The "Coelacanth-PC"
By Geir Ergoy, Norway
Posted on October 6, 2004
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My old ATX computer was noisy, slow and unstable. Inspired by other mini-itx-projects, I decided to build a new one. Sick of those boring, grey cases, I decided it was going to be radical.

First, I begged my electronics-teacher for a broken oscilloscope, but none of the school's oscilloscopes were broken.

Then I looked at a microwawe-oven that I found in a container. This was no smaller than a standard ATX case. What a waste of a small Mini-ITX motherboard it was to put it in a HUGE case like that! The oven went back where it came from.

I considered several radio recievers, but at last, I remembered an old Black & White TV located at the cottage. I just had to use it.

Just one problem: The cottage is 200km away! I had to wait for the next vacation. When the vacation came and it was time to go to the cottage, I decided to stay home and prepare for the project.

This is where the building begins.


This is what the TV looked like when I got it. It has just collected dust over the years, so nobody will miss it. It wasn’t any good, either. I wired it to the cable at home, and "snow" was all I could find. No channels were clear.

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I'm sorry about the quality, this, and some other images, were taken with a webcam, of course without blitz. But it will get better.

I don't know the age of the reciever, but on the back it says "All Transistor TV Receiver". If tubes were still an option, I guess it is old.

The CRT Panel

Already before my family came home with the TV, I started on the project. I planned to insert a smaller CRT than the original, and get enough space for a numeric keyboart and a CD-ROM next to it. The screen I put in cost me only 28 dollars...

I have some serious concerns about the quality, and the store where I bought it does not sell them anymore... I hope the screen lasts... :-)

Here is a picture of the cheap CRT:

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I used my father's Dremel-clone to cut the cheap TV to pieces. I kept the internals and the faceplate that holds the tube. I also cut a wooden panel with a hole that matches the CRT...

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...and glued the wooden plate to the frame from the cheap TV.

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I love that panel. I later decorated it with a golden snail, and covered it with epoxy glue instead of paint.

The Keyboard Panel

I had decided to install a numeric keyboard next to the CRT. Both because it will look good, and because it will make it possible to operate the most basic functions of the computer without a real keyboard. It has a USB plug, so installing it on the computer is not difficult. Mounting it to the case, however, is trickier... :-(

The panel itself is made of wood. I wanted to cover it with a green plastic foil for the retro-look, but the epoxy glue did not stick to the green foil.
Because of that, I later decided to remove the foil.

Isn't it a beauty? You don’t have to answer that.