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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Replace Discovery Wonderwall projector bulb with brighter LED bulb / Jon Hyers DVDs

    Just picked up a Discovery Expedition Wonderwall projector for $49.95 on Black Friday. Many complain that the projector isn't bright enough. But I've read it's possible to replace the stock bulb with an LED bulb. Has anyone done this? If so:

    * Where can I get an LED replacement bulb that will fit and what make/model should I look for?
    * How much of an improvement did it make?
    * Are there any other Wonderwall "hacks" one can make to improve the output?
    * Anyone used the Jon Hyers' "Projected Reality" DVDs or other of his projetor effect DVDs with the Wonderwall? One of his YouTube videos says he has a DVD that discusses using the Wonderwall and other cheaper projectors with his effects DVDs; so evidently it's possible.

    And what have peoples' experiences have been with this particular model *if* you've been able to successfully use it in a Halloween application, e.g. projected bust/pumpkin, pepper's ghost, etc. I know people have. Even if it's not ideal for all applications, it seems tough to pass up a projector for $50--especially one that doesn't require insanely expensive replacement bulbs. Typically when I ask this question, I get replies bypassing the intent and mentioning the projectors that use the costly bulbs. I haven't been able to find those "school" type projectors at any local thrift store yet--so I thought I'd give the Wonderwall a try in my quest to cheaply do effects cheaply. I don't need a projector in the house to watch movies, so resolution isn't a big concern.

    Seems like there are so many cool and varied projection effects that it would pay to have an extra projector available, even if I later buy a higher lumens "non-toy" projector model.

  2. #2

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    We don't have a projector yet, have been borrowing one for our Hallowindows when we run it, but hope we'll buy one this year before halloween. I think we're going to try for a better quality one for year-round use; and prices have come down quite a lot over the past 3 years. I've been tempted with the Wonderwalls but so far have thought the $50+ would be better used going towards a better projector. I do have an Abyss wave projector that runs on a halogen bulb I'd love to swap out for LED one day if that works out. We remodeled our kitchen and had to redo all of our lights to meet code, can't stand CFs and went with Cree LED floods and have been very happy. Our undercabinet spot lighting is LED and pretty good. We did still use a few halogens where color was critical, like on artwork, as the reds lost a lot of their vibrancy. I think right now this would still be a problem with an LED bulb and I'm thinking red plays a pretty big part in a lot of halloween scenes what with vampires, blood, etc.

    All that aside I recently bought from Halloween Asylum the Hyers DVD with the Snakes, Bats and Rats when it was on sale. Spent some time going through the animal DVD but haven't had time to watch the tip DVD you mentioned. Hoping to do so over xmas break and get some ideas for this coming year. I have wanted this DVD since he released it and picture my haunt with snake pits and vampire castles with flying bats...and am sure the rats will find a place too. I didn't know there were tips for using a low-end projector on the DVD or possibly using LED bulbs so that has peaked my curiousity now. I'll let you know what I think after watching it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    North Carolina
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost of Spookie View Post
    We don't have a projector yet, have been borrowing one for our Hallowindows when we run it, but hope we'll buy one this year before halloween. I think we're going to try for a better quality one for year-round use; and prices have come down quite a lot over the past 3 years. I've been tempted with the Wonderwalls but so far have thought the $50+ would be better used going towards a better projector. I do have an Abyss wave projector that runs on a halogen bulb I'd love to swap out for LED one day if that works out. We remodeled our kitchen and had to redo all of our lights to meet code, can't stand CFs and went with Cree LED floods and have been very happy. Our undercabinet spot lighting is LED and pretty good. We did still use a few halogens where color was critical, like on artwork, as the reds lost a lot of their vibrancy. I think right now this would still be a problem with an LED bulb and I'm thinking red plays a pretty big part in a lot of halloween scenes what with vampires, blood, etc.

    All that aside I recently bought from Halloween Asylum the Hyers DVD with the Snakes, Bats and Rats when it was on sale. Spent some time going through the animal DVD but haven't had time to watch the tip DVD you mentioned. Hoping to do so over xmas break and get some ideas for this coming year. I have wanted this DVD since he released it and picture my haunt with snake pits and vampire castles with flying bats...and am sure the rats will find a place too. I didn't know there were tips for using a low-end projector on the DVD or possibly using LED bulbs so that has peaked my curiousity now. I'll let you know what I think after watching it.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this Spookie. The Snakes, Bats, and Rats DVD looks terrific. Especially the projected snakes!

