Introduction: How to Take Apart TV

Picture of How to Take Apart TV

Do you have an old TV or monitor lying around in your house? You don't want it and planing to throw it away? Well don't! You can make good use of its parts!

Taking apart a TV or a monitor may sound easy, but they can be very dangerous if you are not careful...

This instructable will be your guide of taking apart a TV or a monitor.

Taking apart the TV or monitor can be very dangerous. High voltage presents inside the CRT - even when the power is off! And the CRT is fragile. You could get seriously injured or die. I am NOT responsible what ever happens to you if you take apart the TV or monitor!

Step 1: Tools...

Picture of Tools...
Okay, go grab your tool box, you may need all sorts of tools to dissemble the TV or monitor...

What I used are:
  • Screwdrivers in various types and sizes
  • Some types of pliers
  • A wire cutter
  • A safety goggles

Safety goggles are very important, who knows the CRT may implode while you are busy dissembling the TV or monitor... It is better to be safe than sorry about losing your eyes...

Step 2: Take the Cover Off

Picture of Take the Cover Off

Take the back cover off the TV or monitor. The screws can be difficult to find, but take your time...

Step 3: The Dangerous Part...

Picture of The Dangerous Part...

Now, this is the dangerous part, discharging the CRT...
Why should you do this? Because the CRT acts like a high voltage capacitor and it can hold a lethal charge. The charge stored in the CRT can last a very long time, usually a few months, sometimes for a few years...

So it is important to safely discharge the CRT before you do anything else - otherwise you might end up in the grave...

To discharge the CRT:
Connect one alligator connector clip to a flat-head screwdriver, and the other clip to another any screwdriver.
Push one screwdriver into the earth ground and take the other flat-head screwdriver and gently put the end under the suction-like cap. Keep pushing it in until you here a loud (or faint) "SNAP", the CRT is discharged, but push in the screw driver until you feel a little bump, the screwdriver had touched the metal clips Now the CRT is completely discharged.

Now, simply cut the HV wire off near the suction-like cap.
I took the suction-like cap off completely because I know how to do it. Taking the suction-like cap off the CRT can be tricky and dangerous.

Step 4: Cut Up the Wires

Picture of Cut Up the Wires

Now the CRT is discharged, cut all the wire that are connected to the CRT. So we can take the electronics out.

Step 5: And the Screws...

Picture of And the Screws...

And hunt down all the hidden screws and take them off the circuit board...

Step 6: Put the Cover Back On...

Picture of Put the Cover Back On...

One last thing to do... Put the back cover back on the TV or monitor to make it safe from an implosion.

And can you do me a favor? Please take the CRT to a recycle facility. Please don't dump the CRT to the landfill. Because of this, the phosphor and other chemicals that make the CRT screen glow is extremely toxic and it is very harmful for the environment, so can you take it to a recycle facility?

Step 7: And You Are Done!

Picture of And You Are Done!

And you are done!
There are the instructions on how to take apart a TV or monitor!

The main reason why I wanted to take apart a TV or monitor is I am after one part: The flyback transformer. You can make many great high voltage projects with the flybacks.

Check out those two great instructables about how to make a high voltage power supply with a flyback transformer:
Simple flyback driver

Here is another instructable about how to make a lighting globe with a flyback transformer.
Make your own Lightning Globe!

And most of the other parts inside the TV or a monitor can be quite useful too. 

Before you throw out all your unwanted TV parts, be sure to check out this instructable on how to get tons of  enameled wire! How to get tons of free enameled copper wire

I hope you found this instructable useful!
If you have any questions, or need help, or found an error, or anything, make a comment!


redbeth (author)2016-05-22

I have an old digital CRT set that hasn't worked for years. It's extremely big , bulky and heavy ( the two delivery guys who brought it in looked near to collapse after carrying it six feet ...) , I was thinking of unscrewing the case and ripping the insides out so I can dispose of it bit by bit . Would it still be dangerous after years out of use ? Can everything just go in the bin , or are there parts I need to take to Currys or something for disposal ?

xDark_Alleyx01x (author)2016-05-22

What is that blue thing visible in the second picture in step 2?

Scratch that, third picture

CarolynK24 (author)2016-05-18

Thank you for this fantastic and very informative writing on taking apart televisions. I have a few dead T.V.'s I want to take the copper out of but heard taking televisions apart was dangerous. I wondered what the dangerous part was in those things.

jianju (author)2016-05-09

I accidentally discharged a large, heavy CRT through my body into the ground. It hurt a little, but I shook it off.

EkriirkE (author)2016-03-13

Earth ground? Wat.

devicemodder (author)2008-11-22

i talked with a tv repair person and they said that a screwdriver can't handle 10,000 volts.he says that you should use a high voltage probe connected to a 1mega ohm half watt resistor just to be safe. here is a pic of the probe.

