Brief Introduction on Overhead Projector

An overhead projector is a kind of educational apparatus typically consists of a large box containing a very bright lamp and a fan to cool it on top of which is a large fresnel lens that collimates the light. Above the box, typically on a long arm, is a mirror and lens that focusses and redirects the light forward instead of up.

Transparencies are placed on top of the lens for display. The light from the lamp travels through the transparency and into the mirror where it is shone forward onto a screen for display. The mirror allows both the presenter and the audience to see the image at the same time, the presenter looking down at the transparency as if writing, the audience looking forward at the screen. The height of the mirror can be adjusted, to both focus the image and to make the image larger or smaller depending on how close the projector is to the screen.

Better-quality overhead projectors offer an adjustment wheel or screw on the body of the projector, to move the lamp towards or away from the fresnel lens. When the mirror above the lens is moved too high or too low, it moves out of the best focal distance for an evenly white image, resulting in a projected image with either blue or brown color fringing around the outside edge of the screen. Turning the adjustment wheel moves the lamp to correct the focal distance and restores the all-white projected image.