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Refurbished (rebuilt) picture tubes

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
When a family member passed away I inherited a Toshiba 27AF42 CRT and another small digital Toshiba CRT (wide-screen -- don't recall the model number, it's still in process of being moved to another relative's home). While the 27AF42 is not in terrible shape, its Orion picture tube is showing signs of illness (low-IRE color problems, gamma drooping very low in the brights, image losing sharpness along edges and text, b&w movies look green, etc.).

The previous owner had unshielded stereo speakers on each side of this TV. Sure enough, the screen is discolored. I hired a tech to come over and degauss it, but he said it's probably not worth it, or at least it won't solve the other problems. He sez the picture tube is failing, apparently has been used at full bright and hot color since 2002.

He looked inside and said the phosphors and invar mask would be OK after degaussing. He claims his shop can refurbish (rebuild) the FST Pure picture tube for $200 and a 2-yr warranty. I've heard of companies that rebuild CRTs for pro a/v shops, but I thought it cost more than $200 to rebuild a single tube. Anyone had experience with rebuilt picture tubes or hear anything about them? I've found nothing on the internet.
post #2 of 7
I share your skepticism.
The rebuilt CRTs I've seen for sale were monochrome (red, green or blue) tubes for front projectors.
Replacing the rare-earth phosphors of a color tube sounds really tricky and more expensive than $200 retail.

If he really said "refurbish" rather than rebuild, then why not ask what you are going to get.
I vaguely recall that there is some kind of procedure to "rejuvenate" a tube.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z View Post

I share your skepticism.
The rebuilt CRTs I've seen for sale were monochrome (red, green or blue) tubes for front projectors.
Replacing the rare-earth phosphors of a color tube sounds really tricky and more expensive than $200 retail.

If he really said "refurbish" rather than rebuild, then why not ask what you are going to get.
I vaguely recall that there is some kind of procedure to "rejuvenate" a tube.

Replacing the phosphors isn't part of the process, from what I see at the Hawkeye website (the only real detail I've found on the 'net so far). The phosphors, glass, and Invar mask have to be basically sound before any work takes place. The parts that are replaced are usually the rear RGB gun (I've seen them selling for around $35, parts only), half a dozen color drive transistors (2 for each color), a power management IC, and a few cheap resistors. Then the tube is re-vacuumed and resealed. Finally they perform a basic color purity and convergence re-adjustment. The latter adjustments are almost always done when a new tube or color processor is installed.

From the little info I've seen on the 'net, this is the basic procedure. Replacing the phosphors or mask is out of the question. Once they're gone, all you can do is salvage working parts. One 20-yr-old outfit I found oin the web that does this is http://www.hawkeyepicturetube.com/tv...oductlist.html. I see them mentioned in several posts, but no particular testimony as to how good their work might be. There are hints that a reconditioned tube costs 1/2 the price of a new one (For me, that would be around $200). But from Hawkeye's website it appears they work with bigger shops rather than individuals.

One of the techs who advised this actually called a supplier and confirmed that a rebuilt tube could be acquired, or the tube could be rebuilt, or whatever. Whether the local shop does this work or sends it to a Hawkeye-style shop, I don't know. The convergence adjustment is critical, and I understand that factory jigs are required to do this correctly. I can understand how a joint like Hawkeye can have this gear, but I don't know how a local shop could afford it.

I'll definitely try to get more detail from a local shop if I can, but the few that I've contacted seem a bit tight-lipped about this. Maybe they just don't wanna get into tech lingo with their customers. Basically I just don't trust most small-shop technicians, my experience is that they're usually (not always) honest but just a step above Geek Squad in expertise. I also stopped by a couple of other local shops and asked if they did the work or heard whether it was worth it, but they just said they didn't know any more than I did.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
major CRT restoral by Hawkeye Picture Tubes:

http://www.earlytelevision.org/15GP2...ld_report.html
post #5 of 7
Thanks for the interesting link.

BTW, in the CRT projection world, "rebuilt" usually means that the tube has new phosphor applied. I've seen the terms "rebuilt", "refurbished", "reconditioned" and "rejuvenated" applied to CRTs, but without good definitions.

Regards
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
True, Blue_Z. Until I started this crazy search project, I never knew a few words could be used in so many ways. If it came to replacing phosphors (which means replacing the mask as well), no way I could consider the cost.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I contacted Hawkeye Picture Tubes and found they have a brand-new, unused, inspected surplus A68LUW696X01 CRT for the used 27AF42 TV. Price $149 plus shipping. I also contacted the local tv shop and set up a pickup time for the tv; these are the guys who look as if they can perform the same kind of CRT rebuild ($200) that Hawkeye sez they do. Hopefully both tubes will be OK. When one dies, I can use the other. Or if the rebuild is a disaster, I'll look for someone to install the unused tube.

May as well take the gamble. After 3 years of trying to do precision video restorations with today's HDTV's, I'm just too frustrated to continue. Today's LCD's and plasmas just can't can't display like a good CRT, I don't care how many lines of resolution the new ones offer.

See you later.
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