Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Modding and Technical Issues

Moderator: Moderators

Imperious
Vic 20 Amateur
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 8:52 pm

Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Imperious » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:12 am

I really wish I had done more research before trying this on my PET Style keyboard and computer case. The case turned out fine, no
streaking whatsoever, and at some point I may give it another shot to whiten it a bit more. For now though it's a major improvement,
not that my VIC was terrible or anything.
The keyboard though did not fare well as can be seen on the four keys at in the bottom pic. Most of that nice dark brown colour
washed out and turned grey :(
I set about trying to find a way to get the colour back and tried numerous products on the keys. I tried car polish, cutting compound,
spray and wipe, methylated spirits, various oils, iso prop, even Suntan Lotion. It was the Suntan lotion that wiped off the GRN keys from the
front of the 6 key.
In amongst this disaster though I found I could get the colour back with Creme Cleanser (used for cleaning bathroom and kitchen benchtops).
The writing on the top of the keys appears to be extremely resilient in that all are ok. The printing on the front is hard to keep when polishing the
colour back. The good news there is I have a solution, not perfect but more than acceptable. What I used is a Brother P-Touch Labeler and
White on clear tape. I have used snipping tool to copy the characters from a petscii pdf, then imported them into p-touch editor.
The M. N, 6 keys have stick on labels on the front.
I still have a fair way to go with this.
Attachments
Dsc00959s.jpg
Dsc00960s.jpg

Imperious
Vic 20 Amateur
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 8:52 pm

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Imperious » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:35 pm

I finally finished this laborious task. I would suggest these retrobrighting instructions for instances where the tops of the keys are
yellowed. Use 12% (40 vol) Salon Creme Peroxide on the tops only. Cover with cling wrap and leave in the sun for no more than
90 minutes at a time, then thoroughly wash off. If still yellowed then repeat the next day or when possible. I did this with the < key and
it has worked perfectly with no damage done.
The case is still slightly yellowed, more so than the photos indicate, but a major improvement than at the start. I think I'll just leave
it as it is for now.
Hopefully this information will help anyone who wants to de-yellow the writing on the tops of the keys. This also applies to c64 keyboards.

Dsc00968s.jpg

Dsc00969s.jpg

Bobbi
Vic 20 Afficionado
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:35 am
Location: Toronto
Occupation: Programmer

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Bobbi » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:06 pm

Nice job!

skerit
Vic 20 Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:12 am
Location: Belgium
Occupation: Webdeveloper

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby skerit » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:18 am

Imperious wrote:In amongst this disaster though I found I could get the colour back with Creme Cleanser (used for cleaning bathroom and kitchen benchtops).


Good to hear this issue can be resolved, because I messed up 1 key this way.

Could you be more specific as to what "Creme Cleanser" is? A brand, a picture, a... chemical ingredients list? :)
And maybe how you applied it (scrubbing it, soaking it for a few hours, ...) I've tried several things, but nothing seems to help.

(I only noticed that submerging the key into some 75°C liquid will turn it back into the correct colour, but once it cools down it's white-ish again.)

Imperious
Vic 20 Amateur
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 8:52 pm

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Imperious » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:41 am

I just saw your post by chance, so a bit lucky there. I noticed the same thing, if You put them in water they look great until they dry out again.
Here's a photo of what I used, it could also be called scouring creme elsewhere.
I just put some of this onto a clean rag and polished the colour back in. It is a fair amount of work, but 1 key only won't take long.
Attachments
6548e21fdcd799b345d5fd283c621928--cleanser-creme.jpg

User avatar
Floopy
Vic 20 Enthusiast
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:38 pm
Location: US

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Floopy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:09 am

I don't even do Retro-Brighting anymore. Because every time I try I get horrendous results :evil:. It also weakens the plastic, I'm hoping that time and heat will change it back.
-Floopy

User avatar
Floopy
Vic 20 Enthusiast
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:38 pm
Location: US

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Floopy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:10 am

Also the case will yellow back with time and heat.
-Floopy

User avatar
joshuadenmark
Big Mover
Posts: 929
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:32 am
Location: Denmark
Occupation: Copier technician

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby joshuadenmark » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:57 pm

Just paint it white :wink:
Kind regards, Peter.
____________________________________________________
In need of a wiki logon - PM me

Imperious
Vic 20 Amateur
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 8:52 pm

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby Imperious » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:19 am

The only way to retrobright and stop the horrendous results like streaking, etc, is to put the plastic fully immersed in a water/hydrogen peroxide mixture, so that none of it can dry out whilst the process is underway.
Retrobrighting non white plastic is asking for trouble though, so limiting the exposure time to 2 or 3 hours at a time then see what it looks like.
"The 8 bit Guy" has done some testing as far as this goes, successfully too.

I too found it softens the plastic, but it is ok again after a day or so.

User avatar
cbmeeks
Vic 20 Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 12:36 pm
Website: http://meeks.co
Location: 8-bit Land
Occupation: Code Monkey

Re: Retrobright keyboard disaster and fix

Postby cbmeeks » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:28 pm

Imperious wrote:The only way to retrobright and stop the horrendous results like streaking, etc, is to put the plastic fully immersed in a water/hydrogen peroxide mixture, so that none of it can dry out whilst the process is underway.
Retrobrighting non white plastic is asking for trouble though, so limiting the exposure time to 2 or 3 hours at a time then see what it looks like.
"The 8 bit Guy" has done some testing as far as this goes, successfully too.


I subscribe to this logic 100%. I have nearly 80 computers in my collection and retrobrighting is a part of many of them. I don't like the method the 8-bit guy does. He really messed up that Osborne-1. However, I must admit, I probably would have done the same thing.

I never retrobright brown plastics that was meant to be brown. Like C64 keys. I just don't see the point. I don't care that it's 2% off the original brown or whatever.

When I retrobright, I go for plastics that were meant to be near-white or beige. Like Amiga, Mac, IIc, etc.

I have an Apple IIe that is very yellowed. The entire case (and those are big cases). However, the yellowing is SO uniform that it actually looks good! I know it isn't the original color because it's way too far from beige/tan. So I'm not going to retrobright that one at all.

I just recently bought a Macintosh 512K that is severely yellowed and "browned". The external floppy looks like someone took a brown spray can and painted the top. So I will retrobright that. But I'm going for the 100% submersion method.

I have a clean plastic container that will just barely hold the Mac case. I'm going to fill it with water and the strong hair H202. The clear liquid kind...not the cream.

I'm going to do that as soon as I get some sun.

I think the 8-bit Guy gets away with the cream method because he's in Texas and probably gets so much sun and UV that an hour out there would be like 2-3 hours where other people live. However, I live in SE Tennessee so we get lots of sun and UV too.

Finally, I think people overlook good old-fashioned painting. Painting keys would not be recommended (unless you are VERY good and artistic) but painting cases can really bring those vintage computers back to life (cosmetically). However, painting can be a disaster if you don't know how to do it. I've painted a few things and I'm not happy with any of them. But they "LOOK" almost perfect. I was even able to match the paint almost perfectly. But I'm going to sand them back down and try again. Of course, you don't want to paint textured plastic if you don't have to.
Cat; the other white meat.


Return to “Hardware and Tech”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests