Projectors to be used outside need protection from moisture/liquid, dust, sand and extreme cold/heat. To be used outside, projectors need thorough protection. Especially, when commercial projectors can range from $400 – $200k
The types of location where outdoor projection is required includes huge walls and buildings where video mapping technique delivers modern shows, films and animations. Underground or damp places such as swimming pools, caves and tunnels. Tourist attractions such as theme parks, and immersive experiences, such as on old war ships. The list is not exhaustive as this is still an emerging market.
Enclosures can be made from GRP (glass fibre), steel or aluminium. Steel is the most robust and least costly. However, it is also the heaviest, therefore mounting needs to be carefully considered.
Aluminium, Marine grade stainless steel or GRP is necessary for locations close to salt such as ocean location to reduce risk of corrosion.
Glass fibre can be shaped in ways which match the scene i.e palm trees, rocks etc. and is also very light weight and durable.
Depending on the location of the enclosures, consider how your engineers would access the units, for example, to change filters.
Some outdoor projector manufacturers have online options which allow vital statistics to be accessed and altered at any time. While some companies have their own software which must be installed, Web based solutions are the best, by far, as one can access the systems from any online device.
An online solution saves on down time and is a perfect preventative maintenance solution.
Deployment Location and Conditions:
Consider whether the manufacture has “off the shelf” solutions. One size does not fit all. For example, an enclosure built to protect against sandstorms, will have a different build to one that is going to protect from ice conditions.
Also, you may need the enclosure to have various orientations – landscape, portrait or even vertical.
Which Enclosures to Avoid?
Some manufacturers make claims including “World leading manufacturer” and that the enclosures are “waterproof’.
World leading manufacturer – can they back this up with proof and imagery? If not, avoid.
If they claim the enclosure is waterproof, this is incorrect and simply a lie.
Air cooling can only be done using vents and air flow. An enclosure cannot be waterproof.
Types of Projector Enclosure
The type of enclosure depends of several factors, including how powerful the projector is (lumens) and the environment where the system will be deployed.
Enclosures are classified according to the air filtration and cooling technology. But apart from these core features, a complete projector enclosure solution comes with a robust frame, locking doors, cooling, heating and humidity control and a suitable RAL colour finish.
Fan-cooled Projector Enclosures
This is the most popular choice, because if the environment is not massively humid and there is a moderate ambient temperature, it will be suffice and be the most cost-effective solution.
Cool air is sucked into the enclosure to cool and as the heat generated from the projector is pulled out. However, the power of the fans plays a huge role. Again, one size fits all is not the case.
Air-conditioned Projector Enclosures
Using an integrated air conditional unit, gives you extra protection in extremely hot areas. Using Air-Con will give the cool air your projector will require but you will still need fans to extract the hot air created by the projector for efficient cooling.
Mobile Projector Enclosure
These are perfect for one-off events, where the projector is set up, and dismantled again.
4. Indoor Hush-boxes
Projector enclosures are fairly noisy due to their cooling mechanism.
However, manufacturers have engineered several methods to ensure that their enclosures are quiet. This is measured by output in decibels and often is a request by the audio visual installers, so that an exact science is applied.
5. Projector Cages, Trollies and Cradles
These are used when the equipment needs to be protected from theft, and also vandalism, and always when climate control is not required. These can be designed to suit the bespoke requirements of projector trollies, cages and cradles
New Style Projectors
Epson ELPX02 UST periscope lens is an example of a new style. The periscope element means that the enclosure can no longer be a symmetrical cabinet. The first manufacturer to bring a periscope lens outdoor enclosure to market was Vizbox, based in the UK.
In conclusion, there are several reputable brands to choose from. There are also several to avoid.