TV and Monitor CRT (Picture Tube) Information


[Document Version: 1.61] [Last Updated: 05/25/1998]

Chapter 1) About the Author & Copyright

TV and Monitor CRT (Picture Tube) Information

Author: Samuel M. Goldwasser
Corrections/suggestions: | Email

Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
All Rights Reserved

Reproduction of this document in whole or in part is permitted if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. This notice is included in its entirety at the beginning.
  2. There is no charge except to cover the costs of copying.

Chapter 2) Introduction

  2.1) CRT FAQ

This document contains a collection of information relating to CRT (picture
tube) construction, characteristics, problems, maintenance, troubleshooting,
and repair from the TV and Monitor Repair FAQs and other sources.

Most new CRT related information resulting from,, or other newsgroups will be included here
rather than those other documents.  In the future, I may replace the 'CRT
Basics' chapter of those documents with a link to this one instead.

Related documents I have written:

* Safety Guidelines for High Voltage and/or Line Powered Equipment.
* Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Computer and Video Monitors.
* Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Television Sets.
* Performance Testing of Computer and Video Monitors.
* Notes on Approaches to using Fixed Frequency Monitors on PCs.

Special thanks to Bob Myers ( and Jeroen Stessen
( for their contributions to this
document through their newsgroup postings and private email.

As always, comments, corrections, and additions are welcome.

Chapter 3) General CRT Construction and Characteristics

  3.1) Why is the CRT still dominant?

Currently, most TVs and computer monitors are still based on the Cathode
Ray Tube (CRT) as the display device.  However, many hand-held TVs, portable
equipment, laptop computers, and the screens inside video projectors now use
flat panel technology, mostly Liquid Crystal Displays - LCDs.  These are
a lot less bulky than CRTs, use less power, and have better geometry - but
suffer from certain flaws.

First, the picture quality in terms of gray scale, color, and brightness is
generally inferior to a decent analog monitor.  The number of distinct shades
of gray or distinct colors is a lot more limited.  They are generally not as
responsive as CRTs when it comes to real-time video which is becoming
increasingly important with multimedia computers.  Brightness is generally
not as good as a decent CRT display.  And last but not least, the cost
is still much much higher due both to the increased complexity of flat
panel technology and lower production volumes (though this is certainly
increasing dramatically).  It is really hard to beat the simplicity of the
shadow mask CRT.  For example, a decent quality active matrix color LCD
panel may add $1000 to the cost of a notebook computer compared to $200
for a VGA monitor.  More of these panels go into the dumpster than make it
to product do to manufacturing imperfections.

A variety of technologies are currently competing for use in the flat panel
displays of the future.  Among these are advanced LCD, plasma discharge, and
field emission displays.  Only time will tell which, if any survives to become
**the** picture-on-the-wall or notepad display - at reasonable cost.

At least one company is about to introduce a 42 inch diagonal HDTV format flat
plasma panel multisystem color TV/monitor which will accept input from almost
any video or computer source.  Its price at introduction will be more than
that of a typical new automobile - about $15,000! :-)  Thus, at first, such
sets will find their way into business conference rooms and mansions rather
than your home theater but prices will drop over time.

Projection - large screen - TVs and monitors, on the other hand, may be able
to take advantage of a novel development in integrated micromachining - the
Texas Instruments Inc. Digital Micromirror Device (DMD).  This is basically
an integrated circuit with a tiltable micromirror for each pixel fabricated
on top of a static memory - RAM - cell.  This technology would permit nearly
any size projection display to be produced and would therefore be applicable
to high resolution computer monitors as well as HDTV.  Since a reflective
medium is used in this device, the light source can be as bright as needed.
Commercial products based on the DMD are beginning to appear.

Chapter 4) Color CRT Basics

  4.1) Color CRT construction

For an introductory on-line article about (mostly) CRTs, see: High Tech Tubes,
Popular Mechanics, April 1997.

All the color CRTs found in TVs and computer and video monitors utilize a
shadow mask or aperture grill a fraction of an inch (1/2" typical) behind
the phosphor screen to direct the electron beams for the red, green, and
blue video signals to the proper phosphor dots. Since the electron beams
for the R, G, and B phosphors originate from slightly different positions
(individual electron guns for each) and thus arrive at slightly different
angles, only the proper phosphors are excited when the purity is properly
adjusted and the necessary magnetic field free region is maintained inside
the CRT.  Note that purity determines that the correct video signal excites
the proper color while convergence determines the geometric alignment of the
3 colors.  Both are affected by magnetic fields. Bad purity results in mottled
or incorrect colors.  Bad convergence results in color fringing at edges of
characters or graphics.

The shadow mask consists of a thin steel or InVar (a ferrous alloy) with a
fine array of holes - one for each trio of phosphor dots - positioned about
1/2 inch behind the surface of the phosphor screen.  With some CRTs, the
phosphors are arranged in triangular formations called triads with each of
the color dots at the apex of the triangle.  With many TVs and some monitors,
they are arranged as vertical slots with the phosphors for the 3 colors next
to one another.

An aperture grille, used exclusively in Sony Trinitrons (and now their clones
as well), replaces the shadow mask with an array of finely tensioned vertical
wires.  Along with other characteristics of the aperture grille approach,
this permits a somewhat higher possible brightness to be achieved and is more
immune to other problems like line induced moire and purity changes due to
local heating causing distortion (doming) of the shadow mask.

However, there are some disadvantages of the aperture grille design:

* Weight - a heavy support structure must be provided for the tensioned
  wires (like a piano frame).

* Price (proportional to weight).

* Always a cylindrical screen (this may be considered an advantage
  depending on your preference.

* Visible stabilizing wires which may be objectionable or unacceptable
  for certain applications.

Apparently, there is no known way around the need to keep the fine wires from
vibrating or changing position due to mechanical shock in high resolution
tubes and thus all Trinitron monitors require 1, 2, or 3 stabilizing wires
(depending on tube size) across the  screen which can be see as very fine
lines on bright images.  Some people find these wires to be objectionable
and for some critical applications, they may be unacceptable (e.g., medical

  4.2) Assembly of color CRTs

(Portions from: Jeroen H. Stessen (

The following is a greatly simplified description of the general process of
color (shadow or slot mask) CRT construction.  Trinitrons should be basically

The screen and envelope glass pieces are molded separately and then glued
(Epoxied?) together as one of the last steps of assembly prior the baking
and evacuation.  (You will note this seam if you examine the envelope of a
color CRT near the front.)

The shadow mask is manufactured through a photo etching process.  No, there
are no workers responsible for punching all those holes!  Since a position
error of even a tiny fraction of a mm would result in purity errors, each
shadow mask is unique for its faceplate.  They are not interchangeable.  To
facilitate the following steps, it can easily be mounted and removed
(essentially clicked in place) during tube production.  Registration pins
assure precise alignment.

* For each of the phosphor colours (and optional black matrix) one phosphor
  layer is deposited followed by one photoresist layer.

  At least one manufacturer adds some steps for the Superbright tubes.  They
  put 3 different colour filters between the glass and the phosphor.  In terms
  of contrast that tube is a definite killer.

* The shadow mask for that CRT (unique) is then mounted - clicked in place.

* An intense point source of light is mounted at the location of the effective
  center of deflection for the electron gun associated with that phosphor.

* The photoresist is exposed to light.
* The shadow mask is removed and the excess resist (not exposed to light) and
  phosphor is washed away.

These steps are repeated for the red, green, and blue phosphors, and the
optional (but very common) black matrix surround.

Using the shadow mask repeatedly in this manner guarantees close registration.
How else would you lay down a million individual dots in exactly the right
place - paint by numbers? :-).

Then, an aluminum overcoat is deposited over the phosphor/black matrix.  This
has several functions:

* Provide the return path for the electron beam - connected to the EHT 2nd

* Reduces backscattering or secondary emission.  Electrons that bounce back
  from either the shadow mask or the screen may hit a phosphor elsewhere and
  thus cause unwanted white light. That reduces contrast and colour purity.

* A side benefit is that it blocks negative ions from residual air molecules
  from hitting the phosphors.  These might result in an unsightly blemish in
  the center of the screen since they are much heavier (many thousands of
  times the mass) than electrons and are not deflected very much.  (This was
  a problem in the early days of CRT production but apparently not with
  present high vacuums and getters to clean up whatever is left.)

The shadow mask is then mounted for a final time and the faceplate, envelope
(with its electron gun assembly already fused to it) are mated.  At this point,
it is ready for the final baking and evacuation.

The tube is evacuated through the thin stem that is located in the middle of
the socket. That takes several hours at the vacuum pumps. The stem is then
sealed by heating and melting.

The getter - part of the electron gun assembly - is then 'activated' via
induction heating from a coil external to the next of the CRT.  This vaporizes
and deposits a highly active metal on the interior of the glass of the neck.
The getter material adsorbs much of any remaining gas molecules left over from
the evacuation of the tube.  The getter material is normally silvery - if it
changes to red or milky white, the tube is probably gassy or up to air.

When the tube is ready it is matched with a deflection coil that provides
optimum purity. It takes some ingenuity to get a good match between using a
light for exposure which matches the behaviour of the future electron optical
system, in order to get good purity.

Amazingly, this basic process has not changed in any fundamental way since
the invention of the shadow mask CRT!

However, Computer Aided Design (CAD) has had a major impact on the design of
the electron optics.  The working of the electron gun and deflection system
is now much more predictable thanks to advanced computer simulation.  This
has reduced the number of active correction circuits for focus, geometry and
convergence to almost zero.

  4.3) Color CRT resolution - focus and dot/slot/line pitch

The ability to display fine detail involves many factors including
the resolution of the video source, video bandwidth, sharpness of the
electron beam(s), and the dot/slot/line pitch (color only) of the CRT.

The CRT is primarily responsible for the latter two.

The focus or sharpness of the spot or spots that scan across the screen
is a function of the design of the electron gun(s) in the CRT and the
values of the various voltages which drive them.  Focus may be adjustmented
but excellent focus everywhere on the screen is generally not possible.

Sharp focus is a difficult objective - the negatively charged electrons
repel each other and provide an inherent defocusing action.  However,
increasingly sharp focus would not be of value beyond a certain point
as the ultimate resolution of a color CRT is limited by the spacing - the
pitch - of the color phosphor elements.  (For monochrome displays and
black-and-white TVs, CRT resolution is limited primarily by the electron
beam focus.)

One of three approaches are used to ensure that only the proper electron
beam strikes each color phosphor.  All perform the same function:

Dot mask - the phosphor screen consists of triads of R, G, and B, circular
dots in a triangular arrangement.  The shadow mask is a steel or InVar sheet
filled with holes - one for triad.  The dot mask has been used since the
early days of color TV and is still popular today.  The electron guns are
also arrange in a triangular configuration.

Slot mask - the phosphor screen consists of triples of vertically elongated
R, G, and B, stripes (actually, these are usually full vertical stripes
interrupted by narrow gaps).  The shadow mask is a steel or InVar sheet filled
with slots - one for each triple.  Ideally, the metal between the slots
vertically is as thin as possible to maintain the structural stability of
the slot mask sheet.  This type of tube seems to be very popular in TVs but
also shows up in some computer monitors.  The electron guns are in line
which makes some of the setup adjustments less critical compared to the
dot mask CRT.

Aperture grille - the phosphor screen consists of triples of vertical R, G,
and B, lines running the full height of the screen.  The aperture grille
is a series of tensioned steel wires running vertically behind the phosphor
stripes - one for each triple.  The aperture grille - until recently under
patent protection and therefore only available in the Trinitron from Sony -
is found in both TVs and monitors.  The electron guns are also in line.

The pitch of a color CRT refers to the spacing of phosphor triads or triples.
For dot mask CRTs, this parameter is relevant in both the horizontal and
vertical direction.  For slot mask and aperture grille CRTs, the pitch
is only relevant in the horizontal direction.

Dot pitches as small as .22 mm are found in high resolution CRTs.  Very
inexpensive 14" monitors - often bundled with a 'low ball' PC system - may
have a dot pitch as poor as .39 mm.  This is useless for any resolution
greater than VGA.  Common SVGA monitors use a typical dot pitch of .28 mm.
TVs due to their lower resolution have pitches (depending on screen size)
as high as .75 mm - or more.

Obviously, with smaller screens and higher desired video source resolutions,
CRT pitch becomes increasingly important.  However, it isn't a simple
relationship like the size of a pixel should be larger than the size of
a dot triad or triple, for example.  Focus is important.  All other
factors being equal, a smaller pitch is generally preferred and you
will likely be disappointed if the pitch is larger than a pixel.  As the
pixel size approaches the phosphor triad or triple size, Moire becomes more
likely.  However, the only truly reliable way to determine whether Moire
will be a problem with your monitor is to test it at the resolutions you
intend to use.

  4.4) Magnetic interference and shielding

When color CRTs must be operated in areas where the magnetic field causes
unacceptable purity errors or distortion (either static or dynamic depending
on whether the source is constant (as with the magnet in an MRI scanner
or MegaBase(tm) loudspeaker) or changing (as with nearby motors, transformers,
or even other monitors), there are several options (besides relocating):

* Passive shielding - soft magnetic materials (those that are easily magnetized
  and don't retain their magnetism) can effectively block modest strength
  magnetic fields.  The best known of these for shielding purposes is called
  'Mu-Metal', an alloy of 76% nickel, 17% iron, 5% copper, and 2% chromium.
  (Nelson and Parker, A.L.Physics).

  Advantages: simple (at least in priniple), doesn't care if conditions
  change (within specified field strength limits).  Mu-metal can be very
  effective if used properly - but see below.

  Disadvantages: expensive and often ugly.  The cost of a complete functional
  but not aesthetic enclosure for use of a color monitor near an MRI scanner
  was about $2,000 a couple of years ago when we needed to provide this for
  one of our customers.

* Active compensation - a set of coils is energized with exactly the correct
  currents to cancel the effects of the interfering fields.

  Advantages: can be built inside the monitor using small coils in some cases.

  Disadvantages: must be engineered for each situation.  Change almsot anything
  and it will no longer be effective even if feedback is used.  Complex in
  practice since interfering field geometry is often not well behaved.

* Shielding can also sometimes be introduced at the source.  See the document:
  "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Audio Equipment and other Miscellaneous Stuff", specifically, the section: "Comments on speaker

  Advantages: will reduce interference for all monitors in the vicinity.

  Disadvantages: shielding location may not be readily accessible.  Geometry
  offending device may not lend itself to a reasonable size or shape shield.

(From: Tony Williams (

You can buy commercial Mu-metal screening cans and yes they are a complete
enclosure, with small holes for the I/O wires.

Mu-metal is very expensive and not easy to work but will solder, especially
with acid flux.

I suggest you try a dummy run first with some mild steel to get the design
sorted and to test if it looks worth it.

You never know your luck, mild steel may do the job anyway and you may not
want to deal with mu-metal (--- sam):

"Just got my 10' sheet of mu-metal delivered today. It came very well 
 packaged sandwiched between two pieces of wood so that it would not bend
 during shipment."

(From: James P. Meyer (

One of the reasons it came so well packaged was the fact that the magnetic
properties are degraded if the material is bent or stressed in any way.  Once
you fabricate anything out of the mu-metal, you have to go through a high
temperature annealing process to remove the stress and restore its full
magnetic properties.  If you don't do that, you are no better off with
Mu-metal than you would be with tin-can stock.

  4.5) Dot pitch of TV CRTs

Computer monitor specifications always include the dot pitch of the
CRT.  However, this information is rarely available for TVs.  Why?
The quick answer is that since TVs are always used at the same scan
rate (except for multisystem international TVs), this information is
not nearly as important for TVs as for high resolution multiscan
computer monitors.

In general, the dot/slot/line pitch of TV CRTs is very large compared
to even mediocre computer monitors.  Here are some typical values which
I measured very precisely (!!) by putting a machinest's scale against
the screen.  These are all slot mask type CRTs:

        * 13" GE      - .60 mm.
        * 19" Samsung - .75 mm.
        * 25" RCA     - .9 mm.

Therefore, you can forget about trying to use one of these CRTs for your
1280x1024 high resolution PC or workstation.  The dot/stripe pitch needed for
1280 pixels on a 25" tube would be about .3-.4 mm maximum.  The pixels are
about .35 mm.  Typical high resolution CRTs for high resolution computer
monitors have a dot/stripe pitch of .25 to .28 mm (I have heard of numbers
as low as .22 mm in commercially available monitors).

  4.6) A discussion of issues relating to monitor and CRT resolution

Many factors influence the effective resolution of a monitor but the CRT dot
or slot mask or aperture grill is the ultimate limit (though it may still be
possible to use a monitor at a resolution which exceeds the that of the CRT).
However, as the pixel spacing approaches that of the CRT, moire effects are
likely to be more of a problem.

(From: Bob Niland (

Dot pitch is the major component in the actual resolution of the monitor.
Most monitor vendors quote the highest resolution signal their monitor will
sync to irrespective of whether or not the tube can resolve it.  Indeed, it
often cannot resolve the highest (and even second highest) claimed display

(From: Bob Myers (

Very true.  On the other hand, things may not be quite as bad as what the
numbers appear to say, sometimes.

(From: Bob Niland (

It's no accident that monitor size is specified in inches, and dot pitch in
mm.  The vendors don't want to make it easy for you to know what the geometry
of their phosphor triads actually is, i.e. how many RGB dot triplets there are
across and down the screen."

(From: Bob Myers (

Well, I wouldn't want to accuse the tube industry of deception.  Expressing
diagonal sizes in inches comes from long-standing tradition.  Expressing
pitch in millimeters is actually a relatively new practice in comparison,
and isn't too unusual when you realize that most tube manufacturers - esp.
those in the Far East - actually spec their tube diagonals in metric terms.
For instance, Matsushita (Panasonic) has listed their "15 inch visual" color 
CRTs as "420xxxx" models, 420 being the overall diagonal in mm (16.54")

(From: Bob Niland (

Here's how to figure it out.  You need first to know:

1. The diagonal 'active picture" area (APD).  If the vendor fails to specify
   this, subtract 1 inch from the advertised monitor size.  I.e. a '21 inch'
   monitor will usually have about a 20-inch usable diagonal picture area.
   ('PC Inches' versus 'real inches' is a topic for another time. :-)

2. You need the horizontal dot pitch (HDP).  The vertical and horizontal are
   often different (with the vertical being a smaller number).  If you have
   been given only one number, it's probably the diagonal, and is misleading,
   but it is all we have to work with.

(From: Bob Myers (

Trinitron (aperture grille) tubes will never have the pitch specified as
a diagonal measurement, since they have vertical stripes of phosphor.  
Conventional (flat-square) models will, and probably the safest conversion
between diagonal and horizontal for these is to mlutiply by the cosine of
30 degrees (0.866), unless you know for sure the angle to horizontal at
which the diagonal measurement was made.  (It varies for different tube
designs.)  See the section: "How to compute effective dot pitch".

