CRT RGB modding
from to on 28 Feb 2024 22:23

I just picked up my second CRT last night. A free 27" Sony Trinitron. It has composite only, just like my flat tube Toshiba. Both seem to be working well.

I’ve been reading up on how to do the RGB mods and which models are supported. As well as the dangers of working in and around the guts of these monsters. I have a good soldering iron, but I’m not so good at it. I’ve looked around locally to see if there are any folks I could hire to do it for me and I’m having no luck. I’d rather not mail a boat anchor if I can help it.

Months ago I found a directory of modding services all over the country with a focus on console mods. I cannot for the life of me find that again to check and see if any of those folks are near me and do CRT work at all.

Failing all that, how hard is it assuming I take all necessary safety precautions? From pics and videos, the components look to be much larger than some I’ve tried in the past so I’m not sure if that’ll help or hurt me if I just YOLO and try it.

The Sony is for sure a well documented RGB mod and I’ve found several resources for it. I can’t find any info on the specific Toshiba yet and it has a VCR/DVD player built in, if that makes a difference.


threaded - newest on 29 Feb 2024 00:09 next collapse

Disclaimer: I’m about as inexperienced as you are (and ended up giving up on CRTs for the time being, but mostly for lack of space tbh).

With that out of the way, my research from a couple years ago netted a couple of results, which might or might not be relevant to you (and I’m guessing you could have already found those), depending on where on the globe you are located.

If those two are not relevant to you, you might want to check your local CL / Kijiji / FB Marketplace / local equivalent(s) for potential listings.

Otherwise you could certainly YOLO it with the Trinitron since it’s well documented, assuming you feel confident enough around high voltage and are equipped with the necessary tools to discharge the tube, etc. From what I’ve seen it’s not as bad as it seems, as long as you you’re careful and follow the right steps/tutorials.
Do you have any spare PCB / whatever lying around you could use to practice soldering with? Components on CRT PCBs are indeed not so small, so I don’t know what sort of prior experience you have with soldering, but bigger components = easier to solder (as long as you use a bigger tip on your soldering iron, and feel free to use flux / add fresh solder). on 29 Feb 2024 04:07 collapse

I do have some old components laying around I could mess around with to build soldering skills. It’s all PC hardware though, so likely much smaller than the TV components. Though I do have an alarm clock from the 80s that barely works. That might be closer as far as size of components. Might have to crack that open. on 29 Feb 2024 00:12 next collapse

Check out Sparkfun soldering tutorial.

The true game changer is this: use a brass sponge. Any cheapo one will do. Cleaning the tip often with a brass sponge will keep your iron tip nice and shiny and able to transfer heat much more effectively making soldering 10x easier.

Water sponges are terrible. Just no.

The iron doesn’t matter as much as the brass sponge. I have soldered SMT stuff with a dollar store iron just to prove the point. Although a temp controlled iron with the right tip makes things easier.

Also please don’t die from high voltages (I see you’ve read the safety stuff, good!) on 29 Feb 2024 04:05 collapse

Ooh, nice resource, thank you. I do have a brass sponge on hand. It was also recommended to me by a friend. on 29 Feb 2024 03:04 collapse

Working on CRTs can be very dangerous. Please be very careful.

Any old school arcades in your area? They should know who works on CRTs. on 29 Feb 2024 04:05 collapse

There are, I’ll have to ask around to see if anyone can help with this kind of project.

I will be very careful. If I don’t feel confident I won’t even try it and I’ll just use composite.