Yonatan24 (author)devicemodder2015-07-28


There are a lot of kinds of screwdrivers, some can handle very high voltages and some can't :)

Plasmana (author)devicemodder2008-11-24

That is true, screwdrivers, cannot handle 10Kv, however, the screwdriver is grounded, so it is 0v.

tcarpenter (author)Plasmana2014-07-16

Screwdriver will be fine. Your safety, however, depends on how thick the plastic mold around the one you're touching is though. Like these other guys says, current is the issue. However, even with a large current, in this situation, the current flow will last half an instant, not even long enough to break a low current fuse, given the chance. Don't worry about what "professionals" use. Use what you have; screwdrivers are bound to have some resistance anyway, depending on the metal. If you want to feel safe, buy a random resistor >100Kohm (at least 1/4 watt) and splice it in series with whatever you have going on. Like I said before, even if the power is measured over that, it's pretty instantaneous, so your resistor won't burn out (similar to the fuse idea).

Applez00800 (author)Plasmana2010-11-22

The screwdriver isn't 0V, and technically, neither is ground. Ground is only a reference point. A voltage is the potential difference between two points, and ground is simply used as the lower of the two terms in the difference equation.

The screwdrivers + alligator clip + wire are at ground voltage before touching the high voltage wire. When one of the screwdrivers touches the HV wire however, there will be a potential difference of +10-20kV across the screwdrivers + Alligator clip + wire with respect to the ground voltage. This will mean that a current will flow through them (a VERY high current). It's the current that will damage the screwdrivers, not the voltage. An increase in voltage will produce an increase the current.

awang8 (author)Plasmana2008-12-30

My local TV repair guy uses something that looks like pen with a wire coming out of one end. He then plugs the wire into the mains ground, touches the metal thingy thing trys to find out what broke.

Applez00800 (author)devicemodder2010-11-22

Also, although it won't be much of a risk if you have a good ground connection, make sure that the screwdriver you're using has a good deal of insulation on the handle. Do NOT use those micro screwdrivers with metal handles. If you have already however and are still with the living, it is because the resistance of your body is MUCH greater than the resistance in the wire connection the screwdriver to ground. Electricity takes the path of least resistance (well, current will still flow through all paths, but will be inversely proportional to their resistances)

Applez00800 (author)devicemodder2010-11-22

It may be 10,000V, but the the transient time is so small that a screwdriver will suffice. You might also notice that he used tiny multi-core wire to connect between the two screwdrivers. If the voltage was constant, the wire would act like a fuse and melt almost instantaneously, but the time that it takes to discharge the CRT will likely be in the low milliseconds, so this isn't a problem.

Or make one like me, 100 10M ohm resistors. But I'm getting a proper one as well anyway. (from ebay of course)

Xellers (author)devicemodder2008-12-29

The screwdriver may be slightly damaged, but there is no way I'm paying for one of those "probes".

Derin (author)devicemodder2008-11-30

I know that HV probes are on power poles,look for some poles where the line goes into the ground and some nice company workers.

haunted_lady (author)2010-03-26

 Really old TV's the glass is being used to cut like diamonds. My local Gem and Mineral show did I cannot tell you how it was more beautiful than a herkimer diamond because it has this blue caste to it. So if you are into this type of hobby this is another use of the TV parts. Just make sure of the lead exposure when you are doing all of this.. Very little exposure to lead directly can be dangerous...
I think we should make everyone eat what they buy when it breaks that wold make them rebuy new stuff  AND RECYCLE MORE HAHAHAHA
Thanks for showing this I have a huge one to get rid of
hope i don't fry or die! Rubber boots and thick rubber gloves might help a bit absorb the shock you think?

Rytchz (author)haunted_lady2015-06-08

I take apart tv'z all the time, I need to kno wat 2 do with the glass???

Yonatan24 (author)Rytchz 2015-07-28

Put it in a Trash dumpster, throw rocks at it, and film it in slow-motion (I did It with a friend :) )

HI I AM SETH (author)2015-01-18

You could use the whole tv for an arcade cabinet. (I build arcade cabs)

AshH (author)2014-10-19

Taking a TV apart is simple make sure the cord is unplugged take a knife and cut the cord off because the main power sources in the power cord I took a TV apart several times not going to kill you I don't know where you guys are getting your information wrong but obviously they must not know what they're doing or something...

darthphunk (author)AshH2014-12-23

Nit sure if you are a troll or dont know what you are talking about. Tv's and CRTs contain high voltage charges even when not plugged in. Proper care and precautions should always be taken.

anthony.dowhan (author)2014-11-11

I have had an RCA Tru Flat 27" tube TV sitting in my basement for about 5 years unplugged. Couldn't I just cut all the wires and disassemble it for parts, and not worry about the CRT still holding it's charge ?

