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80s-90s Apple CRTs

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I have been poking around in my stash and testing/ rehabilitating some Apple CRTs for the past few days:


1x Apple 12" RGB monitor (tiny unit; 512x384 resolution);

2x Apple 12" Monochrome monitors (greyscale, looks exactly the same as the above but resolution is 640x480);

2x Apple High Resolution Monochrome monitors (13" greyscale, 640x480);

1x Apple High Resolution RGB (13" colour, 640x480).


The 12" RGB is now hooked up to a Quadra server, and working perfectly. Plastics excellent.

The 12" Monochromes: I had to put one good unit together out of two (due to broken plastics and bad CRT burn between the two): now I have a very nice little display, though with yellowed plastics, that will likely connect to that server in due course. Maybe some retrobrite first, though, in the Spring.

The two High Resolution Monochrome monitors: Presently testing the second by giving it an hour or two of usage on a IIci; the first of the two is perfect; the second was flickering slightly on startup, but we will see -- it had just come in from storage in the cold. Plastics excellent on both.

I still have to get to the last, which is supposedly a Trinitron and so a quality display. I will get there eventually. Plastics, alas, are yellowed.


I take the view that we mostly use screens when we use computers, so monitors matter. Anyone else preserving these old monitors for use with their old machines? I have noticed lately that Apple CRTs from the Mac II era seem to command a fair price on eBay, whereas a few years ago they were considered scrap.... Am I part of a trend?!



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Purists would want an old CRT (preferable an Apple model of the same era) when using their old machines.


I keep a small hoard of CRT monitors for use with the mac/old PC collection but they take up quite a bit of space. I also keep around Amiga, C64, CGA, Tandy, Atari monitors around for my old 8/16 bit machines.


What I don't have is a monochrome monitor for the macs. I have a few radius cards for SE's that will do the full page mono monitors but haven't found a monitor yet.


Oh and I have a vintage Radius fixed frequency 20" boat anchor that came with one of my Q950's.. that thing is HEAVY.

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I also keep a small stash of CRT monitors, plus a Radius Pivot but some of the late 90's Apple monitors I do NOT keep around are the early CRT Cinema displays.

I don't care what you say about them, they are fire hazards. Do not use them and recycle them on sight to get them out of the collectors loop before they burn someone elses house down or at least permanently disable it so it can be shown off but never used.

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I have CRTs with my machines. 


I dont consider myself a purist by any means, as I like to hotrod and mod machines, but at the same time I keep stock ones. 


But I do want the CRTs because it reminds me of how I saw them, and used them. Plus having the machine "complete" seems right to me... 


As for testing, heck I use LCDs all day long I dont care. 


I guess the good thing I have going right now, I know how to service the CRTs if something fails. I need to finish up the 12" RGB that blew up last year or so. I am half-way through that project. 

Edited by techknight
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Just the Portrait and 12" RGB here. I never did use Apple displays back in the day. 20" Radius IntelliColor was my main display, upgraded to a Radius PrecisionView 2150 when it started to go south. That's still my main retro display. Love the CRTs, but I collected a gaggle of KDS Radius LCDs for if and when. :-/

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Oh and sooner or later I expect some enterprising person will be buying up old CRT monitors just to gut them an install LCD panels to give that retro look but reduce eye strain and energy costs.


I intend on doing this with my 750AV... they were usually a paperweight after a few years, and mine is no exception. I have no intent to fix whatever is stopping it powering up... simply going to install an LCD and throw the rest of the old internals in the garbo so I have a nice, superficially period and context correct Apple display for my 9600 that is reliable and wont give me headaches.




I also keep a small stash of CRT monitors, plus a Radius Pivot but some of the late 90's Apple monitors I do NOT keep around are the early CRT Cinema displays.

I don't care what you say about them, they are fire hazards. Do not use them and recycle them on sight to get them out of the collectors loop before they burn someone elses house down or at least permanently disable it so it can be shown off but never used.



The earlier VGA ones.


For the life of me I can't find the source that mentioned it but there was a period when they and the transparent power cables were randomly catching fire.


