Why Does My Projector Have White Dots or Dead Pixels?

When it comes to projectors, there are few things more frustrating than white dots or dead pixels. When they appear on the screen they can totally take you out of your viewing experience and leave you wondering if you bought the right screen or projector. Still, what exactly causes a projector to have these white dots and/or dead pixels and what can you do about it? 

White dots or dead pixels are most commonly the result of a DLP projector with a failing DMD chip. The DMD chip is made up of tiny mirror devices that reflect light and ultimately determine the pixels your projector has. When the chip fails, so do the pixels, leading to white dots on your screen. 

If white dots or dead pixels are showing up on your projector screen and ruining your movie nights, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In our guide below, we will explore the main causes of white dots so you can isolate the problem. Additionally, we will provide a step by step guide on how to fix them so that you can get your movie nights up and running again. 

What Causes White Dots or Dead Pixels?

So what is it that actually causes the white dots or dead pixels to appear on your projector screen?

White dots appearing on your projector screen can be caused by your projector itself–especially if it is a DLP projector–or even the screen itself. The source of your problem will help you determine the right solution. 

When the Projector is the Problem

When the projector is the problem–which it probably is–there are really two possible root causes: 

  • The bulb has accumulated too much dust: Sometimes the bulb in your projector can accumulate dust that shows up as white dots on your projector screen. When this is the problem, the solution is simple. Remove the dust and you’ll be all set. 
  • DMD chip is failing and ruining pixels: Unfortunately, this is the most common cause of white spots on a projector screen. The DMD chip in your projector that determines your pixels fails, ultimately leading to the pixels failing as well. Fixing this requires replacing the chip itself. We will dive into this in more detail in the following sections. 

The main takeaway here is that whether your problem is too much dust or a failing DMD chip, it is solvable.

When the Screen is the Problem

Most of the time, the screen will not be the source of your problem. Still, there is a rare exception where it could be the root cause. 

The screen really only might be the problem if there are small holes forming in the fabric itself. You’ll want to examine it closely to see if that’s the case for you. Unfortunately, the only practical solution for most people is to replace the screen itself. 

How Do I Remove Dead Pixels From My Projector?

So now, onto the main event. How exactly do you remove those dead pixels from your projectors and get rid of the white spots on your screen?

To remove dead pixels from your projector you will need to replace the DMD chip. Doing this requires delicate work and the proper tools.

Tool’s You’ll Need 

Before you get started there are a few things that you will need:

  • Thermal paste: You’ll need the thermal paste to fix the DMD chip in its position and ensure it doesn’t just fall out of place. 
  • Screwdriver repair kit: The specific screwdriver you’ll need for your projector can vary based on brand and model. It’s best to have a repair kit so you have all of your bases covered. 
  • Replacement DMD chip: Of course, the main thing you will need is the DMD chip itself. Like with the screwdriver the specific chip you need may vary by brand and model. It’s best to Google your model first and make sure you order a compatible chip. 

Once you have all of your tools assembled, it’s time to grab your projector and get started! In the next section we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.  

Step-By-Step: How to Fix White Dots From Your Projector

Follow each of the steps below to remove and replace the DMD chip inside of your DLP projector: 

  • Unplug the projector and let it cool: You’ll first want to ensure that your projector is off. Next you will need to unplug it and give it at least an hour to completely cool down. This is especially true if you were just using it. 
  • Unscrew the projector case: This is where having a screwdriver kit can make all the difference. Carefully remove the screws holding the case together and take it apart. You may want to consult the manual for your particular model to know exactly how it’s held together.
  • Disconnect all the cables on the motherboard: There should be cables for cooling fans, lights and even the lens. You should take note of where each one goes so you don’t forget when you go to put it back together. 
  • Access the optical set and remove the old DMD chip: Now you simply remove the screws holding down the optical set, take it out and take it apart. You will find the DMD chip behind the heat sink. Carefully remove it. 
  • Replace the DMD chip then put it all back together: Now you will just need to apply a small amount of thermal paste to your new DMD chip, place it where the old one was and put everything back together. 

Now you’re all done! Please remember, however, to check and see if there are any tutorials for your specific model, as it will make things far easier. The placement of screws and even of internal parts can vary from model to model and brand to brand.

So Really, Why Does My Projector Have White Dots or Dead Pixels?


At the end of the day the most common cause of white dots showing up on your projector screen is a failing DMD chip. When the DMD chip fails the mirrors that make it up are no longer able to create the proper pixels you would normally see. As a result you end up with white spots cropping up all over your projector screen. 

Fortunately, you can get a replacement DMD chip and install it in your projector. If you want to know how to do this please consult our step-by-step guide above.Once the new chip is installed, however, you should be all set!

John Hammer

Hi i'm John Hammer, Founder and Author of Gizbuyer Guide. Ever since the original Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone I've purchased and worked on all kinds of consumer tech products, gaming gadgets and operating system softwares. To this day my curiosity has never left, and my aim is to guide and share my knowledge on technology as I continue to experience the latest of the consumer electronics industry.

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