I'm in the process of building a retro-gaming computer out of parts I already own. The brain is a 2007 Macbook housed in the beautiful shell of a 1976 Sony Trinitron Television with a bad picture tube that I couldn't bear to part with.
The end goal is to create an all-in-one portable that runs a controller driven interface so I can plop it down on a table anywhere and play some games. I want it to look as close to original as possible with few if any external case modifications, and keep the knobs and buttons functional in some way, even if they don't directly control the computer. I'm designing as I go, but I'm treading carefully to make the best use of the parts I have.
I'm a decent way into the project, but I've been behind on documenting it. It's turning out to be more complex, but also more successful than anticipated, so I want to make sure I have a log of the process somewhere.
Aside from being able to play games, I wanted to give the television an authentic appearance when it was powered on - which meant adding lights to the channel indicators. It was easy enough to do one, but I wanted to maintain the original behavior of the bottom UHF dial lighting up when the VHF channel was set to “U”.
I had no idea how to do this, because the electromechanical tuners are a mass of gears and metal and wires and I have no idea what any of it does. Luckily, through trial and error, I discovered two contact posts toward the back of the VHF tuner assembly that showed continuity when on channel U, so I patched my ground wires through those posts for the LEDs.
Once I knew it would work, I replaced the old bulbs with new yellow LEDs to match the translucent amber dials. I would love to keep the old bulbs, but they don’t seem to run 5v, so I’ll keep them and maybe try later. The last step was powering it, so I made a board to distribute 5v DC from a laptop USB port, with space to add other LEDs in the future. Finally, I wired in the original TV power switch to the dial lighting to mimic turning on and off the tv.
I’ve installed the tuner assembly back in the front panel and it looks great!