The York County School Division in Yorktown, Virginia was faced with a unique challenge: to replace its aging fleet of 830 classroom projectors, more than half of which were at the end of their life cycle. The division created a new specification requiring projectors to have a 16:10 aspect ratio, a native resolution of 1280 x 800, and at least 3000 lumens brightness. The plan was to replace all classroom projectors over the next five years—oldest first.
“We initially replaced 160 units on the first rollout with a previously-vetted projector,” recalls James McCann, Assistant Supervisor of Computer Maintenance at YCSD. Yet while planning for the next rollout, “We discovered that unit was no longer in production.” That put YCSD in a bind. “We were nursing a fleet of 10-year-old 4:3 aspect ratio projectors with expensive and frequent bulb replacements, increased client down time and cost-prohibitive repairs.”
In the search for a replacement projector, McCann says he happened across Casio’s Signature Series projector, which uses hybrid laser and LED technology instead of a projection lamp. “After an exhaustive evaluation, the Casio projector proved to be the best choice to place in our classrooms.”
Doing the math
One of the biggest expenses in many technology programs is the cost of maintaining projectors. McCann says in York County, they were spending $25,000 to $30,000 each year on replacement bulbs, plus almost $11,000 for dust filters.
The Casio projectors eliminated the expense, since its maintenance-free hybrid light source has an expected 20,000 hour lifespan.
“There’s where the savings are, in the cost of bulbs and filters,” says McCann. “When you calculate the impact of downtime to the client, cost of consumables, time to service and future reliability the choice is obvious.”
“We also know that each Casio LampFree projector is using just 190 watts of power compared to 350 watts by the older projectors,” says Doug Meade, YCSD Director of Technology. Since each projector averages more than 720 hours of use per year, that will add up to another $8,500 in savings for 830 units.
When the division finishes replacing all 830 projectors, the savings for lamps, filters and electricity are expected to total roughly $50,000 each year, plus the cost of labor.
There are 19 schools in the York County Division serving 12,700 students: 10 elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools and one technology charter school. Education is serious business here. In the end, the goal is to give students and teachers the right tools to do their job without unwelcome and unnecessary interruptions.
“We have high standards for the technology we buy,” says Meade. “The oldest projectors we replaced had a 4:3 aspect ratio, yet the computers our teachers are using are all 16:10, so we knew we had to update them.
The division’s initial purchase was 320 Casio Signature projectors. They bought 300 more the following year, and they have bought a handful each year since, just to have them ready and on hand when an older projector fails. The goal is to be completely LampFree within the next two or three years.
“It’s an excellent projector and a real asset to the division,” says Meade. “It serves our purposes very well and has provided us with reliable operation from day one.”