(From: Bob Niland (

3. The monitor aspect ratio (AR).  This is 4:3 (or 1.33:1) for any CRT
   you are likely to be using.

To calculate useful horizontal resolution:

   * Multiply the APD by .80 (4:3 tube).

     This is the Active Picture Horizontal size (APH) in inches.

   * Multiply APH by 25.4.

     This is the APH in mm (APHmm).

   * Divide the APHmm by the HDP.

     This is the useful horizontal resolution of the monitor.

     Notice that this number probably does not precisely match any
     common (640, 800, 1024, 1152, 1280 or 1600) resolution in use,
     and that it is probably *less* than what the vendor claimed.

I use a Hitachi AccuVue UX4921D (aka HM-4921-D/A-HT01) 21-inch monitor.
It is a claimed 1600x1200 monitor, and having a .22 horizontal dot
pitch, actually has over 1800 phosphor triads across the screen.  This
is rare.  Most large monitors usually have 1280 or fewer triads across
the screen.

(From: Bob Myers (

Here is where some words of explanation are in order.

What many people fail to realize is that the phosphor triads of the screen
*do not* correspond to pixels in the image; they are not kept in alignment
with the image pixels/lines/whatever, nor is there are reason for them to
be.  The phosphor dot pitch IS a limiting factor in resolution, but we need
to look a little further to determine whether or not a given tube will be
usable for a given format (what most people mistakenly call a "resolution".)

The true resolution capabilities of a CRT are limited primarily by the
dot pitch AND the spot size.  For practically all CRTs and monitors in the
PC market, the spot size is considerably larger than the dot pitch - up
to 2X or so at the corners, if the tube is at or near its specification limits.
This doesn't necessarily cause a problem with the image quality, however, since
you aren't really resolving individual "pixels" in any case - what you need
to resolve are the *differences* between adjacent pixels, or pixel/line pairs.
And, oddly enough, it doesn't take a dot pitch of equal or greater size
than a logical pixel to do this to most people's satisfaction.  In fact,
display types sometimes talk about a 'Resolution/Addressibility Ratio', or
RAR, which is in effect the ratio of the actual size of a spot on the display
to the size of a "logical" pixel in the image.  And for best perceived
appearance, this is generally going to be GREATER than 1:1 - say, 1.5:1 or
even 2:1.  (Too high, and the image is blurred; but too low, and the image
takes on a grainy appearance that most people find objectionable.)

Bob is absolutely correct in stating that most displays, when run at the
highest support addressibility or format (or, if you insist, "resolution")
wind up with the "pixel size" being smaller than the dot pitch.  But what
is also correct, if somewhat counterintuitive, is that this is OK, and can
still result in an image that will be acceptable (and even perceived as
'sharp') to the user.

You can certainly exceed the resolution capabilities of a tube and/or
monitor (monitors differ from simple tubes by also having a video amp
to worry about!).  For instance, you probably won't be really happy with
1600 x 1200 on a 17" 0.28 mm CRT.  But 1280 x 1024 on an 0.31 mm 20-21" tube
can look very good, even though the numbers don't appear to work out.

(From: Bob Niland (

While not stated above, I would speculate that this is due to various human
visual system factors, particularly that humans have more visual acuity in
luminance (B&W) than in chrominance (color).  If a CRT can actually illuminate
less than a full phosphor triad, its luminance resolution can exceed the dot
pitch.  There will be some color fringing, but the eye may not notice.

(From: Bob Myers (

That's a good bit of it.  Whether or not you're going to be satisfied with a
given dot pitch versus addressibility ("resolution") basically has to do with
what you think "resolve" means.

The fact that we don't generally have the same spatial acuity for color - in
other words, you won't really see small details based on differences in color
alone, there has to be a difference in brightness - is a big part of this.
And you will be able to see such variations acceptably even when the size of
the logical pixel is somewhat under the dot pitch size.  When this occurs,
you don't get constant color pixels - you don't even get constant *luminance*
pixels - but you do perceive acceptable levels of detail to call the image

  4.7) How to compute effective dot pitch

We always see CRTs specififed in terms of dot pitch but what does this mean
with respect to actual useful horizontal and vertical dot pitch?

The usual arrangement of phoshpor dots on the screen of a dot mask type CRT
is shown below:

     B R G B R G B R G B R G B R                   R --- G --- B --- R
    R G B R G B R G B R G B R G B   Magnified ->       / |
     B R G B R G B R G B R G B R                   /     |
    R G B R G B R G B R G B R G B               G --- R -+- B --- G --- R

(Portions from: Jac Jamar (

For a dot mask type CRT, normally the nominal pitch (also called the Hexagonal
Pitch or HexP) is defined as the distance between one phosphor dot to the next
same colored one in the 'hexagonal' direction (i.e. in the direction 30 degrees
above the horizontal).

The calculations below follow from simple geometry:

* The Vertical Dot Pitch (VDP) will be equal to: HexP * 1/2.

* The Same Color Horizontal Dot Pitch (SCHDP) will be:

        SCHDP = HexP * sqrt(3) (sqrt(3) = 1.732 or 2 * cos(30 degrees))

  This is the distance between one phosphor dot and the next dot of the same
  color on the same horizontal line.

* The Horizontal Dot Pitch (HDP) is the distance between adjacent columns of
  same color dots.  This is equal to: SCHDP * 1/2.

* The distance between adjacent dots of different colors or Closest Dot Spacing
  (CDS) is equal to: SCHDP * 1/3.  A landing error of this magnitude (due to
  improper manufacture, adjustment, inadequate degauss, external fields, or
  doming) may completely shift the color from what it is supposed to be to one
  of the other primary colors.

So, for a 0.28 mm dot pitch CRT, VDP = .14 mm, SCHDP = .485 mm, HDP = .242 mm,
and CDS = .16 mm.

  4.8) How far is the shadow mask from the phosphor screen?

(Portions from: Jeroen H. Stessen (

This is simple geometry - similar triangles (at least for a good

It is easy to do the calculations based on the distance between the electron
guns and the horizontal stripe pitch of the CRT (assuming slot mask or 
Trinitron - just a little more trouble for dot mask to convert the dot pitch).

    Dot pitch: 0.3 mm
      | |
 ___________________________________ Phosphor screen
  G B R G B R G B R G B R G B    ^
       \|/                     15 mm
 - ----- ----- ----- ----- --------- Shadow mask
       /|\                       ^
      / | \                      |
     /  |  \                   350 mm
    /   |   \                    |
   /    |    \                   v
  B-gun G-gun R-gun ---------------- Electron guns (center of deflection)
        |     |
        |     |
       Gun pitch: 7 mm

(Cool diagram based on efforts of Jeroem Stessen.)

Be aware that both face-plate and shadow-mask are curved and that the radius
of curvature is much larger than the distance to the guns. The screen is
relatively flat. This too has consequences for the calculation. Oh, heck.

At the center of the screen, we have:

     Distance between E-guns (R-G)             Slot pitch (R-G)
  ----------------------------------------  = ------------------
  Distance from deflection center to mask       Mask to screen

For a typical 25 inch TV CRT with a .9 mm slot pitch (.3 mm between adjacent
stripes) and 7 mm between adjacent guns we have a ratio of about 23:1.

For a distance of 350 mm between the center of deflection and mask, this
gives us about 15 mm (~.6 inches) between the mask and the screen.

  4.9) How is the shadow mask mounted inside the CRT?

(Portions from: Jeroen H. Stessen (

The shadow mask is mounted in a diaphragm. The diaphragm is mounted to the
inside of the tube with 4 metal springs. In the old days these were bimetal
springs. They have an important role for colour purity: they allow the mask
to move forward as it expands due to self-heating.

Remember: it must dissipate a lot of power and there is no cool air in there...

During production the mask is mounted and removed many times to allow for
etching of the phosphors.  A point light source is precisely positioned at the
deflection center of each gun in-turn to expose the photoresist used in
laying down the phosphor dots. (I know, you thought they were painted on
one spot at a time! :-)

The mask is never fastened permanently, only clicked in to place just prior
to having the envelope glued to the front assembly.

As no two masks are identical, each tube is always paired with its own mask.

(From: David Moisan (

From pictures I've seen, the best way to describe the shadow mask is that it
is like a picture inside its frame:  The glass face is the frame and the mask
is the picture it holds, so to speak.  The mask is carefully designed in a
frame of its own, with spring clips around the edges, so that it won't distort
under the heating it gets from the electron beams (not to mention during
manufacturing).  There's also a magnetic shield around the inside of the
bell in some tubes.

  4.10) Leaded glass and CRT coatings

"Is it really true that they put lead in the CRT glass for X-ray shielding?
 What is the transparent conductive coating on the front of the CRT made of?"

(From: Bob Myers (

First - yes, the glass is leaded (or contains other "impurities") to reduce
emissions.  In short, it's not just straight sand. :-)

There are various proprietary formulas used to make the faceplate coating,
which often acts both as a conductive layer to reduce low-frequency electric
fields and as a glare-reduction layer, but one of the most popular materials
for making a transparent conductive layer is indium-tin oxide, a.k.a. "ITO".
Such transparent conductors are also used in LCDs and other flat-panel
technologies - at least the top layer of electrodes (row or column lines) has
to be transparent!  As conductors go, these things aren't THAT conductive -
the age of see-through power lines or Star Trek's "transparent aluminum" is
not upon us (and for certain theoretical reasons CAN'T be) - but they get the
job done.

  4.11) CRT fine tuning

Once the CRT is sealed, baked, evacuated, etc., the job is not yet done!

(From: Jeroen H. Stessen (

They still need to match the finished tube with a deflection coil that will
give adequate purity performance and then they need to fiddle with magnets
(multipole rings around the neck and sometimes other magnets all over the
cone) to improve it further. And even then many tubes need active correction
for convergence and/or geometry.

Only after all that correction can you call the yield high.  (But you should
see their scrap yard, good thing that glass recycles well...)

  4.12) Why do TVs overscan?

(The following includes material from:
         Jeroen Stessen (

TVs are always set up to generate a picture which is 10-15 percent large
than the visible face of the CRT.  Why?

In the early days of TV, this was probably done to make the design easier.
Component tolerances and power line voltage fluctuations would be masked even
if they caused changes in picture size.

There certainly is almost no reason today to have any more than a couple of
percent overscan.  Most modern TVs have very well regulated power supplies
and component values do not really drift much.

Computer monitors, for example, are usually set up for no overscan at all
so that the entire image is visible.

We are constantly reminded of that, now that we are building TV's with
VGA inputs (PD5029C1 in the USA, US$ 2000).  This mixed application has
overscan in TV mode and underscan in VGA mode.  Geometry adjustment is
quite critical if you see border-on-border.

Unfortunately, TV's may be good but VCR's certainly are not. If you have
too little overscan and then put the VCR in any feature mode (like picture
search) then one (black) picture edge may become visible.  Bad form.
Viewers do not like this.

While design considerations may have been the original reason for overscan,
now it has become accepted as a de facto standard, and broadcasters are
counting on the overscan being a certain percentage.  One wonders whether
it will ever change or whether this really matters.

I suppose when we have true flat panel digitally addressed displays,
we might have 0% overscan.

At the Japan Electronics Show all the signs are pointed toward flat panel
displays so maybe I will not have to hold your breath for much longer.

Physically, as with an LCD display on a laptop computer, there will be
0% overscan (no need to build the extra pixels) but that doesn't mean
that all 480 lines will be visible.

  4.13) Why is the shadow mask or aperture grill made of a magnetic material?

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

The question often arises: Well, if magnetization and the need for 
degauss is a problem, why not make the shadow mask or aperture grille
from something that is non-magnetic?

The shadow mask *must* be made of magnetic material!  This may seem
to be undesirable or counterintuitive but read on:

Together with the internal shielding hood it forms sort of a closed
space in which it is attempted to achieve a field-free space.
The purpose of degaussing is *not* to demagnetize the metal,
but to create a magnetization that compensates for the earth's
magnetic field. The *sum* of the two fields must be near zero!
Degaussing coils create a strong alternating magnetic field
that gradually decays to zero. The effect is that the present
earth magnetic field is "frozen" into the magnetic shielding
and the field inside the shielding will be (almost) zero.
Non-zero field will cause colour purity errors.

Now you will understand why a CRT must be degaussed again 
after it has been moved relative to the earth's magnetic field.
This will also explain why expensive computer monitors on a swivel
pedestal have a manual degaussing button, you must press it
every time after you have rotated the monitor.

The axial component of the magnetic field is harder to compensate
by means of degaussing. Better compensation may be achieved by
means of a "rotation coil" (around the neck or around the screen),
this requires an adjustment that depends on local magnetic field.
CRT's for moving vehicles (like military airplanes) may be
equipped with 6 coils to achieve zero magnetic field in all
directions. They use magnetic field sensors and active compensation,
thus they don't need any degaussing function. This is too
expensive for consumer equipment.

  4.14) Northern/Southern Hemisphere corrections and adjustments

The vertical component of the earth's magnetic field varies in intensity
and polarity (N/S) as one moves from the North pole over the equator and
to the South pole.  It is maximum at the poles and decreases to zero at
the equator. The total strength is not large - after all it is less than
the total magnitude of the earth's magnetic field of about .5 Gauss
(.00005 Tesla).  However, it is enough to affect the trajectory of the
electron beam(s) slightly.

For monochrome monitors and B/W TVs, this will result only in a slight shift
in position or rotation of the picture depending on the orientation of the
CRT with respect to the earth's magnetic field.  For the most part such
effects will not be significant enough to be objectionable.

However, for high resolution color monitors and even some color TVs, the
result of transporting the unit from the hemisphere from which it was
manufactured or set up to a location in the opposite hemisphere may be
uncorrectable purity problems or excessive sensitivity to local magnetic

Note that is it quite possible that you will never encounter any of these
problems.  The extent to which your particular monitor or TV is affected
depends on many factors - many of which you have no control over.

(From: Bob Myers (

For many monitors - especially the larger sizes, such as 21" - there is a
subtle difference in the CRT itself which may mean that a unit with the
wrong tube could NOT be adjusted to be within specifications when used in
the 'wrong' hemisphere.

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

There are two types of adjustments:

* The passive ones that are done in the picture tube factory and
* The active ones that are done by the setmaker a/o the customer.

In the factory inside the neck of every (Philips) tube a metal ring is
permanently magnetized to create a multipole correction field. Then each
tube is matched with a deflection yoke to achieve optimum colour purity.
It is possible that a couple of yokes must be tried in succession. 
This matching is done under specific ambient magnetic field conditions.
On oriental tubes you will often see little permanent magnets added to
achieve further fine correction of landing and/or convergence. When the 
tube is within landing specification it is shipped to the setmaker.

Depending on the sophistication of the circuitry in the (television or
monitor) set, the setmaker can adjust geometry and sometimes convergence
(if there is a set of convergence coils present). If there is a rotation
coil present then this may also improve the landing a bit. 

In the 'digital monitors' there are flexible waveform generators to adjust
the corrections. There may be further adjustments possible for the uniformity 
of the colour point and brightness. This gives a place-dependent modulation of 
the 3 beam currents, it does nothing to improve the landing.

The most expensive monitors (large screen, fine phosphor pitch, very critical
on landing) may have active magnetic field compensation in all 3 directions
with electronic magnetic field sensors for automatic adjustment. These
monitors should be mostly insensitive to the earth magnetic field.  (This
technology was originally invented for the use of CRT displays on board of
jet fighter planes, which tend to turn relative to the earth...)

All other monitors will degrade picture quality when the degaussing is not 
able to completely compensate for the earth magnetic field. With a tube built 
for the wrong hemisphere it is possible that the effect of the vertical 
component of the earth magnetic field will give a residual landing error. 
This can not be corrected by turning any of the available adjustments,
digital or not. Re-alignment might become a very costly job.

  4.15) Tubes for all Nations

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

CRT Manufacturers actually make different versions of their tubes for
TV's for the northern and southern hemisphere, and sometimes a 3rd neutral
type. These are so-to-say precorrected for the uncompensated field.  (Note
that the term 'tube' here includes much of the convergence hardware as
well - not just what is inside the glass.)

I remember when we exported projection televisions from Belgium to
Australia, a couple of years ago. They all had to be opened on arrival
to re-adjust the rotation settings on the convergence panel, due to
the different magnetic field in Australia. Projection TV's don't have
degaussing (there is nothing to degauss), and the customer can only
adjust red and blue shift, not rotation.

Our CRT application group has a "magnetic cage". This is a wooden cube
(approx. 2 meter long sides) with copper coils around each of the 6
surfaces. With this they can simulate the earth magnetic field for
every place on earth (as indicated on a map on the wall).

During production and adjustment of the tube, the beam landing is optimized
for the field condition in which it will be used later. There may be 
different tube specifications for north, south and equator ("neutral").
If you choose to use it in different conditions then the landing reserve will 
be diminished and you will suffer sooner from colour purity errors.
I'm not so sure if the convergence would be a primary problem, maybe yes.

With a dotted shadow mask, also the horizontal component of the field
matters, which is bad because it also depends on which direction you
orient the display. This too will eat away from your landing reserve.
How critical it all is depends on tube size (bigger is worse) and on
dot pitch (smaller is worse). Workstation monitors are most critical.

Using a Helmholtz cage you can test or optimize for a particular place
on earth. The most expensive monitors come with their own built-in
Helmholtz cage and magnetic sensors to always create a field-free space.

Another interesting bit of trivia: 

B&O (Bang & Olufsen of Danmark) use Philips picture tubes in their beautifully
designed cabinets. In order to facilitate a more narrow styling they decided
to mount the tube upside-down, so they don't need safety clearance for the EHT
on top.  As a consequence they needed a southern-hemisphere tube for the
northern hemisphere! So here is a hint for a solution to you all...

(From the editor).

In light of the above discussion, the following makes perfect sense:

(From: Nigel Morgan (

When I was in the TV trade some 20 years ago, I was introduced to a model
with a PYE badge on which differed in one significant detail: on all TV
sets I'd seen to that date the tube had the blue gun uppermost and the EHT
connector at the top of the tube. Thorn TV sets mounted the tube upside-down
for some reason so that the EHT connector was at the bottom along with the
blue gun, but these PYE sets had the blue gun at the bottom, but the EHT
connector was at the top!  When I asked about this, I was told that the
tubes used in the PYE sets were 'Southern Hemisphere tubes.  I never could
decide whether this was genuine or BS!

(From: Terry DeWick (

The magnetic field for South America is about 0 to -100 mG while the U.S. runs
400 to 500 mG (milli Gauss). For a CRT to set up correctly the gun is offset
1 to 1.5 mm left of center for the 500mG  field and 1 mm to the right for 0 mG
this way the purity will be centered and the yoke tilt will be centered making
setup easy during production. A North American CRT can be set up in South
America but there is a chance that it will not set up well with excessive
purity correction and or wedging set to the extremes.

