Retro TV Repair

tv troubleshooting

Do it yourself TV Trouble-Shooters Guide

I love these retro DIY manuals. I also remember when my dad would occasionally “troubleshoot” our television. Of course that was back in the day when my dad would also make us stand holding a hanger or tin foil to extend the antenna. These guides definitely have a place in an archives or museum.

The librarian in me believes that having a variety of resources on older technologies isn’t necessarily an automatic weed. Hanging on to a few past generations in technology like computers, might actually serve a purpose, depending on your community’s needs. I doubt if there is a public librarian out there who hasn’t had to help an older patron who inherited their kids’ tech castoffs. Your library’s mileage may vary.

In the meantime, wax nostalgic on the days of UHF/VHF TV and the subtle art of holding an antenna in the correct place.


testing tv tubes

changing tubes

picture tube


  1. Is this one in the same category of potential danger as craft books that use lead as craft material or recycling books that tell how to remove the phospher off of TV tubes? It seems to me that this could turn into, “How your TV Caught Fire”.

  2. I feel a wave of nostalgia just for the fonts they use. I’m younger than that book is, but some of my dad’s old books looked a lot like that.

  3. I remember going with my dad down to Thrifty Drug Store to use the tube tester whenever the Zenith went on the fritz. God, do I feel old now.

  4. This book brings back memories. I was never asked to stand by the rabbit-ear antenna because my mother had her own way of adjusting our TV. She kept a stout yardstick by her chair and, when the TV started acting strange, a stout thump with the yardstick usually solved the problem.

    I also remember a wonderful time in the late 1960s. The parents of a friend had received a Heathkit Color TV for Christmas. With the approval of the parents we paleo-geeks built the set on New Year’s Eve. By midnight the color wasn’t perfectly calibrated and we didn’t get the chassis into the wood cabinet but we could watch the ball.
    If you have the storage space and the ability to mount a small show on ‘Grandparent Technology’ books like this are well worth keeping in the library.

  5. I remember seeing those testing machines in the drug stores when I was little, and slowly they disappeared.

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