Published by HighDisplay, on November 11th, 2009, in the categories: General information
The CRT monitor is one of those things that you really don't want to fool around it. The capacitors it has are capable of storing electric power for long amounts of time and can prove at least very painful if not deadly. The flyback transformer is especially dangerous since it is capable of producing 10 to 30 kilovolts. So don't try to take apart a computer monitor that has been plugged in and turned on in the last couple of weeks. Like I said before the capacitors inside it can store electric energy for long periods of time.
Supposing that the monitor you want to take apart has been inactive for at least a couple of weeks this is what to want to do. Use a screwdriver to take off the cover and make sure not to tap the board. Also make sure that the screwdriver you use is and electric proof one and not a mechanical one. Mechanical screwdrivers have the metal part of it sticking out of the handle. So the one you use shouldn't have that. The plastic handle should completely cover the metal part. After taking the back of the monitor off make sure that you discharge the flyback transformer. This can be done by using a plug that is connected to the ground. On the back of the screen there is a suction cup with 2 metal rods sticking from it. Put the plug between the metal rods. That's all you need to do to discharge those nasty volts from the CRT monitor if any of them are still inside it. If you think that you can skip the discharge of the flyback transformer, I don't recommend it. It generates more than 10 kV and therefore can give you a nasty shock, burn you or even worse: kill you. I haven't experienced it but I hardly think it wouldn't be pleasant. With the discharge of the flyback transformer out of the way the only real threat remains the weight of the glass tube.
Using the "one hand" rule can save you from a lot of problems. You have a better chance of avoiding problems of electrical nature if your only hand close to the circuitry is the one which holds the screwdriver. Using work gloves is another way to reduce accidents from any leftovers in the capacitors, but since this isn't foolproof you shouldn't think that you can work unharmed, especially if you didn't discharged the flyback transformer.
Since the dangers of the CRT technology are so high, and the risk of getting hurt or even killed is so high even professionals aren't to keen on taking apart computer CRT monitors. The best thing to do with old and useless computer monitors is to take them to centers that collect them and then recycle or dispose of them in a safe way. Although what is written here may help you to take apart you monitor and turn it into an aquarium, for example, leaving stuff like this to professionals is preferred.