Cinema Product Reviews

Christie SLC Series Lamphouse
Manufacturer:  Christie Inc.
Grade:  A-
Reviewed November 1999 by Joe Redifer

If you want the best possible light output to your screen, then the lamphouse really matters.  Fortunately there is the Christie SLC40 lamphouse/console.  How is it better than other lamphouses?

1) Light. The quality of the light is noticeably superior to most others.  There are actually a few other lamphouses out there that can boast light quality of the Christie, but they don't have the other advantages.

2) Long bulb life.  I'm not quite sure how Christie does it, but their 4000 watt bulbs last longer in their lamphouse than in any other lamphouse I have seen.  I have had 4000 watt bulbs as old as 2000 hours without a hint of flicker or darkening, and this is without rotating the bulb during it's life.

3) Power supply.  It is not an easy to remove switching power supply.  But I'll let you in on something.  Those switching power supplies are easy to remove for a reason!  I recently worked with a group of Strong Super Hilite lamphouses, and we were switching power supplies at least once every two months.  Constantly failing.  Those things were a joke.

4) Auto focus.  I am not a big fan of auto focus, but if I HAVE to use it, it will be Christie's auto focus.  By comparison, the auto focus on many Xetron lamphouses is extremely problematic at best.  It can be so bad that when installing a new bulb you literally have to move it back and forth by hand, which takes forever since you have to shut it off and wait for it to cool sufficiently before doing so.  Focusing the bulb in the Christie after install with the rocker switches is quick and easy.  On the manual version of the lamphouse it is a bit more difficult because you must stick a very long and skinny wrench into a small hole and adjust.  But it still works very easily and does not require excessive force to adjust the bulb in any direction.

Overall I've had great success with the Christie SLC40 lamphouse.  Even when things go bad they still work great.  They are extremely reliable (unlike other things in the Christie product lineup), especially when used with Christies own xenons.  This piece of equipment is not without its own set of flaws, however.  Here are some things that bring the final grade down:

1) It can buzz -- I mean REALLY BUZZZZZZ!  Some of my lamphouses seem to be developing a very loud buzzing sound.  Some of them are so loud that they can easily be heard in the auditorium.  Christie has not been able to fix this nor do they seem too interested.  They say that resin on the power supply has deteriorated away and now coils vibrate.  They suggested jamming a wooden wedge to decrease the buzz.  That does not work (and is a half assed solution anyway).  This does not seem to affect the 2000 watt SLC20 lamphouses.

2) No voltage meter.  This is the only lamphouse that I know of where you cannot switch between voltage and amperage to evaluate the lamp current.  You must open up the lamphouse and use your own multimeter.  This is just plain stupid.

3) No porthole to view the bulb.  This is not actually necessary, but it is nice.  It is easy to tell when a bulb is beginning to flicker, if it is clouding up or becoming dark at a glance.
Even with the flaws, the Christie SLC series is still my choice for best lamphouse.

-Joe Redifer
Christie can be contacted at

Joe Redifer has been a projectionist for the last few years.  He learned at Mann Kipling, went on to the UA Greenwood and finally spent 2 years at Mann Chinese.  At the Chinese, Joe performed most of the daily maintenance on the equipment.  Joe is not a technician and has no test equipment, but is an experienced projectionist.  These reviews are representative of the performance of the equipment/services from his perspective.

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