This musical visualizer provides an excellent way to add more depth to the experience of your music, and is quite easy to build. It also may be useful as an actual oscilloscope for some applications

all thats required is:
-an old crt (almost all b&w tv's work)
-some wire tape and pliers
-a bit of wire and an amplifier of some sort
-music to run threw zed amplifier
-basic electronics knowledge is helpful

ive got about 10 reports of success which is nice

I got the idea off of this site

this is a remake of my previous instructable for the art of sound contest and just to improve it

it can operate in 2 ways depending on how its configured, a horizontal line bent into waveforms, and a dot that expands into a squiggled up circle. both in sync with the music played. just look at the pictures and video

Step 1: The TV

a B&W TV should be easy to acquire at a yardsale, thrift store,maybe in someones trash, or probably somewhere in your house. It seems like most any b&w tv will work, but i have gotten reports of color tv's working (ive tried two to no avail), also a computer monitor can work too scorcher made an instructable on it

Once you have your TV carefully open it. You should see a big glass tube with a large circuit board under it. At the end of the tube close to you will see a few wires coming out of the tube connecting to the board (leave them alone) but ahead of them you should see thick coils of wires against the tube and 4 wires coming out near these coils somehow grouped into two on each side.

be careful as capacitors on the control board can store large charges for days, and the tube acts as a high voltage capacitor in most cases not lethal but dont take chances its still potentially lethal

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Ech025 days ago

How were you able to get that square wave displayed properly? So far on the tvs i have tried this with, square waves loose thiey're corners turning into sawtooth waves when using audio signals. Is this a current draw problem due to high inductance of tv coil? I would really love some help with this as it has had me stumped for a month.

Great instructable btw :)

I really liek this idea! Can you do the same thing but with smoke instead of a TV?

sbliven12 years ago
Great instructable! I'm seeing some horizontal oscillations near the right side of the screen:

(A few overlapping traces from tapping a 6V DC source to the coil. You can see the oscillations on the faint traces to the right of the screen. More images on my blog post.)

Anyone have any ideas what could be causing it? The TV image looked normal before modifying the wiring.
tseay sbliven12 years ago
Try adjusting the horizontal and / or vertical position until you can see the whole wave form. To be able to change the size on the screen would be a good adjustment.
And dude (the 4th doctor) no dripping water glass by the equipment. Bad example. :/
Hmm, the preview showed an image but it seems to have been removed in the post.

I opened up a small tv and connected an audio source to it, but the display only shows a horizontal bar that "fattens" with the music. It does not show waveforms. What did I do wrong?
The 4th Doctor (author)  cardboarddude3 years ago
ah sorry for the late reply. the problem is simple, you're using the horizontal coils output which operates at 17khz far too high for audio frequency, if you switch to putting signal into the vertical coil it should work fine.(if you want a horizontal line you can swap the coil drivers or rotate the whole coil assembly) tell me how it goes
Loved the project but especially the choice of tunes on yr vid! Keep up the good work.
I was unsuccessful in my first attempt. I think it's because i hooked it up in series to the second speaker instead if the amplifier. When I plugged it in it made noise and the screen had static.
The 4th Doctor (author)  imshanedulong3 years ago
So you attached it in series with one speaker of an amplifier? It should still work but the other channel will be very loud comparatively(but you could balance it out). Im not exactly sure what you mean though, did you have a solid line, and how did that line respond to input, also what were you inputting?

