season ends in April, the NEC NC1600C projector is turned on completely once every fortnight and left overnight for up to 24 hours before being shut down. I don’t know exactly when the failure occurred as I had not struck the lamp for nearly five months and that is when the problem became apparent.

I see in the posting 11-9-2013 ‘Green lines with NC2000’ a similar problem except that they were vertical green stripes. Much of the advice centred on re-seating boards and checking connectors.

I wonder what could have caused such a catastrophic failure of the projector. I don’t believe in my case that reseating boards will be the answer (nothing can be that easy!) and the cost would be prohibitive for the tech to fly from Sydney to Perth just to check that.

Does anyone have any thoughts as to what may have caused this?

I did notice some weeks ago that several RCDs on the main power board had tripped. An rcd for the bio box air conditioner also failed completely, for some reason. That was replaced with a circuit breaker. If the faults in the projector are related to a power surge or some other electrical fault I may have a justifiable insurance claim, although the repair cost is probably at least three times the commercial (insurance) value of the projector.

Has anyone had luck with claiming on insurance for this type of thing? I suspect, though, that most cinema projectors would be covered by some form of warranty. My projector is 8 - 9 years old, but, due to the fact that it was in storage for much of that time means that has only clocked up about 4,000 hours.

In any event, repairing the projector would not be cost effective, or affordable, as insurance will not cover the full cost of repairs so, unless I can find a cheap projector fast it is not looking too good come opening night. I may just be able to get access to a series 1 Christie projector which, whilst being an improvement on my current situation, no doubt carries its own risks.

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Dave Macaulay
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1930
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 09-24-2017 08:28 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's no good way to tell "why".
Reseating the boards would be first. This is not difficult or terribly risky for someone with reasonable dexterity and patience. You do need DCCS to remarry the system afterwards. You should open all the covers and check for unwanted guests... you would not be the first skytop to have mice eating the wiring. Again, marriage will be lost by opening the secure area covers.
If wiring looks ok then a software update is worthwhile but not really promising. DCCS again and a bit tricky so a trained tech should do that.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6596
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 09-24-2017 01:50 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Remarriage shouldn't be an issue with a Series 1 NEC: once the panels have been replaced and the tamper switches have been closed, the tamper error should go away without you having to do anything else. I haven't worked on a 1600, but this is definitely the case on the three 2500s I have worked on. On Series 2 NECs, there is a further procedure that you need to perform to clear the physical tamper error, and a further one after that to remarry an Enigma board or an IMB/IMS (per forum rules, I'm not detailing them here).

Are there any errors showing on the projector? In DCC, go to the "info" tab as so:

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If you see anything other than "There are no errors," what does it say?

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2207
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 09-24-2017 06:12 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I also doubt that reseating the boards will do any good, but checking for errors in the logs first and then trying to reseat the boards is an obvious first step. You never know, just sometimes, it's something that simple.

Otherwise, my best bet also is the red DMD, but if there really was a power surge, you never know what was also hit.

If you had tripped RCDs and other electrical defects, some kind of power surge is plausible. Whether it was caused by lightning or if it was coming from the grid is something that's worthwhile to find out.

As for insurance, it's hard to judge for me, since you're in Australia and laws and regulations can be different there.

Right here, most property insurances do cover damage caused by lightning, whether direct or indirect. It also covers damage by power surges, caused by third parties. The problem could be, to prove your damage was caused by such an event, since it could've happened months ago. What I'd do is ask people in the neighborhood if they had similar problems with blown electrical equipment in the past months.

Regarding on how much your insurance covers; unless it's covered by some local laws, that's usually also pretty much up to what's in your contract. My contract for example states, that after catastrophic loss, they have to pay up to 80% of the price to replace the lost equipment with something NEW that's functionally equal or better for anything older than 5 years and 100% for anything newer. So, in case of a projector that cannot be repaired and is older than 5 years, they would need to pay up to 80% of the price of a equally NEW replacement.

Obviously, they usually won't take your word for it and will send some claims inspector, who will look for reasons for them not to pay. [Wink]

As for warranty, even without knowing your local warranty laws, I'm pretty sure you can get that one of your list. If your machine is about 8 or 9 years old, it's simply out of warranty, even if it has just 4000 hours on the clock.

