Do portable projectors need to be plugged in to work?

Portable projectors, also known as pico/pocket projectors, are small in size, making them easy to set up in small spaces and convenient to carry on camping trips and business meetings. 

But if you’ve never owned one you might wonder how they are powered and whether they need to be plugged in. 

Portable projectors that have a built-in rechargeable battery do not need to be plugged in once they are charged. However, portable projectors that lack built-in batteries have to be plugged into an external power supply during use. 

Examples of portable projectors that do not need to be plugged in include the Kodak Lima 150, Akaso Mini Portable Projector, and ViewSonic M1.

PVO portable projector and XGIMI Horizon Pro are examples of projectors that are technically portable but need to be powered via the micro-USB or USB Type-C port.

How portable mini projectors are powered

Portable mini projectors often have more than one way that you can power them. This provides you with the flexibility to choose whichever power supply option you find fit depending on the environment you’ll be using your device.

Portable mini projectors can be powered using a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery (if they have one), power bank, DC power adapter, mobile phone charger, or car charger via the micro-USB or USB Type-C interface.

How to charge a mini projector

The battery in a portable mini projector can be charged using a power bank, car charger, phone charger, or power adapter via the DC input port or USB Type-C/micro-USB interface. It takes about 3-4 hours to fully charge the battery of a portable projector. 

A charger with a DC output of 5V/2A or 5V/3A works fine with most portable mini projectors. However, this can vary depending on the design of the projector. A great example of a chargeable projector is the FATORK Mini DLP Pico Portable Projector which is reviewed in the video below:

How long portable projectors last on battery

Portable projectors last between 2-3 hours on battery. How long a mobile projector lasts on a battery depends mainly on the built-in battery’s capacity, which ranges between 8,000 mAh and 13000 mAh, as well as the brightness setting (in lumens) in which the projector is used. 

Generally, the bigger the battery capacity, the longer the battery life. However, you can expect the battery to drain a lot faster when the projector is set to a high brightness since more power is needed to project brighter images. 

Powering a mini projector with a power bank

You can definitely power a mini projector using a power bank. In fact, it is one of the best options for powering your projector once the built-in battery goes flat and you don’t have a power outlet nearby. 

Just make sure that the DC output provided by your power bank matches the DC input on your projector, most mini projectors require a DC input of 5V/2A.

Replacing the batteries on a mini projector

Similar to smartphone batteries, the built-in batteries on your portable mini projector will need to be replaced at some point. Portable projectors use rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries that gradually lose their ability to hold power after 2-3 years depending on how they are used.

If you notice that the battery doesn’t last as long as it used to, doesn’t get fully charged in the usual time, or doesn’t fully charge, especially in an older mini projector, these are signs that the battery is dying and needs to be replaced.

When replacing the battery ensure it is the right capacity and is compatible with your projector.

Do portable projectors have built-in sound?

someone holding a portable projector with built-in speakers

Portable projectors do have built-in speakers, however, they do not always produce the best sound. To get better sound quality you can use the audio output port available on most mini projectors to connect external speakers or Bluetooth technology to connect BlueTooth speakers wirelessly.

Things you can do with a mini projector

You can do the following with a portable mini projector:

  1. Stream YouTube videos or your favorite TV shows
  2. Enjoy interactive gaming on a bigger screen
  3. Listen to music or audiobooks
  4. Display yoga on a bigger screen and exercise
  5. Display business presentations
  6. View photos from a microSD, phone, or computer
  7. Enjoy movie night on your camping trips or backyard

Conclusion: Do mobile projectors run on batteries?

Mobile projectors with built-in batteries can run on batteries for 2-3 hours without needing to be plugged into a power outlet. But if your projector lacks a built-in battery, you’ll have to keep it plugged into a power outlet or use a power bank, mobile charger, or car charger to supply power to it.

Since projectors are power-hungry devices, they aren’t able to run on batteries for long. Therefore, it is a good idea to use a power bank as a backup power supply to be able to use the portable projector longer, especially when you’re outdoors where there aren’t any power outlets.

You may need to replace the batteries on your portable projector after 2-3 years when they start losing their ability to hold power. 

Eustace G.
Eustace G.
Eustace is a technology enthusiast and avid gamer who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Telecommunication and Information Engineering. His passion and knowledge of computers, and technology in general, is channeled towards helping others understand complex concepts, solve problems, and make informed decisions.


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