Introduction: Retro Russian TV Digital Photo Frame

About: I love the design and ambition of vintage technology, and the usability and potential of new - my passion is bringing the two together.

Giving a 1970s Vega 542 portable TV a new life displaying digital photos.

Step 1: Reusing and Recycling

This old Russian TV had been sitting around the workshop for a while, and it was time to do something with it! I'd been waiting for a cheap 7" flat screen tv to cross my path so I could convert it, but decided instead on a digital photo frame.

The digital photo frame was sourced from Gumtree and cost me £4, though I've bought them cheaper since then for other projects.

I had the idea that if I built the frame into the TV it could sit decoratively on my desk showing a slideshow of TV-related images to match its own era.

Step 2: Internals

I don't have the pics of the original TV innards, but they were in poor shape - all but the outer case and knobs were discarded. As with a lot of older tech it was nicely bolted together, good soviet workmanship.

The photo frame being modern was more of a snap-apart job, but the internals came out cleanly.

The frame chassis fitted well in the gap left by the tube, secured here with blu-tac and later hot glued. It wasn't an exact fit however, a bit of the screen was hidden to one side.

I didn't need to repurpose any of the switches for this project as the frame comes to life and starts the slideshow as soon as the power comes on.

Step 3: Images

I wanted an authentic retro look, so searched for images of the TV idents and logos I remember fondly from the 70s and 80s - mostly BBC channels. My favourite images were of the Ceefax service and its Bamboozle quiz pages!

The web images were all different shapes and sizes, and obviously would be partly hidden if shown full screen. so I adjusted them in a photo editor to make the image display centrally in the visible portion of the screen.

The images transferred easily to the frame on an old 128mb SD card.

Step 4: Finished

This was a fun little project to make, the parts were cheap and I'm really pleased with the effect. I just wish you could play Bamboozle on it!

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