    At around 2 mins 26 secs on this YouTube promo for the Projected Reality 3 DVD, Hyers mentions the Wonderwall. But being a promo of course, there's no info--just a teaser:


    I'm also getting lots of ideas just watching the promos:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/JonHyers#p/u

    Hyers has a ton of DVDs and tons of YouTube promos. It's a little confusing as to what is on which DVD, e.g. sounds like the Projected Reality 3 may just show a lot of demos of the other DVDs. Not really sure. Some of the DVDs may or may not come with a tips DVD. Again, confusing. Trying to figure out what DVD(s) would be worth buying for the type of haunt I do. Didn't think about the coloration and red in particular, so I see what you're saying about the LEDs.

    I'll let you know if I learn anything more about doing an LED bulb upgrade. After seeing some of the YouTube Hyers DVD promos, it seems like there's so much you can do with projected effects. Enough that I'm probably going to want multiple projectors in the future. And I figure the cheapie projector could work with at least some of those effects. Also understand about wanting to put $50 toward a better projector. Bit of a dilemma there for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Apopka, Florida
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    295

    Default

    I've used one for the past three years to project my trio of singing pumpkins, and haven't had a single complaint. Works great right out of the box with good speakers and a decent close range projection. I wouldn't mind finding a way to replace the bulb with a brighter unit, but till then, I'm very happy with the projector's current abilities. You won't find one in your local projection booth anytime soon, but for a haunt projector, it's hard to beat!

  5. #5

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    OK you got my interest peaked so I just spent 90 minutes watching Projected Reality 3. He presents the material himself and I'd say he's easy to watch and his tips are clearly laid out. The DVD is formated so you can watch it from the intro onward or jump to a particular chapter. Some chapters are highlighted for explaining set ups using a particular DVDs he's produced. I didn't feel like this DVD was made to sell his others DVDs however, and he only used a few of his DVDs in his demo scenes illustrating a set up or technique.

    Nothing in the home haunters guide is rocket science, most you could probably figure out yourself especially if you've been reading the threads on rear projection/Hallowindows for example when it comes to creating a rear projection screen, but for the typical home haunter or someone new to using a projector, I think it serves a very useful purpose. It lays out a number of different options all at one time for you to see that you may or may not have considered and so might save you some hit-or-miss attempts on your own.

    I think many will come away with at least a few tips they find useful, I did, and the DVD will give you some ideas for making your projection experience better. He approaches this from a typical home haunters budget and offers inexpensive ways to do projector mounting stands, projector screens, mirroring, working with 3D fog projections among other effects. He touches on different aspects of projectors including basic features that will be important for you to adjust your projected images. Not too shocking is that the more expensive machines will offer better light output and control including keystoning which you'll want for some situations that won't be found on the low-end machines. He did mention the Discovery projector because he felt for a low end machine it offered a few nice features that made using it easy--some control placements and projector design with an eye towards projecting on the ceiling.

    The Projected Reality 3 DVD comes included with a few of his DVDs like the Snakes one or can be bought separately. I'd say go for the Snakes one if you think you'll use snakes, bats or rats in your haunt--I'd say it is a pretty universal or basic one and you'll get his tips included for free.

    The DVD did not specifically address tips for using lower end machines per se. Clearly there are compromises with fainter bulbs and lower quality optics in brightness and contrast for example. I wouldn't plan on using it projecting to the ground from a two story window for example or in brighter lit areas where the fainter bulb has to compete with outside light (I have a street light that prevents me from having a nice dark exterior to use so would be limited in where I could set one up outside). Sometimes you can move the projector closer to compensate, and it probably is acceptable for talking busts or spirit balls for example. The type of projector screen material you use would be another variable as well. Obviously with a low lumen bulb you'd want your projection area to be as light colored if not white as possible. I'd much rather use a $50 Wonderwall outside for singing busts than an expensive machine. I think it has some very good possibilities in a home haunt and will be interest to see how others have used it successfully.

  6. #6

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    Here's a YouTube review a guy did on it using some test pattern screens that should give you a better idea of what to expect and not expect from it. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...KgehYp2srJ7QJA

    Knowing it's weaknesses might help you set it up better for things it can do. From the reviewer's comments I have to wonder if you bought a higher quality halogen bulb for it with a better reflector if you'd be happier with the images. He doesn't try this however, just points it out. I'm sure the Wonderwall mfgr went as low cost on this as they could. BTW don't ever let your skin touch a halogen bulb, in or out of the fixture, if you don't already know this. Skin oils are suppose to cut down on its life.

