retrobright madness!

intealls

retrobright madness!

Unread post by intealls » 07 May 2011, 20:15

Here's a tutorial (by request) for people who want to try this out.

Remember, hydrogen peroxide is very nasty stuff. If you get it into your eyes, they will break. So don't.

Use protective goggles and wear rubber gloves. It's highly abrasive, and will bleach and irritate your skin.

Also, use common sense. Place the mixture where no kids or pets can get at it.

1. Buy some hydrogen peroxide (3%-35%). I can only vouch for 10% and stronger, since that is what I use.
2. Buy some Vanish Oxi-Clean.
3. Buy a UV-light. I use this one http://www.velleman.eu/distributor/prod ... ?id=381476.
4. Get a clear glass/plastic jar or bowl.
5. (Optional) Get a cardboard box and place some aluminum foil in it. I'm actually not sure the foil works, since the glass will probably reflect a lot of the incoming light from the foil. But I think some gets in, so it's probably not entirely useless (I kinda doubt household glass bowls are UV-treated). The cardboard box is kind of useful though, since you will need to stir the mixture from time to time, and it will soak up some of the mixture which will otherwise splash onto other things.
6. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide to 3-12%. I use about 10%. The weaker the mixture the longer the process will take.
7. Take a dash of oxi-clean (not much! The retrobright wiki suggests a 1/4 teaspoon per 500ml 10-15% hydrogen peroxide) and dissolve it in some warm water.
8. Place the keys in the bowl and pour the diluted hydrogen peroxide over them, make sure they're all covered.
9. Pour the warm water with the dissolved oxi-clean into the bowl. Stir.
10. Place the bowl in the cardboard box and light the entire thing with the lamp. Keep the lamp 30-45 cm away from the bowl.
11. Wait a couple of hours. Stir.
12. Repeat 11. until you're satisfied with the results.
13. Rinse the keys THOROUGHLY in water.

Also, make sure to use gloves or rinse the keys thoroughly before handling them to check intermediate results!

Apparently, only oxygen is released from the process. So it should be safe to put the thing pretty much anywhere. Don't take my word for it though, I am no chemist. ;)
bowl.jpg
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Been going a bit nuts with retrobright the past couple of weeks, here are the keycaps of a heavily yellowed G80-1000 after a couple days treatment! The case of the G80-1000 is still untreated. Look at the spacebar to see the difference. A non yellowed G80-1800 with the same type of keycap (doubleshots) was photographed with the same settings for reference. This stuff is truly amazing!

The pics look a bit weird (I think the white balance is off?), but I didn't want to do any Photoshop magic to them, just concentrate on comparing the keycaps of the upper and lower board. :)
g80-1800.jpg
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g80-1000.jpg
g80-1000.jpg (199.16 KiB) Viewed 7767 times
Next up: this heinous thing
fk-5001.jpg
fk-5001.jpg (146.5 KiB) Viewed 7763 times
Last edited by intealls on 08 May 2011, 20:17, edited 1 time in total.

ripster

Unread post by ripster » 07 May 2011, 20:28

Nice - did you do the keys in a jar trick outside or some other way?

xbb

Unread post by xbb » 07 May 2011, 20:29

really cool, keep us updated!

intealls

Unread post by intealls » 08 May 2011, 02:40

ripster wrote:Nice - did you do the keys in a jar trick outside or some other way?
Sorta, I just put some aluminum foil in a cardboard box, threw everything in a glass bowl and lit the thing up with a low-wattage UV-lamp.

Not as quick as placing it in the sun, but it does the trick. I think I left the cherry keys in there for about 30-40 hours. It takes a while, but the results astound me every time. This is the third set I've done. The two previous ones were from SP (one was extremely yellowed, even worse than the FK board). Turned out like new!

I don't keep track of the strength of the peroxide mixture. I think I use something like 8-12%, and a dash of vanish oxi-clean. People have reported similar results with a 3% mixture, but well, I'm not THAT patient. I figured the mixture could use a boost since my process lacks direct sunlight.

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sixty
Gasbag Guru

Unread post by sixty » 08 May 2011, 13:19

We need someone to offer retrobrite services in the marketplace!

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webwit
Wild Duck

Unread post by webwit » 08 May 2011, 13:27

I walked into a growshop which was displaying some UV lamps in the window. Who wants to wait for sun? I wanna nuke that shit. Problem is there is too much choice. Different wattage, different spectra. Would it be best to simulate a summer day full of sun, or a cooler spring light? Choices, choices...

intealls

Unread post by intealls » 08 May 2011, 18:51

webwit wrote:I walked into a growshop which was displaying some UV lamps in the window. Who wants to wait for sun? I wanna nuke that shit. Problem is there is too much choice. Different wattage, different spectra. Would it be best to simulate a summer day full of sun, or a cooler spring light? Choices, choices...
Well, in regards to the actual retrobright process, I don't really think it matters what kind of weather you wish to simulate. However, you will want a lamp that can produce ultraviolet light in the 300-350 nm region, since these wavelengths are apparently the ones that destabilize the bromine (and make it possible to replace the bromine-oxygen bond with a bromine-hydrogen one). The stronger the lamp, the more energy will be provided to the process. So if you want to nuke the keys, you probably want one that's really strong. I don't feel I need to nuke the keys, so I use a 15W one (low energy, equivalent to about 60W), and that does the trick for me.

ripster

Unread post by ripster » 08 May 2011, 20:42

I nuke it in my son's carniverous plant laboratory.
Image

This depicts the slow death of PS/2
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Half-Saint

Unread post by Half-Saint » 17 May 2011, 07:53

Rip: You really know how to contribute valuable info to one's post :P

ripster

Unread post by ripster » 17 May 2011, 18:57

Actually it shows that a UV light isn't really necessary.