I have a dyna system multimeter, that i could check if there is any residual voltage... but do I really need to take all this extra precaution in grounding the unti, if it's been 5+ years sitting ?

jakeuplink (author)2014-09-15

How come you didn't salvage the yokes off of the electron gun??...they are only held on there by a couple of pipe clamps, and then it comes right off.

ompune (author)2013-08-04

many thanks 4 th info as i wish to start a COMPUTER RECYCLING SCHOOL IN INDIA to give work to thousands of unemployed science students to set up small workshops ( 1-5 employees) in all the hundred cities.also i want 2 know if thre is any mechanical method of removing the pvc from the huge amount of electric wires which are burnt polluting the air. also what size of shredder is reqd for the circiut boards & how it is further proccessed. any other info or sites you would reccomend me to read for setting up a mini dismantling workshop as i am in th learning stage.
many thanks & awaiting your reply. balbir singh mail

tcarpenter (author)ompune2014-07-16

Ask a chemist bro. No mechanical method is going to clean molecules off tiny strips of wire efficiently.

Samphillips1 (author)2013-05-08

I attempted to discharge the CRT but no sound was made. How am i supposed to know if it is discharged or not?

tcarpenter (author)Samphillips12014-07-16

It probably is. Usually if you leave it sit around an hour it'll be discharged anyway. However, what I have done before is take some large branch trimmers (like pictured) with as insulated handles as possible and cut the high voltage wire. Then I carefully drove the tip of the wire into the ground. 1000V usually requires an insulation thickness of about a quarter to a half of a centimeter.
First time I tried messing with a CRT I didn't realize the capacitance potential of these and flat out made my heart skip a beat (>6kV). Not fun, but I wasn't grounded so I was relatively okay.

ompune (author)2014-07-07

TO PLASMANA-where can i get training to recycle in a small way tv,s computers,assessories, mobile batteries, refrigeraters, air conditioners, washing machines, other electronic items.

balbir singh mail

McClay14 (author)2014-05-08

i took apart a tv like yours but didn't discharge the big vacuum tube, i got shocked by it while carrying it right in the bellybutton (ow). i have been getting migraines ever since.

Chikpeas Brother (author)2014-03-29

Isn't TV disassembly rather dangerous? I've heard there's capacitors in them capable of sending you to the big workshop in the sky...

rnattrass (author)2014-01-10

Is there any way to remove the screen from a box tv? is there any way of doing this with out harm injuring myself? The only thing I am after in an old box tv is the frame, nothing thats inside.

Oblivitus (author)2013-04-09
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me with something. I started taking apart an old radio called a Technics SA-616 with a Quartz Digital Synthesizer, and was wondering if there's anything in there like the tv here that will shock me. I've done some online research and haven't found any claims of danger but want to be sure. Here is a link with some photos of one that looks exactly like mine and shows the insides.

nerd7473 (author)2013-04-05

cool plasmana

AnarchistAsian (author)2008-10-13

one time, when he was young, my dad made a tv with his friends... and whenever our tv breaks, he fixes it... lol, yay!

Plasmana (author)AnarchistAsian2008-10-14

He... Made... His... Own... TV!?!?! Wow, that is amazing!

AnarchistAsian (author)Plasmana2008-10-14

lol, i told you he was smart!

note, this was back in the 70's-80's, maybe 60's? i forget, but it's still pretty impressive...

It was prior to the 70s when TVs still had tubes.

Plasmana (author)AnarchistAsian2008-10-15

Yeah, that is really impressive! Do you have a picture that you can show to us?

AnarchistAsian (author)Plasmana2008-10-15

70'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i don't think there's any pictures... all i know is that it's the only tv his family owned... and he made it with his friends... yeah.... he had a cool childhood... they played alot, and made alot of stuff... *sigh* times were simpler then...

Plasmana (author)AnarchistAsian2008-10-16

That is really cool! And yeah, All of the great electronic components are just getting rarer and rarer as we advanced in technology... :-(

muttyfutty (author)Plasmana2009-09-08

Agreed! you Know there going to start replacing the massive transformers in microwaves with some fancy circutry? (I think a boost converter ) Makes me sad just thinking about it...

Plasmana (author)muttyfutty2009-09-21

Yep! :-( I also heard they have an safety feature that they will shut off for good if tampered..

fostersfriend (author)Plasmana2012-04-29

Please tell me theyre leaving the capacitors :)))

croslandjr123 (author)Plasmana2010-12-07

OMG! That is so sad... D-; Damn the government and overtaking technology! I just don't want to happen...

muttyfutty (author)Plasmana2009-09-23

NOOOooo..... *sniff* first LCD TV's with NO flybacks... NST are (I think) very gradually being replaced buy a "dc power supply" (no transformer) And then MOT's Oh the HUMANITY!!!!!!!

What are NST?

an NST is a Neon Sign Transformer
it changes mains voltage (230V RMS) and steps it up till about 15KV RMS
its obviously used in (yes, you got it!) Neon Signs

here is an wikipeadia artcle on NST's

I didn't know those were being replaced. I've been looking for one actually.

About This Instructable




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