    They do make LED MR-16s as we've bought and used some ourselves in our track lighting as well. If you decide to experiment in this direction, you want to make sure the diameter and length of the bulb will fit the projector. LEDs will have the transformer built in to the bulb and that could change these dimensions from a traditional MR-16 halogen bulb. We ran into this problem on one of our shaded Tech Lighting fixtures, so you do need to know the specifics of what you are replacing. Also should mention that MR-16 bulbs (halogen and LED) will have different beam spreads and wattages and bases. For halogen, don't exceed what they specify due to heating concerns. An initial trip into a reputable lighting store specializing in halogen and LED track lighting might be a good start. I'd take the Wonderall with me. LEDs aren't exactly cheap BTW in initial cost due to the built-in transformer. For just halloween usage, you may end up sticking with a good quality halogen in the end. Oh and did we mention color temperature of the bulb? Manufacturers have different specs from each other. That will affect color of your image as well. A good lighting person really can help you pick out the best bulb for your usage and images you will be projecting. Our lighting person recommended a bulb for our fixture and said if we weren't happy with the color/spread he would be happy to exchange it. That's the type of person that is great to do business with and will get you set up with the best out there right now. LEDs are improving as time goes on and by the time you need another bulb something else might be better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Tests

    Thanks Spookie. Good stuff! I too have a street light to contend with. So I don't have a very dark exterior to work with.

    After testing my verdict is that the Wonderwall projector is absolutely fine for my personal Halloween needs. Wish I'd ignored the bad reviews and gone ahead with the purchase a few seasons ago.

    Yes, the resolution is rather crappy (could be lousy for modern video games & reading text). And yes, the lumens / light intensity isn't what you'd get from a much more expensive projector. But for $50 to purchase and less than $10 for replacement bulbs I can live with it. It's a great starter unit for the price. Much better than what I expected, actually. When people say it's a toy, I'd been expecting it to be nearly as lousy as a kiddie flashlight projector.

    Here are some tests. Please try to ignore the out-of-sync audio. The audio was synced fine in the source videos from my digital camera. Something got screwed-up in the upload to YouTube.

    Madame Leota - inside:


    Madame Leota - view from outside:
    (Note: The horizontal line near Leota's mouth is a seam in the fabric I used for rear projection; again, this is only a quick and dirty first test):


    Master Gracey morph - outside view:
    (Note: Sorry for the shakey camera work. Also, I need to find a quicker fwd/rev aging video. The total young > old > young again morphing video is 2 mins long; too long and subtle to be effective for passing trick or treaters)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Lindside west virginia
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    Your looks brighter than my wonderwall.You can't see squat with the light on.I am about 20 feet away from my projection screen.How far away are you?

  9. #9

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    Mikeerdas those images don't look bad. Not crisp and sharp but i'm sure a lot of kids wouldn't care all that much. Definitely gets the image you want to project out there. How large though did you project it? Can't tell from the street scene and looks like you probably were zooming in and out with your camcorder. Is the image as seen from the street too small to really be effective? Most people will want to fill their windows with the image.

    Halloween71, wow 20 feet away is well beyond what I've seen suggested for the Wonderwall. Looking online I'm seeing 6 feet listed as the suggest maximum distance (this would be based on the lumens to adequately display the image to meet a certain standard they set). I'm not at all surprised that your image is so dark. The fact that you should be a max distance of 6 feet to get an image that is ony 7.5 feet diagonally, says a lot about it's ability to really project.

    I suspect the best uses for it will be for something like singing pumpkins, spirit ball or animated picture frame maybe where the projector is placed a few feet a way.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by halloween71 View Post
    Your looks brighter than my wonderwall.You can't see squat with the light on.I am about 20 feet away from my projection screen.How far away are you?
    Between 5 and 7 feet. I also played with the brightness setting of the projector. And the room light was pretty strong. So it must be the distance. I haven't tried it yet with anything like 20 feet. May also have something to do with the type of image you're projecting. For anything I've projected so far, and at the short distance I expect to project, I'm pleased.

    Read somewhere that the design of the Wonderwall may have changed over the past few years but can't confirm that. H71, how long ago did you get yours?

 

 
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