Introduction: VCR Computer

Picture of VCR Computer

VCRs are old technology, so turning them into a computer would give you a new, out of the ordinary device.

In this Instructable, I will show you how to combine a computer and a VCR into one.

The computer is fully functional, uses the buttons from the VCR to turn it on and off, and is fan-equipped to prevent overheating.

If you like the original product, you can buy it here:

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

To make a VCR computer of your own, you will need a few things:

- A VCR that is somewhat bigger than 12"x10" and at least 3.5" tall
- A fully functional computer (Avoid using oversized heat sinks)
- A drill
- A fine line marker
- A soldering iron
- Glue gun and glue
- Metal cutting scissors (a steel cutting laser could work too)
- A bag of jolly good animal crackers

Step 2: Preparing Your Computer.

Picture of Preparing Your Computer.

To prepare your computer for this Instructable, your first step would be taking all of the parts out of the tower. Don't forget to take out the lights and the power button. Now, unscrew the cover of the power supply, but be careful! The capacitors may still remain charged.

Have some Animal Crackers.

Step 3: Preparing Your VCR

Picture of Preparing Your VCR

Of course the next step would be taking out all the parts from the VCR. But don't take out the board at the front as you will use it for your power button.

Next, use a fine line marker to create a perfect (or somewhere close to there) square with dimensions of 120mmX120mm on the top panel of your VCR. Then, drill holes at the corners, and if you have the time/patience, draw more lines to create a professional looking vent for the fan. (Some fans don't have the dimensions of 120mmX120mm, so to be completely sure, check your fan's specs.

Now, try on the motherboard with the cards already attached and using the fine line marker mark the places where you have to cut off the excess steel, but remember that you will need to have a space between the panel and the motherboard. You can create it by making small platforms made out of preferably hot glue, but be careful with the substances you use as some may conduct electricity. I chose hot glue as the melting point is about 3 times higher than the operational temperature of the motherboard and it does not conduct electricity. Now you need to cut of a small square in one of the corners for the power supply socket and two holes at the sides of it, for the pins that are on the actual socket. Now cut a large hole like the one in the pictures. the large part of the hole is used for the cards, while the small one is used for the motherboard's sockets. Also, if you can see that the metal part of the cards are way too big, use the scissors to cut off the excess.

And now to the panel. Most VCRs already have LED sockets, so you can attach the LEDs from the computer on the VCR. Now find the button that you wish to use as your power button (and if you are using one of the older computers, the 'Turbo' button too) .

After you have done that, put on 5 more platforms for the hard drive, and 5 more ON the actual hard drive as the power supply is installed on top of the hard drive.

Have some more crackers.

Step 4: Fitting It Inside.

Picture of Fitting It Inside.

Now that both the computer and VCR have been prepared, it's time to put it all together.

First, screw on the motherboard panel and put daps of hot glue on the platforms and quickly put on the motherboard, while making sure that all of the sockets are accessible through the panel. Now, do the same task for the hard drive.

After you have done that, slip on the power supply socket and use glue to make sure it doesn't go anywhere. Now, screw on the ground wire to one of the closest holes.

And finish the process with gluing on the power supply to the platforms on the hard drive the same way you did with the motherboard . Again, be VERY careful with the power supply, it can still shock you even if it is unplugged.

Now connect all the wires (Fan, power supply, hard drive, LEDs, power button). Try to use the shortest possible wires to connect the hard drive wires to the motherboard, as longer ones will touch the power supply and melt, or restrict air from circulating inside.

Make sure 2 thirds of your crackers have been eated.

Step 5: End

Now here comes the easy part, after slipping on the panel back on the VCR, screw the cover back on the VCR and check if your new VCR Computer is operational.

If it works, congratulations! You have a fully functional VCR Computer! If not, go back and check if you forgot to connect something.

Have the rest of the crackers either way.


AlexK88 (author)2016-02-27

I want to do this, given how i have a VCR that is good for little more than a desk clock at this point, but I don't have a computer that I'd actually WANT to use to stick into it.

steliospc (author)2014-02-14

insert cd drive samsung ts-h192 network card belkin

whitering (author)2013-07-28

This is a great idea.

PepperNetworks (author)2011-12-08

Absolutely - snacks are critical. When I get my head down into something I'm tinkering on and forget to eat...

That's when Murphy likes to sneak up on me :(

I just looked, and I have one last VCR in the house and an HTPC that is built and working, but in a case that won't fit in the entertainment center shelves.

Hmmm. What to do? ;-)

fatboy106 (author)2009-04-13

what exactly does it do?

chello2k9 (author)fatboy1062010-08-30

It would make a great media center

12Hippos (author)fatboy1062009-04-18

It's pretty much a computer in a VCR. So it does everything your computer does.

fatboy106 (author)12Hippos2009-04-19


Zerocool818 (author)2010-08-14

I have the same motherboard but i cant find anything no company nothing where did you get yours

mr monoply33 (author)2009-09-23

wow, I had a dead VCR and an extra mobo, yet this thought didn;t cross my mind. adding to this, set a cd drive or something in the VHS slot

12Hippos (author)mr monoply332009-11-22

I would love to add one, but the lack of space stopped me from doing so. i am currently looking for a laptop so that I can take the DVD-Drive from it.

mr monoply33 (author)12Hippos2009-11-23

(^no offense^)
A laptop drive might look cool, but not last long or work as well, search around you can find a used DVD drive, and bring it down to bare parts, it'd probably be easier to mod to work in this situation too. If you have an idea in mind go for it thou, you might have trouble finding a laptop that died before the drive did lol.

