Introduction: What Can You Do With an Old TV?

About: My hobbies are electronics, pyrotechnics, chemistry and making cool stuff.

In this Instructable I will show you several easy ways to recycle and reuse the expensive components inside a TV. There is the PCB (not very useful), a lot of inductors, one or more transformers, a TON of magnetic wire (continuous and insulated), a screen (can’t use either) and heaps of components on the PCB that will save you a lot of money. This Instructable probably doesn’t work with LCD TVs.

WARNING: most TVs especially CRT's can hold a very high voltage for days. You should Discharge any capacitors on the circuit boards before going ahead and removing anything. To discharge a capacitor simply place a well insulated screwdriver across the terminals, if its holding a voltage you will get a spark. Or you can just bridge a large resistor across the terminals. And also, unless your very confident around high voltage and have a good knowledge of TV's, it’s a really bad idea to plug the TV in whilst the cover is open and go poking around.

Step 1: What You Need

• Nice LARGE bench or a floor, best if it was concrete or tiles, this may damage carpet.
• A set of screw drivers
• Pliers
• Soldering iron
• Old TV

• De-soldering tools
• Hammer
• Alligator clips
• Power drill
• Fume extractor/gas mask

Step 2: Take It Apart

This is usually easy and straightforward. Use some screwdrivers to undo all screws and bolts. You can shred the case of the TV with the hammer and/or a power drill if you’re impatient or feeling destructive, but be careful not to damage anything. After that’s done, crack open (with the flathead screwdrivers) all the joints. You may have to insert wedges or screwdrivers in different places to keep it open wide enough so that all the clips unlock (see picture). There may be other obstacles that just need a bit of thought.

Once you remove the shell you will find a PCB, a large glass, funnel-shaped screen with coils of wire surrounding the top. You will also find a loudspeaker somewhere as well, and cut it off. Cut all wires that keep the thing together, and then lay everything on the ground. At some stage you will encounter a large amount of insulated wire wrapped in tape. Remove the tape and coil it around something. A good idea is to attach a large reel to a power drill, secure one end and you know, turn on the drill. The PCB may be screwed or slotted into the case. Remove it and put it down as well. Try to take off the inductors at the back of the screen. There is usually another PCB attached to it. Detach that as well. If I’ve missed something, please tell me in a comment and I’ll add it.

Step 3: Desolder the PCB

Desolder the components on the PCB. I can’t be bothered desoldering all the small resistors or components that I don’t know how to use such as some ICs, so they're just sitting in the garage. You can store components in containers with tight compartments, or you could simply make your own containers. I made a two-storey box with 18 compartments that guarantee no leaking, thanks to some cloth I put on the lids. I made an extra box for large stuff like loudspeaker, heatsinks, large potentiometers, and stuff like that. When desoldering stuff, especially ICs, it is a good idea to heatsink them with pliers or alligator clips so they don’t blow out. If you're lazy or you don’t have a soldering iron, you can just pull them out by the legs, not the body. This is hard with electrolytic caps so I just broke the PCB bit by bit, separating the leads from the board and freeing the component. For SMD chips, you can lay them down on a sheet of clear plastic and put a strip of tape on top of them. You can now view the chips on both sides with or without a magnifier. When you’ve spotted a chip you want just take the take a bit of the tape off, just enough to take the chip off. I am making an instructable on how to make one of those boxes.

Step 4: Inductors and Wire

You could use them as it is, or you might want to make transformers, Tesla coils, electromagnets, cables, sell them to Telstra, whatever you want. Be careful not to tangle or cut wire when winding or unwinding or else you're screwed. It has happened to me before; I spent a whole day untangling all that wire. If I've missed something just give me a comment.