Best direction to face a Monitor?

One would think that the magnetic field of the earth is inconsequential
compared to what is used to drive a CRT.  While the reasons this is not true
should be obvious from other sections of this document, some would still call
worrying about such issues as the direction of the monitor nonsense.

(From: Bob Myers (

No, it's not nonsense.  The fields generated by the deflection coils, etc.,
ARE much greater in magnitude than the Earth's field, but they're AC fields.
The DC offset of these fields is relatively small, and the Earth's field (also
DC) IS sufficient to cause a visible shift in the position of the raster and
affect the beam landing, etc..  This is why, for instance, there ARE often
problems when trying to use a "Northern hemisphere" monitor in the Southern

Having said that, however, this isn't really something the average user needs
to worry about.  In the detailed specs for any monitor, there generally ARE a
set of specific ambient conditions under which certain performance specs are
intended to be checked.  These usually include the ambient magnetic fields
(which also tells you what magnetic environment was used at the factory for
adjustment), and the orientation of the monitor within those fields.  For the
vast majority of monitors, the specified ambient conditions simulate average
magnetic fields in the U.S. or Europe (which are very similar), and the
monitor is specified as facing east or west within those fields.  Strictly
speaking, one has to establish those conditions (and so match the factory
adjustment environment) in order to evaluate the monitor for compliance with
these specifications.

Monitors are aligned in whatever field the manufacturer (or large OEM
customer) SPECIFIES.  This USUALLY involves an east or west alignment, as this
results in no field component in the CRT's Z-axis (the axis "down the throat"
of the CRT, perpendicular to the center of the screen).

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that optimum performance at YOUR
location will be obtained with the unit facing east or west, as local fields
can vary considerably from the specified nominal field.  The field identified
in the specs is just that - it is part of the conditions under which those
specifications are to be checked.

But the *specific* conditions for a given installation can vary considerably
from the nominal, and so the only advice I can give the individual user is
that if you're happy with the performance, don't worry about it.  If you DO
think that a local DC field (the Earth's field or any other) is causing a
problem, THEN try to move or rotate the unit to see if you can find a better
orientation or location.  Of course, *AC* fields, such as those from a nearby
power line or electrical equipment, are something else entirely.

  4.16) Ways around North/South or other sensitivity to magnetic fields?

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

They use magnetic field compensation for the professional types.  This is too
expensive for us mortals, so we get a CRT that has been optimized for one field
condition only: North, South or Neutral.  Not all displays are CRTs.  LCDs for
instance are not sensitive to the earth magnetic field.  And not all CRTs use
a shadow mask for colour selection.  For instance, in Tektronix colour
oscilloscope they use a white CRT with a colour LCD shutter in front of it.
That too would not be affected too much by the earth magnetic field.

You see, plenty of ways out for aircraft, ships, and the Space Shuttle.

  4.17) Addition comments/summary on Northern/Southern hemisphere issues

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

* The vertical component of the earth magnetic field varies as a function of
  latitude, particularly between hemispheres a vertical magnetic field will
  influence the color purity of a CRT.

* The magnetic shielding of a CRT will, after degaussing, not provide complete
  compensation for the vertical field, especially for the space between shadow
  mask and screen.

* That's why manufacturers produce different displays for different
  hemispheres: northern, southern and neutral.  They do this by adjusting for
  optimum purity in a simulated magnetic field. 

Where you have a TV or monitor that was manufactured for a different location,
your options (apart from tossing it) are:

* Re-adjust the purity, this involves moving the deflection coil, adjustment
  magnets, adding more magnets, etcetera.  This is a big job and success would
  not be guaranteed.

* Simulate a southern hemisphere location by creating a vertical magnetic
  field around the TV, put two big multi-turn wire loops (Helmholtz coils)
  above and below the TV and run a DC current through them. Might be expensive
  and certainly would provide a 'different' look!

* Replace the picture tube with a northern hemishpere type, this is very

* Mount the picture tube upside-down inside the TV cabinet.  Then reverse the
  wires for the line (H) and field (V) deflection to put the picture correct
  side up again. 

  For this case, you might have some problems with: 

  - The mounting nuts for the tube are hard to reach and may have left thread
    (look carefully before turning!

  - The wires to the inverted picture tube panel being too short, they can
    probably be easily extended.

  - The distance between high-voltage anode connection and the chassis
    (circuits) being too short (safety!)

  - Condensation dripping into the anode contact. 

  Bang & Olufsen once made a compact style television where they wanted the
  anode contact to be away from the top of the cabinet, so the back cover
  could fit tighter. So they mounted the tube upside-down. Consequently they
  had to order southern hemisphere tubes for a northern hemisphere TV set.
  That works, of course. 

  4.18) Principles of purity and convergence adjustment

Purity involves bending all 3 of the beams so that they cross the space
between shadow mask and screen at the proper angle and will land at a
different place on the phosphors.  Convergence involves adjusting the aim of
1 or 2 of the beams at a different angle so that they all land at the same
place on the screen.

Dynamic convergence circuitry is now virtually non-existent, except in high
resolution monitor tubes and in Sony Trinitron tubes (they require a very
basic horizontal convergence).   All other tubes have the convergence
correction built into the design of the tube and the coil. Sony has chosen a 
different trade-off between price and performance (which includes also

Most CRTs have a series - usually 3 pairs - of ring magnets mounted on the
neck near the socket end.  These are used for part of the purity adjustment
and static convergence.  (Coarse purity is set by the position of the yoke and
dynamic convergence is set by the tilt of the yoke.)  These rings consist of
multi-pole magnets which due to their field configuration are able to affect
the electron beams from the 3 guns in different ways.

(Some CRTs employ internal structures that are premagnetized at the factory
and cannot be adjusted in the field - though perhaps auxiliary magnet rings
could be added if the original magnetization were lost for reasons we won't go
into :-).  This type of CRT will be obvious as there will be no adjustable
rings to mess screw up!)

The relative orientation of the rings in a pair affect the strength of the

In a nutshell, the electron guns in most modern CRTs are arranged in-line.
For example: GRB.  Some of the ring adjustments are designed to affect them
all while others pretty much leave the center gun's beam alone and only
affect the outer ones.  Various options then exist depending on the magnetic
field configuration.

The three sets of ring magnets are shown below along with the position of the
red (R), green (G), and blue (B) electron beams passing through them.  Each is
actually a pair of rings which may be moved relative to one-another to control
the strength of the magnetic field.  When the tabs are adjacent, the fields
from the two rings nearly cancel and the rings then have no effect.  Two
typical orientations are shown (N and S are the poles of the ring magnets):

Orientation 1:

                                   S             S   N

             N  R G B  S      N  R G B  N     N  R G B  S

                                   S             S   N

               2-pole           4-pole           6-pole
              (purity)        (red-blue)    (red/blue-green)
              0 Degrees       0 Degrees        0 Degrees

Orientation 2:

                  N            N       S          S
                                              N       N
                R G B            R G B          R G B
                                              S       S
                  S            S       N          N

               2-pole           4-pole           6-pole
              (purity)        (red-blue)    (red/blue-green)
             90 Degrees       45 Degrees       30 Degrees

(My apologies if I have the direction of deflection reversed - I can never
remember the right hand rule for electrons moving in magnetic fields!)

* The 2-pole purity rings move the set of RGB beams more or less together to
  fine tune the position of the center of deflection.

  The field lines go generally across (at the orientation shown) between the
  N and S poles.

  Orientation 1, the RGB beams will be raised.

  Orientation 2, the RGB beams will be moved to the right.

* The 4-pole red-blue rings move the R and B beams relative to the G beam but
  leave the G beam alone.

  The field lines go generally between adjacent N and S poles.  On opposite
  sides of the rings, the polarity/direction of the lines oppose and thus tend
  to move the R and B beams in opposite directions.  The G beam in the center
  does not experience any deflection from the 4-pole ring magnets since all
  the fields tend to cancel.

  Orientation 1: The R beam will move up and the B beam will move down relative
                 to G.

  Orientation 2: The R beam will move up and to the right and the B beam will
                 move down and to the left relative to G.

* The 6-pole red/blue-green rings move the RB beams with relative to the G
  beam but leave the G beam alone.

  The field lines go generally between adjacent N and S poles.  On opposite
  sides of the rings, the polarity/direction of the lines are the same and
  thus tend to affect the R and B beams in the same direction.  The G beam
  in the center does not experience any deflection from the 6-pole ring
  magnets since all the fields tend to cancel.

  Orientation 1: The R and B beams will move up relative to G.

  Orientation 2: The R and B beams will move up and to the right relative to G.

For purity to be perfect (or as good as possible), the electron beams must
originate from the same effective center of deflection as used in originally
laying down the phosphors.  Moving the yoke forward and backward on the neck
of the CRT can precisely set the deflection center along the axis of the
neck.  However, slight transverse errors may still exist due to imperfections
in the yoke windings or positions of the electron guns.  This is affected
slightly by the earth's magnetic field as well.  The purity magnet rings are
those closest to the yoke and provide the means for moving the electron beams
very slightly to compensate.

The adjustment procedures generally use the red gun for the setting purity.
Intuitively, one would think this should be the center (green) gun.  However,
since the red beam current is the highest (red phosphor is least sensitive),
problems are likely to show up first with the red purity so it is used for
the adjustment.  In any case, it is a good idea to check all three guns for
proper purity and tweak if needed before moving on to convergence.

In an in-line gun, the green gun is always in the middle. The only reason for
adjusting purity with the red beam is because it gives the greatest

(From: Jeroen H. Stessen (

* The red beam current usually has the largest amplitude.

* A landing error of the red beam gives the best visible discoloration (much
  better than green, better than blue).

* This makes the landing of the red beam the most critical. 

  4.19) CRTs with no purity or static convergence rings

I have a late model TV with a 13 inch tube with no static purity or
convergence rings.  I don't get to see that many modern tubes so this was
a bit of a surprise or maybe I just hadn't noticed before on small CRTs if
they didn't have purity/convergence problems.  I do see it has wrapping of a
rubber-ferrite-permalloy type material where the ring assembly would go.
I assume that this is magnetized selectively at the factory to adjust
purity/convergence?  The yoke has the usual position and tilt adjustments.
This one was an RCA/GE CRT.

What this means is that if you were to accidentally bring a strong permanent
magnet near the base of the CRT or a strong degaussing coil, there is a slight
possibility of totally messing up this compensation requiring replacement of
the CRT.  I don't know how possible this is without really working at it!

(From: Jeroen H. Stessen (

Since eternity, Philips CRTs have not had external multipole magnet rings
around the neck. There is an iron ring inside the neck, at the end of the
electron gun assembly. This ring is permanently magnetized in the factory
by a strong outside  magnetic field at a later stage of the production.
Further responsibility for purity, convergence and geometry is in the
design of the coil windings distribution and some metal parts.  Final purity
adjustment is achieved by matching a tube with a coil and then shifting and
tilting the coil slightly. This explains why Philips CRTs are always sold as
a matched combination of tube and coil, contrary to some other brands.

  4.20) Projection set convergence adjustment principles

(From: Jeroen H. Stessen (

CRT projection displays require much convergence correction, especially since
the 3 tubes aim at the screen under different angles. Generally the green
Horizontal convergence coil is not driven because that is a geometry
correction which is taken care of by the horizontal deflection circuit. The 3
vertical  convergence coils usually also take care of vertical geometry
correction (N-S corrrection) because the vertical deflection circuit is
generally a standard direct-view type. Add to that a severe keystone
correction for the Red and Blue tubes. 

The convergence waveforms used to be generated from an analog polynomial
generator.  The components are then weighted and summed to form a Taylor
polynomial.  Consider the adjustment of horizontal convergence, then typical
polynomial components are:

1 (shift), 
x (amplitude),
x^2 (linearity),
y (rotation or tilt), 
y^2 (bow),
x*y (keystone),
x^2*y (dunno if it's used)
x*y^2 (pin-cushion),
x^3 (side linearity)
x*y^4 (corner pin-cushion)

Adjusting convergence is a highly iterative (read: costly) process because
each potentiometer tends to influence the whole screen. Also, this method is
not easily extendible to higher order adjustments for more accuracy.  That's
why better waveform generators have been designed, like digital look-up tables
with D/A converters (which are quite expensive) and spline-like waveform
generators (which are cheap and easy to adjust, the Philips design is called
Convergence Spline Processor, it's digital too).

  4.21) What is doming?

The shadow or slot mask inside the CRT is a thin sheet of steel or InVar
positioned a half an inch or so behind the phosphor screen.  The flatter
the screen, the more susceptible it will be to thermal expansion effects:
With individual phosphor dots spaced as as little as .13 mm apart (for a
.22 mm dot pitch CRT), it doesn't take much inaccuracy in their position
to result in a noticeable effect.  (See the section: "How to compute effective dot pitch".)  As a result, high resolution CRTs tend to be more
susceptible to doming problems.

(Portions from: Jac Jamar (

1. Doming is a deformation of the shadow mask or its support structure caused
   by heating and subsequent expansion in bright (high beam current) areas of
   the picture.  This causes a shift in position of the finely spaced holes or
   slots in the mask.  The result will be color purity problems - discoloration
   and brightness variations.  For a .28 mm dot pitch CRT, a change of only
   .14 mm in the position of a hole or slot can totally shift the display from
   one of the primary colors to another.

2. InVar shadow masks can sustain a significantly higher current density than
   steel shadow masks (by as much as 3:1) without noticeable problems.

   Trinitrons are more resistant to local doming effects as long as the wires
   are under enough tension.  However, expansion of the suspension components
   can still result in doming with an overall bright picture.

3. The onset and disappearance of color purity problems will generally lag the
   cause due to the thermal mass of the affected components.  For local heating
   resulting from picture highlights, this will be only a few seconds since the
   thermal mass of a small area of the mask is not that great.  However, for
   effects having to do with expeansion of the suspension or support structure,
   it may take up to 30 minutes to reach equilibrium.

4. The orientation of the TV or monitor with respect to the earth's magnetic
   field and even whether the CRT was set up for the Northern or Southern
   hemispheres may affect the resulting color shift.  Thus, the picture may
   tend toward yellow while the monitor is facing one way and blue when
   rotated 180 degrees on its base (even if degaussed at each position).

5. Reducing the brightness/contrast or setting the brightness limiter will
   prevent doming but may result in an unacceptably dark picture.

6. Shadow mask doming in itself is not something that becomes defective and
   has to be repaired.  It is a characteristic of the CRT assembly.  However,
   shifts in the position of purity adjustments can results in increased
   sensitivity to slight doming.

Purity problems resulting in discolouration and/or brightness variations are
due to mislanding of the microscopic electron beams (the electron beams after
the mask) on the red/green/blue phosphor stripes or dots. The mislanding is in
general caused by:

* Influences of ambient magnetic fields (such as the earth magnetic field).

* Shadow mask doming.

* Tolerances occurring in the production of CRTs.

* Less than optimal setup of the purity adjustments (yoke position, rings
  on CRT neck, etc.

Only when the sum of these influences exceeds the 'guardband' provided in
the CRT design, discolouration (or brightness variations) becomes visible.

If discolouration complaints arise, this will normally not be due to changes
in doming behaviour, but to changes in shielding against magnetic fields.

The ambient magnetic fields are shielded by means of iron components inside 
(or sometimes outside) the tube, which have to be 'degaussed' to give good 
shielding. For this in a set degaussing coils and circuits are provided. A 
discolouration complaint will thus often be due to insufficient degaussing.

* TV sets and monitors which are kept in 'stand-by' mode for a long time
  may never be degaussed adequately because the degaussing circuit may only
  operate for a short time after the unit is switched on from cold - whether
  this is so with your unit depends on the design). In this case, they can
  pick up magnetic fields from magnets moved nearby or other equipment.

  The solution in this case is to switch the TV or monitor completely off
  or pull the plug if in doubt, let it cool down for half an hour or longer
  and switch it on again. If necessary this procedure can be repeated a few
  times (I had to do this at home once when my children had been playing with
  magnets).  For monitors with degauss buttons, you can usually hear a hum
  when the degauss is activated.

* Similarly, if the orientation of a unit with respect to the earth's magnetic
  field is  changed, it requires degaussing. So if you put your TV in another
  corner of the room or rotate your computer monitor on its tilt-swivel base,
  you have to activate its degauss circuitry (by letting it cool down or in
  the case of a high-end monitor, using its degauss button) or degauss it
  manually (see the section: "Degaussing (demagnetizing) a CRT").

* The PTC resistor (thermistor or posistor) in the degaussing circuit can
  become defective.  This prevents proper degaussing after switch-on.

Since lower resolution CRTs are used for most TVs compared to similar size
computer monitors, doming would not be nearly as much of a problem if they
were both run at similar brightness (energy density) levels.  However, TVs
are very often used at higher brightness levels resulting in more of a
thermal load on the mask which offsets the lower resolution.

  4.22) Why are there fine lines across my Trinitron monitor or TV?

These are not a defect - they are a 'feature'.

All Trinitron (or clone) CRTs - tubes that use an aperture grille - require
1, 2, or 3 very fine wires across the screen to stabilize the array of
vertical wires in the aperture grille.  Without these, the display would
be very sensitive to any shock or vibration and result in visible shimmering
or rippling.  (In fact, even with these stabilizing wires, you can usually
see this shimmering if you whack a Trinitron monitor.)  The lines you see
are the shadows cast by these fine wires.

The number of wires depends on the size of the screen.  Below 15" there
is usually a single wire; between 15" and 21" there are usually 2 wires;
above 21" there may be 3 wires.

Only you can decide if this deficiency is serious enough to avoid the
use of a Trinitron based monitor.  Some people never get used to the fine
lines but many really like the generally high quality of Trinitron based
displays and eventually totally ignore them.

  4.23) Differences between Trinitron and Diamondtron CRTs

(From: Bill Nott (

Mitsubishi makes the Diamondtron under license from Sony - the subtle
differences (according to Mitsubishi) are improvements in the electron
gun design for spot uniformity over the CRT face. Also, for the time
being, Mitsubishi has tried to introduce Diamondtron tubes in sizes which
are not available as Trinitrons - to keep from directly competing, and
(ostensibly) to address niches which other sizes can't address.

In order to properly evaluate a monitor, one must consider more than the
tube alone - as many readers know, Trinitrons are finding their way into
various manufacturer's sets, but they don't all perform the same. In todays 
market, it's quite possible to find a dot mask design which performs as well
as (or better in some cases) the aperture grill design - IMHO every critical
monitor purchase should be made by personally examining the monitor to be
bought, under the intended application(s). 

(BTW, all color tubes use 3 guns, including the Trinitron. Sony used to
talk about a "unitized gun", but that only refers to the cathode structure.
It's classical use of a misleading term to gain market awareness (looks like
it works).)

  4.24) So what does it mean to have a Trinitron CRT?

