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Is it unbelievably dangerous to run a crt tv without its casing? Answered

I'm working on an art piece and i just reckon it'd look a whole lot better and 'fit' better overall, but i'm wondering if somebody accidentally brushing up against it or touching it could turn out badly.



Best Answer 7 years ago


I would say "believably dangerous."

There will probably be exposed house current, which is enough by itself to "turn out badly". And depending on how much of the casing you have removed, there may be much, much higher voltages exposed (20,000 volts was not uncommon; I'm not sure about current CRTs)... potentially at significant current. (The capacitors are smaller than they once were, but any cap charged to high voltage can pack a wallop -- for a _tiny_ example, see all the taser-like things posted here on Instructables.)

I treat CRT monitors which have been turned off and unplugged as dangerous if abused. I would treat one plugged in as dangerous to muck with, period, but not dangerous to run if you prevent anything potentially conductive -- hands, tools, stray bits of wire or hardware, and so on -- away from it.

Were I the museum's safety department, I'd want you to put that piece behind glass or something of that sort to ensure that there's absolutely no risk of someone touching it. Which suggests you might want to consider building a transparent casing into the artwork from the start.

Let me suggest a better approach: Mock up the CRT monitor, using an LCD display of appropriate size (safely enclosed) as the live screen. You should be able to get pretty close to the right appearance.

BTW, if you absolutely must work with high voltages, consider trying the one-hand rule -- insulated shoes on an insulated surface, one hand far from any possible ground path, the other hand working on the box. The shocks that will kill you quick are the ones where current goes through the heart, which means if you can prevent any limb-to-limb current you're significantly safer.

That's not bad practice for house current either, of course, though better practice there is to disconnect the circuit before working on it.

.  +1. Allowing the general public direct access to the inside of a CRT TV/monitor, even when turned off, is a very, very bad idea.

"Badly" as in "fatal"? As in, "felony arrest warrant"? Why, yes, if your knowledge of high-voltage electronics systems is limited enough that you need to ask, then it could certainly turn out badly. You should choose for yourself whether serious injury or death as part of your art installation makes a compelling societal statement.

See below for many more details, including some nice suggestions for how to make an opened CRT look nice and still be safe.

I'd say that instead of the word "dangerous" you should use the word "stupid", "careless", or "criminal".

If you're going to employ a CRT without a case, do so by using a clear shield. That way your viewers can still see the inside but they can't do the stupid thing, which will leave you looking careless and open to criminal charges.


7 years ago

There are capacitors used in CRT TVs. Those are like little rechargeable batteries to keep voltage constant within the TVs circuit.
The difference to a battery here is, that they usually carry high voltage, so if the TV is powered, they will carry this voltage which could cause risk of electrocution if touched in the wrong places.
I'm no electrician, but I got struck once by a capacitor of a fan motor at work.
The result was that - due to company guidelines - I had to spend a whole 24 hours in hospital for surveillance on a heart monitor.
I would advise not to use the TV without casing.

You will also be exposed to a bit of x-ray radiation I would not advise it.

I doubt it. There used to be a plausible risk, but AFAIR, the reduction in gun voltage from more efficient phosphors ended it about 30 years ago.