What is this thing?

A project log for Portable CRT TV with Retropie+Kodi combo

So I bought this old portable black & white TV. What next?

Maciej WitkowiakMaciej Witkowiak 11/12/2019 at 23:330 Comments

I started this project in late October. First few log entries will cover what has already happened.

The item arrived in late October 2019. I was very suprised by its excellent condition. It was spotlessly clean, with no accumulated dust or grease. Only few scratches here and there. As if it was almost never used, even though it came without original packaging.

Seller was truthful - it was fully functional and in working condition.

On the front there is a 4,5" black and white CRT tube. There is a scale for radio and analogue TV tuning and set of six buttons to set time and alarm. I don't have any user manual, but seller was kind enough to set correct time for me before shipping.

On the side there are potentiometers for volume and tone, as well as a wheel for tuning both radio and TV at once. So if you tune into a FM station and then want to go back to TV you would have to find the station again. There are also sliding switches to choose the power mode, TV or radio function and bands. The speaker is on the top and in one corner of the top cover a telescope antenna is hidden.

On the back we have brightness/contrast and VHOLD potentiometers. The device is powered either by 220VAC or 12-15VDC. The power consumption is supposed to be 20W. Under a little cover there is also a 3.5mm jack for external antenna.

So there it is. I was quickly able to check that radio works. I confirmed that the external antenna jack sleeve is connected to the ground and that I could just use stereo audio cable 3.5mm jack to cinch to connect it with C64 or Atari 65XE. This way I confirmed that TV bands and tuning selection also works.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of that. The image was as expected through RF modulation-demodulation - a little bit fuzzy and noisy. There is quite large distortion of the geometry, but I don't know yet how to correct that.

But it was glorious on that little CRT. This amount of contrast between almost total black and very bright white is something that I completely forgot about after years of using LCD monitors.

As you see there is no composite video input. I will have to add it somehow.

But first - how to open this thing and what's inside?