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Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-24-2017 09:28 PM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another issue I was trying to sort out and which was when I discovered the problems described in this post, was trying to connect a laptop, on which I had installed DCC, to the projector. For some reason it could see the network but not connect to it. I had a local tech up to investigate and whilst he could ping my laptop from his own through the network, could not see the projector.
The ON/STANDBY button on the projector had, over a relatively short time, gone from taking about 5 seconds to starting/stopping the unit to simply not reacting at all.
The cinema laptop, which had been working fine for the past two years, and which I had been using to turn the projector on due to the failure of its own button, suddenly decided to die and would not boot up at all. It was able to switch the projector to standby through DCC a few weeks ago and then refused to boot.( It did actually come up to the Windows screen once after leaving the unit for about an hour but the screen was frozen and nothing I could do could resurrect it.) The spare laptop was meant to take its place.The only way that I can now turn the projector to On/Standby is via the wired remote control.

Now either this is all connected somehow or I am one very unlucky SOB.

I did not mention this in my post as I figured it was probably unrelated and that one issue at a time was enough. Having a projector slowly dying and a laptop computer going out in sympathy seems a little too much of a coincidence, however.
It seems to lend credence to my theory of a power surge some weeks ago as the laptop had been left on overnight with the projector and server. At the time the laptop would not come out of sleep mode and I had to forcibly shut it down and restart it in order to use DCC to switch the projector to Standby.

Of course, one would think that the laptop power supply would take the brunt of the surge, preventing damage to the computer itself and that the UPS before the projector would also protect that up to a point, so it is rather baffling. We did have some storms around that time so I am not discounting the possibility of a lightning strike.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2207
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 09-25-2017 04:39 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree, the things you mentioned are a little bit to coincidental, a power surge is entirely plausible.

A lightning strike can cause all kinds of strange issues. Sometimes gear seems to survive untouched, while other, seemingly unrelated equipment dies or ends up half broken. When it's a direct hit, even most surge protectors won't help you, unfortunately. Those extreme voltages have a tendency to arc over most stuff in their path.

Most damage isn't from direct hits though. It's mostly indirect damage, due to surges caused by induction. This is were surge protectors usually work pretty well, fortunately.

But what people often forget is that induction will not only happen on power cables, it can happen on all other metallic cables as well. So, that includes long runs of data (e.g. Ethernet, telephone/DSL, cable, etc.) or even audio cabling. Also, equipment usually has far less protection on those entries, than via the power supply.

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Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-25-2017 06:00 AM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Marcel

I think I might try to get a local tech up to have a look inside the projector for any physical evidence that might point to why the light engine has apparently failed.

Assuming that I am able to re-open the cinema this season I shall also ensure that I invest in appropriate protection against possible indirect lightning strikes.

I am disappointed that I may lose the NEC projector completely as I simply can't afford to repair it, and it was a rather nice unit when it was working.

At this stage, as mentioned above, I am unable to connect to the projector using DCC. I assume that I can retrieve logs directly?

If anyone else, including Steve or Mark, has anything to add I would welcome their comments. All you guys have my utmost respect as I have been following these forums for many years, long before I actually took over the cinema.

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James Falloon
Film Handler

Posts: 71
From: Wigram, Christchurch, New Zealand
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted 09-25-2017 08:08 AM      Profile for James Falloon   Email James Falloon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Peter

Seems there are a lot of different things going on here, some faults may be related and some red herrings. best way is to deal with them one at a time.

it sounds to me like you've got:
a) your regular laptop with DCC has stopped booting
b) your backup laptop isn't talking to the projector
c) there's a fault on the projector causing red lines
d) something in the past tripped a few RCD's

lets deal with them one at a time

a) your regular laptop - sounds like the hard drive may have hit some bad sectors - you've described the classic symptoms - was able to load windows after an hour, but frozen/ unresponsive - best way to diagnose is to listen to it - hold it up to your ear, and listen to the sound the hard drive makes - quick diagnosis, if its making a regular rhythmic repetitive clunking noise it may be dying. it happens. the internal hard drive may need to be replaced. if it's booting, albeit slowly, that's a good sign that its not fatal for the laptop. report back.

b) backup laptop unable to communicate with the projector - sounds like you've got the DCC software installed ok - so that leaves network settings as the most likely reason. this is a bit tricky if you're a computer novice. but basically we need to find out the projector IP address (think of it like the projectors telephone number) we need to then make sure your laptop has a similar number in the same town (subnet) so they can talk. we can guide you through this. we may be able to get the needed details off the projector or server or maybe written down somewhere. does the LCD display work on the projector? report back

What kind of server do you have? Qube? do you have any encrypted content you can try to play? what happens if you try to play it? any error messages on the server?