Good luck tell me about any developments
Before i plugged it in, I had a solid line. After, a bunch of static on screen and white noise in the speaker.
The 4th Doctor (author)  imshanedulong3 years ago
im just not following you here i need to know what was hooked up to what, if there's a good time you could go to the instructables irc we could probably figure this out quicker because i tend to be late in my responses to comments unfortunately
I am definitely trying trying this since antennae TVs like the one I have are now obsolete. You need a digital antennae now. This will work with a mini black and white TV right? Probably has non lethal capacitors too since its battery powered (12 volt I think)!
The 4th Doctor (author) 3 years ago
its great how many people are getting this working, a very rewarding instructable. just thought id mention that.
I tried this with a compute monitor and I get no picture on the screen when the horizontal coils are no hooked up properly but it dose make a lot of high frequency noises, Like you said up there, its just a flat line that moves up and down. Is there anything I can do about this or is it junk?
bears04 years ago
finally got mine working yesterday, i used one of those mini survival tv things thats handheld. it looks so cool.
The 4th Doctor (author)  bears04 years ago
Good stuff!
bears04 years ago
what are the names of the songs in the video from beginning to end, the only one i recognized was "smoke on the water".
The 4th Doctor (author)  bears04 years ago
Supernaught- Black Sabbath
Career Opportunitys- The Clash
Smoke on the Water- Deep Purple
Godzilla- Blue Oyster Cult
The Right Profile-The Clash
City of the Dead-The Clash
Highway Star-Deep Purple
White Light- Velvet Underground
Where did you get the tone generator you used in the video and how much was it?
NCH ToneGen, google it. its a very goor tonegen. I also believe audacity has one.
The 4th Doctor (author)  Jimmy Proton4 years ago
its from a computer going threw an old stereo, audacity has a tone generator. not sure how to do the sweep functions in audacity. i believe i was using some trail ware by NCH. certainly didn't pay anything.
marc6664 years ago
its a very awesome project!
I now have a 2inch line in the middle of my screen, I know I have to adjust the V-hold, but cant find any potentiometer on the inside that seems to do something. there`s one on the outside, but this one doesnt work. the imge on the outside is something like this(image) would this be the Vhold adjuster and will it be broken or would it be something else?

greetings. Marc
The 4th Doctor (author)  marc6664 years ago
ah i am very very late. whats going on with it now, which supply are you using and have you rotated coils. the v-hold on the outside should be perfect, if it does not change anything i suspect you are operating on the horizontal coil. what happens when you input a signal. it could be that the tv's supply is unsuitable but that can be bypassed. anyhow i just need some information, after 3 months its probably been fixed or thrown out the window anyways. Sorry about that!
I got it working after a few weeks, its really awesome. I also forgot to say I got it working here:P. thanks alot for this great project once more. I have really enjoyed making it and I still enjoy looking at it.
ljarrald4 years ago
i have done this but it has not turned out like yours. i don't see waveforms, just the whole line mooving up and down, what have i done wrong?
The 4th Doctor (author)  ljarrald4 years ago
Simple problem, you are using the horizontal supply rather then the vertical supply. switch that and it should be good tell me how it turns out.

the horizontal supply's frequency is so high that audible frequency's don't have enough time to bend the line before it is drawn.

i have swapped them round and it is BRILLIANT! only one problem, it is not across the full screen, only a portion of the middle, is there an way to overcome this?
The 4th Doctor (author)  ljarrald4 years ago
excellent, adjusting the v-hold makes a big difference, i usually get a small empty portion on one end though.

v-hold may be inside the case depending on the tv, tell me how it goes

okay, i'll have a look tommorow and post a video, i am using a 5 inch portable tv but i did notice some sort of potentiometer inside, if i cant vind a v-hold adjuster what should i do?
Will this work with one of those tiny portable tv's?
yes! i used a 5inch binatone minivision that my nana used to use to follow cooking programs in the kitchen, its just been sitting round doing nothing since the digital switchover here in the uk, i love the fact that this instructable has braught it back to life :)
The 4th Doctor (author)  WilliamRigney5 years ago
hopefully, cant be sure until you try. in the 1st step theres a picture i got from someone of a portable tv that worked (it looks bad but he was just using a weak amp)
BrentFrench4 years ago
Great tutorial! I want to run a mic into the vertical coil, then place the mic in front of a guitar amplifier. Can I just split a regular mic cable and attach it to the coil, or would I need some other kind of cable?
The 4th Doctor (author)  BrentFrench4 years ago
A microphone would need to be amplified by some way, splitting the signal is fine.

its basically like having another speaker
highvoltage5 years ago
I build one from a 1992 color TV and it works great! Only took a couple minutes, easiest and most satisfying build I've done in some time! :D
kates67765 years ago
Hey, how exactly do I hook up an amplifier? It works, but it's really hard to see unless the music is loud, so it'd be nice to amp it up.
The 4th Doctor (author)  kates67765 years ago
well you can use any available second amplifier just make sure its nothing too valuable. split the input before the two amplifiers, use one for sound and one for the visual. or you could use the left/right balance of a stereo to make one channel with the visual louder then the other channel with the audio. any way that works.
cool, thanks!

and thanks f making this instructable, it's such a fun project. :)
brrryan5 years ago
Would this work with a Commodore 64 monitor?
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