My parents' big TV just broke :) When you switch it on, it switches itself off with a nice little "pfew" (kind of a "let me rest a little longer" kinda thing). I wanted to record it but it started to smell like burnt so I'd rather not switch it on anymore.

H-o-w-e-v-e-r, I have a sledgehammer. You can see where I'm going here, so I'll ask you for your experience and advice here, on potential dangers but also techniques as to how to smash it to record the best sound. I've only got one shot, although once I'll have taken care of the CRT I'll probably do various fall heights and stuff.

So, do you have any advice for me? So far here's what I'm planning:

  • long sleeves and jeans
  • safety glasses
  • gloves if I want to play around with glass debris

Thanks in advance for your replies :)


  • mask
  • using a rock instead of a sledgehammer
  • dropping it from 10ft on a sharp metal object inside a big metal container
  • Depending on how old the TV is, there can be poisonous gas that can be released inside of it...
    – bpert
    Aug 31, 2010 at 18:54
  • It's a cheap make bought around 2002 I guess... do you think a mask of some kind could do? Aug 31, 2010 at 19:08

6 Answers 6


I did it once, used a mask and protection goggles, admittedly was to careless and didn't do any research at all... BUT it was fun and no harm was done (maybe just luck)! The most dangerous gas it could have is phosphorous, so try to investigate that.

Tried a few things but the sounds i like best were from hitting the glass with a golf club. After the first hit it was crackling a lot (probably not a good sign) so recorded that until it stopped. After all was said and done (a lot of smashing), used the shards (almost dust) to record footsteps on, sweeping, and falling on different surfaces. Used them on lots of occasions.

I wish i could do it again now in a better room.

Have fun and be safe! You definitely want to wear a mask and goggles.

  • I will do it outside though. I live in the countryside so I can find quiet places easily. And I'll spread some sheets on the ground to gather all the debris easily. It's funny how I remember you talking about this exact same experience in another post, saying that on multiple occasions you were able to re-use these sounds you recorded after smashing a TV. How old are you btw? (just joking ;) ) Thanks @Filipe Aug 31, 2010 at 19:24
  • Nice! That'll be an awesome reflectionless recording! What a lack of imagination of me... sigh... Reminds me of how little experience i have (in a good way) You mean my mental age? Probably around 6 or 7 :) Aug 31, 2010 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Filipe, nah I didn't mean mental, I meant your age as in "you're already repeating yourself a lot" ;) Aug 31, 2010 at 19:58

I used to work in the warehouse at an electronics store, Some of my best memories are from smashing CRT TV's. I never really worried about any poison gas, just use your head (don't stick your face right next to a freshly smashed TV and inhale). One of the best things I ever used to smash the TV instead of an axe or sledge hammer... was a really big rock. The combination of that rock + that TV, made the most chest-thumpingly awesome smash/explosion/pop I or my coworkers had ever heard from a TV.

  • Ever tried anything as sharp as a pick-axe? Aug 31, 2010 at 19:38

I...may have...one time......dropped a CRT monitor face down onto an upturned leg of a weight rack (yes, a rack that would hold a LOT of freeweights for exercise)....from about 10 ft up..........into a construction dumpster.

Man, that created an awesome sound, if only we had had a decent (and working) sound recorder at the time. Oh the woes of lost opportunities.

  • @Shaun, I'll take a folding ladder with me then. That should give me enough height :) But I'll only crash it after I smashed the LCD, should still be good! Aug 31, 2010 at 21:14
  • @Shaun To be honest, wouldn't dropping it into a dumpster just sound like a large heavy object falling into a dumpster? If you want a big boom with a small amount of glass, get a couple of flower vases from Ikea for 5 bucks and drop those with a rock into a dumpster. I think this TV has potential to have a great crash and high-end you can't get from just glass. Just my humble opinion, though :)
    – Utopia
    Sep 2, 2010 at 6:19
  • @Ryan - not with that particular setup. the break occured on a 4'x4' square of iron, so there was little impact sound directly from the dumpster. what it did do was reverberate the impact and the implosion/popping sound of the monitor, and you could hear all the glass bits scattering over the metal too. i really wish we had had a decent recorder, it made an awesome sound. we were just throwing out long stored junk, and giving in to our violent tendencies in the process. ;) Sep 2, 2010 at 12:01
  • @Shaun Nice! ..
    – Utopia
    Sep 2, 2010 at 21:36

There may be lethal voltages inside the TV, even after it is unplugged. Do more research for your own safety.

  • That too, I forgot! Probably not in a 2002 though.
    – bpert
    Sep 1, 2010 at 1:47
  • Do you mean because of these coke can big condenser? It's ok, the TV will have been unplugged a week in advance and I'll short it when I see it. Are you thinking of anything else? Sep 1, 2010 at 8:37

Sounds awesome! Have fun, take care (use common sense really) and please post some of your recordings so we can hear how it ended up...

  • @Colin I will do, for sure! Sep 1, 2010 at 14:40

I did that once, and although I was still a kid and didn't know anything, nothing bad happened.

Remember that there is a vacuum in the crt tube, so there will be an implosion, not an explosion. You shouldn't have to worry about bits flying your way.

Also remind yourself that there are very high voltages needed for the electron beam, meaning that capacitors may still hold (lots of) charge after the tv has long been switched off. Regardless of any smashing going on, don't touch the bare metal parts on the back end of the tube.

I still remember that the implosion sounded awesome, a unique sound that I never heard since. Have fun!

  • @EMV you've seen Inception, right? "Don't think about elephants...", I'll probably try to short these with a wire at the end of a stick to stay away from danger ;) Sep 2, 2010 at 21:39

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