Trinitron is a CRT technology developed by Sony.  The patent has recently
expired and therefore other manufacturers are free to offer similar CRTs.
The CRT uses a set of fine vertical wires called an aperture grill instead of
a steel shadow mask to separate the R, G, and B electron beams and force them
to strike only the appropriate colored phosphors.  This in conjunction with
an in-line set of electron guns is supposed to provide a brighter image with
simpler convergence and purity adjustments.  It should be brighter because
the percentage of open space of the aperture grill is higher then that of
a shadow mask.  Other adjustments should be less critical in the vertical
direction.  In addition, since there is no imposed structure in the vertical
direction, undesirable moire patterns caused by scan line pitch compared
with the shadow mask dot pitch should be eliminated.

You can recognize a Trinitron tube by the fact that the picture is made
up of fine vertical stripes of red, green, and blue rather than dots or
slots.  The shadow mask in all other kinds of common CRTs are made up of
either dots (nearly all good non-Trinitron computer monitors) or slots
(many television sets).  The Trinitron equivalent is called an aperture
grill and is made of around a thousand vertical wires under tension a
fraction of an inch behind the glass faceplate with its phosphor stripes.

Since the aperture grill wires run the full height of the tube, there
are 1 or 2 stabilizing wires to minimize vibration and distortion of the
aperture grill.  These may be seen by looking closely 1/3 and/or 2/3 of the
way down the tube.  The larger size tubes will have 2 while those under 17 
inch (I think) will only have a single wire.  Many have complained about
these or asked if they are defects - no they are apparently needed.
You can be sure that Sony would have eliminated them if it were possible.

Another noticeable characteristic of Trinitrons is the nearly cylindrical
faceplate.  The radius in the vertical direction is very large compared
to the horizontal.  This is both a requirement and a feature.  Since the
aperture grill wires are under tension, they cannot follow the curve
of the glass as a normal shadow mask may.  Therefore, the glass must be
flat or nearly flat in the vertical direction.  As a selling point, this
is also an attractive shape.

In the final analysis, the ultimate image quality on a monitor depends
as much on other factors as on the CRT.  There are many fine monitors
that do not use Trinitrons as well as many not-so-great monitors which 
do use Trinitron tubes.

  4.25) Comparison of CRT types

"Could someone please help to elucidate the comparative advantages of each
 technology?  I know how they work but do not know which is advantageous and

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

Trinitron is Sony technology. The shadow mask (called the aperture grille)
consists of vertical wires under tension. The mask is always straight in
the vertical direction and curved in the horizontal direction, thus the
shape is a cylinder.  The tube surface is also cylindrical, which causes
some strange effects, particularly funny mirror reflections of yourself.
Because the wires are under a lot of tension, the internal tube structure
must be very strong and thus relatively heavy.  Because the glass surface
is cylindrical instead of spherical, the glass must be thicker and heavier
too, to withstand atmospheric pressure.

Heavier always equates to more expensive!

The electron gun construction is also different: there are still 3 guns (not
one as some may thing but the 3 guns share one main lens. (The assembly of
focusing grids is called a lens, in analogy to the optical principle.)  There
are still 3 cathodes and 3 G1s, as usual.  The large diameter lens has the 
advantage of less spherical aberration (and thus a sharper spot) but the
disadvantage of large physical length which means a deeper cabinet.

In the deflection coil design another compromise is found between spot quality,
purity and convergence. As a result horizontal convergence must be helped by
an auxiliary dynamic convergence waveform (on an extra convergence coil?). This
adds to cost and can occasionally give an interesting failure of the horizontal

The best non-Trinitron (or clone) CRTs use a conventional shadow mask made of
Invar - originally Matsushita technology; Philips uses it too. The shadow
mask is of the standard shape (spherical metal plate with holes in it) but 
it is made of a special alloy with a 7 times lower coefficient of thermal 
expansion than regular iron. This allows a brighter picture with less purity 

The problem with regular shadow masks is 'doming'. Due to the inherent
principle of shadow masks, 2/3 or more of all beam energy is dissipated
in the mask. Where static bright objects are displayed, it heats up several
hundred degrees. This causes thermal expansion, with local warping of the
mask. The holes in the mask move to a different place and the projections
of the electron beams will land on the wrong colours: purity errors.
The use of invar allows about 3 times more beam current for the same
purity errors.  See the section: "What is doming?".

Combating purity errors is a necessity due to 2 trends:

* Flatter picture tubes: flatter shadow masks are more sensitive to doming

* Darker (glass) picture tubes: this gives more contrast but more beam current 
  is needed for enough brightness

The trinitron aperture grill shadow mask is inherently insensitive to doming
as long as the tension in the wires remains positive. If the wires become too
long then they become more sensitive to microphony (try tap the cabinet...).
The vertical wires are connected in several places by thin horizontal
wires. Some people complain about seeing faint shadows of these wires.

To summarize: Trinitron monitors are probably heavier, larger, more expensive,
maybe better on purity, and maybe better on focus than other monitors, with or
without invar shadow masks.  There are excellent monitors other than Trinitron
too... I suppose the Coke-Pepsi comparison is true.

  4.26) Some history of in-line gun CRTs

(From: Thomas Maggio (

GE's first set was a 10 or 11 inch " "PortaColor" TV which, to the best of my
memory, was introduced in the mid-60s.  It was a tube chassis that made use of
space saving Compactron multifunction tubes.  A solid state version followed
some years later I believe.  If I remember correctly, the color circuit used a
novel method to generate the local 3.58 MHz color signal: it used the
recovered color burst to 'ring' a series crystal to produce a continuous
carrier.  I remember reading about all this in one of the late great
"Radio-Electronics" Annual Color TV issues that I looked forward to each year
back then as color TVs were dynamically evolving from many US companies.

The GE CRT did indeed use 3 in-line guns aimed at a conventional shadow mask
triad phosphor screen.  This simplified convergence and the CRT neck
components needed.  Sony uses one gun with a large common cathode to emit 3
electron beams which focus through a single large electrostatic 'lens' instead
of 3 smaller ones like the GE and others used.

One last stroll down memory lane: Does anyone remember the forerunner of the
Sony Trinitron?  It began as the "Lawrence Tube" (named after its U.S.
inventor Dr. Lawrence) then was demonstrated as the "Chromatron" (I think
Paramount had some stake in it then).  I don't know how the concept became
Sony's property so if anyone can corroborate or correct any of my
recollections, I would enjoy hearing about it.  Thanks.

(From: Andy Cuffe (

I read about Sony's development of the Trinitron.  Apparently Sony actually
manufactured a 17" TV with a Chromatron CRT in the early 60's.  It was only
sold in Japan and used a very unreliable tube chassis.  According to the book
they all ended up being returned and Sony lost a lot of money on it.  Later
Sony took ideas from the GE in-line tube and the Cromatron to invent the
Trinitron.  They used the 3 in-line cathodes of the GE tube with the vertical
phosphor stripe screen of the chromatron.  The common focusing lens was a way
to stay as close as possible to the single electron gun design of the
chromatron.  The tone of the book suggested that Sony bet the whole company on
the success of the Trinitron.  Apparently they were very close to licensing
the shadow mask design from RCA because of the amount of money they were
losing by developing their own color CRT.  If anyone is interested I think the
title of the book was "Sony Vision".  It also had chapters on the Betamax and
the development of the first solid state TV.

  4.27) Why are indirectly heated cathodes used in CRTs

Here are three reasons:

1. The cathode can be made of and/or coated with a material optimal for
   emitting electrons without regard to its performance as a heater.

2. The separate cathode and filament can be electrically isolated so that
   the filament voltage and cathode drive signal, if any, do not interfere.

3. The cathode can have an optimal shape for the application.  This would
   be particularly significant for CRTs.  The spot on the screen is a
   reduced focused image of the effective shape of the emitting portion
   of the cathode.

Chapter 5) Maintenance and Repair

  5.1) SAFETY

TVs and computer or video monitors are among the more dangerous of consumer
electronics equipment when it comes to servicing.  (Microwave ovens are
probably the most hazardous due to high voltage at flesh frying and cardiac
arresting high power.)

There are two areas which have particularly nasty electrical dangers: the
non-isolated line power supply and the CRT high voltage.

Major parts of nearly all modern TVs and many computer monitors are directly
connected to the AC line - there is no power transformer to provide the
essential barrier for safety and to minimize the risk of equipment damage.
In the majority of designs, the live parts of the TV or monitor are limited
to the AC input and line filter, degauss circuit, bridge rectifier and main
filter capacitor(s), low voltage (B+) regulator (if any), horizontal output
transistor and primary side of the flyback (LOPT) transformer, and parts
of the startup circuit and standby power supply.  The flyback generates most
of the other voltages used in the unit and provides an isolation barrier so
that the signal circuits are not line connected and safer.

Since a bridge rectifier is generally used in the power supply, both
directions of the polarized plug result in dangerous conditions and an
isolation transformer really should be used - to protect you, your test
equipment, and the TV, from serious damage.  Some TVs do not have any
isolation barrier whatsoever - the entire chassis is live.  These are
particularly nasty.

The high voltage to the CRT, while 200 times greater than the line input,
is not nearly as dangerous for several reasons.  First, it is present in a
very limited area of the TV or monitor - from the output of the flyback
to the CRT anode via the fat red wire and suction cup connector.  If you
don't need to remove the mainboard or replace the flyback or CRT, then
leave it alone and it should not bite.  Furthermore, while the shock from
the HV can be quite painful due to the capacitance of the CRT envelope, it
is not nearly as likely to be lethal since the current available from the
line connected power supply is much greater.

  5.2) Safe discharging of capacitors in TVs and video monitors

It is essential - for your safety and to prevent damage to the device under
test as well as your test equipment - that large or high voltage capacitors
be fully discharged before measurements are made, soldering is attempted,
or the circuitry is touched in any way.  Some of the large filter capacitors
commonly found in line operated equipment store a potentially lethal charge.

This doesn't mean that every one of the 250 capacitors in your TV need to be
discharged every time you power off and want to make a measurement.  However,
the large main filter capacitors and other capacitors in the power supplies
should be checked and discharged if any significant voltage is found after
powering off (or before any testing - some capacitors (like the high voltage
of the CRT in a TV or video monitor) will retain a dangerous or at least
painful charge for days or longer!)

The technique I recommend is to use a high wattage resistor of about
100 ohms/V of the working voltage of the capacitor.  This will
prevent the arc-welding associated with screwdriver discharge but will
have a short enough time constant so that the capacitor will drop to
a low voltage in at most a few seconds (dependent of course on the
RC time constant and its original voltage).

Then check with a voltmeter to be double sure.  Better yet, monitor
while discharging (not needed for the CRT - discharge is nearly
instantaneous even with multi-M ohm resistor).

Obviously, make sure that you are well insulated!

* For the main capacitors in a switching power supply which might be
  100 uF at 350 V this would mean a 5K 10W resistor.  RC=.5 second.
  5RC=2.5 seconds.  A lower wattage resistor can be used since the total
  energy in not that great.   If you want to be more high tech, you can
  build the capacitor discharge circuit outlined in the companion
  document: "Testing capacitors with a multimeter and safe discharge".
  This provides a visible indication of remaining charge and polarity.

* For the CRT, use a high wattage (not for power but to hold off the high
  voltage which could jump across a tiny 1/4 watt job) resistor of a few
  M ohms discharged to the chassis ground connected to the outside of the
  CRT - NOT SIGNAL GROUND ON THE MAIN BOARD as you may damage sensitive
  circuitry.  The time constant is very short - a ms or so.  However, repeat
  a few times to be sure.  (Using a shorting clip lead may not be a bad idea
  as well while working on the equipment - there have been too many stories
  of painful experiences from charge developing for whatever reasons ready
  to bite when the HV lead is reconnected.)  Note that if you are touching the
  little board on the neck of the CRT, you may want to discharge the HV
  even if you are not disconnecting the fat red wire - the focus and screen
  (G2) voltages on that board are derived from the CRT HV.

  WARNING: Most common resistors - even 5 W jobs - are rated for only a few
  hundred volts and are not suitable for the 25KV or more found in modern
  TVs and monitors.  Alternatives to a long string of regular resistors are
  a high voltage probe or a known good focus/screen divider network.  However,
  note that the discharge time constant with these may be a few seconds.  Also
  see the section: "Additional information on discharging CRTs".

  If you are not going to be removing the CRT anode connection, replacing
  the flyback, or going near the components on the little board on the neck
  of the CRT, I would just stay away from the fat red wire and what it is
  connected to including the focus and screen wires.  Repeatedly shoving
  a screwdriver under the anode cap risks scratching the CRT envelope which
  is something you really do not want to do.

Again, always double check with a reliable voltmeter!T

Reasons to use a resistor and not a screwdriver to discharge capacitors:

1. It will not destroy screwdrivers and capacitor terminals.

2. It will not damage the capacitor (due to the current pulse).

3. It will reduce your spouse's stress level in not having to hear those
   scary snaps and crackles.

  5.3) Preventive maintenance - care and cleaning

Preventive maintenance for a monitor is pretty simple - just keep the case
clean and free of obstructions.  Clean the CRT screen with a soft cloth just
dampened with water and mild detergent or isopropyl alcohol.  This will
avoid damage to normal as well as antireflection coated glass.  DO NOT use
anything so wet that liquid may seep inside of the monitor around the edge
of the CRT.  You could end up with a very expensive repair bill when the
liquid decides to short out the main circuit board lurking just below.
Then dry thoroughly.  Use the CRT sprays sold in computer stores if you
like but again, make sure none can seep inside.  If you have not cleaned
the screen for quite a while, you will be amazed at the amount of black
grime that collects due to the static buildup from the CRT high voltage

In really dusty situations, periodically vacuuming inside the case and the use
of contact cleaner for the controls might be a good idea but realistically,
you will not do this so don't worry about it.

  5.4) Degaussing (demagnetizing) a CRT

Degaussing may be required if there are color purity problems with the
display.  On rare occasions, there may be geometric distortion caused
by magnetic fields as well without color problems.  The CRT can get

* if the TV or monitor is moved or even just rotated.

* if there has been a lightning strike nearby.  A friend of mine
  had a lightning strike near his house which produced all of the
  effects of the EMP from a nuclear bomb.

* If a permanent magnet was brought near the screen (e.g., kid's
  magnet or megawatt stereo speakers).

* If some piece of electrical or electronic equipment with unshielded
  magnetic fields is in the vicinity of the TV or monitor.  

Degaussing should be the first thing attempted whenever color
purity problems are detected.  As noted below, first try the
internal degauss circuits of the TV or monitor by power cycling a few
times (on for a minute, off for 30 minutes, on for a minute, etc.)
If this does not help or does not completely cure the problem,
then you can try manually degaussing.

Commercial CRT Degaussers are available from parts distributors
like MCM Electronics and consist of a hundred or so turns of magnet wire
in a 6-12 inch coil.  They include a line cord and momentary switch. You 
flip on the switch, and bring the coil to within several inches of the 
screen face. Then you slowly draw the center of the coil toward one edge 
of the screen and trace the perimeter of the screen face. Then return to 
the original position of the coil being flat against the center of the 
screen.  Next, slowly decrease the field to zero by backing straight up 
across the room as you hold the coil. When you are farther than 5 feet 
away you can release the line switch. 

The key word here is ** slow **.  Go too fast and you will freeze the
instantaneous intensity of the 50/60 Hz AC magnetic field variation
into the ferrous components of the CRT and may make the problem worse.

It looks really cool to do this while the CRT is powered.  The kids will
love the color effects.

Bulk tape erasers, tape head degaussers, open frame transformers, and the
"ass-end" of a weller soldering gun can be used as CRT demagnetizers but
it just takes a little longer. (Be careful not to scratch the screen
face with anything sharp.) It is imperative to have the CRT running when
using these whimpier approaches, so that you can see where there are 
still impurities. Never release the power switch until you're 4 or 5 
feet away from the screen or you'll have to start over.

I've never known of anything being damaged by excess manual degaussing
though I would recommend keeping really powerful bulk tape erasers turned
degaussers a couple of inches from the CRT.

If an AC degaussing coil or substitute is unavailable, I have even done
degaussed with a permanent magnet but this is not recommended since it is more
likely to make the problem worse than better.  However, if the display
is unusable as is, then using a small magnet can do no harm. (Don't use
a 20 pound speaker or magnetron magnet as you may rip the shadow mask right
out of the CRT - well at least distort it beyond repair.  What I have in
mind is something about as powerful as a refrigerator magnet.)

Keep degaussing fields away from magnetic media.  It is a good idea to
avoid degaussing in a room with floppies or back-up tapes.  When removing
media from a room  remember to check desk drawers and manuals for stray
floppies, too. 

It is unlikely that you could actually affect magnetic media but better
safe than sorry.  Of the devices mentioned above, only a bulk eraser or
strong permanent magnet are likely to have any effect - and then only when
at extremely close range (direct contact with media container).

All color CRTs include a built-in degaussing coil wrapped around the 
perimeter of the CRT face. These are activated each time the CRT is 
powered up cold by a 3 terminal thermister device or other control
circuitry.  This is why it is often suggested that color purity problems
may go away "in a few days".  It isn't a matter of time; it's the number
of cold power ups that causes it.  It takes about 15 minutes of the power
being off for each cool down cycle. These built-in coils with thermal
control are never as effective as external coils.

  5.5) How often to degauss

Some monitor manufacturers specifically warn about excessive use of degauss,
most likely as a result of overstressing components in the degauss circuitry
which are designed (cheaply) for only infrequent use.  In particular,
there is often a thermister that dissipates significant power for the second
or two that the degauss is active.  Also, the large coil around the CRT
is not rated for continuous operation and may overheat.

If one or two activations of the degauss button do not clear up the color
problems, manual degaussing using an external coil may be needed
or the monitor may need internal purity/color adjustments.  Or, you may have
just installed your megawatt stereo speakers next to the monitor!

You should only need to degauss if you see color purity problems
on your CRT.  Otherwise it is unnecessary.  The reasons it only works the
first time is that the degauss timing is controlled by a termister
which heats up and cuts off the current.  If you push the button
twice in a row, that thermister is still hot and so little happens.

One word of clarification:  In order for the degauss operation to be
effective, the AC current in the coil must approach zero before the
circuit cuts out.  The circuit to accomplish this often involves a 
thermister to gradually decrease the current (over a matter of several
seconds), and in better monitors, a relay to totally cut off the current
after a certain delay.  If the current was turned off suddenly, you would
likely be left with a more magnetized CRT.  There are time delay elements
involved which prevent multiple degauss operations in succession.  Whether
this is by design or accident, it does prevent the degauss coil - which is
usually grossly undersized for continuous operation - to cool.

