Adventures in Small Screen Video

[Kevin] wanted to make something using a small CRT, maybe an oscilloscope clock or something similar. He thought he scored big with a portable black and white TV that someone threw away, but it wouldn’t power on. Once opened, he thought he found the culprit—a couple of crusty, popped capacitors. [Kevin] ordered some new ones and played with the Arduino TVout code while he waited.

The caps arrived, but the little TV still wouldn’t chooch. Closer inspection revealed that someone had been there before him and ripped out some JST-connected components. Undaunted, [Kevin] went looking for a new CRT and found a vintage JVC camcorder viewfinder on the electronic bay with a 1-1/8″ screen.

At this point, he knew he wanted to display the time, date, and temperature. He figured out how the viewfinder CRT is wired, correctly assuming that the lone shielded wire is meant for composite video. It worked, but the image was backwards and off-center. No problem, just a matter of tracing out the horizontal and vertical deflection wires, swapping the horizontal ones, and nudging a few pixels in the code. Now he just has to spin a PCB, build an enclosure, and roll his own font.

[Kevin]’s CRT is pretty small, but it’s got to be easier on the eyes than the tiniest video game system.

13 thoughts on “Adventures in Small Screen Video

  1. I wonder about the specific wish to use a CRT, though. The article doesn’t say why he insists on it being a CRT; wouldn’t a small LCD driven over SPI-bus be more power-efficient, a lot smaller and cost just nickles and pennies? I am probably missing something, but I have no idea what.

    1. The retro-ism of it and the skills required. Anyone can build an SPI LCD project with a cheap-as-chips module from eBay/Alibaba/etc, but it takes a little bit more effort to build something with a microCRT from the 80s-90s (which, in itself, is a bit of an engineering marvel) with almost no documentation to go on to bring it up.

    2. Think “valuable learning experience”…

      Because he think its is cool and simply wants one is good enough for me. For example, I have no interest in nixie tube clocks, but other people love them, and I still admire the builders workmanship and skill when I see one that was well-built.

    3. If you start asking for reasons this whole website falls apart. He did it because he wanted to see if he could. Which is a lot better that thinking of something and not trying because you can’t.

      1. About a week ago somebody at the makerspace was talking about getting something to chooch–I was totally puzzled, was forced to bingewatch a few of ave/boltr’s videos and have learned a lot from these loud, foul-mouthed (headphones in the house, please) very politically incorrect videos. The more downvotes from SJW trolls on his videos, the funnier they will be–watch those first.

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