Data Projector Troubleshooting

The data projectors (hereafter referred to as dps) have proved to be pretty user-friendly but, as we are using them more and more, some funny little problems are popping up. I have divided these into two categories below: sound and vision.


If there is nothing at all on the screen, then it is a User Related Power Switch Operation Error. Turn the dp on.

In order for everything to work properly the dp needs to be plugged into the power and turned on, your laptop needs to be turned on, the laptop needs to be plugged in to the dp with the VGA cable (which has a slightly D shaped plug) and the sound cable needs to be connected from the headphone socket in the laptop to the corresponding socket in the wall.

If you just have a blue screen but everything is plugged in and turned on, the most likely cause is that the dp is not ‘talking’ to the laptop. To get them to be friends, go to the desktop (Windows Key + D)> right-click> select Graphics Options> Output To> Monitor + Display. As Kerri points out in the comments, Windows Key + P should do the same thing.

Note: Your laptop will also have a shortcut key for this but, unfortunately, all laptops are different in this regard. On the regular laptops it is Fn + F8 (on the tablets it’s Fn + F10). This will switch between the monitor only, monitor + dp and dp only.

If the data projector is only displaying part of the screen, you might need to change the screen resolution. To do this, go to the desktop (Windows Key + D)> right-click> select Graphics Properties. This will open the Graphics Properties menu. On the right-hand side of this menu you can change the resolution to 800 x 600. Hopefully, everything that you want to appear on the screen now does. To return your laptop to the regular resolution, change it back to 1366 x 768 for a laptop, 1280 x 800 for the tablets and 1440 x 900 for the pcs.

No sound, huh?

If you don’t have sound (and all the cables are plugged in correctly), the two main causes of this are volume settings and the speakers in the room themselves.

The main issue with the volume settings are that each program has their own. As a result you should check that: the laptop is not muted and the volume is turned up and the volume on the program you are using is not muted and turned up. The first is easy, click the little speaker icon in the bottom right-hand side of your screen and see if the box is checked. If it is, uncheck it. Slide the slider all the way to the top and it will be at full volume. Most program will also have a volume control somewhere, get someone to find it and turn it up.

Even though the rooms all have slightly different setups, they all fall into one of these two categories: Some have speakers with a volume nob that also turns them on and off. The good thing about these is, if they are on, they will have a blue light glowing. Others have an on and off switch next to the control panel for the dp and the volume can be adjusted using that panel.

When all else fails…

If you are having trouble, call us in the library or send an ITAG to come and get us and we will (hopefully) sort it out and show your ITAG how to fix it in the process.

If you have any other problems or, better yet, solutions, post them below.


About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
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1 Response to Data Projector Troubleshooting

  1. Kerri says:

    Another REALLY EASY way to get the dp to talk to the computer once everything is connected is to use the windows key + P (P for ‘projector’). This will bring up an on-screen icon menu where you choose from four options: computer only, duplicate (the one you want to choose for the projector), extend, or projector only. Just click on the one you want. It takes a second or two to happen. This saves you from needing different short cuts for different systems & it works no matter what order you powered things up.

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