Thursday, June 9, 2016

Arduino and Television display

The best ideas come to me at 3AM when I'm trying to fall asleep.
In EDD our project involved using an ESP8266 WiFi module to communicate with a server. I realized how amazing this $3 module was that I bought a few for myself to play with. I was trying to think of cool projects to build with it when I found this:

This person basically used the ESP8266 to act like a chatbot and display a message.

Recently in our school we sort of adopted the S A D B O Y vaporwave culture ironically. We bought bucket-hats and started spelling English words out in Japanese.
I observed that a key component of vaporwave culture is outdated technology and a hopeless nostalgia to return to the 80s-90s era.

At 3 that night I had an idea to turn a TV into a text display.

Imagine you're in a basement

and theres an old TV sitting there. No cable box, no antenna. Just plugged into the wall.
Suddenly out of nowhere a message appears on the screen. White text on black. It's speaking to YOU.

I think I'm gonna install a camera somewhere and observe the victim, while I type in something creepy and strangely specific based on visual input from the camera like "I like your red shirt".
The television will be receiving input from an Arduino connected to a chat box through the ESP8266.

I think it'll be a lot of fun to build.

I haven't completed it yet, but so far I am able to type text to the serial port and have it displayed on the TV.

I will walk you through the process of the build so far.

Take apart the TV. It should be unplugged of course. Use a screwdriver to short some capacitors if you're paranoid. CRT monitors use a flyback transformer which can do some serious damage to you.
I would recommend vacuuming out spider webs and dust before continuing. It would make the build a lot cleaner, and safer.

You should where the audio and RCA plugs are located on the TV. This is a pic of the circuitboard.

Solder 3 wires: GND, Audio, Video

This is just a fun artsy pic of the electronics inside of a television.

You can get a USB wall charger at Five Below for... $5.
You will need this so that you can power your Arduino inside of your TV without another cord. The idea is so that there is only one cord from the TV: power. The Arduino and all the circuitry will be inside the TV once it's done. The idea is stealth so that the TV looks like it has a soul of its own.

Cut the plug off.

Strip the wire. Cheap chargers like this only have + and - wires

Find where the wall plug power goes into on the TV.

Get two >=18 gauge wires

Solder them onto where the wall power comes it

Solder the other end to the phone charger. The charger is now in parallel to the TV whenever the TV turns on.

You will really want to wrap this well in electrical tape: maybe you even want to seal this off with glue.

When the TV is plugged in, you should get ~5v from the charger.

According to the TVout library, you will need two resistors for the circuit

Make sure you install the TVout library for Arduino.

Wire up the circuit

Upload the TVout example and turn on the TV.

It works!

I wrote my own code which I will publish later that writes to the TV whatever is inputted on the serial monitor. We needed to set a baudrate of 1200 because the TV is very slow.

The future goal is to implement this tiny $3 WiFi module.


I hope you enjoyed!