I think first step is to get reliable communication with the projector via laptop and DCC working first - that makes troubleshooting the projector easier.

there are a few more questions that will help with diagnosing the projector fault
c) once the projector is booted is the tail light green?

thanks James

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Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-25-2017 09:50 AM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks James,

(a) The laptop has been set up with a BIOS password.It does not even get to that point when the laptop is switched on, just a black screen. Would a hard drive fault prevent the computer getting to that point? I did listen and can hear no clunking noises, rhythmic or otherwise. I have a spare of the same model that has a crook motherboard and I have already swapped over the hard drives to see what would happen but the result is the same. I even swapped out the RAM.
I assume that the processor is working. The fan works and blows out warm air so something is happening internally.

(b) Even the local tech was unable to connect to the projector using his own laptop. He could ping my laptop through the network but nothing else. We had the Australian NEC rep on the phone at the time and even he could not explain why we could not connect.

The server is a Dolby DSS 100 with Dolby DSP100 player. Content works fine except for the washed out affect on the picture on screen.

The side panel on the NEC will not allow me to strike the lamp so that has to be done via the onscreen Dolby Show Manager. (Where can one get the Show Manager software to install on a laptop, assuming I can get a connection to the server?)
It seems I've just described yet another fault not previously mentioned but no doubt part of the faulty board that prevents the ON/STANDBY button working. Could this also explain the inability to connect from an external source?

(c) The tail lights are green after boot up and there is no indication of any errors.

Cheers

Peter

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

Posts: 15869
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-25-2017 11:23 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Try using Advanced IP Scanner to find out the projector is even talking on the network. You will need to set a range in IP scanner to within what it was last known to be. If the projector IS on the network it will show up after the scan has completed. Most of your other devices will also show up as well. If the projector does not show up then I'd suspect the projector's internal router has failed And failure of the router is common on NEC's. I have this free app installed on all my TMS and booth computers...

Advanced IP Scanner

Mark

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9389
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-25-2017 01:24 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The projectors IP should be visable on the lcd screen on the side of the projector under information
Try reseating the cables to the formaters and also try swapping the cables between the red and green to see if problem moves
I always install a hi quality TVSS on the booth panel to protect from major spikes

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

Posts: 15869
From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 09-25-2017 02:51 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gord,

During conversions I actually had several NEC's with 0.0.0.0 as an IP address. NEC said that was impossible, but that's what they read on the LCD. You could not log onto them either and had to replace the CPU modules.

Mark

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Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-26-2017 01:24 AM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Mark and Gordon,

It appears that the local tech actually did try the piece of software referred to or something similar to check the network, without success.

It seems likely that the communication problem might be connected to the failure of part of the control panel on the side of the projector.

I am having the tech come up to the cinema early next week (not really soon enough though) to inspect inside the projector for any visible signs that could point to the reason for the catastrophic (at least that's what I call it) failure.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2207
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 09-26-2017 03:39 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Did you try connecting the projector to another switchport?

Also, what you can do is connect the Ethernet port of your projector directly to your notebook, preferably with a crossover cable, in case auto-MDIX fails on either side and configure an IP in the same subnet directly on the notebook. If there's still no communication, then at least you know for sure the networking part of your projector is unfortunately gone.

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Peter Foyster
Film Handler

Posts: 36
From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Registered: Aug 2016


 - posted 09-26-2017 05:59 AM      Profile for Peter Foyster   Email Peter Foyster   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We did actually try connecting a CAT cable directly to the projector with no luck, so I concede that there is a communication issue within the projector. I can, of course, still control it via the Dolby Show Player.

Is it possible, do you think, that all these issues are interrelated somehow or just plain bad luck?

To help answer that; I have been trying all day at my home to isolate the cause of one of the RCDs on the main power board popping out randomly and shutting down vital appliances and all the lights. I am hoping that it is just caused by dampness and will go away when the weather warms up a bit.

It is probably going to be a long task to get to the bottom of the issue on the home front. It doesn't really take my mind off the projector problem but it does give me something else to do.

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