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could this kill me? (Monitor) Answered

i am thinking of taking apart what i think is a crt monitor. i have heard that there is stuff in there that an kill me, if so, what?


What if you throw it at a wall really hard, but run off once it is in the air? (In the air, moving to hit the wall.)

huh? i think youd still have glass and mercury all over the floor.

take it from someone that hurt his "back" by being thrown backwards (and was more then very lucky). I have always wondered if my exploits will not eventually shorten my life. I erased an entire roll of fill by opening an old TV while it was ON (yeah, my middle name was STUPID back then), and exposed them to x-rays.

HEY I EXPOSED MYSELF TO X-RADIATION TOO Right with you..... Dont even get me started with electricity either

you have aroused my curiosity. tell us the story of electricity.

dude. law 1 of high voltage safety: turn the @#$%%#&*(&*(&*&*#@% thing off first.

Tis hard to test the current and voltage of circuits when they are off LOL But the one time I was thrown backwards, I was at work, and they required me to reach into the timer box for the chick hatchers and rotate the shelves by moving the timer.....unfortunately there were exposed 220 lines in there.....laying one's arm across them is not fun

so you, in answere to this blatant code violation, sued the company and electrician for negligance causing bodily trauma.... (why does that sound american)

I was only 17 at the time. This was before anyone but movie stars sued anyone for stupid stuff (I wasn't dead or anything).

okay. now en days, id demand the wiring in the building be re-evaluated and brought up to code. i probably would not sue the company though.

I certainly learned to be a lot more careful around exposed lines :-) All they needed to do was provide a better way for me to adjust the position of the egg shelves (rather then get inside the hot box).


10 years ago

Here's a big discussion from MAKE's archives about exactly that subject.

Geeez, after reading that I should have gone with a deep-sea diving outfit with protection from electric eels and Robotic arms...the rubber cuppy wire harness was pretty cool though...

they argued mainly to avoid it being make vs the world. if you follow decent advice, and are careful, its perfectly safe.

I have lived to tell the tale and get parts for my instructable

TV set cutout

In hindsight, a deep-sea diving outfit with protection from electric eels might have worked...

if all of the above doesn't scare you and you're still thinking about taking it completely apart, remember that the glass picture tube is vacuum sealed so if you go willy-nilly and take a sledgehammer to it you'll get a massive implosion with glass shards everywhere. And lead dust being spread.

Yes, high voltage AND Poisonous gasses inside

to kinda summarise:


he didnt say that. oh, wait he did. actually, as long as you use your high voltage discharge probe to drain the main anode and all the caps, it should be okay. oh, and dont break the screen.

quotes from the high voltage safety bible:

dischargeth thy high value capacitors,and those charged to high voltage, lest thou wishest to be smitten by thine hidden lightning

poketh not inside a crt befor thou hast dischrgethed the main anode (the red suction cup thing on top of the screen)

useth not a HV device without a proper cover

never worketh alone or impaired on hv circuits

beware, lest thou crt impload

touchest not metal on hv circuits, lest it be live/neutral

placest not thy fingers near any source of hv

dropest not thine crt on thout foot, lest it breaketh

unles thou hast dischargest the main anode and all HV caps, useeth only one hand, lest thy be electricuted accros the heat

returneth not from the dead, lest thou hast important safety advice.

If it IS old, I wouldn't care to touch certain capacitors even if it has been unplugged for a week (older models did not bleed off the caps very well). There IS a real potential for a lethal "pulse" from a charged cap. For those that have argued that the amperage it not high enough, I have read about cases of "non-lethal" capacitor discharges stopping a heart, just because of the rapid spike and drop of the pulse; so yes, be careful.

If it has been unplugged for awhile (over a week), draining the capacitors before touching any poles or contacts, should give you a relatively safe margin.

Now, can anything else kill you? Absolutely do not, under any circumstances, on purpose or accidentally, break that picture tube ESPECIALLY not inside.
Computers and electronic equipment typically contain:

  • Lead - Computer monitors contain a picture tube known as a cathode ray tube (CRT). CRT's contain leaded glass, and are the largest source of lead in municipal waste. Solder used in printed circuit boards may also contain lead.

If it must be disposed of, it is best to make every attempt to recycle it at some center that takes them.

If your monitor is plugged in; do NOT open it. There is a High Voltage power supply in there, plus a few caps that are now charged and it is not safe even for a technician. The voltage at the "tubes" CRG (cathode ray gun) melted halfway through a screwdriver shaft for me once when I was testing one. Not a recommended practice.

It's not just the capacitors; the tube itself acts as a nice sort of Leyden jar, and you have to discharge the HV electrode of the tube before you touch it...

Yes, thanks for the reminder....it's been over 8 years since I was in the back of one of those beasts....I wouldn't do it again myself without being overly cautious.

Wow, I only find all this out a few years after destroying one.... 'come to think of it, I think I'm alive. =) *whew*

-take care dude, we'll all miss you, and can't promise to be present at your..... xD

I remember dropping a recently redundant monitor and whatever happened a cap shorted when the case smashed, result big flash and bang, killerjackalope was reasonably sure that his homemade chili had finally reached critical mass.

Try it and see. If there's a bang, and everything goes dark, forever, then it killed you. If it kills you, please come back and tell us which part you were poking when everything went dark. If you come back, please do so during the hours of daylight ... :o

If it's very old : - X-rays (when working) Else : - High voltage

how long has it been unplugged for?