Spotting counterfeit projector lamps

Many counterfeit lamps are made in China
Many counterfeit lamps are made in China

There’s been an explosion of websites selling “generic, compatible” replacement lamps. It can be tough to tell the difference between the authentic projector lamp with a guarantee and the counterfeit and much more inferior projector lamp. Here are some telltale signs.

 

 

Price

Projector lamps are complicated and sophisticated lamps — not your ordinary light bulb. The cost of creating this advanced technology is reflected in the price. If you come across a projector lamp that seems like an incredible bargain—run because it’s a forgery. The lowest price for a genuine lamp is every only 20% off the manufacturer’s price. This is an industry standard agreed upon by companies creating genuine lamps hybrids and the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Anything else is a fake.

Compatibility double speak

Statements such as “100% Brand New OEM Equivalent” and “OEM Compatible Lamps” and “guaranteed to be 100% compatible with the factory original” should make you suspicious. These statements are euphemisms used by copycat manufacturers bootleg companies to convince you to buy their inferior product.

Made in China

If you’re buying from a place with no direct customer service line, no direct email and no salesperson to contact, then that may also be a sign that the company is selling counterfeit. You should be able to easily contact the company and there should be a clearly outlined return policy. Almost 100% of the companies located in the China are selling counterfeit lamps that have no guarantee or money back refund.

Strange part numbers

It’s easy for the counterfeit companies to simply use the part number as the manufacturer, many don’t bother to even make sure they have the correct number. Look at the manufacturer’s website for the part number and compare it against the one being used by the company offering the incredible bargain. If the two don’t match, don’t buy.

Suspicious labels with spelling mistakes

Black market products often have labeling that looks unprofessional or there is clearly a knockoff label. If you the manufacturers label looks suspicious, check underneath for an original label. Often companies will put a knock-off label over top of their own.

No original codes

Check for the original code. Original lamps are stamped with a code identifying each company. See the chart below for more information. If the lamp is missing this code then it’s not adhering to the ANSI standards for bulbs and should be avoided.  Codes such a PL or GL are codes used by copy-lamp manufacturers.

Lamp Name Code
Phillips UHP
Osram P-VIP
Phoenix SHP
Ushio UMPRD
Mitsubishi VLT
Hewlett Packard L1
IBM 31
EPSON ELP

 

Naked bulbs, no cage

Counterfeit lamps are often sold with no cage just the light bulb. Phillips has authorized MI Technologies to sell their replacement bulbs since this company also manufactures its own cages.  It’s this is a rare exception to the rule, however. Most companies selling only light bulbs are selling counterfeits.

Wondering why you should avoid cheap blackmarket counterfeits? Read more:

 

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