  5.6) Ultra cheap degaussing coil

Pack Rat Trick #457384

Next time you scrap a computer monitor (or tv), save the degaussing
coil (coil of wire, usually wrapped in black tap or plastic) mounted
around the front of the tube.  To adapt it for degaussing sets, wrap it
into a smaller coil, maybe 4"-6".  To limit the current to something
reasonable, put it in series with a light bulb (60-100W).  You need
AC current to degauss, so just put the bulb in series with the coil and
use the your local 120V outlet.  BE VERY CAREFUL that you actually
wired it in series, and that everything is properly insulated before
you plug it in  (A fuse would be a real good idea too!!)

A few circles over the affected area will usually do it.  Note that
it will also make your screen go crazy for a little bit, but this will
fade out within a minute or so.

Just a couple of points for emphasis:

1. The coil as removed from the TV is not designed for continuous operation
   across the line as indicated above.  In fact, it will go up in a mass
   of smoke without the light bulb to limit the current. The poor TV from
   which this organ was salvaged included additional circuitry to ramp
   the current to 0 in a few seconds after power is turned on.

2. Reducing the coil size by a factor of 2 or 3 will increase the
   intensity of the magnetic field which is important since we are limiting
   the current with the light bulb to a value lower than the TV used.
   You don't need to unwind all the magnet wire, just bend the entire
   assembly into a smaller coil.  Just make sure that the current is always
   flowing in the same direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) around the

3. Insulate everything very thoroughly with electrical tape.  A pushbutton
   momentary switch rated for 2 amps at 115 volts AC would be useful so that
   you do not need to depend on the wall plug to turn it on and off.

  5.7) Bob Myers notes on degaussing

A couple of comments: first of all, it makes no difference whatsoever
if the display is on while it's being degaussed.  (Oh, some people
DO like to watch the psychodelic light show, but it really doesn't
help anything for it to be on.)  Actually, there is a very minor case
to be made for degaussing while OFF, at least for the Trinitron and
similar tubes.  (The field of an external degauss coil CAN cause the
grille wires to move slightly, and they're a bit more flexible when
hot - so it is conceivable, although certainly unlikely, that you're
running a higher risk of causing the grille wires to touch or cross
and become damaged.)

Secondly, a good practice for degaussing is to slowly back away from
the monitor after giving the screen a good going over.  Once you're
about 5-6' away, turn the coil so it's a right angles to the CRT
faceplate (which minimizes the field the monitor is seeing), and THEN
turn to coil off.  This is to reduce the possibility of the field 
transient caused by switching the coil off from leaving you once again
with a magnetized monitor.

The last point is to make sure that you DON'T leave the coil on too long.
These things are basically just big coils of wire with a line cord
attached, and are not designed to be left on for extended periods of
time - they can overheat.  (I like the kind with the pushbutton "on"
switch, which turns off as soon as I release the button.  That way,
I can never go off and leave the coil energized.)

Oh, one more thing - make sure your wallet is in a safe place.  You
know all those credit cards and things with the nice magnetic stripe
on them? :-)

(Actually, I've got a good story about that last.  I was teaching a
group of field service engineers how to do this once, and being the
Big Deal Out of Town Expert, made VERY sure to place my wallet
on a shelf far away from the action.  Unfortunately, Mr. Big Deal Out
of Town Expert was staying in a hotel which used those neat little
magnetic-card gadgets instead of a "real" key.  Ever try to explain
to a desk clerk how it was that, not only would your keycard NOT let
you into your room, it was no longer anything that their system would
even recognize as a key? :-))

  5.8) Can a really strong magnet permanently damage the CRT?

Even a magnet that can suspend your weight may still not have much range as
they usually have metal pole pieces that concentrate the flux and work well
only with a matching flat steel plate.

The only thing in the guts of a TV or monitor (that is accessible from outside
the cabinet) that can be damaged permanently is the shadow or slot mask of the
CRT.  If the magnet is strong enough to distort it, the CRT will be ruined.
Even manual degaussing with a similarly powerful degaussing coil will then not
totally clear up color purity problems.  The shadow or slot mask is a very
thin perforated steel or InVar sheet about 1/2 inch behind the glass of the
CRT screen - which is itself about 1 inch thick or more.  So, even up against
the screen, your magnet is still at least 1-1/2 inches from the shadow mask.
It would take a mighty powerful magnet to distort it.

For Trinitron (or clone) CRTs with aperture grilles - tensioned fine wires
in place of a shadow or slot mask, the force required would be even greater.

No way to know without trying it :-(.

(From: Jeff Mangas (

I work in a small monitor factory and some time ago we were using some very
strong degaussing wands to remove magnetism from some of our chassis.  We
found that this caused a weakening of the shadow mask and it would take only a
small shock/vibration to break the mask loose.  We are not 100% sure that it
was the degaussing that caused the problem but we only used these strong wands
for a short time (lost several tubes while using them) and have not had any
problems before or since.

  5.9) Detailed purity and static convergence adjustment procedure

Also see the adjustment information in the document: "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Computer and Video Monitors" (or Television

(From: Alan McKinnon (

The rearmost pair of magnets (seem from the service position behind the set
in other words furthest from you nearest the front of the tube) affects
purity. More on this later. The middle and front magnets are for convergence
and work on pairs of colours. The effects can most easily be seen on a cross
hatch test pattern (10 or so horizotal lines, 15 or so vertical lines).

But first, purity:

Without getting into the details of what happens inside the guns, I assume you
need to know how to do the adjustments. You need some means of generating an
evenly red screen. An (expensive) pattern generator is the preferred method.
Fiddle the rear purity rings to distort the screen by bringing green and blue
blobs into it. You will note that the magnets can be adjusted by moving both
together, and moving them aart relative to each other. The best advice here
is: adjust slowly and observe what happens. Once you have the screen evenly
red, move on to convergence, which is the trick of getting the red green and
blue beams to coincide on the screen to produce white, with the minimum of
colour shadowing.

With a cross hatch pattern on screen, you can see easily how convergence
works, and how the magnets affect the picture. Each tube type is different in
exactly how this is done, but the general idea is that one set of magnets
affects two specific colours only, moving them apart and bringing them nearer,
while leaving the third colour alone.  The other set of magnets takes the
colours affected by the other set, and moves them together relative to the
third colour. Also, moving a pair of magnets together adjusts the colours in
one direction (vert or horiz) while moving the magents apart adjusts the other
direction.  With all things in life, there is some overlap, so you need to
look carefully and see what happens mostly - the adjustments are not cut and
dried. Oh, and they are interactive to some degree. Keep checking purity after
you do convergence. All of this is best shown with a picture, the colours are
arbitrary, you may well find the details do not apply to your tv, but the
basic principles will. These initial converence adjustments apply only to the
centre of the screen by the way, the edges are done elsewhere:

Rotating one set of magnets together might move red and blue together till
they coincide vertically:

       | |  |        | | |        |  |
       | |  | -----> | | | -----> |  |
       | |  |        | | |        |  |
       R G  B        G R B        G R&B

And moving them apart relative to each other might move red and blue together

       R -----
                      R --------       R&B---------
       G ----- -----> G -------- -----> G ---------
                      B --------
       B -----

Moving the other set of magnets together might take the red and blue pair and
move them to coincide with the green, vertically:

       |  |        | |         |
       |  | -----> | | ------> |
       |  |        | |         |
       G R&B      G R&B      R&G&B (=white)

And moving them apart relative to each other might move the red and blue pair
and move them to coincide with green horizontally:

    R&B -------
                         R&B -------
                 ----->               ----> ------- R&G&B
                           G -------               (=white)
      G -------

Once the convergence is perfect in the centre of the screen (called static
convergence) it's time to handle the edges and corners (called dynamic
convergence for historical reasons). This is done by physically moving the
entire yoke that is clamped around the tube neck with the deflection coild on
it. It is anchored in place by a collar on the tube neck, loosen this
slightly, butnot enough so that the yoke can move backwards. It is also held
in place by rubber wedges glued or taped down. Take the wedges out. By
gripping the yoke and levering it up and down, left and right, you will change
he convergence in the corners. The effects don't work as you might at first
suppose - moving theyoke left affects the lower right corner, this type of
thing. Get the dynamic convergence right and stuff the wedges back under the
yoke to hold it precisely in place and glue them back down. The recheck

There you have it. Easy as pie. Some folk would have you believe no-one in
their right minds adjusts these things. Well, balls. Someone did it at the
factory, and they did it the way I just described. All you need is the right
tools (pattern generator), patience, and time.

  5.10) Tony's notes on setting convergence on older delta gun CRTs

(From: (A.R. Duell))

The older delta-gun tubes (3 guns in a triangle, not in a line) can give 
**excellent** pictures, with very good convergence, provided:

1. You've set those 20-or-so presets correctly - a right pain as they 
   interact to some extent.

2. The CRT is set up in the final position - this type of tube is more 
   sensitive to external fields than the PIL type.

Both my delta-gun sets (a B&O 3200 chassis and a Barco CDCT2/51) have 
very clearly set out and labeled convergence panels, and you don't need a 
service manual to do them. The instructions in the Barco manual are 
something like:

"Apply crosshatch, and adjust the controls on the convergence board in 
the numbered order to converge the picture. The diagrams by each control 
show the effect".

Here's a very quick guide to delta gun convergence where the settings are
done using various adjustments on the neck of the CRT (if you don't have a 
service manual but do know what each control does, and where they all are -
otherwise, follow the instructions in the service manual --- sam): 

1. Apply a white crosshatch or dot pattern to the set. Don't try and 
   converge on anything else - you'll go insane. It's useful to be able to 
   switch between those 2 patterns.

2. Before you start, set the height, width, linearity, pincushion, etc. They
   will interact with the convergence. Also check PSU voltages, and the EHT
   voltage if it's adjustable. That's where you do need a service manual, I 

3. Turn off the blue gun using the A1 switch, and use the red and green 
   static radial controls to get a yellow croshatch in the middle of the 
   screen. These controls may be electrical presets, or may be movable 
   magnets on the radial convergence yoke (the Y-shaped think behind the 
   deflection yoke).

4. Turn on the blue gun and use the 2 blue static controls (radial and 
   lateral) to align the blue and yellow crosshatches at the center of the 
   screen. Some manufacturers recommend turning off the green gun when doing 
   this, and aligning red with blue (using *only* the blue controls, of 
   course), but I prefer to align blue with yellow, as it gives a check on 
   the overall convergence of the tube.

5. Turn off the blue gun again. Now the fun starts - dynamic convergence. 
   The first adjustments align the red and green crosshatches near the edges - 
   I normally do the top and bottom first. There will be 2 controls for 
   this, either a top and a bottom, or a shift and a linearity. The second 
   type is a *pain* to do, as it's not uncommon for it to affect the static 

6. Getting the red and green verticals aligned near the edges is a 
   similar process. 

7. You now have (hopefully) a yellow crosshatch over the entire screen. 

8. Now to align the blue. This is a lot worse, although the principle is 
   the same. Turn on the blue gun again, and check the static (center) 

9. To align the blue lines with the yellow ones, you'll find not only 
   shift controls, but also slope controls. Use the shift controls to align 
   the centers of the lines and the slope controls to get the endpoints 
   right. These interact to some extent. You'll need to fiddle with the 
   controls for a bit to work out what they do, even if you have the manual.

The convergence over the entire screen should now be good....

A word of warning here... The purity is set by ring magnets on almost all 
colour CRTs, but on PIL tubes, there are other ring magnets as well - 
like static convergence. Make sure you know what you are adjusting.

  5.11) Jerry's comments on convergence and other advanced adjustments

(From: Jerry G. (

Convergence alignment is not something you can do yourself unless you have the
proper calibration instruments and skills.  It takes lots of experience and
time.  There are published specs for most of the good monitors.  Most of the
time they are as follows:

There is the 'A area', 'B area', and 'C area'.  On a 15 inch monitor the A
area would be a diameter of about 4 inches.  The B area would be about 7.5
inches.  The C area would be the outside areas including the corners.  These
numbers are approximate.  There are actually standard specs for these areas.
They are expressed in percentage of screen viewing area.  Therefore the inches
would vary with the CRT size.

The higher the price (quality) of the monitor CRT, yoke, and scanning control
circuits, the tighter the convergence can be aligned by the technician.  For
the A area on a good monitor, the maximum error should not exceed 0.1 mm.  For
the B area it should not exceed more than about 0.25 mm.  And for the C area,
it can be allowed up to about 0.3 mm.  Most of the monitors that I have
repaired, seen, and used did not meet these specs unless they were rather
expensive.  With these specs there would not be any real visible
misconvergence unless you put your nose very close to the screen...  A lot of
the ones in the medium price range they were about 0.15 mm error in the A
area, about 0.4 in the B and greater than in the C area.  This also annoys me
because I am very critical.

If one has the skills and test gear he or she can do a better job on most
monitors.  It is a question of the time involved.  To see the convergence
errors a grating or crosshatch pattern is used.  A full raster color generator
is required for the purity adjustments as well.  This is necessary to align
the landing points of the CRT guns.  The exact center reference and purity
adjustments are done with the ring magnets on the CRT neck.  The yoke position
angle adjustments are also done for the side and top-bottom skewing as well.
Everything interacts!

The corners are done with various sorts of slip or edge magnets.  As for
corner convergence skewing, button magnets are used.  The color purity will
be effected as you go, and must be also corrected.  These adjustments interact
on one another, and the processes continues until the convergence and purity
are good at the same time...!

I don't recommend the amateur or hobbiest, or even the do-it-yourselfer to
attempt this alignment procedure.  The test gear would exceed the cost of a
really good monitor anyways...!!! And without the proper skills required, he or
she would only make it worse anyways...

As for purity specs, the color change from any corner to any corner must not
exceed an error of more than 200 degrees Kelvin.  The error in the B area
should not exceed 300 degrees kelvin.  This applies to a white raster.  Most
of the monitors I see don't get better than about 300 degrees Kelvin.  And
some are even 1000 out! The purity errors are best checked with a full Red
raster using 100 % saturation.  Then the other color vector angles are checked
with cyan, and then magenta.  The color temperature stability should be the
same in all aspects.

A color spectrometer should be used to judge this error factor.  As far as the
eye is concerned, it will see a purity error of more than about 500 degrees
Kelvin if the person knows what to look for...

When changing the CRT, this alignment must be done completely.  Most shops do
not even employ people who are skilled to a proper alignment, or don't even
own the instruments to do it right, and the poor customer get back a monitor
that is not in specs...!

  5.12) Monitor tune-up?

(The following from: Bob Myers (

Most manufacturers will quote an MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of
somewhere in the 30,000 to 60,000 hour range, EXCLUSIVE OF the CRT.  The
typical CRT, without an extended-life cathode, is usually good for 
10,000 to 15,000 hours before it reaches half of its initial brightness.
Note that, if you leave your monitor on all the time, a year is just about
8,000 hours.

The only "tuneup" that a monitor should need, exclusive of adjustments
needed following replacement of a failed component, would be video amplifier
and/or CRT biasing adjustments to compensate for the aging of the tube.
These are usually done only if you're using the thing in an application where
exact color/brightness matching is important.  Regular degaussing of the
unit may be needed, of course, but I'm not considering that a "tuneup" or

  5.13) Checking the age of the CRT

So you have this great deal on a used TV or monitor.  How can you tell if the
picture tube is about to die on you?

(From: Andy Cuffe (

The best way to tell is to look at the picture quality.  There is no way to
tell the exact number of hours.  Also, the life of CRTs varies quite a bit. 
some will go down hill much faster than others.

* It should be sharply focused over the entire screen and all 3 colors should
  be equally sharp.  

* Set the picture brightness and color to maximum.  If you see any bleeding or
  smearing to the right of bright objects don't buy it.

* When you first turn it on the picture should look normal in well under a
  minute.  If it is dim, tinted, or blurry for more than a minute or two the
  CRT is getting weak.

* A B/W picture should not be tinted.

* The picture should have decent brightness with the picture at about mid

Apart form that, if the overall picture is good the CRT is fine.  CRTs usually
fail very slowly.  Even if it's starting to show it's age it probably has
several years left.

(Portiongs from: Jerry G. (

You cannot tell the hours used by just looking or even measuring a tube.  A
tube can go at any time.  There are no hour counters!

Turn on the unit and see if there is any unusual bleeding of the image in the
picture at high contrast levels.  When turning the brightness up and down,
the color temperature should not change, only the brightness.  When turning
the contrast up and down,  the focus at the center should also be very stable.
It may change only a little bit.  When turning on the set, the color
temperature should be stable within about 3 to 5 minutes.

Look at the colors in the corners to see if the purity is good.  Bad purity
can be attributed to a miss-adjusted yoke assembly, to a bad shadow mask.

To know the manufacture date of the unit, it us usually on the back with the
model and serial number.    Most TV sets are on about 5 to 8 hours a day if
it is a family TV.  If it is a bedroom TV the hours may be  1/2 that amount.
Monitors may be on 24 hours a day - or much less.

A good way to know if the emission of the CRT is up to specs  is to get a
CRT analyzer and measure the gun emission.  Some service centers own one.

  5.14) Brightening an old CRT

If performing adjustments of the internal background and/or screen
controls still results in a dark picture even after a long warmup period
(and the controls are having an effect - they are not faulty), the CRT may
simply be near the end of its useful life.  In the old days of TVs with
short lived CRTs, the CRT brightener was a common item (sold in every
corner drugstore, it seemed!).

First confirm that the filaments are running at the correct voltage - there
could be a marginal connection or bad resistor or capacitor in the filament
power supply.  Since this is usually derived from the flyback, it may not
be possible to measure the (pulsed high frequency) voltage with a DMM but
a service manual will probably have a waveform or other test.  A visual
examination is not a bad way to determine if the filaments are hot enough.
They should be a fairly bright orange to yellow color.  A dim red or almost
dark filament is probably not getting its quota of electrons.  It is not be
the CRT since all three filaments are wired in parallel and for all three to
be defective is very unlikely.

If possible, confirm that the video output levels are correct.  For cathode
driven CRTs, too high a bias voltage will result in a darker than normal

CRT brighteners are available from parts suppliers like MCM Electronics.
Some of these are designed as isolation transformers as well to deal with
heater-to-cathode shorts.

You can try a making a brightener.  Caution: this may shorten the life of
the CRT - possibly quite dramatically (like it will blow in a couple of
seconds or minutes).  However, if the monitor or TV is otherwise destined
for the scrap heap, it is worth a try.

The approach is simple: you are going to increase the voltage to the
filaments of the electron guns making them run hotter.  Hopefully, just
hotter enough to increase the brightness without blowing them out.

Voltage for the CRT filament is usually obtained from a couple of turns
on the flyback transformer.  Adding an extra turn will increase the voltage
and thus the current making the filaments run hotter.  This will also
shorten the CRT life - perhaps rather drastically.  However, if the monitor
was headed for the dumpster anyhow, you have nothing to lose.  You can just
add a turn to an existing winding or make your own separate filament winding
as outlined in the section: "Providing isolation for a CRT H-K short".

In some monitors, there is a separate filament supply on the mainboard - this
should be obvious once you trace the filament wires from the video driver
board).  In this case, it still may be possible to increase this output or
substitute another supply but a schematic will be required.

