The Talking Stick Blog

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Maker: Television Surgery


Television Surgery

Week of 3/9/15

It is becoming somewhat of a trend here in the Maker Workshop for us to take apart any and everything with an electrical plug or screws. Thanks to old St. Nick, one of our parents were able to replace their TV and donate the old one for us to deconstruct. After some intense powerlifting to get the TV inside, there it sat, demanding attention from everybody in the room. This was going to be fun.

While we waited for the majority of our group to arrive, J. discovered that you could use crayons to decorate the outside  of the TV. I have never drawn on a TV (and really who has?) so I was just as eager to etch my name into the history books. Once everyone staked their claim to a portion of the hulking Mitsubishi shell, we sat to ponder what exactly we expected to find once we opened the darn thing. I had copied some papers with TVs drawn on them and encouraged the group to think about what they would find inside. Most importantly, to be as silly or serious as they wanted to be. This was going to be fun after all!

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R. drew pieces he had seen inside a computer before.                    S. thought there would be multi-colored wires inside.

When everyone was finished with their drawings, we went around the table and everyone had an opportunity to share what they thought was inside the TV. Then we had a group discussion about what we all knew was inside a TV. Or at least what we thought we knew. This took a more serious tone and the previous ideas of gerbils on wheels powering the television were temporarily shelved. As a group we decided that TVs used electricity, had multi-colored wires, contained a circuit board, and had TV shows inside them (there was a disagreement with this last point which we left up for debate until we opened it up). With our imaginations running wild and our curiosity peaking we broke out the tools and opened her up.


R, G, and M begin unscrewing the rear part of the TV's shell.

Maker                Maker

A moment of joy as the TV is opened!                                             More hands begin to snip and screw the pieces apart.


After disconnecting the CRT, the circuit board is the first to go!


Finally, after much diligence the gun is stripped of its surrounding pieces.

Once we had the TV open, a few of us watched a quick YouTube video that detailed the various parts we were looking at. The cathode ray tube (CRT) was the bulging glob that took up the majority of the inside. Before we did anything serious inside, we knew that the CRT had to be discharged because even with it being unplugged the CRT can still hold a charge. With that "unplugged," the rest of the wires could be cut to remove the circuit boards and expose the glass cylinder known as the "gun."

We revisited our previous conceptions about the innards of our television and confirmed or disproved them. Many of our ideas turned out to be true, although we never could prove whether TV shows were inside or not since we did not open up the CRT itself. The jury is still out but the surgery was a success.