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The “Poor Man’s Flat Screen & Rolling Entertainment System”

The “Poor Man’s Flat Screen & Rolling Entertainment System”





Click photos to embiggen.

My old friend Patrick Young made what he calls the “Poor Man’s Flat Screen & Rolling Entertainment System.” I asked him to describe it for me.

Here are pictures of my Poor Man’s Flat Screen & Rolling Entertainment System. Pressured by the social stigma of having to keep up with the Jones’s I felt a need to get a flat screen of my own, one more in keeping with my economic crisis budget. So, I headed down to the State of the Art Electronics Department at my local Goodwill and snapped up a nice 27-inch cathode ray tube model and converted it to is flat screen form shown.

I’ve been told that a cathode ray tube holds a charge, as much as 25,000 volts, which is more than enough to blacken your grey matter, let alone kill you. I knew this to be true, when as a kid shooting .22s at old TVs in the dump with my brothers. A good shot would get a spectacular brief moment of plasma glow from the CRT just before it implodes.

To discharge the 27″ CRT, and keep it operational, I fished through my tool box and came up with a flat head screw driver with a well insulated handle. Then I rummaged through my electrical milk crate for a large gauge wire with two alligator clips on either end. I made sure that the alligator clips were big enough to attach to the metal shaft of my flat head securely. I then clipped the other alligator to the chassis, the metal band that rings the CRT. Then I located the rubber anode cap on the back topside of the CRT. Ensuring that I was only holding the insulated rubber handle of my flathead, I gently forced it under the rubber anode cap till I hit the metal of the anode aperture. Contact was realized with a loud snap as the brain-liquefying charge went to ground. With another flat head (insulated handle) I compressed the wings of the anode aperture clip and removed the cap. I was now safe to disassemble the rest of the TV and reconfigure it, with and assortment of nuts, bolts, threaded rod and screws, atop the repurposed
crate which would serve as my Rolling Entertainment System and DVD storage.

16 thoughts on “The “Poor Man’s Flat Screen & Rolling Entertainment System”

  1. RocketGuy says:

    While it looks cool, the unshielded HV circuitry is putting out a lot of EMR, which could annoy your neighbors. Also not healthy for human exposure over the long term.

    The screen is shielded, but the sides/top/bottom/back are needing some metal coverage…


    1. Vadim says:

      Have a look in your own tv/monitor

      There is no shielding (plastic doesn’t count).

      This isn’t safe around children but looks cool.

      1. RocketGuy says:

        Plastics can be made conductive with additives or coatings. (i.e the old mac se had what looked like vapor-deposition metal coating on the inside).

        The alternative, which I have also seen, was a metal shield around the HV components that were problematic from a EMR point of view. Probably cheaper.

        1. Vadim says:

          Yes your wright. Plastic can be vapor coted or have carbon embedded in it.

          Any monitor or TV I’ve taken apart did not have this. Most monitor have shielding around the gun, only some TVs do though.

          Your mac is a computer and it needs shielding, not to protect other electronics but to protect the computer from the outside.

  2. pff says:

    just because its thinner without the case does not make this a flat screen, the screen is not flat.
    seriously though, no cover is bad enough, but having it on wheels? just rolling about and that? sure it might not have caused any accidents yet but that does not make it safe. just because you know not to touch it not everyone knows.
    this is simply put, irrisponsible, and unecessary. what achivment was made by removing the cover? none.

    1. Vadim says:

      The hv portion runs at 10+kv but such a low amperage that it’s not dangerous (hurts like hell though).

      The harmful portion is actually the 120v on the main board.

      I would recommend making some of the wires longer and putting the main board in the case.

      Thick of it like this, what you call static electricity is just several million volts at vary low current.

  3. pff says:

    amperage? you mean current right?
    anyway thanks for the science lesson but i dont remember saying specifically the HV was dangerous, just that taking the cover off of a tv and having it roll about the floor was stupid.
    which it is.

  4. JohnG says:

    Not a project I would ever do, mostly because I have kids.

    “What is that?” Points at back of cathode tube. ZAP!

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Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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