Turning A Tiny CRT Into A Monitor


[GK] picked up a few tiny 2″ CRTs a while back and for the longest time they’ve been sitting in a box somewhere in the lab. The itch to build something with these old tubes has finally been scratched, with a beautiful circuit with Manhattan style construction.

[GK] has a bit of a fetish for old oscilloscopes, and since he’s using an old ‘scope tube, the design was rather simple for him; there aren’t any schematics here, just what he could put together off the top of his head.

Still, some of [GK]‘s earlier projects helped him along the way in turning this CRT into a monitor. The high voltage came from a variable output PSU he had originally designed for photomultiplier tubes. Since this is a monochrome display, the chrominance was discarded with an old Sony Y/C module found in a part drawer.

It’s a great piece of work that, in the words of someone we highly respect is, “worth more than a gazillion lame Hackaday posts where someone connected an Arduino to something, or left a breadboard in a supposedly “finished” project.” Love ya, [Mike].



  1. JJ says:

    dat face

    • Greenaum says:

      His name’s Mark Something. He started in British TV doing the awful, cheap, really abominable house-makeover shows that were everywhere in the mid-1990s. Since then he’s had proper jobs where he’s made, a car, a motorbike, an aeroplane, and a helicopter! The last 2 were from kits. I think the first 2 involved using existing bits.

      The series where he builds a helicopter from not much more than rods and tubes, nuts and bolts, in what looks like a large domestic garage, is great, especially when he flies it at the end. Definitely worth watching. “A X is born”, with X being the vehicle in question.

      • andreas says:

        Mark Evans is the man you are looking for. I loved watching those “Is born” series, really in depth and very fun to watch!

        • wretch says:

          Isn’t he a vet (i.e., animal doctor), too? I loved his “Is Born” shows. I remember a trike with a VW bug engine, a restoration of an E type Jaguar, a single-engine prop. kit airplane where he also had to studied for and passed a private pilot exam—IIRC, in his first solo he was charged for 3 landings because he bounced on the tarmac 3 times—and a single-engine kit helicopter. I wish Discovery still show his and other similar shows. One of the reasons why I cut my cable TV service.

          Anyway, yes, cool hack. (c:

  2. rj says:

    There actually are some hastily-sketched schematics later on in the post.

    I’m surprised on a tube that small he could see the chroma signal enough to warrant removing it.

  3. Hirudinea says:

    Crappy, crappy TV, awesome, awesome hack.

  4. Biomed says:

    Tons of hacks are more about “Can I make this work” than about anything else. Just an exercise to push the boundaries of one’s skillset, This is a good one! Thanks for posting it.

  5. This reminds me of the screens they used in the movie Brazil :))

  6. CNLohr says:

    Ok, I really need to start to get on these things. First time I saw them they were so cool!

  7. localroger says:

    I have a couple of these tubes. One of these days…

  8. William DeRieux says:

    I can see an awesome retro tv being created with something like this…

    • Greenaum says:

      Sinclair manufactured one in about 1980, but with a one point something inch diagonal 4:3 rectangular CRT screen. The tube was specially made, usual grey phosphor of course, called a “coffin tube” cos of the shape of it, was much deeper than it was big in the other 2 dimensions.

      This would be nice, to either take advantage of the roundness, and build a circular TV with circular symmetry, no obvious “top / bottom” or “sides”. Or else take inspiration from it’s oldness, when the very first TVs used round, or round-ish, tubes. So make a tiny little scale model of an early TV. Though the very early TVs were as big as a chest of drawers, and their screens were only about as big as this one.

      It COULD make a good Pip-Boy, for people who’ve had a hand amputated and can make themselves a decent fake with the CRT going through into the wrist.

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 96,725 other followers