Advice Appreciated: Sharp QA-1200 Projector Project

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I have been reading the forum from google search for weeks now, and finally joined up today. I would really appreciate input on my project, which I hope to completely document within this thread to help others starting with similar sharp panels.

Here are the parts I have collected thus far:
LCD Panel: Sharp QA-1200 Overhead Projector Panel w/8.4" screen
& their MTD 25MM FUJINON COPY LENS, 170MM FL, to toy with
Light: 250HPS Ballast w/MH Conversion Bulb

So I need advice on which fresnels would best suit my project, from what I've read's 330mm/220mm set is the best choice for this lens, but is it the best choice for my screen size? I can spend a little extra on the fresnels as they are a key ingredient to the quality overall quality of the project, for little extra investment.

I also just read in the newbie advice post that an ebay growlight setup is a bad choice, is this in reference to the bulb or the ballast, or both? I can easily get a new bulb if needed, but would be bummed to learn that my ballast doesn't work. Although I could sell it back on ebay and use the funds to puchase a nice MH Ballast if absolutely necessary.

For my spherical reflector I'm deciding between diy projector company's bowl & Lighting unlimited's real reflector. Is this worth the extra few bucks?

Thanks a million, great forum! Any misc advice is truely appreciated - Mike

Well, my Sharp came with the original VGA cable as stated in its auction, but for some reason they made a cable that is utterly worthless to anyone in the world. No matter if you are a pc or mac user, you'll need to modify the oem cable according to these instructions:
Basically you can take a VGA extension cable with one end cut off & using a multimeter, mate it to the oem cable (with one end cut off), following the pinout in that above post.

Since my first post, I have ordered's fresnel set (330mm/220mm), as well as a $4 spherical reflector from
he also has some great, CHEAP uv blocking lexan, cut fit your application.

I also ordered's IR filter glass, and 6 quiet
case fans for $1.50/each at

I'm considering using this retrofit bulb:
It has a color temp of 5200k, and is the only place I've found so far where I can purchase a single bulb. Anyone have a better source? I was hoping to get a T51 style bulb, but no dice.

Rock on
To remove or not?

One more question:
Should I even bother removing the screen from the qa-1200? I could just incorporate the entire panel into my box design, without risking breaking the thing. It could be cool to have the option of just sliding in a replacement panel into the large cavity when I'm ready to upgrade in the future.

Would picture quality be effected by not removing the screen from its casing? It already has two protective lexan covers on it, which would give it more heat protection I imagine, not to mention the really nice & quiet fan built in.
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