Good luck
hope to see an update :)

ScubaSteve (author)mr monoply332010-04-05

I got around to making mine. The VHS slot was big enough for the disc tray, so i just mounted it so the tray opened and closed smoothly. Then i wired the eject button on the drive to the eject button on the VCR.

hcaz-301 (author)12Hippos2010-01-08

you could use a full laptop motherboard and kit so save space then the full set up can fit i  side something smaller ;)

zack247 (author)2010-03-24

i am working on a project like this with a cable converter. i started a forum post. i am getting really annoyed with the psu. how much clearance did you get?

ScubaSteve (author)2009-07-21

you shoule probably use Mini-ITX

zack247 (author)ScubaSteve2010-03-24

but those are so much more expensive

Skater_j10 (author)2009-11-20

Nice work, i made a PC similar to this only I used an old xbox case I got for $15 at a pawn shop. The original XBox's are going for pretty cheap these days and you get a bunch of other re-usable parts with it usually (controllers, A/C cable, etc.). Anyway just figured I'd let you know that I added your ible to our group called: Small form Factor If you, or anybody else, is interested you should join up!

qwerty29 (author)2009-02-12

you shold make one out of a vcr tv combo!

tjmortenson (author)qwerty292009-07-21

ya that would be awesome if u could use the tv as a monitor

mr monoply33 (author)tjmortenson2009-09-23

throw in a $30 scan converter and you could easy

livesteamfan (author)2009-08-10

I've been thinking of something similar to this. I was thinking of doing this to a record player, and, if possible, keep it as a working record player.

ScubaSteve (author)2009-07-21

I have thought of this, although i will probably use the case of a VER from the 80's, because i like the retro look.

The Real Dave (author)2009-05-07

Best not to use anywhere near a powerful computer for a mod like this. A nice little Celeron or PIII would work well, very little heat output. Placing the PSU on the HDD like that might cause problems with heat, seeing as they both generate alot of it :S Also, you might look into laptop parts? Smaller parts, generally lower heat emmisions, so might be more suitable for a project like this :D Great Instructable though, nice idea.

EDIT: Another nice addition to something like this would be a TV tuner card, allowing you to watch and record TV on your VRC PC :D

moecool101 (author)2009-02-12

How do you get the motherboard out??? I am haveing trouble with it, it has little white and black arrow like pegs sticking out from the bottom of the case holding the motherboard in place but they are hard as hell to take out??? what do i do???

twocvbloke (author)moecool1012009-04-19

Snip them off with some side cutters, they're rubbish and annoying things...

12Hippos (author)moecool1012009-04-18

you're supposed to push both pins together at the same time, then gently pull out the motherboard

FreeTom (author)2009-03-10

Awesomesauce, my friend has that exact same VCR. Nice instructable. I'm going to set one up as a HTPC with my old spare parts.

Xellers (author)2009-03-03

Good job. I've got about twenty computers that were garbage before I fixed them. now I can try to put them to good use...

lemonie (author)2009-02-15

(following my previous comment) I did something different with my VCR.


Xellers (author)lemonie2009-03-03

Love it.

mikedoth (author)2009-02-11

I like this. Makes use of something being thrown out all too often (see them on Craigslist every day or two). I think I might try this if I can manage to fit in a DVD-Drive in it somehow.

JamFish (author)mikedoth2009-03-03

You'll cost a bit, but they're selling slim DVD-Drives now which should fit inside the case(and with a little more modding you can make it pop out through the tape insert).

dennis123123 (author)2009-02-13

In step 1 picture you have a square around the drive bays saying "power supply" :) Good job other than that little mistake!

12Hippos (author)dennis1231232009-02-13

oops. I kinda did make a mistake there, thanks for telling me

bizydad (author)2009-02-12

Nice resourcefulness! I keep stubbornly hanging on to a couple VCRs, despite my wife's complaints. Now I have a good excuse to hang on to them! Thanks

larry9530 (author)2009-02-12

In terms of the VCR Computer, it is suppose to be just that -- A VCR computer. So all of you that want to put in a DVD player and does not have the room, what did you expect. Here is an idea. Convert your DVD (programs included) disks, to tape and you won't have a problem. Problem solved

emellqui (author)2009-02-12

I tried this about a year ago, but had to abandon the design because I couldn't get a DVD drive to fit anywhere. You'd probably have to go to a bunch of smaller components to make that work (mini-itx board, external psu, 2.5" hard drive, etc.).

mrmath (author)2009-02-12

OK, instructables community. I have a question for you all. This is a full fledged instructable, so it qualifies for being her. BUT, it has a link to an eBay auction where he's selling it. Does this count as SPAM? I'm torn. Part of me says yes, it is, as he's selling it. But most of me says that it's a full fledged instructable on how to do something different and unique, so it's not SPAM. What do you think?

cyrozap (author)mrmath2009-02-12

Not spam. Spam is like "Click this link to get started so you can get your FREE (expensive item goes here)!" It isn't a referral link, it's just a link to his ebay auction. That's not a referral.

lemonie (author)2009-02-12

Ooh! I'm excited, as soon as I replace my old 'n' chunky VCR I'm seriously going to have a look at doing this. Good idea L

ikssk (author)2009-02-11

I would make it a media PC and put a blue-ray player in there just to spice things up a bit.

ChrysN (author)2009-02-11

Clever idea, I also like how you include a snack under your list of material, always important.

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