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How to remove yellowing from an old Atari case

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1 hour ago, flashjazzcat said:

Time to move to the US, then. Twenty or thirty hours in UK sun did nothing for two of my yellow 1050 cases.

If the sun don't shine, you get a tan standing in the English rain :)

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FWIW, I tried "light brighting" an 800 keyboard with badly yellowed lettering on the keys this afternoon.  Nothing.  No lightning at all.

 

I don't think that brown keys are something I'd want to put peroxide on, but if I want to brighten the lettering on these keys I'll probably need to use peroxide.

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8 hours ago, Colleton said:

FWIW, I tried "light brighting" an 800 keyboard with badly yellowed lettering on the keys this afternoon.  Nothing.  No lightning at all.

 

I don't think that brown keys are something I'd want to put peroxide on, but if I want to brighten the lettering on these keys I'll probably need to use peroxide.

I saw a video from Jan Beta on YouTube where he tried to retrobrite the keys of an 800XL - the white lettering brightened up alright but he got mottling and a weird streaky matte finish on the keys themselves. I know I’m not likely to try it myself. 

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So, I received an 800 I'd bought on eBay yesterday that was sold "as is, for parts".  It had a bad 16K RAM card, which I've sorted out, and it was badly yellowed.  A weird yellowish-brown, almost looked green.  Very dark.  I left it out in the back yard for 10 hours today and a good 80% of the yellowing is gone.  I think one more day in the sun, turning it every hour to ensure even coverage, and it will be a nice even beige and will be ready to be reassembled.  Very nice.

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On 1/13/2018 at 6:31 PM, Geoff78 said:

Cheers, I'll look for something similar then. We aren't getting much sunlight at the moment here.

 

I'm using the salon 40 vol (12%) hair bleach cream. Its worked quite well so far an a heavily yellowed 800XL case in the overcast daylight. I can only imagine that a lamp like yours would accelerate the process.

Silly question; did you remove the aluminum bits -- the badge on the white part, and the areas above and below the reset/option/select/start/help buttons for the dark brown/off-black part) before retrobriting with the cream or did you just tape over them to protect them, if there's any problems with that?? (I'd read in another article that darker colors can be treated and restored to their original hues:

 

http://www.samhallas.co.uk/collection/retr0bright.htm

 

Thanks!

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I've retrobrighted several of my old systems over the past year, usually Commodore stuff. I've had excellent results in most cases, and a couple of catastrophes. My best results were achieved with the cream and saran-wrap method on light-colored plastic (Example: Amiga 1200 case.) My worst cases tend to involve immersion, heat, dark colors, and keycaps (Example: Amiga keycaps. Peroxide warmed on the stove, never again. Bleached an entire set of Amiga 500 keycaps animal-bones-in-the-desert-sun white.)

 

The cream-colored cases on the XL-line of my Atari 8-bits took extremely well to retrobrighting, and gave me my very best results. I used a blend of Sally Beauty Salon Care 40-creme developer thinned down with clear developer (20 or 30) to get a thick liquid that can be sprayed from a bottle.

 

Disassemble the cream plastics from the brown. You don't need to remove any aluminum trim, but paper labels should be protected. For the serial number label on the bottom I make a protective patch with a large square of shipping tape, with a smaller square the size of the paper label reversed in the center so the non-sticky side protects the label from being stuck to the tape. Think of an adhesive bandage with a non-stick gauze pad in the center.

 

Spray on the developer, spread if necessary (i use a little paintbrush only on the nooks and crannies) and cover with plastic wrap. It seems to be OK even if you have some bubbles, folds, or crinkles in the wrap as long as all covered plastic has some product on its surface. I only had to leave it in the sun for a total of 2 hours, rotating a couple of times so every treated surface gets dwell time in the sunlight.

 

Rinse it off and that's it. My 800XL, 1200XL and 1050 all look brand new without any hint of blooming, bleaching, or change in the surface of the plastic. You don't want to overdo it, so it's usually best to do this in stages, rinsing off and letting dry to check progress. Compare the outside to the inside for reference, but please don't go whipping out the colorimeter and trying to get a Pantone match, you will get 99% of the way there which is indiscernible. Bloom, if it happened, won't be visible until the plastic has dried so if you're checking for it make sure you allow it dry thoroughly. However - on the XL cases I had the same great results even for pieces I left for four hours in the sun, so it's pretty forgiving. Atari seems to have made it a point to use good plastic; all of my Atari consoles have held up the best.

 

The pre-mixed spray bottle of developer can be shelved for (at least) many months and is still effective.

Edited by rmzalbar
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Before and after pics of the badly yellowed 800.  This is after ~5 10 hour days of the case parts out in bright sunshine.  It isn't perfect (yet), but it made a huge difference.  I'll probably try again next summer. 

 

In my limited experience, it seems as though the darker the case the more effective light brightening is.  As the case lightens up it seems to become less effective.  It could just be that it's harder to see the difference between lighter shades of beige.

 

a.jpg

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e.jpg

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Colleton that's a beautiful restoration! BTW I meant to say I was very happy to hear that the unused 800 you got a couple months ago was not yellowed as it appeared in that ebay pic. It looks beautiful as well. Keep up the great work!

 

edit: Oh and the cooler months might be better than summer since the heat is not good for the plastics.