I can't help but feel this is a slight bit of an overdramatization of the risk, if any exists... Not trying to be inflammatory or state point blank that these displays NEVER caught fire in isolated cases, but there appears to be absolutely no verifiable citations of it ever actually having occurred... Given that I have owned one for years it is in my best interest to do some searching of my own, so I did, and aside from a couple of threads on here dating back a few years, one of which contained a link to an apparantly deleted thread on MacWorld, there are absolutely none which even really allude to any specific involvement of CRT Studio Displays in fires. The only thing that remotely even mentions it after searching numerous strings and sifting through pages and pages of search results is this on TS...




It however, specifically pertains to a monitor that was obtained with a partly severed VGA cable which was repaired with electrical tape (!!!). It however was merely referencing a statement from a Genius or some such "qualified" person that the cable may heat up and catch fire... tbh this seems unlikely for a data cable to do this. Power cable, maybe, but this would not be an issue with specifically this display. Any badly repaired cable would have this associated (and very real risk). As it turned out, the OP later goes on to state no such effects in the slightest.


The only other references I can find are from two of your own comments in seperate threads on 68k in the past, Where you cite two sources, one of which contained the deleted thread i mentioned earlier in this post, and the other being a word of mouth anecdote from a contact of yours. Whilst not necessarily a false claim, neither can can be verified in any way thus far, and even if they could, there is no mention of any similar cases anywhere on the web to suggest that it was in any way an endemic fault with that series of CRT display... there is literally not one single mention made of one of these displays having caught fire aside from those two past comments you placed on here previously.


Having said this, I also took the liberty of doing some general searches for reports of such fires, and only turned this up, which was in relation to a recall issued in the early 2000's that applied specifically to a series of 15" CRT's sold under the IBM brand but manufactured by Lite-On Inc. in 1997.





As the Apple displays ran Mitsubishi Diamondtron tubes and such, I did a search of incidents involving specifically these CRT's, and again turned up nothing involving even remotely related hardware. Fair enough, the circuitry is probably partly a Foxconn concern but even then, there is a complete lack of citation in any case. Even assuming that a single display, even two of them DID in fact burn up, that is hardly enough to state that every one of the thousands built in all sizes and both colours is a fire hazard... I had mine turned on nearly 3 years straight before I deinstalled it for being too damn big and not matching my 9600 aesthetically after retiring the G4. Had an occasional flicker as they all develop eventually as well, yes, some of the compinentry back then was pretty flakey in Apple CRT's. But there is really nothing to suggest they were "Burn your house down" kinda flakey... Yes, there is always a risk of fire in ultra high voltage electrical equipment, but it is minimal, and it seems that there is nothing to say the Studio Display poses a risk that is any higher than the next CRT.


And well, if there was a significant risk that Apple knew about at that time it wouldve resulted in a voluntary recall... the Pismo/Lombard power bricks were recalled at around that time due to them running hot and posing a fire risk under some fairly unlikely circumstances. I know this as I had mine replaced. the number of incidents was able to be counted on one hand, yet prompted action. If similar incidents occurred with the Studio monitors that were not very very isolated, these would have also been addressed I would imagine.


Now as for the cables themselves, that may or may not be a different story... I have known the clear cables to fail. Not endemically but enough to warrant caution. So it is possible that somewhere along the line one may have shorted or heated up due to excessive resistance and started a fire. But if this is the case, then it is more correct to blame the cable than the actual CRT, and given that the cable is replacable with one of better quality than the crap Apple loosely describe as cables since the fruity era, this is really a non-issue after doing just that. I do know that a common failure point in the early yoyo Powerbook/iBook adators was the main power cable, which with repeated ocillations would break near the plug internally and this DID cause quite a number of verifiable fires. The altered the cable on the later model yoyo adaptors which fixed the issue to a degree, but they still did sometimes kink and fail to work... but not so readily burn up.


Anyway... like I said, not calling anybody a liar or trying to be deliberately inflammatory. I just feel a bit of perspective is in order, and I also feel that the vote of zero-confidence in these pieces of equipment is rather unjustified, when not a single horror story can be found from the horses mouth or a verifiable and reliable authority. Personally I am not in any way concerned about the safety of my Studio 17"... Your opinion is yours however so do with mine what you will. :)


BUt anyway, back on topic... yes I keep a selection of Mac monitors around, particularly the Trinitron ones, as I do not like using crummy old muddy VGA crap on my old Macs when I can have crisp Sony goodness witht the right badge. That, and I know they will usually work on anything. Except my Apple 21" single-res... i beleive there is a lot of vintage Mac stuff it wont work on. That said, right now it doesnt work, period lol.

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