Retr0bright - a cautionary tale

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mr_a500

05 Aug 2019, 23:12

Nobody tried this new sun-only method? It works! All my previously hideously-yellowed items are now either original colour or tolerably creamy-coloured instead of "bright banana".

I'd never try this with a nearly perfect item or something rare/valuable, but it certainly makes ugly yellowed items more presentable. (Just make sure the plastic doesn't get too hot in the sun!)

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Muirium
µ

06 Aug 2019, 00:54

While I appreciate the fellow’s Sir Jonathan Ive-alike of a voice, the vid is waaaay too long. What’s the procedure? Just lie your gross old yellowed junk out in the yard for a spot of sunbathing?

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Polecat

06 Aug 2019, 03:35

mr_a500 wrote:
05 Aug 2019, 23:12
Nobody tried this new sun-only method? It works! All my previously hideously-yellowed items are now either original colour or tolerably creamy-coloured instead of "bright banana".

I'd never try this with a nearly perfect item or something rare/valuable, but it certainly makes ugly yellowed items more presentable. (Just make sure the plastic doesn't get too hot in the sun!)
Is this a joke? I've always been led to believe that sun/UV was the *cause* of the yellowing. No, I haven't watched the video.

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mr_a500

06 Aug 2019, 04:29

Yes, I too kept my computers away from sun, like a psychotic vampire. But after seeing this video, I brought my computers out with me while tanning my bare arse and I was pleasantly surprised about the results - and not just about my arse.

It's simple - just put the computers/keyboards in the sun. That's it.

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mr_a500

06 Aug 2019, 17:11

This looks close to original off-white colour, doesn't it?
Apple IIc.jpg
Apple IIc.jpg (878.49 KiB) Viewed 498 times
This was previously my most yellowed item. Before putting it in the sun, it looked like a lemon - nearly as yellow as the yellow in the Apple logo.

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Muirium
µ

06 Aug 2019, 17:17

Oooh! Pretty!

I read up on retrobrighting years and years ago, when it was first rippling through the retro computing fetishist community. As I recall—this was long ago—this reversing effect in high intensity UV light was the original inspiration. Where the chemistry kicked in was in trying to lock it in place. A task with complications, as we’ve seen.

Keep an eye on these test subjects of yours. It’ll be informative to know how long they keep their youthful looks. It won’t be forever, of course, but it may not be so much shorter than retrobright has proven to be!

I still reckon all exposure to ultraviolet is bad news in the end. The best ABS is the stuff that’s been kept in its original coffin box since the day it was made. But bromine flame retardant ions are funny things, capable of turning so yellow it’s filthy orange, and then most the way back again. Best to never activate them in the first place. But once they’re are on the move, we should do our best to understand them!

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mr_a500

06 Aug 2019, 20:51

Muirium wrote:
06 Aug 2019, 17:17
I still reckon all exposure to ultraviolet is bad news in the end. The best ABS is the stuff that’s been kept in its original coffin box since the day it was made. But bromine flame retardant ions are funny things, capable of turning so yellow it’s filthy orange, and then most the way back again. Best to never activate them in the first place. But once they’re are on the move, we should do our best to understand them!
Yes. I've got a few items that are amazingly un-yellowed original colour (including the whitest VT100 I've ever seen) - and I'll never expose them to UV. (...unless they yellow)

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User101

17 Aug 2019, 22:06

mr_a500 wrote:
06 Aug 2019, 17:11
This was previously my most yellowed item. Before putting it in the sun, it looked like a lemon - nearly as yellow as the yellow in the Apple logo.
I tried several keyboards and misc stuff outside and non show any brightening...The case of my ti terminal spend a whole week out in the sun already and I really cant tell any difference. I must be doing something wrong here there's way too much report confirming that sun bright works. How long did you leave the iic in the sun?

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mr_a500

18 Aug 2019, 01:12

User101 wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 22:06
I tried several keyboards and misc stuff outside and non show any brightening...The case of my ti terminal spend a whole week out in the sun already and I really cant tell any difference. I must be doing something wrong here there's way too much report confirming that sun bright works. How long did you leave the iic in the sun?
That is very odd. I put about 15 things in the sun and all showed noticeable improvement after just a few hours. After 2-3 days of 8 hours/day (turning every hour or two), everything was nearly as white as new. I even put a few coloured items in the sun that had... yellowed (actually brown-yellowed, blue-yellowed and grey-yellowed) and they went back to nearly the original colours.

I noticed you're in Southern California - and it's summer, so it must be damn hot in the sun! How did you keep it in the sun without it getting too hot? I did say that it shouldn't get too hot. The theory is that UV and/or heat is what causes yellowing.

I'm in Canada. The air was cool and the plastics didn't get too hot while spending hours in high-UV sun. (also, ozone layer is thinner up here)

User avatar
JP!

18 Aug 2019, 21:11

What about UV light only with the keyboard being in a sealed vacuum? No oxygen and minimal heat. Just a theory.