Edited by Sugarland

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On 11/15/2019 at 2:26 PM, Colleton said:

Before and after pics of the badly yellowed 800.  This is after ~5 10 hour days of the case parts out in bright sunshine.  It isn't perfect (yet), but it made a huge difference.  I'll probably try again next summer. 

 

In my limited experience, it seems as though the darker the case the more effective light brightening is.  As the case lightens up it seems to become less effective.  It could just be that it's harder to see the difference between lighter shades of beige.

 

 

 

 

a.png

 

 

 

Colleton that's a beautiful restoration! BTW I meant to say I was very happy to hear that the unused 800 you got a couple months ago was not yellowed as it appeared in that ebay pic. It looks beautiful as well. Keep up the great work!

 

Oh and the cooler months might be better than summer since the heat is not good for the plastics...?

 

 

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Retrobrighting only using the UK sun, and other myths.....

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Just finished retrobrighting a very badly discolored 800.  This is after 3 days (9-10 hours each day) indoors with indirect sunlight using peroxide creme and 2 hours in a clear peroxide/water solution under UV lamps.

 

It looks really good, very light with no blooming and an even tone all around.  It is vastly improved.  I can't get it to match that one spot on the cart door and doubt I ever will, so I'm calling it done.

 

Before and after pics:

 

a_orig_sm.jpg

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Wow, that is peachy!!!

 

Congrats!

 

If I ever do go the retrobrighting route I guess it will be the UV lamps as I have 2 problems, 1. the English lack of sustained sunlight of any power and 2. I live on an estate and don't have a garden so if I put stuff out I'd have to sit and watch it all the time as they take anything that's not nailed down if only to destroy it.

 

The kids are just so destructive around here..

Edited by Mclaneinc
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1 hour ago, Mclaneinc said:

Wow, that is peachy!!!

 

Congrats!

 

If I ever do go the retrobrighting route I guess it will be the UV lamps as I have 2 problems, 1. the English lack of sustained sunlight of any power and 2. I live on an estate and don't have a garden so if I put stuff out I'd have to sit and watch it all the time as they take anything that's not nailed down if only to destroy it.

 

The kids are just so destructive around here..

You don't have to deal with things like wind, debris, and animals, too.  Since you can't undo the effect (other than, presumably, by waiting months/years for the natural effects to return), be sure you start slow and check on the progress every couple of hours.

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I'm just using a south facing room indirect sunlight.  I paint the H2O2 creme on the parts and let them sit all day before rinsing them off.  It takes a few days, but it works.  Got the idea from jamms here on AA.

 

I'm doing a different 800 right now.

retrobright.png

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^^^ Basically what I did with my 400, except I'm lucky to have a room with a skylight (and Arizona sunshine).  I'll do my 800 next, although its yellowing is pretty mild.

 

Also: I did try the common "wrap it in plastic" thing at first, but I couldn't get the plastic smooth enough to where it felt it wouldn't have a negative effect on the results.  Doing it without plastic wrapping is most likely slower, but less likely to end up badly, IMO.

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9 hours ago, jamm said:

^^^ Basically what I did with my 400, except I'm lucky to have a room with a skylight (and Arizona sunshine).  I'll do my 800 next, although its yellowing is pretty mild.

 

Also: I did try the common "wrap it in plastic" thing at first, but I couldn't get the plastic smooth enough to where it felt it wouldn't have a negative effect on the results.  Doing it without plastic wrapping is most likely slower, but less likely to end up badly, IMO.

 

Yes, I got the idea from one of your posts, and I've had the same result with wrapping the case parts in plastic wrap in the past.  This way is a little slower, but it produces great results.  Thanks for the help!

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yes I much prefer the immersed in liquid methods than paste with snot and wrap in plastic, I have had slow results, but in the decade I have been doing it, never a botched result here in the TN sun  

 

I will add, stirring the mixture on a schedule helps a lot if you are using oxyclean type detergents (and for me  that and standard grade drugstore peroxide helps much more than strong peroxide and not much else) 

Edited by Osgeld

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Anyone got and spare Florida (or otherwise) sunlight they can send over :)

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On 3/14/2020 at 6:16 PM, Colleton said:

I'm just using a south facing room indirect sunlight.  I paint the H2O2 creme on the parts and let them sit all day before rinsing them off.  It takes a few days, but it works.  Got the idea from jamms here on AA.

 

I'm doing a different 800 right now.

 

On 3/14/2020 at 6:28 PM, jamm said:

^^^ Basically what I did with my 400, except I'm lucky to have a room with a skylight (and Arizona sunshine).  I'll do my 800 next, although its yellowing is pretty mild.

 

Also: I did try the common "wrap it in plastic" thing at first, but I couldn't get the plastic smooth enough to where it felt it wouldn't have a negative effect on the results.  Doing it without plastic wrapping is most likely slower, but less likely to end up badly, IMO.

 

I thought the point was that you should have them out in the sun without an glass filtering the rays. At least if you aren't using any creams or bleach.

 

I've been having some decent resutlts this past week leaving stuff outside

 

qMMGTgCh.jpg

 

The Commodore just joined the group today.

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Yes, if you aren't using any peroxide then the pieces need to be in direct sunlight.  I've had very good results with light brightening. 

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