March 2011 Archives

The Shooting Gallery

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Along the ways of my travels, I acquired a Sony VPH-1251, a one hundred and forty pound boat anchor of a projector. Like most older gear, it merely sneers at outlets. No, to fire up this epic beast of a projector requires no less than a virgin sacrifice, along with an anointing of blood, and a mystical incantation while pushing the "ON" button. And you have to notify the power company a week in advance.

At least that's what you'd expect me to say. Truthfully, it's a much more well-behaved unit that modern projectors. The reason why is that when this projector is in black, it is drawing a minimal amount of power, as opposed to modern projectors, which use a lamp as a light source. Since the lamp is held at the same power level all the time, the wasted energy is given off as heat and light. On the other hand, my CRT projector comes up in white for twenty minutes to allow the tubes to warm up. This process may be bypassed (as I often do). Power consumption is 250W in black, 400W in white -- the power demand changes with the image produced. The caveat thus far is that for the power consumed, very little light is generated, though it's somewhere north of 150 lumens, peaking to much higher (650 lumens) if small parts of white are needed.

The technogeek may appreciate a subtle feature of the older CRT projectors -- they sense magnetic fields. Periodically, about every six months,  one must realign the red and blue projection images to align with the green (middle) one. So the alignment can change depending on how much metal you have under the projector, as well as due to natural disaster or fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field.  

Curt Palme ranks it as a beginner projector; when you consider it's 1992 vintage, and the computing and video of the day, it was a respectable projector. It's capable of handling raw VGA video to 1024x768 -- not much in today's world, but more than enough for HDTV. My projector has some 3,000 hours on it, and if the tubes evenly age, the projector can be used to 20,000 hours. Nice investment for "free", eh?

Goodness, if I've wasted this much time talking about the projector, one wonders what I am to espouse about the Nintendo...

There's not a lot to say about the Nintendo, or the Zapper. The Zapper works because of some special programming in the Duck Hunt cartridge that briefly turns the screen black while turning the duck or clay white. So one of the secrets to getting this game to work is to reduce the noise (stray light) or increase the contrast. Since I tested this at mid-day, I wasn't able to reduce the stray light any more than it already was. So I turned the contrast up to wide open (100, when it's normally set to 50), and the game started magically working. So the next step was to start turning the contrast down. I found I was able to get the game to work at about contrast level 62. I will be testing it when the sun goes down to see if things improve.

So make sure your game is working properly -- that you see a flash of black -- and give it a try. And don't forget to give the projector a break afterwards, perhaps showing some static!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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