Elliot Woods and Joanie Lemercier at STRP festival

Brightness hack


The "Black and Bright" projector hack removes the colour filters from a low cost video projector to double the brightness of its output, whilst removing its ability to represent colour (all images become grayscale, hence "Black and Bright"). The hack is usually destructive, and a replacement part needs to be ordered to restore the original functionality of the projector.

The hack is really simple to execute (no soldering or electronics knowledge is required).

What you need

Step 1 - Open the projector

For this step, it can be a good idea to get the service manual for the projector so that you can check what the ’official’ way is of opening the projector up. This way you can avoid damaging the casing or anything inside. To get the service manual, ask your projector supplier (they’ll have one). Also you can continue without this of course. 

Generally the steps are:

Be careful of:

Pro tip:

Step 2 - Locate and remove the colour wheel

This will be between the projector lamp and the DLP chip. It is generally quite easy to see but it may have its own protective casing that needs to come out together and then be removed.

There are generally 2 cables between the colour wheel and the main circuit board:

These 2 cables need to be disconnected from the main board.

Be careful of:

Step 3 - Snap the filters off the colour wheel


Seriously, yeah, do it. Yeah!

Be careful of:

Step 4 - put everything back together

Be careful of:

Step 5 - turn the projector on

What? It doesn’t turn on.. ? :)

Projector measurements

To measure the increase in brightness, we use a lux meter. We have found different increases in brightness when using this hack, anything from 1.4x to 2.2x brightness increase. We believe that this variance may be due to differences in:


Model: OPTOMA EW 400


Bulb Wattage: ie 240W

Throw ratio: 1.28 – 1.54:1

native resolution: ie: 1280 x 800

full specs link: ie: http://www.optomaeurope.com/projectordetails.aspx?PTypeDB=Business&PC=EW400

Submitted by: Elliot Woods 

Luxmeter reading of 9 points, on a 1m wide image, inspired by the official ANSI lumens test.

at 1.28:1 throw ratio.  (1m x 0.625m = 0.625 m2)

Brightness before hack:

2900 3800 2900
3100 3750 3050
3200 3500 2350

average: 3172 lux.

3172 lux x 0.625 =  1982 lux per square/m = 1982 lumens.

Brightness after hack:

4550 5750 3550
4950 5800 4550
5100 5500 3700

average:  4827 lux.

 3017 lux per square/m = 3017 lumens.

brightness increase:

x1.57 x1.51 x1.22
x1.6 x1.55 x1.49
x1.59 x1.57 x1.57


Dell S320

Model: Dell s320


Bulb Wattage: Philips 240W

Lens: ie 0.626:1

native resolution: ie: 1024x768

full specs link: http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-s320/pd


Submitted by:  Joanie Lemercier

Vivitek DW882ST

Model: Vivitek DW882ST

Vivitek DW882ST


Lamp: 240W UHP

Throw ratio: 0.52

Resolution: 1280 * 800

Specs: http://www.vivitek.eu/Category/Education-Projectors/128/DW882ST-

Average increase: 1.49

Submitted by: Vincent de Belleval 


ACER P1510

Model: Acer P1510


tests on a 1.31 m wide image = 0.9653 m2

Brightness before hack:

2040 1800
2350 2800 2600
2700 3150 3000
2920 3240 2850
2820 2150

average: 2833 lux.

2833 lux x 0.9653 m2 =  2735 lux per square/m = 2735 lumens.

Brightness after hack:

3450 3500
4300 5100 4800
5000 5600 5500
5250 5700 5200
4800 4100

average:  4792 lux.

 4790 lux x 0.9653 m = 4626 lumens.


Lamp: 250W UHP

Throw ratio: 1.48-1.62:1

Resolution: 1920 * 1080


Average increase: 1.7

cost: 489 euros (13/10/15)

cost per lumen: 105 euros / 1000 lumens.

Submitted by: Joanie Lemercier


Brief instructions on how to take apart :

-Open case (5 bottoms screws, 2 side screws for lamp cover, there’s a ribbon cable between the top case and the main body so be careful)

- Remove lamp (2 screws, one cable disconnect)

- Colour wheel cover will be visible, take that off by removing the 4 corner screws (it might be easier to take off lamp holder assembly and fan unless you have a very short screwdriver)

- Smash a little bit the colour wheel to get access to the two screws behind it

- Remove colour wheel holder assembly (2 screws, JST connector on colour wheel speed sensor, FFC cable on underside of main PCB next to the DMD connectors)

- Clean up colour wheel glass

- Put it all back together.


The brightness increase factor measured on various projectors was between 1.4 and 2.2

Theses variations are probably related to the use of the color wheel segments (RGB + Clear + magenta + yellow)  and the frequency at which the DLP chip flickers which varies from different projectors and brands.

We’re trying to understand better these variations, and will post updates on this page soon.

Workshop photos

Thanks to Justus for the photos!