Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Safely Discharge a CRT Monitor

So recently I acquired a Cathode-Ray Tube (aka CRT) monitor. It wasn't hard: someone next door put it outside like it wasn't worthy of being indoors anymore. Poor little monitor.
But now, I have it, and what do I do with it? RIP ITS SOUL OUT OF ITS BODY!!! I mean, uh, simply take it apart.
Now, of course, it's not exactly normal to take apart a CRT given the imminent dangers of high voltages and impeding implosions. But, well, I guess I'm a risk-taker. Or an idiot. Either way, if you want to take apart a CRT monitor, you'll want to follow some safety stuffs:
1. Firstly, don't touch things that are big and somewhat scary. If that includes the monitor itself, you shouldn't work on it. Period. This also includes transformers, transistors, and of course tubes. Oh, and coils of wire are kinda scary too.
2. More importantly, you'll want to discharge the tube itself. This seems like it would be hard, but it's not if you know what you are doing. Let me show you:
First, clamp or otherwise strongly attach some wire to a screwdriver and shove it in the ground. 
Second, attach the same wire to another flat screwdriver. Then, use it to pry under the suction cup of the big only-slightly-scary wire. When you hear a slight SNAP, it's discharged. But, go deeper until you hit the clips that hold it in place, just to be sure. Then carefully remove the suction cup. Don't shove anything in the hole, though. The actual tube is surprisingly weak, and therefore you may break it, causing it to implode, spewing poisonous shards of glass everywhere. This is why, when I actually did it, I put a box over the monitor.  
And there you have it! A discharged Cathode-Ray Tube. Now, you may ask, "why do this?" Well, aside from parts (there are plenty), this makes the device now safe to work on! I personally grabbed it because I can use it sideways and with some adjustment as an oscilloscope running at 60 Hz. However, by the looks of how this is put together, I may just now have a giant pile of parts. I'll keep you updated.
"But what about the Ring Modulator you were building??" Mmm, yeah, that didn't go so well. I'm not really sure what's wrong with it. Why I feel like I can mess with high voltages and make an oscilloscope, I'm not sure. Never hurts to try (after it's discharged)!!

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