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User101

19 Aug 2019, 00:46

mr_a500 wrote:
18 Aug 2019, 01:12
User101 wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 22:06
I tried several keyboards and misc stuff outside and non show any brightening...The case of my ti terminal spend a whole week out in the sun already and I really cant tell any difference. I must be doing something wrong here there's way too much report confirming that sun bright works. How long did you leave the iic in the sun?
That is very odd. I put about 15 things in the sun and all showed noticeable improvement after just a few hours. After 2-3 days of 8 hours/day (turning every hour or two), everything was nearly as white as new. I even put a few coloured items in the sun that had... yellowed (actually brown-yellowed, blue-yellowed and grey-yellowed) and they went back to nearly the original colours.

I noticed you're in Southern California - and it's summer, so it must be damn hot in the sun! How did you keep it in the sun without it getting too hot? I did say that it shouldn't get too hot. The theory is that UV and/or heat is what causes yellowing.

I'm in Canada. The air was cool and the plastics didn't get too hot while spending hours in high-UV sun. (also, ozone layer is thinner up here)
Sorry for the late reply. Temperature is not bad, but the sun is really strong here. I think the stuff that's out there got about 5 hours of direct sunlight every day. To keep things cool, I spray water on them every couple of hours. Well, I already took the M0110 inside, for now, the TI case will be out there until it gets white lol.

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mr_a500

19 Aug 2019, 02:06

I still think it's strange that you haven't had any results. Even my wife - who doesn't give a shit about computers or keyboards and is generally unobservant - keeps going on about how white they are now. Months later, she says, "I can't believe how yellow these used to be." She says it so many times, I'm about to say, "Yeah, yeah. OK, get over it."

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User101

19 Aug 2019, 08:21

mr_a500 wrote:
19 Aug 2019, 02:06
I still think it's strange that you haven't had any results. Even my wife - who doesn't give a shit about computers or keyboards and is generally unobservant - keeps going on about how white they are now. Months later, she says, "I can't believe how yellow these used to be." She says it so many times, I'm about to say, "Yeah, yeah. OK, get over it."
It is indeed strange. Maybe SoCal need a new sun or something... anyhow I'll leave the ti case outside for observation.

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mr_a500

19 Aug 2019, 12:48

Well just look at how white this seagull turned out:
Seagull checking out keyboard.JPG
Seagull checking out keyboard.JPG (138.95 KiB) Viewed 220 times

He used to be totally yellow. OK, not really... it's a real seagull who came to check out my keyboards in the sun. But you can see the Apple IIc, about 3/4 of the way to becoming as white as in the previously posted photo.

Maybe you just need a seagull.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

20 Aug 2019, 02:54

Hmm. The UV here in Texas is oppressive. Maybe I'll pick a particularly banana colored board from storage and see what happens. AEKs and AEK IIs get super yellow...

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User101

20 Aug 2019, 16:41

mr_a500 wrote:
19 Aug 2019, 12:48
Well just look at how white this seagull turned out:

Seagull checking out keyboard.JPG


He used to be totally yellow. OK, not really... it's a real seagull who came to check out my keyboards in the sun. But you can see the Apple IIc, about 3/4 of the way to becoming as white as in the previously posted photo.

Maybe you just need a seagull.

I'll be sure to grab a seagull lol.

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Muirium
µ

20 Aug 2019, 17:46

We have bloody loads of them here, too. In various shades of sun bleaching. A500’s is a herring gull. He’s probably overcooked. The darker grey backed gulls are more what you’re looking for from a first exposure.

The best way to get them is to try to eat fast food outside. They love a chippy as much as we do!

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kbdfr
The Tiproman

20 Aug 2019, 18:17

Muirium wrote:
20 Aug 2019, 17:46
[…] They love a chippy as much as we do!
You probably mean British seagulls :lol:

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

20 Aug 2019, 21:42

The UV index [1] here in Central Texas [2] is 11.

I have three keyboards out for whitening out right now: an Apple M0110, a Northgate OmniKey 102, and a Sun Cherry keyboard. They were real bananas, the most yellow keyboards I could quickly find. I set them out at 10:20 local time, in a garden cart, in a place with no shade.
DSCF6120.jpg
DSCF6120.jpg (539.38 KiB) Viewed 94 times
It is now 14:34 local time and the whitening results are noticeable.
DSCF6130.jpg
DSCF6130.jpg (522.17 KiB) Viewed 94 times
As you can see the cases and in particular the key caps on the OmniKey are notably lighter. This is also super easy to do, with almost no prep other than putting the wagon out. I see a lot of keyboards getting whitened in this way soon...

Sunset is at 20:10 local time so I have at least five more hours of whitening to go!

According to [3] if you happen to live in Nairobi, or Darwin, or Singapore, this should work great for you. :mrgreen:

My biggest concern is brittling of the plastic from all the added UV exposure. I'll crack these boards open and pull key caps at some point to see what has changed.

[1] https://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramm ... _index/en/
[2] https://www.wunderground.com/health/us/ ... alwx_moduv
[3] https://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramm ... ndex3.html

User avatar
mr_a500

20 Aug 2019, 22:46

But the big question is... what kind of seagull did you use?

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User101

21 Aug 2019, 02:25

Damn my ti case still shows no changes whatsoever. I'm feeling little down... I will throw something else out tomorrow.

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