Upcycling: old meets new in TV 3.0

A couple of months ago I spotted a funny looking TV at an obscure thrift store in Helsinki. It was old for sure and it seemed to be a high-end TV of its time. I haggled the price stating that it had little value in its current state and got a good price. I started researching it at home and found that it was a Swedish AGA Mobil 4346, designed by Bengt-Johan Gullberg or possibly Stig Lindberg in 1963.

AGA Mobil 4336  AGA Mobil 4336 ad

 

 

 

 

 

It was a beauty untouched but I had a different plan for it. The shell was in perfect condition but the TV didn’t work. I tried plugging it in but nothing happened. Either way the old tube screen would have to go if I were to use it to watch TV.

I started by opening up the back cover to look at what was inside and boy was I surprised. I was expecting a fairly simple setup with a couple of wires, a board, tubes and some relays but there was so much more.

AGA interior

I just went full in unscrewing all of the connected plates and connectors, cutting cables and using brute force when needed. While digging I felt bad that I was destroying this piece of craftsmanship and I was amazed at the work which must have gone into making something as intricate as this. There were countless analogue solutions connecting the numerous buttons on top and it took a solid two hours to get everything out.

IMG_3926IMG_3931

 

 

 

 

Then I went out shopping for some new gadgets to fill it with. The old TV was 18 inches with a 4:3 aspect ratio but the new one would be 16:9 so I would need to fill the rest of the space around it somehow – more on that later. I also wanted the TV to be mobile since it does have wheels. That meant that I needed to find something  that allowed me to watch TV without having to think about finding a TV outlet or use an antenna. I looked into Boxee, Roku and some other streaming video hardware but since I’m in Finland, I settled for an Apple TV box. I also found an inexpensive 18,5″ LED TV which had HDMI and a external sound plug. With the Apple box I could stream everything anywhere to the TV from our wifi network and also access Netflix.

The only problem was that the TV was too wide to fit the box and I would have to start carving. I cut out about 5 mm of the wood on each side and after lots of trial and error I finally got it squeezed in. I then super glued the buttons back on the old shell on since they had fallen off while taking it apart.

photo 1

retroboxen1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is the setup with the TV, Apple TV box and a new speaker. I can control the Apple box through the old speaker hole and it’s not visible on the front. The TV speakers do sound very muted though and the speaker adds a bit of extra oomph. The cable situation will be taken care of later on.

I made a new front cover to fill the gap between the shell and the new TV. The TV has brass clips that can hold a glass plate in place but I made the new cover out of a thick but soft plastic sheet covered with a black adhesive cover . I might make it out of metal or glass at a later point but this will do for now.

retroboxen2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milo can now watch as much Cars on his new TV as he wants.

milowatchestv

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