Burning plasma screen with breathtaking beauty


At some point you’ve got to resign yourself to the fact that the TV you’ve been trying to resurrect is just not salvageable. But if you’re knowlegable about working safely with high voltage, you might get quite a show out of it yet. Here [Aussie50] finds beauty in destruction when he fries a large plasma panel from a broken HDTV.

The flyback transformer from a microwave oven drives the display. The video after the break starts off kind of boring at first but before long it takes off. As portions of the display burn out the electric arcs jumping those gaps provide a thrilling view for the remainder of the 14 minutes.

Don’t want to commit to a video that long? Here’s a display that gives up the ghost after just four and a half minutes but we don’t think it’s quite as cool.



  1. FrankTheCat says:

    Yay Aussie50! He’s one of my favorite Youtubers; has a variety of cool stuff on his channel.

  2. Does the “Breathtaking Beauty” in the HaD title have anything to do with breathing acrid smoke from toasted electronics?

  3. imajeenyus says:

    Great show.

    BTW, he appears to be using a normal iron-core MOT, not a flyback version (if that’s it sitting in front of the screen)

  4. Sci says:

    Microwave ovens don’t use flyback transformers, just regular ones.

    Damn pretty vid.

  5. rue_mohr says:

    hmm anyone have an xray film to put behind him?

  6. Anon says:

    Yeah, microwave oven transformers (MOTs) are different from flyback transformers. And from what I understand, this is -low- voltage, not high.

    Flybacks produce a high voltage at a low current.
    MOTs produce a low voltage at a high current.

  7. Anon says:

    Ah, whoops, MOTs do produce high voltage – just not nearly as high as flybacks. My bad.

  8. Rick says:

    Stunning! I’d love to see the variac driven by sound – you know,a vca with a mic input, or something like that.Just because something is absurdly dangerous is really no reason not to wow everybody at your next party!

  9. wildparadox says:

    This would make a great screen saver

  10. andar_b says:

    For some reason, it looked like Borg nanoprobes assimilating a television. >:)

  11. Cubby says:

    What a shame.

    Most likely the caps in the power supply overheated and changed value (poor design, usually, and one of the most common failure issues). They just dried out to the to the point they could no longer function effectively.

    Might have taken nothing more than a few bucks and a little time with a soldering iron to re-cap the unit.

  12. Cubby says:

    Thanks Frank,

    I’ll check it out.


  13. roboman2444 says:

    Might be cool to do something like the singing tesla coils for this… even if it doesn’t really output sound, it would make a trippy visualizer.

  14. b1r6m4n says:

    Wow the writing style of HAD is really going down the toilet.

  15. patman2700 says:

    As was mentioned by Sci, microwave ovens do not use flyback transformers – they use regular iron-core transformers.

    To all editors of HaD: Please do not use terms which you are unfamiliar with simply because it sounds technical. If you do not know what type of transformer it is, a simple Google search could suffice. In fact, there is a lovely Instructable article which details the differences between different AC transformers.

    This is a technical blog – we should have a high standard when it comes to this sort of thing.


    Really cool flashing, though. Who would have thought?

  16. Hirudinea says:

    And THAT’S why Plasma TVs are better. (Try doing that with an LCD.)

  17. fightcube says:

    When one microwave transformer is not enough, use two and a hammer! Extended directors cut here ;-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkpjMvXH1Rc

  18. acomputerdog says:

    Why haven’t I seen roasting plasma screens sooner?

  19. Khordas says:

    It would be fun to play a looped video of this, complete with sound effects, on an unsuspecting person’s plasma screen. I bet I could rig up one of the heated air fresheners with ‘burned bakelite’ smell for the whole ‘my TV is on fire’ effect.

  20. M4CGYV3R says:

    This is quite possibly the best way I spent 14 minutes this week. Awesome visual.

  21. inirai says:

    I’ve seen every form of combustion known to man, but this beats me.

  22. bothersaidpooh says:

    I have a few duff LCD and plasma TVs here, there isn’t a lot you can do with a fried power supply and even recapped it often overheats due to other parts being weakened
    The chips used are specialised and often with plasma screens if one board blows it takes out parts everywhere so it just becomes a money $ink.

    I did however find a new use for the backlight unit, overhead lighting.
    The panels often use a 24V at 6A or so PSU board which can be generated from a couple of SLAs for those annoying power outages.

    Before someone whines because I trashed a perfectly good panel, it was cracked down one side anyway and the other had serious problems with the interconnects causing lines down it as it warmed up.. nowt you can do with that sadly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,322 other followers