There are also commercial CRT rejuvenators that supposedly zap the
cathodes of the electron guns.  A TV or monitor service center may be
able to provide this service, though it is, at best, a short term fix.

  5.15) CRT rejuvenation

Where one or more electron guns in the CRT have deteriorated due to wear and
tear, it is sometimes possible to give them a new, but possibly, temporary
lease on life through rejuvenation using a special piece of CRT service

(From: Gary Klechowitz (

When I rejuvenate a tube I inform the customer that there is no warranty on
the job.  Rejuvenating a CRT is like when Clatuu was brought back to life by
Gort in "The Day The Earth Stood Still". When asked "How long will you live"?
he replied: "no one knows".

I use a Sencore Beam Builder. If your tube is just moderately dim and blurry
but still shows good cut off threshold, I would just use the auto restore mode
on the beam builder rather than using the restore button. If the tube is
really bad with little or no cutoff threshold, then the rejuvenator is needed
but that has less than a 50% chance of fixing the tube and in many cases the
tube gets worse to trashed in the process.

  5.16) More comments on CRT rejuvenation

(From: Ren Tescher (

Reduced emission (dim picture) can occur when the cathode/filament has used up
most of the electrons it can emit to the screen.  Or, a 'crust' may have
formed on the thoriated emitter material that can be 'boiled off' to expose
more electrons.

A rejuvenator or restorer generally hits the cathode/filament with a higher
than normal current to accomplish this.

But, while a rejuvenator gives the cathode/filament a 'blast' of power, a
restorer can slowly increase the temperature while monitoring beam current on
one of the grids.

So generally a rejuvenator was a 'do or die' unit and a restorer could give
only what was needed to accomplish increased emission.  But these definitions
have always been blurred by advertising hype.

The early restorers, such as my REM, had the operator watch the grid current
on a meter(s) to determine when emission was sufficient.  I suppose newer
units have a PIC chip or some other logic to do the job.

(From: Terry DeWick (

I use a hand held Tesla coil to all pins for about 5 seconds.  Then, follow up
with rejuvenator for a quick check and cleanup if needed. Tesla coil is type
the neon sign people use for testing. 95% or better luck - saved a lot of out
of warranty Zeniths from big repair bills or junk pile.

  5.17) CRT age resulting in dark picture

Where circuit problems have been ruled out:

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

Most probably the cathodes have worn out. The emission material on the surface
slowly becomes inactive. Usually you see one colour go first, then the others.
At the same time you will observe a loss in sharpness, because a larger
cathode area is being used, giving a bigger spot. 

Rejuvenating is done by applying a (too) high filament voltage, in order to
bring new emission material to the surface. It will not work for long and
there is the risk of burning the filament wire for good. It may be worth a
try, though. 

Other wear mechanisms are: 

* Glass browning (generally only for projection tubes).
* Phosphor aging (life time is defined by efficiency < 50%).
* Vacuum leaks (generally cause EHT flashover, audible).

Then again, it may also be that for some mysterious reason your VG2 voltage
has dropped below spec. A too high VG2 voltage will cause a smaller cathode
area to be used, leading to a sharper picture but accelerated cathode wear. 

  5.18) Shorts in a CRT

Occasionally, small conductive flakes or whiskers present since the day of
manufacture manage to make their way into a location where they short out
adjacent elements in the CRT electron guns.  Symptoms may be intermittent or
only show up when the TV or monitor is cold or warm or in-between.  Some
possible locations are listed below:

* Heater to cathode (H-K).  The cathode for the affected gun will be pulled
  to the heater (filament) bias voltage - most often 0 V (signal ground).  In
  this case, one color will be full on with retrace lines.  Where the heater
  is biased at some other voltage, other symptoms are possible like reduced
  brightness and/or contrast for that color.  This is probably the most
  common location for a short to occur.

* Cathode to control grid (K-G1).  Since the G1 electrodes for all the guns
  are connected together, this will affect not only the color of the guilty
  cathode but the others as well.  The result may be a very bright overloaded
  *negative* picture with little, none, or messed up colors.

* Control grid to screen (G1-G2).  Depending on circuitry can result in any
  degree of washed out or dark picture.

* Screen to focus (G2-F).  Screen (G2) and focus voltage will be the same and
  the controls on the flyback will interact.  Result will be a fuzzy white
  raster with retrace lines and little or very low contrast picture.  Symptoms
  will be similar to those of a flyback with breakdown in the focus/screen
  divider network.

* Focus to high voltage (F-HV).  High voltage will be pulled down - probably
  arcing at the focus spark gaps/other protective devices.  Line fuse and/or
  HOT may blow.

* Other locations between electron gun elements as feed wires.

Replacing the CRT may be required but there are a variety of 'techniques' that
can often be used to salvage a TV that would otherwise end up in the dump
since replacing a CRT is rarely cost effective:

1. Isolation - this will usually work for H-K shorts as long as only one gun
   is involved.

2. Blowing out the short with a capacitor - depending on what is causing the
   short, this may be successful but will require some experimentation.

3. Placing the CRT (TV or monitor) face down on a soft blanket and gently
   tapping the neck to dislodge the contamination.  Depending on the location
   of the short, one side or the other might be better as well.

A combination of (2) and (3) may be required for intermittent shorts which
don't appear until under power.  See the sections below for additional
details.  However, for shorts involving the focus and high voltage elements,
even a sharp edge can result in arcing even if there is no actual short.
There is no remedy for these types of faults.

  5.19) Providing isolation for a CRT H-K short

This procedure will substitute a winding of your own for the one that is
built in to the flyback to isolate the shorted filament from the ground
or voltage reference.  Note that if you have a schematic and can determine
where to disconnect the ground or voltage reference connection to the
filament winding, try this instead.

The flyback is the thing with the fat red wire coming out of it (and perhaps
a couple of others going to the CRT board or it is near this component
if your set has a separate tripler) and may have a couple of controls for
focus and screen.  It should have some exposed parts with a ferrite core
about 1/2-3/4" diameter.
The filament of the CRT is the internal heater for each gun - it is what
glows orange when the set is on.  What has happened is that a part of the
fine wire of the bad color's filament (assuming this is indeed your problem)
has shorted to the cathode - the part that actually emits the electrons.
Normally, the heater circuit is grounded or tied to a reference voltage
so when it shorts to the cathode, the cathode voltage level is pulled to
ground or this reference.

You will need some well insulated wire, fairly thick (say #18-22).  Find a
spot on the flyback where you can stick this around the core.  Wrap two
turns around the core and solder to the CRT filament pins after cutting the
connections to the original filament source (scribe the traces on the board
to break them).  Make sure you do not accidentally disconnect anything else.

This winding should cause the filaments to glow about the same brightness as
before but now isolated from ground.  If they are too dim, put another turn
on the flyback to boost the voltage.  (Don't go overboard as you may blow the
filament totally if you put too many turns on the core - you then toss the
TV or monitor.)

Route the wires so that there is no chance of them getting near the high
voltage or any sharp metal edges etc.  Your picture quality may be a tad
lower than it was before because of the added stray capacitance of the
filament wiring being attached to the the (formerly bad) video signal, but
hey, something is better than nothing.

  5.20) Rescuing a shorted CRT

If the short is filament-cathode (H-K), you don't want to use the following
approach since you may blow out the filament in the process.  If this is the
case, you may be able to float the filament and live with the short (see the
document: "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Television Sets".

Shorts in the CRT that are between directly accessible electrodes can
be dealt with in a more direct way than for H-K shorts.  At this point
you have nothing to loose.  A shorted CRT is not terribly useful.

If the short is between two directly accessible electrodes like cathode-grid,
then as a last resort, you might try zapping it with a charged capacitor.

Unplug the CRT socket!

Start with a relatively small capacitor - say a few uF at a couple hundred
volts.  Check to see if the short is blown after each zap - few may be needed.
Increase the capacitance if you feel lucky but have had little success with
the small capacitor.

If the fault is intermittent, you will, of course, need to catch the CRT
with the socket disconnected and the short still present.  Try some gentle
tapping if necessary.  If you do this with the charged capacitor across
the suspect electrode, you **will** know when the short occurs!

  5.21) Determining if your CRT is up to air

"I have a Compuadd monitor that's completely blank.The high voltage is very
 low and there's flashing inside the neck of the picture tube.  I believe
 there may be a small hairline crack in the neck of the picture tube.  I
 suspect that a crack has compromised the vacuum in the tube and that's what
 is causing the flashing and the low voltage.  Is that possible, and if so, is
 there anything that can be done other than junking it?"

If there is a crack, then everything else is possible.  However, these rarely
develop on their own.

Look around the neck of the CRT for a coating - the getter. If it has turned
white or red, your CRT is history.  If it is still silver, the vacuum is
intact and your arcing may be due to a bad flyback putting excessive voltage
on the screen or focus electrode or a CRT that is bad in other ways. There are
supposed to be external protection spark gaps, etc. for this but may not
always work.

Sorry, junking it is probably the only realistic solution.  Unless you find
a cheap used CRT, the expense is not worth it.  Even then, adjustments may
be quite involved.

  5.22) Scratches or other damage to the CRT face

It is generally difficult to accidentally scratch the face of the screen but
accidents do happen.  The way the manufacturer would repair it is to replace
the CRT.  If the scratch is the result of shipping damage, file a claim with
the shipping company.  If it is a factory defect, get it repaired or replaced
under warranty.

Barely visible scratches can be removed with jeweler's rouge or similar
ultra-fine abrasive unless the CRT has an antireflective or textured surface.

Jeweler's rouge is the same stuff that is used in the final polishing of
lenses and mirrors so it makes for a fine finish.  However, any kind of
scratch deep enough to be felt will not yield to this approach.

For larger scratches, one would normally start out with a coarser abrasive
like 300 grit and work toward successively finer sizes - 600, 1200, etc. - with
the final polishing being done with the rouge.  However, realistically, this
isn't really a viable approach for a CRT faceplate.  It takes a lot of
grinding to remove enough material to smooth out a scratch and you are more
likely to mess things up than to improve matters.

If the CRT has an antireflective coating or textured surface, it will almost
certainly be best to leave the scratch alone.  Any type of polishing *will*
remove affect the appearance in the vicinity and leave you with a big unsightly
blob.  This will be much more objectionable than a slight scratch.

The types of fillers sold in auto parts stores for repairing auto windshields
may reduce the visibility of any scratches but DO NOT restore the integrity
of the glass.

I don't quite know whether this is better or worse than the disease but it
might be worth trying:

(From: Cooper@Hub.ofthe.NET).

"I may have come across an easy fix for those who have scratched glass on
 the monitor face.  I am currently using window film as an adhering
 material to cover and conceal the scratches.  This looks much better and
 enables me to continue usage of the monitor without the aggravating

  5.23) Risks from CRT scratches?

A really deep long scratch or gouge on the CRT face should be considered a
serious safety hazard as it may reduce the structural integrity and increase
the risk of implosion.  However, you would likely need a hammer and chissel or
diamond tipped tool to make scratches that deep.  It is very unlikely that
such scratches could come from any reasonable normal use. Dropping it from a
cliff, deliberate use of a glass cutter, the use of a really really BIG
hammer, or 12 gauge shotgun,  might perhaps be sufficient.

This is more of a concern for modern CRTs that usually have 'integral implosion
protection' - that steel rimband around the outside near the front.  Older CRTs
used either (1) a separate safety shield - that laminated glass plate in front
of your grandmom's TV - or (2) a second contoured glass panel bonded to the
actual tube face.  In both of these cases, the second panel is protective
and cosmetic but is not part of the structure of the CRT.  Therefore, any
damage to it does not significantly compromise the tube.  In the case of modern
CRTs, the steel band in conjunction with the basic tube envelope is used to
maintain the integrity of the overall CRT.  In addition should implosion
occur as a result of catastrophic damage, the rimband will reduce the range
and velocity of flying debris.

Also see the section: "CRT implosion risk?".

BTW, scratches in the CRT have absolutely no effect on X-ray emission.
X-rays are blocked long before they come anywhere near the surface and
glass has very little effect on their direction.  Any scratch deep enough
to have any detectable effect on X-ray emission (actually, it would need
to be an inch deep gouge) would have caused the tube to implode.

Chapter 6) Items of Interest

  6.1) Information on CRTs

(From: David Moisan (

I've seen a few such pictures and I was fortunate enough to find a book on
color CRTs that explained quite a few things:

    Color Television Picture Tubes"
    Morell, Law, Ramberg, Harold
    ISBN 0-12-022151-0.

I'm not sure if its still in print but you might check out your local
university library.)

If you are lucky enough to see "The Secret Life of Machines" on The
Learning Channel (or was, last time I saw it), there's an episode on
the secret life of the TV.  It's excellent!  The creator and
presenter, Tim Hunkin, has a weird sense of humor but he's very well
informed and quite gifted in the way he demonstrates
difficult-to-explain concepts.  In the opening scene, he showed off a
TV that he sawed in half, showing the CRT construction very clearly.
(He must have let the air into the tube, then used a diamond saw to cut
it; that's the only way it could be done without glass everywhere!)

(Of course, he may not *actually* have cut a TV in half - manufacturers
no doubt maintain props of this sort!)

  6.2) CRT aspect ratio

Nearly all modern CRTs have a 4:3 aspect ratio (H:V).  Of course, with HDTV,
16:9 will probably become standard but CRTs may be obsolete by then!

(From: Bob Myers (

The physical shape of the tubes themselves came through this evolution,
but the aspect ratio assumed for the original transmission format specs
WAS 4:3, as driven by Hollywood.  Where did you think the shape of the masks
came from?

The desired 4:3 aspect ratio standard was known right from the start, and
the early TV designers DID realize that the use of round tubes to display
this was a literal case of a "square peg in a round hole".  Rectangular
CRTs for TV use had been developed as early as 1939, with the first
American rectangular tube to enter production in late 1949.

(See Peter Keller's very excellent "The Cathode Ray Tube: Technology, History,
and Applications" for all the details.)

  6.3) How to read CRT part numbers

More than you ever wanted to know (but still not that useful)!

(From: Jeff Roberts (

The following information comes from the Sencore CR7000 Manual

The tube number is broken down in to 5 parts:

         Example:   M / 36 / KME / 20 / XX

Part 1 = Tube Type:

         A or W = TV picture tube.
         M = Monitor tubes (differ in the size and pitch of the phosphor dots).
         P = Projection tube.
         D = Electrostatic deflection.

Part 2 = Minimum viewable diagonal.  Measurement is in cm. (1 inch = 2.54 cm).

Part 3 = Family Number - Tubes Within a particular family have specific
         mechanical and electrical characteristics.

         These letters are assigned alphabetically beginning with "AAA",
         followed by "AAB", "AAC", etc.

         Tubes with the same sequence of letters are identical as far as their
         setup for the Sencore CR7000.

         The letter sequences are grouped according to the country they are
         manufactured in.

Part 4 = Member of Family - This one or two digit number specifies a
         particular member within a family.

         A different number is assigned to tubes within the same family that
         have different neck diameters, for example. Single digit member #s =
         monochrome, double digit members = Color tubes.

Part 5 = Phosphor Type.

  6.4) CRT substitution

"I have an RCA TV model # f20700dg that has a bad crt #A51ABU14X what I would
 like to know is can I replace it with a #A51AGC14X."

(From: Tech 7 (

Perhaps you need to know why the #'s are different?

The A is for the grade of the tube (AA is all new, B is rebuilt etc), the 51 is
size in cm, the ABU is gun type, the 14 is # of elements used (pins), and the X
is for phosphor type.  Since the gun type is different in your two tubes, I
would not spend the time to sub the tube without first check the voltages on
the old one, get a schematic of set for new one, compare the parameters and
then decide.

  6.5) Why do CRTs use red, green, and blue rather than red, yellow, blue?

So you were taught in grade school that any color could be made up of red,
yellow, and blue paint.  Why are these not used in CRTs?

Nearly any color that we can perceive can be made from some combination of
primary colors.  There are two types - additive and subtractive.

RGB are primary additive colors - anything that emits light will use these.

The three types of cone (color) recepters in the retina of the human eye
have peaks (roughly) sensitive to these primary colors.

Those red, yellow, and blue primaries you used to create your works of art
should actually not have been red, yellow, blue but rather magenta, yellow,
cyan - close but no cigar.  Red, yellow, and blue are approximations good
enough for basic painting or printing but are not capable of reproducing
the widest range of colors.

CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) are subtractive colors.  Printing processes
and color photography use these because layers of ink or dye absorb light.
Basically, each of CMY removes a single color from (RGB).

* Cyan = (green+blue) and is the complement of red.
* Magenta = (red+blue) and is the complement of green.
* Yellow = (red+green) and is the complement of blue.

The phosphors used in CRTs are not necessarily optimal - that is why some
monitors or TVs may appear to have better color rendition than others.

  6.6) Why does the intensity appear so non-uniform in bright areas?

Actually, the intensity variation is likely to be even worse than you might
think - possibly as much as 2:1 from the center to the corners.  In most cases
you do not notice it.  With large deflection angle tubes, fewer electrons make
it to phosphor dots near the edge of the screen.  It is simple geometry.

(From: Bob Myers (

It is extremely difficult for any CRT display to maintain perfect
brightness and color uniformity across the entire image.  Just the geometry
of the thing - the change distance from the gun to the screen as the beam
is scanned, the changing spot size and shape, etc. - makes this nearly
impossible, and there can also be variations in the phosphor screen, the
thickness of the faceplate, etc..  Typical brightness-uniformity specs
are that the brightness won't drop to less than 70% or so of the center
value (usually the brightest spot on the screen).

On color tubes, the lack of perfect brightness uniformity is aggravated
by the lack of perfect *color* uniformity and purity.  What appear to be
"dark spots" on a solid gray image may actually be beam mislanding (color
purity) problems, which may to some degree be remedied by degaussing
the monitor.  

Again, *some* variation is normal; if you think you're seeing too much, you
can try degaussing the thing and seeing if that helps.  If it doesn't,
then the question is whether or not the product meets its published specs,
and that is something you'll have to discuss with the manufacturer or

  6.7) Contrast ratio of CRTs

(From: Don Stauffer (

Apparently CRTs have made quite an increase lately.  Years ago when I
looked into it, CRTs were not much better than about 20:1.  Now, folks
are claiming well over 40:1.

One thing to watch, though.  The phosphor has two decay curves, a rapid
one followed by a slow one.  A change in scene can lower contrast ratio
of a bar chart that appears in a region that was a large white area.

(From: Steve Eckhardt (

This comment makes me curious about the claims made by manufacturers of video
projectors. Visually, their images have lots of resolution but mediocre
contrast at large scale. A video monitor looks a lot better in contrast.  The
manufacturers, however, claim contrast ratios of 100:1 or better.

