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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Tech Tips: Using Data Projectors in the Visual Arts Complex

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  • Before contacting tech support, make sure you have reviewed the information displayed near the control panel, as well as the information provided below.
  • Your laptop display should be set as closely as possible to the projector’s native resolution — most projectors in VAC SMART classrooms have a native WXGA (1280 x 768) or WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200). Different models are installed in the lower level rooms 1B23, 1B17, 1B17B, 1B17C, 1B17D, 1B88, and 1B90 — see the VRC’s classrooms page for tech support in these rooms.
  • The computer recognizes a data projector it connects to as a second monitor, so adjustments can be made in the computer’s display settings. These vary by operating system.
  • Most recent laptop models provide shortcut keys that allow you to easily toggle between display settings. These vary by manufacturer — consult your user’s manual.

Windows display settings

Mac display settings

In the case of missing components or malfunctioning equipment, come to the VRC to temporarily borrow items you need for the duration of your class (including portable data projectors), but please be sure to contact the tech support for that classroom for a permanent solution.

Display problems

  • Data projector is on, but not detecting a signal from your computer: Best practice is to first attach cables and turn data projector on, and then turn on your computer. Try restarting your computer before doing anything else. If this does not work, be sure you have reviewed the appropriate display setting link above for your operating system.
  • The data projector does not respond when you press the “on” button on the control panel: Check first to see if there are three orange lights visible on the front of the data projector.
    • If there are three orange lights visible: a power surge has caused the data projector to lock and the power needs to be reset. The data projector itself must be unplugged and replugged at the outlet nearby on the ceiling; OR, if there is a switch labeled “projector” on the wall somewhere in the room, you can turn this switch off then back on to reset the power. Do not use the “projector” switch under any other circumstances — improper use will damage the very expensive lamp inside the data projector!
    • If there are no lights visible on the projector: Check to see if there is a switch labeled “projector” on the wall somewhere in the room. If there is and it has been turned off, turn it back on. To get a signal you may need then to turn the projector off and then on again using the buttons on the control panel. Do not use the “projector” switch under any other circumstances — improper use will damage the very expensive lamp inside the data projector!
  • Your laptop’s desktop background is displayed on the data projector screen without its usual desktop icons: You are viewing an extended desktop. For instructions on how to mirror (or duplicate) your display, see the display settings link for your operating system above.
  • Projected image looks dark when using a Mac: Go to System Preferences > Displays, and follow these steps:
    1. In the dialog box with the tab labeled Color, make sure the small check box that reads “Show profiles for this display only” is UNCHECKED.
    2. Scroll through all the listed Display profiles to find the one that displays the best color while connected to this projector. In the VRC we have found that the MacBook laptops we have for checkout work best with the Adobe RGB (1998) profile selected.
  • Projected image seems out of focus: Make sure that you have not changed the refresh rate in the data projector’s VGA display, which should be 60Hz. (Note: if you are close to the screen the image appears slightly fuzzy, and you will see what is referred to as the “screen door” effect — this is normal and diminishes as you move away from the screen.)
  • There is a heavy color cast to the display (such as very pink or very green): The VGA cable (or Mac adapter) may be failing and in need of replacement. You can try gently wiggling the cable as a temporary fix, or borrow another cable or adapter from the VRC.

Sound problems

  • No sound coming from computer:
    • Ensure that the VGA cable includes an audio component, and that it is plugged into the audio jack on both the control panel and your laptop. If there is no audio cable in the classroom, you can borrow one from the VRC.
    • If the audio cables are connected properly, make sure that the small black switch at the very lower left of the control panel box in on (this should be left in the “on” position).