This page has been included to respond to the most common questions about interactive whiteboard hardware.

Q: What happens to the board if the white surface is "punctured"?

A: Ouch! Unfortunately, that has happened! A desk was pushed accidentally into a SmartBoard, and the white surface was dented and slightly torn.The behavior of the mouse and the board both became extremely erratic. SMART does not take back boards for repair. They used to, but with shipping and labor costs, you might as well just buy a new board. So what did we do? We were able to pry out the dent, which relieved the wiring from stress. Now it works fine! We used a very fine wire - like a thin paper clip - to perform the "operation." Always exercise caution around the board, and keep and desks, carts, chairs, etc., away!

Q: What if a pen or the eraser disappears? Can I still use the board?

A: Yes, you can still use the board. If someone accidentally takes a pen or the eraser away with them, simply cover the optical sensor with a pen lid or a sticky note to continue using your board until the tool is returned. You can also use a wood dowel to put into the pen tray. It has been said to super-glue the cap onto an EXPO pen and use that, but that might give the idea that EXPO pens can be used on the board. NO WAY!!!! If someone does write on the board with an EXPO pen or Sharpie, as soon as possible, go over the marks with an EXPO pen, then wipe with a cotton cloth.

Q: My students are watching the board and not me! Can I "mute" the projector without shutting down the whole unit?

A: Yes, you can! On your remote, you will see a button just below (and between) the ON and OFF buttons. It is labeled PIC MUTE. Pressing this button will cause the projector to become muted, so your board will be black. The projector, however, is still on. So it is not recommended to leave the projector on all day if you're not going to use it again. Usually, If you will not be using your projector for a half hour or more, it is better that you shut it down to save lamp life. If you will be using it within a half hour, then leave it on.

A word of caution: When your projector is on PIC MUTE, a Smartboard and computer remain active. So if a student brushes against the board, or mimics your actions, your desktop may exhibit some strange effects. Additionally, some programs/files may move to different places, open, or close. Since there is nothing showing on the board, the student is unaware of these effects - as well as you - until you look at your computer.

Q: Can I set the board software so that students cannot work my computer?

A: Yes! You can lock a SmartBoard by following the following steps:

1. Click the SmartBoard icon in the Windows Notification area (aka System Tray)
2. Click Welcome to Notebook
3. Click the Tools tab
4. Click Lock All SMART Devices

The only way to unlock the board is to then use your mouse to click the lock shown on the board.

Q: How do I know the board is communicating with the computer?

A: On the lower right side of the plastic border, there should be a green light. If it is flashing green, most likely there is a software issue. Flashing red will occur at startup. Just red indicates no communication.

Q: How do I clean the board?

A: Use a damp (not dripping) T-shirt or similar cotton cloth with some sudsy dishwashing liquid. Go over with a damp rinsed-out cloth, then dry with a dry cotton cloth. Don’t forget to clean the pen/eraser tray with a damp cloth as well!

Q: How strong is this board?

A: Well, there are no moving parts in the board, for one thing. It is a sturdy piece of equipment, with a tough "skin", if you will. That does not mean it's indestructible! Keep sharp objects, sharpies, grease pens, and abrasive cleaners away from it at all times. Given fair treatment, it should last for many years. The cable is the one main area for concern. Be sure that it is plugged in to the pigtail coming from the back of the board, and that there is no tension on the cable. As you accustom yourself to the responsiveness of the board, you can press a bit harder than you think you need to. Approaching the board from directly on may cause your finger to squeak, and the objects may jump, or you might keep on getting a context menu. Try sliding your finger from one direction to another at an angle to the board. Sometimes a finger with just a little dust on it works better. Sweaty fingers squeak and jump along the surface, causing frustration :-(

Q: How often should I clean the board?

A: That depends on how dirty it gets! The best interval would seem to be monthly.

Q: Sometimes the board “freezes” or responds slowly. What do I do?

A: First, save and close down all programs. Restart the computer. If this situation persists, contact your tech person. Also check to see if an anti-virus scan is running.

Q: When I get a “Clean Filter” message, what do I do?

A: It is very important to clean the filter every 100 hours. Your projector is set to remind you of this. Failure to do so results in overheating, which in turn shortens lamp and unit life. This is just how dirty a filter can get (an actual filter):


When you see the “Clean Filter” message, remove the filter(s) from the projector and vacuum them with a vacuum brush attachment or a dust buster. The building custodian should have a vacuum with a brush attachment. Blowing through the element is not recommended – it doesn’t really get all the particles out of the filter, and is a health hazard! Where are the filters located? On the white NEC projectors, there are either one or two filters…….see the photo below…..


Once you have clean filter(s), reset the projector’s filter monitor using the remote!

PLEASE NOTE: When prying out and replacing the filters, the projector may need to be readjusted.

Q: What is the cause of my monitor or the board behaving in a peculiar manner?

A: If your monitor or the projector begin behaving strangely, it might be the video amplifier.

Q: Will my projector lamp burn out?

A: Eventually, yes. We are stocking a supply of replacements. In order to maximize lamp life, turn off your projector if you are not going to use it for ½ hour or more. Going to lunch, or leaving the room for an hour necessitates shutting off the projector. Leaving it on just subtracts from its life – it serves no purpose. Remember that muting the projector does not shut off the lamp – it’s still on!!

Q: What is the purpose of the video amplifier?

A: The video amplifier is the small black box that connects to your video card, the computer monitor, and the video cable to the projector. Its function is to supply the proper voltage to both your computer monitor and the projector so you have a nice bright image on your SmartBoard as well as your monitor. Without it, your monitor image would be dull, and the image projected to the SmartBoard would be very light as well. If you have problems with your monitor, i.e. it goes black, or the projector just shines blue on your SmartBoard, call tech support. There may be a problem with the amplifier itself. If so, it is easy to diagnose and replace.

Q. Can I clean my light bulb? It seems to have gathered dust over time.

A: Yes! To do so, be sure first of all that the projector is off, and has been off for a while. Otherwise, you might burn yourself. Use a slightly damp, clean cotton cloth to wipe off the front of the lamp. Then dry with a soft cotton cloth.