Are the numbers simply marketing hyperbole or have I missed something

There are several methods for arriving at the advertised numbers for contrast.
One is to simply advertise the number for the imager and ignore the
degradation due to the rest of the system.  Another is to measure the
illuminance of a white screen compared to a black screen.  The best way is to
use the ANSI method and advertise ANSI contrast, which is the practice at 3M.
We really do sell projectors that achieve 100:1 contrast when measured by the
ANSI standard.  This is, however, a relatively recent achievement.  LCD
projectors are improving at a rapid rate.

CRT projectors are an alternate technology that I know little about, but they
have characteristics that allow them to produce very high localized contrast.
This can make displays and projectors based on CRT's look superior to anything
an LCD can produce.

(From: Don Stauffer (

One big problem with LCD displays, projection or otherwise, is view angle.  In
order to cut off the light completely, polarization needs to be controlled to
a couple of degrees.  The LCD works by affecting the rotation, so many degrees
per unit distance through the crystal.  But the total path through the crystal
depends on view angle.  So max contrast may be only over a small field
angle. Now, games can be played with this in projection optics, but it is

  6.8) CRT deflection angle

What does this mean?  What is the difference between a 110 degree tube and a
90 degree tube?

This is the maximum angle the beam makes with respect to the gun axis to fill
the screen. 

* All other factors being equal, a 110 degree tube is shorter than a 90 degree
  tube.  This is the principle advantage of higher deflection angle CRTs.

* High deflection angles means higher deflection power for a given
  accelerating (2nd anode) voltage.

* Higher deflection angle CRTs are more difficult to converge and maintain
  focus, purity, and uniform brightness across the screen.  Reducing geometric
  errors is more challenging.  Yoke design is also trickier.

In the early days, 60 degrees was considered high tech.  110 degrees is about
the practical limit for TV CRTs now.  Give me a 90 degree CRT any day.
Monitor tubes are usually 90 degrees.

  6.9) About the quality of monitor focus

"I have 2 identical monitors.  One is razor sharp from edge to edge.  The
 other is blurred at the corners- not from convergence problems, but just
 plain out of focus.  In this monitor, the focus adjustment on the flyback
 can improve the focus at the edges, but then the center of the screen
 becomes worse..My question is : Is this a problem in the electronics and
 presumably a fixable flaw or is it caused by variance in the picture tube
 itself and not correctable ?  Or is it some other issue?"

(From: Bob Myers (

The adjustment on the flyback sets the "static" focus voltage, which is
a DC voltage applied to the focus electrode in the CRT.  However, a single
fixed focus voltage will not give you the best focus across the whole CRT
screen, for the simple reason that the distance from the gun to the screen
is different at the screen center than it is in the corners.  (The beam
SHAPE is basically different in the corners, too, since the beam strikes
the screen at an angle there, but that's another story.)  To compensate
for this, most monitors include at least some form of "dynamic" focus, which
varies the focus voltage as the image is scanned.  The controls for the
dynamic focus adjustment will be located elsewhere in the monitor, and 
will probably have at LEAST three adjustments which may to some degree
interact with one another.  Your best bet, short of having a service
tech adjust it for you, would be to get the service manual for the unit
in question.

It is also possible that the dynamic focus circuitry has failed, leaving 
only the static focus adjust.

As always, DO NOT attempt any servicing of a CRT display unless you are
familiar with the correct procedures for SAFELY working on high-voltage
equipment.  The voltages in even the smallest CRT monitor can be lethal.

  6.10) Comments on color purity, set orientation, and doming

"The problem with my TV is that bright parts of the picture change color.
 For example, white areas may shift towards yellow or blue depending on the 
 orientation of the set.

 What are the possible causes of doming?  I have noticed that the magnitude of 
 the doming effect varies with TV orientation even after degaussing several
 times at the new orientation.  Does this help identify the cause of the
 doming in my case?"

(Portions from: Jeroen Stessen (

The problem with regular shadow masks is 'doming'. Due to the inherent
principle of shadow masks, 2/3 or more of all beam energy is dissipated
in the mask. Where static bright objects are displayed, it heats up several
hundred degrees. This causes thermal expansion, with local warping of the
mask. The holes in the mask move to a different place and the projections
of the electron beams will land on the wrong colours: purity errors.
The use of invar allows about 3 times more beam current for the same
purity errors.

Both local doming and magnetic fields compete for the remaining landing
reserve. Due to improper degaussing, the doming problem may be more visible.
And applying a tube designed for the wrong hemisphere may very well increase
the doming complaints.  It is possible to deliberately offset the nominal
landing in order to get more doming reserve (the shift due to doming is
always to the outside of the tube).  You would do this using spoiler magnets
put in the right places.

Permanently setting the contrast lower is not a real cure because the customer
might not like such a dark picture. A better picture tube (Invar shadow mask)
*is* a good cure (in most cases) but there is the cost price increase.  (This
is mainly due to the fact that Invar metal is harder to etch.)

Also see the section: "What is doming?".

  6.11) Difference in color rendition between CRTs

(From: Jeroen H. Stessen (

There can be several reasons why primary colours (especially red) may 
look different between picture tube brands:

1. Different phosphor composition. In the beginning everybody was looking for
   the phosphors with the highest luminous efficiency. Nowadays with the trend
   to avoid heavy metals, particularly cadmium, in consumer products the
   composition had to be changed. This shifts the colour point.

2. Back scattering. Not all electrons that hit the shadow mask are absorbed. 
   In fact, a quite high percentage is scattered back into the empty space 
   between gun and mask. If they bounce back again from internal metal parts,
   then they may find their way to the screen and activate an arbitrary
   phosphor element. This increases the black level and reduces saturation of
   the primary colours. Red turns a bit towards orange.  Even with good
   phosphors, large area colours will be less than perfect.
   Triple-CRT projection TVs do not have this problem, fantastic red!

3. Colour filters. Toshiba has developed a process where they put individual
   colour filters between glass and phosphor. This makes the black much better
   and also improves the colour points when unwanted spectral lines are

4. There can also be differences with respect to the NTSC system, like wrong
   matrix from YUV to RGB. The definition in the Japanese NTSC system differs
   from the USA NTSC system and the signal processing should take that into

  6.12) Purple blob - or worse

Have you tried demagnetizing it?  Try powering it off for a half hour, then
on.  Repeat a couple of times.  This should activate the internal degausser.
See the section: "Degaussing (demagnetizing) a CRT".

Is there any chance that someone waved a magnet hear the tube?  Remove it
and/or move any items like monster speakers away from the set.

Was your kid experimenting with nuclear explosives - an EMP would magnetize
the CRT.  Nearby lightning strikes may have a similar effect.

If demagnetizing does not help, then it is possible that something shifted
on the CRT - there are a variety of little magnets that are stuck on at the
time of manufacture to adjust purity.  There are also service adjustments
but it is unlikely (though not impossible) that these would have shifted
suddenly.  This may be a task for a service shop but you can try your
hand at it if you get the Sams' Photofact or service manual - don't attempt
purity adjustments without one.

If the monitor or TV was dropped, then the internal shadow mask of the CRT may
have become distorted or popped loose and you now have a hundred pound paper
weight.  If the discoloration is slight, some carefully placed 'refrigerator'
magnets around the periphery of the tube might help.  See the section:
"Magnet fix for purity problems - if duct tape works, use it!".

It is even possible that this is a 'feature' complements of the manufacturer.
If certain components like transformers and loudspeakers are of inferior
design and/or are located too close to the CRT, they could have an effect
on purity.  Even if you did not notice the problem when the set was new,
it might always have been marginal and now a discoloration is visible due
to slight changes or movement of components over time.

  6.13) Magnet fix for purity problems - if duct tape works, use it!

The approach below will work for slight discoloration that cannot be eliminated
through degaussing.  However, performing the standard purity adjustments
would be the preferred solution.  On the other hand, the magnets may be quick
and easy.  And, where CRT has suffered internal distortion or dislocation of
the shadow mask, adjustments may not be enough.

In any case, first, relocate those megablaster loudspeakers and that MRI
scanner with the superconducting magnets.

The addition of some moderate strength magnets carefully placed to reduce or
eliminate purity problems due to a distorted or dislocated shadow mask may be
enough to make the TV usable - if not perfect.  The type of magnets you want
are sold as 'refrigerator magnets' and the like for sticking up notes on steel
surfaces.  These will be made of ferrite material (without any steel) and will
be disks or rectangles.  Experiment with placement using masking tape to hold
them in place temporarily.  Degauss periodically to evaluate the status of
your efforts.  Then, make the 'repair' permanent using duct tape or silicone
sealer or other household adhesive.

Depending on the severity of the purity problem, you may need quite a few
magnets!  However, don't get carried away and use BIG speaker or magnetron
magnets - you will make the problems worse.

Also note that unless the magnets are placed near the front of the CRT, very
significant geometric distortion of the picture will occur - which may be a
cure worse than the disease.

WARNING: Don't get carried away while positioning the magnets - you will be
near some pretty nasty voltages!

(From: Mr. Caldwell (

I ended up with the old 'stuck on a desert island trick':

I duck taped 2 Radio Shack magnets on the case, in such a way
as to pull the beam back.!!!!

A $2 solution to a $200 problem.  My friend is happy as heck.

RCA sells magnets to correct corner convergence, they are shaped like chevrons 
and you stick them in the 'right' spot on the rear of the CRT.

  6.14) Contour lines on high resolution monitors - Moire

These fall into the category of wavey lines, contour lines, or light and dark
bands even in areas of constant brightness.  These may be almost as fine
as the dot pitch on the CRT or 1 or 2 cm or larger and changing across the
screen.  If they are more or less fixed on the screen and stable, then
they are not likely to be outside interference or internal power supply
problems.  (However, if the patterns are locked to the image, then there
could be a problem with the video board.)

One cause of these lines is moire (interference patterns) between the
raster and the dot structure of the CRT.  Ironically, the better the focus
on the tube, the worse this is likely to be.  Trinitrons, which do not
have a vertical dot structure should be immune to interference of this sort
from the raster lines (but not from the horizontal pixel structure).

You can test for moire by slowly adjusting the vertical size.  If it is moire,
you should see the pattern change in location and spatial frequency as slight
changes are made to size.  Changes to vertical position will move the patterns
without altering their structure - but they will not remain locked to
the moving image.

If they are due to the raster line structure - your focus is too good - the
patterns will remain essentially fixed in position on the face of the CRT
for horizontal size and position adjustments - the patterns will remain
fixed under the changing image.

How to eliminate it?  If moire is your problem, then there may be no easy
answer.  For a given resolution and size, it will either be a problem or
not.  You can try changing size and resolution - moire is a function
of geometry.  Ironically, I have a monitor which is nicer in this respect
at 1024x768 interlaced than at 800x600 non-interlaced.

Some monitors have a 'Moire Reduction Mode' switch, control, or mode.  This
may or may not be of help.  One way to do this is - you guessed it - reduce
the sharpness of the beam spot and make the picture fuzzier!  You might
find the cure worse than the disease.

Another cause of similar problems is bad video cable termination
creating reflections and ghosting which under certain conditions can be so
severe as to mimic Moire effects.  This is unlikely to occur in all colors
with a VGA display since the termination is internal to the monitor and
individual resistors are used for each color (RGB).

I think it is ironic that some people will end up returning otherwise superb
monitors because of moire - when in many cases this is an indication of most
excellent focus - something many people strive for!  You can always get rid of
it - the converse is not necessarily true!

  6.15) Moire and shadow mask dot pitch

(From: (Bob Myers)).

The density of the holes in the shadow mask set an upper limit on the
resolution supported by that monitor.  Lower resolutions work just fine;
there is no need to have the logical pixels in the image line up with the
physical holes in the mask (nor is there any mechanism to make this happen),
and so you can think of this as the "larger pixels" of the lower-res image
simply covering more than one hole or slot in the mask.

As the effective size of the pixels in the image approach the spacing of
the mask holes, individual pixels are no longer guaranteed to cover enough
phosphor dots on the screen to ensure that they are constant color or constant
luminance, but an image will still be displayed which ON AVERAGE (over a
reasonably large area) looks OK.  Actually, the specified "top end"
format ("resolution") for most monitors usually is at or slightly beyond
this point - the effective pixel size is somewhat UNDER the dot pitch.

  6.16) Isolated spots on display

These could be a problem with the video source - bad pixels in the video
card's frame buffer or bad spots on a camcorder's CCD, for example.
Or, they could be dirt or dead phosphor areas in the CRT.  Except for
problems with the on-screen character generator, it is unlikely that the
monitor's circuitry would be generating isolated spots.

You can easily distinguish between video problems and CRT problems - missing
pixels due to the video source will move on the screen as you change raster
position.  CRT defects will remain stationary relative to the screen and will
generally be much more sharply delineated as well.

There is a specification for the number and size of acceptable CRT blemishes
so you may have to whine a bit to convince the vendor to provide a replacement
monitor under warranty.

  6.17) Disposing of dead TVs or monitors (CRTs and charged HV capacitors)

I don't know what the law says, but for safety, here is my recommendation:

Treat the CRT with respect - the implosion hazard should not be minimized.
A large CRT will have over 10 tons of air pressure attempting to crush it.
Wear eye protection whenever dealing with the CRT.  Handle the CRT by the
front - not the neck or thin funnel shaped envelope.  Don't just toss it
in the garbage - it is a significant hazard.  The vacuum can be safely
released (Let out?  Sucked in?  What does one do with an unwanted vacuum?)
without spectacular effects by breaking the glass seal in the center of the
CRT socket (may be hidden by the indexing plastic of the socket).  Cover the
entire CRT with a heavy blanket when doing this for additional protection.
Once the vacuum is gone, it is just a big glass bottle though there may be
some moderately hazardous materials in the phosphor coatings and of course,
the glass and shadow mask will have many sharp edges if it is broken.

In addition, there could be a nice surprise awaiting anyone disconnecting the
high voltage wire - that CRT capacitance can hold a charge for quite a while.
Since it is being scrapped, a screwdriver under the suction cap HV connector
should suffice.

The main power supply filter caps should have discharged on their own
after any reasonable length of time (measured in terms of minutes, not
days or years).

Of course around here, TVs and monitors (well, wishful thinking as I
have yet to see a decent monitor on the curb) are just tossed intact
which is fortunate for scavengers like me who would not be happy at
all with pre-safed equipment of this type!

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

We have a procedure for disposing of used CRT's. The vacuum must be broken to
avoid future implosion, like when it will be crushed by the dumpster truck
press. That's NOT funny!  One method is to punch or drill a small hole in the
anode contact, which is made of a soft metal. But take care of the electrical
discharge of the aquadag capacitance first!!!

The other method is to break the stem in the centre of the socket pins.  This
is the stem through which the tube was pumped empty during manufacturing. It
breaks off easily (after you have removed the plastic part around the pins).

You want to avoid making too large holes, like for example from chopping off
the entire neck in one blow with a hammer.

  6.18) CRT implosion risk?

Also see the section: "Disposing of dead TVs or monitors (CRTs and charged HV capacitors)".

(From: Jeroen Stessen (

I have checked with our CRT expert and he thinks that any 'normal' type of
scratch does not pose any danger.  Usual disclaimer applies ... (what is

The front of the tube is much thicker and stronger than the rear. It has to
be, to withstand the air pressure, because the curvature radius is so much
larger. You won't break it by throwing a slipper at it. The neck is in fact
very easy to break, usually without causing injuries to anyone.

Normally, if the tube should implode, the rimband (the tensioned steel band
around the rim of all modern CRTs of any size) prevents the glass from flying
outward too far.  Every tube type has to pass tests in which it is deliberately
imploded and it is checked whether any large shrapnel flies too far out.

What *is* very dangerous is a CRT with its rimband missing, or a CRT which
never had a decent rimband in the first place (like some dubious Russian-made
samples we once saw).  Such a tube should not be handled at all.  NEVER ever
attempt to remove the rimband for and reason!

I just saw a picture tube that was broken due to dropping the (entire) TV on
one corner. In the cone (the backside) there are open cracks of some 3 feet
length in total. Nevertheless all the glass is still in its original place
and it looks as if no glass has flown outward. The faceplate is still intact.
So in this case nobody would have got hurt.  I remember reading about Americans
(who else?) who tried to  shoot CRT's with smaller rifles, with little or no

Does this comfort you? Get out the shotgun and have a go at it!

Or, perhaps, the following:

(From: Ren Tescher (

Our 6 month old 20" SGI color monitor (model GDM-20D11) lost a fight with a
fork lift.  The case is intact, the CRT probably still has a vacuum, but the
outer layer of glass on the screen is shattered.

  6.19) Purpose of a separate CRT faceplate

The surface of the screen you see is most often part of the CRT envelope.
In this case, there should be a tensioned steel band - a rimband - around
the edge of the CRT near the front.  The rimband is essential to assure the
structural integrety of the CRT envelope against the emmense forces due to
the air pressure attempting to crush it.  In the event of a catastrophic
event, the rimband will also reduce the range and velocity of any debrie.
This is called 'integral implosion protection' by some manufacturers.  

Warning: A CRT that is supposed to have a rimband but where it is missing
or damaged is a serious hazard since the possibility of implosion is greatly
increased and the effects of such an implosion will be more severe.  However,
such a situation is virtually impossible to occur on its own since the rimband
is part of the mounting bracket assembly.  Don't be tempted to remove the
rimband for any reason!

In some cases, there will be a separate faceplate.  Older TVs usually had
either a totally separate laminated glass plate in front of the CRT or a
contoured glass panel bonded (glued) to the CRT itself.  Part of its purpose
is protective.  It would prevent damage to the CRT in the event of a blow
from a thrown object like an ashtray or shoe!  In addition, it would contain
the debrie in the unlikely event of an implosion resulting from some really
catastrophic event.

However, the separate or bonded glass plate can also be used for cosmetic
purposes to:

* Improve contrast in a bright light by using a tinted glass.

* Reduce reflection by using an anti-reflection coating.

* Iron out the bumps by using a glass plate smoother than the CRT.

* Give the impression of a flatter display by using a glass plate with a larger
  radius of curvature than the CRT itself.

* Give the impression of a Sony Trinitron by using a cylindrical (plastic)
  plate in front of a real-flat rear-projection screen.

  6.20) Picture tube disassembly for demonstration purposes

"I am interested in using a dead CRT for a display at our science center on
 how things work and know about the safety issues.  Also, I would really like
 to cut one (or parts of one) open, so it would be great to know what other
 things to worry about or what tools to use."

(Portions from: Jeroen H. Stessen (

Back in the TV-lab we have an unassembled picture tube for that purpose.  Most

* First, make sure that the electrical capacitance of the CRT is properly
  discharged. Pull the mains plug. Connect a wire to the outer aquadag. Then
  push it under the anode cap and make a good short-circuit. Remove the anode
  cap and EHT wire.

