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Hopping over from the TI-99 forums

.. found this and 3 IGs with a Mac monitor for $20. Haven't had time to test em yet but will keep you all posted.eada69940d84a0566da78f2775436700.jpg

 

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As much as I can. I cannot sink any additional funds into them except for some retrobrite.

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Meaning whatever I can rework, I will. If anyone here is interested in giving pointers I would not begrudge them.

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One pointer I like to give is to please not use the break method if you decide to recap the boards.  I see videos of people breaking SMD caps off all the time and it doesn't help when people like the 8-Bit Guy does it (therefore, encouraging this practice to hundreds of thousands of people).

 

As you know, those traces are very thin and fragile and ripping off a cap runs the risk of lifting them.  Hell, even if you do it the PROPER way there is still a risk of lifting pads!  So why people yank them off with pliers is beyond me.  Proponents of this method say they've been doing it for years with no trouble.  I call bullshit on that.  They may not notice any trouble, but you can bet money they are stressing the board and the next time there is even a greater chance of lifting pads.  Even if proper methods are practiced.  Just don't do it.  

Anyway, I'll stop that rant...

 

I have nearly 100 vintage computers so I can offer some free advice if you like.  I've cleaned and restored many in my day.  Currently, I'm building my "go to" Apple II+ from parts.  After that, I'm going to restore a Franklin Ace and then, possibly, an original Compaq Portable that's in very bad shape.

 

One thing I find works very well for cleaning motherboards is to literally wash them in the sink (or even dish washer).  Yes, you can actually do that.  However, you have to take some precautions.

 

One, make sure you remove all batteries (you should do that anyway...chances are they are old and will leak).  Also, remove all socketed chips (but remember where they go!!).  Then, remove anything that could be knocked off in the wash (LED cables, etc.).  I've used a mild detergent in the past but stopped doing that for fear of leaving residue behind.  You might get away with car cleaning solutions but I wouldn't risk it.  The end goal is to remove dust and debris and warm water does that just fine.  If you have a stubborn area, then maybe hand scrub with a little IPA.

 

After you wash the motherboard, rinse it down thoroughly with DISTILLED water.  Distilled water has had the minerals removed so there is nothing to leave behind when it evaporates.  You don't want those salts and minerals left over to cause corrosion. 

 

Next, shake off all the water and let it dry for hours.  Preferably a couple days.  Be sure to run a hair dryer over it too.  Especially inside the socket pins and under IC's.  It should be bone dry before you put power to it.

 

For retrobrighting, I used to be all about that but then started backing away.  I usually ask myself the following questions when deciding to retrobright.

 

1)  How bad does it need it?  Really?  Is it so ugly that I can't live with it?  Or is it slightly off from factory (which no one probably remembers anyway)?

 

2)  Is it worth weakening the plastics for a better view?  I believe retrobrighting causes *some* damage over the long run.  Especially to 40 year old, cheap plastic.  Is it worth it?

 

3)  Can it be painted instead?  If so, are you (I) qualified to properly paint without gunking it up?  Do you realize that painting will forever ruin any resale value and are you OK with that?  Will you be OK with your remaining family selling your stuff off at a much reduced price after you're gone?

 

As you can see, some of those questions seem silly but I think are valid.  I collect because I love the machines.  But when I'm gone, I'd like my offspring to get as much money as possible for them and sell them to a good home.  When you paint, retrobright and alter these machines, you take some of that away.

 

So after all that, if you still want to retrobright, I recommend using the submersion method.  I like to completely submerge the plastic in water.  I use the most shallow pan/box I can find.  You can also put some rocks in the box to reduce the amount of water needed and therefore, increase the concentration of H2O2.  Speaking of, I use the cheapo stuff in the brown jugs from Walmart.  They are about $0.88 each so I will pour one or two of those in and mix about.  It doesn't burn or stain your hands, won't blind you if you accidentally get it in your eyes and is much cheaper than the hair bleaching stuff.

 

Be sure to rotate often, shake about (the water, not your body) and keep it covered in clear wrap.

 

Finally, I don't recommend the method that is now being encouraged where you literally put the entire computer out in the hot sun for hours or days at a time.  Essentially sun-bleaching it back to white.  Again, 40 year old plastic is fragile and the capacitors inside the case don't like that much heat.  I wished these popular YouTuber's would stop teaching these stupid "quick" methods and encourage people to do it the RIGHT way.  With care, patience and understanding they are restoring history...not making an old computer look good for the sake of a few "likes and subscribes".

 

As you can see, old computers are my passion.  I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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@cbmeeks Thank you very kindly for your post. Excellent information contained within. I did a bit more looking and have been tuned away from retrobrite. It looks like I am going to be selling the lot. Unable to complete the restorations due to monetary reasons but someone out there will enjoy them. Thanks all :)

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