How to Fix a Clicking Projector

Written by sue stepp
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How to Fix a Clicking Projector
Get rid of annoying clicking noises in your projector by doing basic maintenance. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Watching movies on old movie projectors is fun, unless there is an annoying clicking sound and the film jumps up and down. Old projectors, especially ones that aren't used often, have problems with noise and the film not tracking properly. When a person plays a movie on a projector, the film is pulled through the projector by round gear sprockets with teeth, and ageing gear sprockets or film can lead to poor projection. Troubleshoot the issue using a few basic techniques.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight
  • Tweezers
  • Machine oil
  • Cotton swab

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  1. 1

    Open the cover where the film runs through the projector. Look into the opening. Use a magnifying glass and flashlight as you look. See if there are any clumps of dust, hair or chunks of old film stuck in the pathway. Debris usually settles near the gear sprockets with the teeth.

  2. 2

    Pull out any dust, hair, film pieces or other debris from the projector using tweezers. Turn on the projector and let it run for a few seconds. Check the area again for more debris. Repeat this process several times until the area is clear.

  3. 3

    Load the film in the projector following the manufacturer's instructions. Each model loads differently. Turn on the projector. If the clicking sound stopped, you are set. A light sound is normal. You hear the gear sprockets moving the film and the shutter moving inside the projector. If it is still clicking, try the next step.

  4. 4

    Remove the film from the projector. Put one drop of machine oil on each side of the gear sprockets right in the centre of each one.

  5. 5

    Turn on the projector without any film and run it for a minute. This lubricates the gears. Wipe any oil residue away with a cotton swab and load the film. Turn on the projector and watch the movie.

Tips and warnings

  • If your projector clicks when showing certain movies, the movie film is probably the problem. Make a note of when the projector makes clicking noise during the movie. Rewind the movie to those spots and check the slots on the sides of the film. If the slots are missing or damaged, it causes a clicking sound or jumping in the film. Repair the damaged film by attaching splicing movie film tape with precut holes. This makes the film run smoothly in the projector.

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