* Next you want to break the vacuum. This is my preferred method:

  - Use a sharp object or a drill to punch a small hole in the anode contact.
    It's made of really soft metal, probably copper.  It takes several minutes
    for the air to fill the entire tube.  In the mean time you can have some
    fun putting your finger over the hole. No, that's not harmful.

  - The other way to break the vacuum is via the thin tube that was used to
    pump the air out of the tube. That is located in the middle of the socket
    at the end of the neck. Remove the plastic part around the pins and break
    the little tube by hitting it with e.g. the tip of a screwdriver (+hammer).
    If you score it with a fine triangular file, it will crack off cleanly.

  I like this method less, for fear of breaking too much glass.

* You might also want to cut off the neck for easier manipulation and study of
  the electron gun parts.  Use a glass cutting saw if one is available. Else,
  score totally around the neck with a fine triangular file or glass cutter and
  then it should snap fairly cleanly.

  Don't just chop off the neck - especially if you have not released the
  vacuum.  Aside from the danger of flying bits of glass, you get a very
  characteristic dirty spot on the front of the screen, it looks as if the
  phosphor layer has been blown away from the faceplate by the strong inrush
  of air. Or maybe it was the shadow mask being blown against the faceplate.
  Very tell-tale and spoils your nice display.

* The deflection coils (and purity/convergence magnet assembly, if used) are
  also easily removed. Loosen the clamps and twist and slide them off of the
  neck.  It's best to find an old tube where the coils have not been potted
  (against the noise they tend to make).  Then you can see them very well.

* The difficult part will be to cut the connection between faceplate and
  funnel.  Normally the two parts are glued together. I think it will require
  a glass cutting saw to get the tube open again.

  You want to separate it just behind the faceplate or else there will not be
  enough space to grab and remove the shadow mask.  That's just clicked into
  place, very easy to unclick.

"I would assume the phosphors are a problem...  Any things I need to know
 about chemical hazards?"

Old tubes had environmentally unfriendly phosphors, containing heavy metals
such as cadmium and some rare earths. Nothing immediately toxic but the
long-term effects are not healthy either. Modern tubes should at least have
cadmium-free phosphor. But the phosphor is covered with a metal layer, so
normally it would not even be exposed. Just don't touch it.

"Or that we would need to bond a cover over the exposed interior components
 both for safety and to keep them intact?"

Obviously, you will want to prevent the curious from being injured by sharp
metal parts but nothing will fall apart (assuming your original disassembly
was not overly violent).  The internal magnetic screen is attached to the
shadow mask, which is clicked into metal parts at the face plate. The whole
assembly removes easily.

Have fun, this is going to be a wonderful demonstration of
a very practical application of some heavy *physics*.

  6.21) Picture tube implosion - but your really need to work at it!

As noted elsewhere in this document, picture tube implosion is a hazard but
under normal conditions, quite unlikely.

(From: Dan Evens (

In high school, our electronics teacher did a demo for each class.  He saved
out an old black-and-white tube for each class and set up a place to break it.
Put the tube on the ground by a brick wall, with a hammer suspended on a wire
from the top of the wall. Did it on the driveway so that the glass would be
easier to pick up. The tube was placed image-side down.

First he pulled the hammer back about 20 feet and just let it go. It bounced
off the tube. This was to show that such tubes are pretty tough.  Then he
pulled the hammer back and gave it a pretty good shove, turning his back to
the tube and moving quickly away from it. (Let's face it, the guy could
probably have found a safer way to do this.)

Palm sized chunks of glass flew 50 feet. The noise was quite impressive. The
thickness of the image plate of the tube was also quite impressive. Kind of
looked like a porthole on a submarine. This was from the tube of a small
black-and-white TV, about 14 inches or so.  One of the larger colour models
might be a LOT more violent.

If I was handling these things in such a way as to have the possibility of
dropping one, I'd insist on body armor and face protection. And if it involves
a picture tube, I insist on competent trained professionals for service.

  6.22) Lifespans of Monitors

(From: Bob Myers (

Most manufacturers will quote an MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of
somewhere in the 30,000 to 60,000 hour range, EXCLUSIVE OF the CRT.  The
typical CRT, without an extended-life cathode, is usually good for
10,000 to 15,000 hours before it reaches half of its initial brightness.
Note that, if you leave your monitor on all the time, a year is just about
8,000 hours.

The only 'tune-up that a monitor should need, exclusive of adjustments
needed following replacement of a failed component, would be video amplifier
and/or CRT biasing adjustments to compensate for the aging of the tube.
These are usually done only if you're using the thing in an application where
exact color/brightness matching is important.  Regular degaussing of the
unit may be needed, of course, but I'm not considering that a tune-up or

  6.23) Monitor life, energy conservation, and laziness

A common misconception about the care and feeding of computer monitors is that
they should be left on all the time.  While there are some advantages to this,
there are many more disadvantages:

1. CRT Life: The life of a monitor is determined by the life of the CRT.
   The CRT is by far the most expensive single part and it is usually not
   worth repairing a monitor in which the CRT requires replacement.
   The brightness half-life of a CRT is usually about 10-15 K hours of on time
   independent of what is being displayed on the screen.  10 K hours
   is only a little more than a year.  By not turning the monitor off at
   night, you are reducing the life of the monitor by a factor of 2-3.
   Screen savers do not make any substantial difference especially with
   modern displays using X-Windows or MS Windows where the screen layout is
   not fixed.  With video display terminals, the text always came up in the
   same position and eventually burned impressions into the screen phosphor.

2. Component life: The heat generated inside a monitor tends to dry out parts
   like electrolytic capacitors thus shortening their life.  These effects are
   particularly severe at night during the summer when the air conditioning
   may be off but it is still a consideration year around.

3. Safety:  While electronic equipment designed and manufactured in accordance
   with the National Electrical Codes is very safe, there is always a small
   risk of catastrophic failure resulting in a fire.  With no one around,
   even with sprinklers and smoke alarms, such an failure could be much
   more disasterous.

4. Energy use:  While modern monitors use a lot less energy than their
   older cousins, the aggregate energy usage is not something to be ignored.
   A typical monitor uses between 60 and 200 Watts.  Thus at a $.10 per KWH
   electric rate such a monitor will cost between $48 and $160 a year
   for electricity.  During the night, 1/2 to 2/3 of this is wasted for
   every monitor that is left on.  If air conditioning is on during the
   night, then there is the additional energy usage needed to remove this
   heat as well - probably about half the cost of the electricity to run
   the monitor.

The popular rationalization for what is most often just laziness is that
power-on is a stressful time for any electronic device and reducing the
number of power cycles will prolong the life of the monitor.  With a properly
designed monitor, this is rarely an issue.  Can you recall the last time
a monitor blew up when it was turned on?  The other argument, which has more
basis in reality is that the thermal cycling resulting from turning a monitor
on and off will shorten its life.  It is true that such thermal stress can
contribute to various kinds of failures due to bad solder connections.
However, these can be easily repaired and do not effect the monitor's
heart - the CRT.  You wouldn't leave your TV on 24 hours a day, would you?

Also see the section: "Thernal cycling and component life".

Some of the newest ('green') monitors have energy conserving capabilities.
However, it is necessary for the software to trigger these power reduction or
power down modes.  Few monitors in actual use and fewer workstations or PCs
are set up to support these features.  If you have such a monitor and computer
to support it, by all means set up the necessary power off/power down timers.
However, using the power saving modes of a 'green' PC with an older monitor
can potentially cause damage since some of the modes disable the sync signals.
A 'green' monitor which can detect a blank screen and and use this as a trigger
can easily be used with a screen saver which can be set to display a blank
screen - on any PC or workstation.

Even if the monitor does not support power saving modes, a blank screen or
dark picture will reduce stress on the CRT and power supply.  Electronic
components will run cooler and last longer.

Please make it a habit to turn your monitors off at night.  This will extend
the life of the monitor (and your investment) and is good for the environment
as well.  For workstations, there are good reasons to leave the system unit
on all the time.  However, the monitor should be turned off using its power
switch.  For PCs, my recommendation is that the entire unit be turned off at
night since the boot process is very quick and PCs are generally not required
to be accessible over a network 24 hours a day.

  6.24) Thernal cycling and component life

(From: Bob Myers (

In a CRT monitor, the shortest-lived component BY FAR is the CRT itself,
and it ages (more properly, the cathode is aging) as long as the heater
is on and the tube is under bias.  Most monitors don't get around to turning
the heater down or off until they enter the DPMS "suspend" or "off" modes.
(And no, screen-savers do NOT help here - the tube is still on and the
cathode is aging.)

Other factors - simply having the circuits hot and powered up in general
means that they're aging.  Clearly, they're NOT aging when they're off.
This needs to be balanced against the thermal-cycling sort of stresses that
you mention which happen during power cycling, and this is why I recommend
shutting off only when you're going to be away for an extended period, such
as overnight.  This is, of course, most important for those components which
have clear heat-related aging, but most do to some extent.  Esp. vulnerable
are things like electrolytic caps, for obvious reasons.

The bottom line is that nothing is ever going to last forever, and trying
to maximize the life of the product is an exercise in making tradeoffs between
various aging/failure mechanisms.

  6.25) Why are prices of video monitors so high compared to similarly sized TVs?

How come I can buy a 32" Sony Trinitron TV set for $800, but when it comes
to buying a monitor for my PC, $1400 only gets me a no-name 20" tube?

Why can't a giant like Sony produce a PC monitor anywhere close in cost to
an equivalently sized TV set?

(Some of this from: Mike Stewart (

There are several significant factors being overlooked here:

1. Economy of scale. There are still *many* more TV sets being sold than
   computer monitors. Manufacturers order TV chipsets in much larger
   quantities. This drives down the price.

2. Resolution. NTSC TV signals aren't even VGA resolution. Try getting that
   32" Sony Trinitron XBR to give you 1280x1024.  A computer monitor has a
   CRT with a resolution about 2 to 3 times that of a TV of similar size in
   both horizontal and vertical directions.  The beam is also more sharply

3. Refresh rates. NTSC TV signals come at one refresh rate, period. You
   either watch broadcast NTSC at 59.94Hz (interlaced), or you don't watch
   it at all. No nice, clean 72Hz NI display on there. (NOTE: This only
   refers to the 99+% of TV playback equipment that contains no line-
   doubling circuitry. That's fair, as you'll pay a good bit more for a
   non-interlaced, line-doubled NTSC picture than the previous poster
   was complaining about, anyway.)

   Therefore, a auto-scan monitor needs more sophisticated deflection
   and power supply circuitry.  It must run at much higher scan rates
   and this complicates the circuitry as well.

5. Geometry. The precision of a good computer monitor is much greater then
   any TV.  The sides will be parallel and square.  Adjustments are provided
   to eliminate pincushion, keystone, and trapizoid distortions.

6. Stability. The image on a high quality computer monitor is rock solid
   and does not shift position or change size as components warm up, or the
   power line voltage fluctuates, etc.

  6.26) Problems with designing a combination TV and computer monitor

(The following is from: Bob Myers (

It's possible, and has been done (for instance, Toshiba has one product
and offerings from other companies are available or are on the way).  But
such designs ARE compromises, and won't give the best performance possible
in either application.

There is a fundamental difference between CRTs designed for TV use,
and those used in computer monitors.  It's a brightness/resolution
tradeoff - TV tubes are run about 3X or so the brightness of a typical
computer monitor, but sacrifice the ability to use small spot sizes
and fine dot pitches to do this.  You don't see very many color tubes
running at 100 - 150 fL brightness and still using an 0.28 mm pitch!

  6.27) CRT replacement worth it?

The sad fact is that even if you can obtain a new CRT you won't have the proper
set up for getting proper alignment and convergence. They generally use various
permanent magnet glued to the perimeter of the yoke to set the geometry of the 
raster. It takes a special factory jig to do this step or really great
persistence and patience.  However, if you have the time and will resist
punching a hole in the new CRT before you finish, by all means.

Also, consider the cost of a new CRT may be more than half the cost of the
monitor when it was new.

Replacing a monochrome CRT is a snap in comparison.

A better (or at least less stressful) approach is to locate a monitor that died
due to a circuit problem and salvage the CRT including the yoke and all the
other magical magnets and coils.

(From: Andy Cuffe (

I have found that most 15" monitors use compatible CRTs.  I just put the CRT
from an old Gateway2000 with analog controls into a nice 2 year old monitor.
As long as the yokes and CRT sockets are similar it should work fine.  Don't
try to swap the yokes or you will never get it converged.

  6.28) Rebuilt CRTs

(From: B. K. Richardson (
Try Hawkeye.  They have been giving us good service for at least 15 years.
Their rebuilds are covered by warranty.
* Hawk-Eye Picture Tube Mfg., Inc.
  724 Scott Avenue, Des Moines, IA. 50309-5052
  Phone: 515-288-8567
  Fax: 515-288-8568

Suppliers of standard & high resolution color and monochrome picture tubes.

  6.29) Shipping damage why monitors are like basketballs

(From: Stephen Swann (

Monitors are more prone to shipping damage than most other computer
components, and it doesn't help that they typically pass through several
people's hands (several stages of shipping) before they get to you:
factory -> distribution center -> vendor -> you.

And from what I've seen first hand of shipping practices (I put in a
couple of months working in a distribution warehouse during college),
you can safely assume that each stage of shipping is roughly the
equivalent of your monitor being dropped down a flight of stairs.

You wouldn't *believe* the abuse that UPS and FedEx can subject
packages to.  In fact, putting a *FRAGILE* sign on the side of the box
is about the equivalent of writing "KICK ME" on it.  I remember
receiving packages marked "FRAGILE" where the (originally cubical)
cardboard boxes had been smashed into shapeless cardboard "bags", and
it took us 20 minutes to figure out what the contents of the box had
originally been.  ("What are all these shards?"  "I think it was some
kind of vase" "No, it was some kind of lamp."  "Where's the bulb
socket, then?"  "How about this squashed piece of aluminum?"  "Yeah,
you're right, but where's the cord then?"  etc).  :-) Shipping guys
would think nothing of dropping "fragile" boxes from waist-high onto a
concrete floor - safe in the knowledge that the package had passed
through so many hands that the damage could never possibly be traced
back to them.  "Blameless is Guiltless" should be the motto of these

Basically, what I'm saying is that if 1 monitor in 3 arrives arrives
in workable condition, you should be surprised that even that one
monitor survived.

  6.30) What is Aquadag?

You may see the term 'Aquadag' referring the the black paint covering the
outside of most of the funnel section of the CRT.

(From: Nicholas Bodley (

Aquadag used to be a trademark of Acheson Colloids [Corp.?], I think
around Niagara Falls or Buffalo, NY. It was one of many "-dag" colloidal
graphites; they also made Oildag, Gredag (grease), and Alcoholdag, as I
recall. Unfortunately, it's probably sold in 55-gallon drums minimum. I
hope you can find smaller quantities. Are there any CRT rebuild shops
around the USA?  See the Thomas Catalog (ThomCat) in a library to find

I am pretty sure there's nothing magic about the graphite. If you can find
some reasonably-priced nickel-flake or copper-flake paint (be sure it's
conductive!), you might have an affordable (?) coating. How about plain
metal foil, maybe even ordinary aluminum foil? You surely don't need
current-carrying capacity; you would need a decent adhesive, though. How
to make sure you have continuity between pieces, I'm not so sure; shoot
for really tight crimps that deform the metal and are gas-tight. (This
might, however, be quite unnecessary.) 

  6.31) Additional information on discharging CRTs

You may hear that it is only safe to discharge from the Ultor to the Dag.
So, what the @#$% are they talking about? :-).

(From: Asimov (mike.ross@juxta.mnet.pubnix.ten)).

'Dag' is short for Aquadag. It is a type of paint made of a graphite pigment
which is conductive. It is painted onto the inside and outside of picture
tubes to form the 2 plates of a high voltage filter capacitor using the glass
in between as dielectric. This capacitor is between .005uF and .01uF in
value. This seems like very little capacity but it can store a substantial
charge with 25,000 volts applied.

The outside "dag" is always connected to the circuit chassis ground via a
series of springs, clips, and wires around the picture tube. The high voltage
or "Ultor" terminal must be discharged to chassis ground before working on the
circuit especially with older TV's which didn't use a voltage divider to
derive the focus potential or newer TV's with a defective open divider.

  6.32) What does it take to be a picture tube rebuilder, really?

(From: Charles Godard (

Back in the late 50's A Tech friend of mine built a picture tube rebuilding
plant from scratch.  He made a living with it for a few years selling rebuilt
b&w tubes.  Everybody around said he sold the best rebuilt tubes that you
could get.  He said the secret was in the good vacuum pump and that he used
and the amount of time that he pumped down the tube.

He always said that a tube could be made to last practically forever if you
could get a high enough vacuum on it.  The only real money he put into his
plant was in the pump.

A few years ago he retired and brought the whole thing down to my shop for
storage.  It was a marvel to behold.  The cooker was an old upright deep
freeze with a pyrex pie plate for a window.  The lathe where he welded the
tube necks onto the tube was built of scraps of angle iron with a washing
machine motor.  The device that he used to cut the necks off of the tube was a
model railroad controller with a homemade foot pedal and a couple of whittled
down broomsticks with metal tips shaped so that you could easily fold the
nichrome wire around the tube neck.  He said it was the only transformer he
could find, at the time, that would hold up to heat the wire hot enough to cut
the neck off of the tube.  It was very low voltage but would supply hi

He said he had the most trouble when designing the inductance heater but
finally got it built with the help of a local genius who had built one of our
local TV station's nearly from scratch back in the 50's.

In addition to the tube plant, he also designed and got a patent on a cotton
picker.  I've got a copy of his patent on display in my shop.  Some of us only
half believed him for years, when he said he had the patent, but when he died,
we searched the shop and found his patent papers hidden away in a file cabinet
of old Sams Photofacts.

We found the contract where he sold the rights to build and market the picker
for a $500 per picker royalty.  The guy he sold it to took the patent and went
to a nearby state, borrowed $200,000 from the bank with the Patent as
collateral then skipped the country.  My friend never got anything from his
invention, and some of his design ideas were later stolen and incorporated
into some one of the big name picker manufacture's products.

Those old guys were something else.  They could start with a few old scraps
and build something worthwhile and useful.

Speaking of patent's, I've also seen the original patent for the hinges RCA
used to hold up the tops on the old console stereo's.  I made a service call a
few years ago, and the guy's widow showed me the patent and his original
prototype hinges.  The only thing is, they took the idea from the patent and
redesigned it so they wouldn't have to pay our local guy for the hinges.
RCA's redesign didn't work as well as his original, but was recognizable as
his original with only a couple of changes.  RCA 'did him' about the same way
they 'did' Philo Farnsworth.

When I get a slack spell, I'll try the inductance heater to see if it still
works.  If it does, I try it on the tubes and let you know.  I believe you
called it a Tesla coil?

Written by Samuel M. Goldwasser. | [mailto]. The most recent version is available on the WWW server [Copyright] [Disclaimer]