01 December 2008

Wide Screen HDTV Surgery

Our Sony 46" Rear Projection HDTV had a good life. We bought her new in 2003 and had only minor problems. A few months back, she suffered convergence issues that I just didn't want to pay to have fixed. It was a good excuse to look for an LCD wide screen. So the old Sony was banished to the garage to make room for the new Sony Bravia.

With the convergence problems, I couldn't sell the TV except for parts so what to do with it? Crack it open and see what can be salvaged, of course!

After carefully removing 753 (or so) screws, the rear panel, speaker grille, front panel (beznet) and mirror cover pop right off. The first interesting thing I found was 4 sensors around the perimeter of the beznet. These are pointing in, away from the front. It took me a second to realize the coolness of this design. Your average couch potato points the remote at the screen. The IR goes thru the screen, bounces off the mirror, and gets picked up by one or more of the perimeter "bounce-back" sensors. This, in effect, makes a 46" IR sensor. Very cool.

As I stared at all the various boards and wire harnesses, I figured a Service Manual might come in handy. After much Googling, I located a manual at:
forum.electromaniacs.com - Downloads - Service Manuals - Sony - SONY RA6 CHASSIS KP46WT500 PROJECT

I posted a thread on Make Magazine's blog to see if anyone had ideas on tasty parts to take and/or suggestions to do with this thing. The best response was actually what I expected. Maybe some good wires, connectors, and capacitors. But basically boring.

Other than the IR sensors I mentioned above, I haven't seen any cool things. The bulbs were disappointing as they are actually CRTs which don't appear to have any obvious secondary use. The speakers are a keeper as well as the magnifying screen. When the weather cooperates, I'll go back to the garage and see what else has promise.

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