I used T8 Cool White lights, the cheapest they had at Home Depot.
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Image

When are you going to start contributing something interesting?

mintberryminuscrunch

Unread post by mintberryminuscrunch » 19 May 2011, 12:23

so let me sum this up
u make a 10% h2o2 solution and add 1/4 teaspoon oxi per 500ml
and then place it in the sun or under an uv light?
btw. what happens to the labes when doing this?
More questions:
Can u use de solution only once ore more times?
How do you dispose of it (wait until the h2o2 is dissolved entirely in the sun?)

ripster

Unread post by ripster » 19 May 2011, 19:08

In America we toss it in our rivers and streams. That's just the way we roll. EU regulations I'm sure prevent this.

intealls

Unread post by intealls » 20 May 2011, 10:30

mintberryminuscrunch wrote:so let me sum this up
u make a 10% h2o2 solution and add 1/4 teaspoon oxi per 500ml
and then place it in the sun or under an uv light?
btw. what happens to the labes when doing this?
More questions:
Can u use de solution only once ore more times?
How do you dispose of it (wait until the h2o2 is dissolved entirely in the sun?)
Pretty much. Labels can fade, see this page. I successfully used the solution for three sets of keys. I'm actually still using it, but I think it's gone flat, since the reaction has slowed down considerably. Check local regulations on how to dispose of the solution.
ripster wrote:Actually it shows that a UV light isn't really necessary.

I used T8 Cool White lights, the cheapest they had at Home Depot.
Fluorescent lights initially produce ultraviolet light which is 'converted' to visible light. Not all UV light will be converted, and will accelerate the reaction. But yeah, a dedicated UV light isn't necessary, since we are exposed to it all the time. UV from the sun will bounce around everywhere, and many ordinary lamps will emit some UV light as well. The reaction is accelerated by high doses of UV, which is why it is best to place the mixture in the sun, or under a dedicated UV-lamp.

BTW, that Silicon Graphics board turned out terrific! I gotta try the gel sometime this summer.

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Prelim

Unread post by Prelim » 13 Nov 2014, 23:12

some photos from my retrobright session (hydrogen peroxide ~10% recipe), just did about 4h UV light + 4h sun:

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comparative w/ calibrated whites between the 2 original photos (watch for less yellowing on function keys for instance):
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From this experience I think that the most important factor isn't the H2O2 percentage but the time itself... unfortunately I didn't make it a non-stop reaction, as I've stopped the UV overnight and continued the day after in sun; I've stopped again and in the 3rd day there were no more O2 to react, so overall I just did 8-9h maximum :(

problems encountered: I was freaking out with floating caps as I ideally want to kept them underwater. So I've put some adhesive tape in the box bottom and made some beautiful keycap rows... needless to say that 1h after, all the caps were floating again lol. I just stirred the caps again and again every 30min, to make sure the ones floating weren't drying in the process. Lesson learned: think on one solution for making stay the caps underwater, I think the best one is to put the caps settled on a MY pcb, if you can.

my advice to everyone who want to try Retrobright: do not stress too much about the perfect % recipe, just make sure you get a non-stop reaction and preferably 24-36h minimum to ensure maximum performance and supreme results!
Last edited by Prelim on 10 Nov 2015, 00:10, edited 8 times in total.

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Muirium
µ

Unread post by Muirium » 13 Nov 2014, 23:34

24 hours? Time for a trip to the arctic next summer! We don't quite get 18 hours here on the solstice.

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Prelim

Unread post by Prelim » 13 Nov 2014, 23:44

Yes @Muirium, but you can use UV afterwards for instance. the idea here is to make the most of the reaction, because as I stated, after 48h all the O2 is virtually gone (I even cover the mix overnight w/ aluminum foil to avoid this, but is useless) :(
Last edited by Prelim on 13 Nov 2014, 23:49, edited 2 times in total.

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Muirium
µ

Unread post by Muirium » 13 Nov 2014, 23:47

How about draining the O2 into a separate container, and storing it separately overnight?

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Prelim

Unread post by Prelim » 13 Nov 2014, 23:49

Muirium wrote: How about draining the O2 into a separate container, and storing it separately overnight?
how can you do that? @@

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Muirium
µ

Unread post by Muirium » 13 Nov 2014, 23:59

I just mean the liquid H2O2 in H2O solution. If you added oxy (as people often say you should) then, yeah, not really a great idea!

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Prelim

Unread post by Prelim » 14 Nov 2014, 00:12

the existing O2 in the mix corresponds to the H202 (diluted at any %) + Oxi powder (little amount, I don't know how many hours it remains) so the only option is to recover all the mix into a perfectly closed container, when it isn't at use (as you said). But again, I don't know if that works... so the best way is always ensuring non-stop reaction ;)

idollar
i$

Unread post by idollar » 16 Dec 2014, 01:11

I have used this with satisfaction.
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It is a gel. This means that one can apply it with a brush. There is no need to dive the parts in.

The seller does not ship outside Germany. PM is you want me to proxy it.

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beltet

Unread post by beltet » 16 Dec 2014, 01:19

idollar wrote: I have used this with satisfaction.
$_1.JPG
It is a gel. This means that one can apply it with a brush. There is no need to dive the parts in.

The seller does not ship outside Germany. PM is you want me to proxy it.
That would be interesting for me in the future. Hope that its still available then.

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Halvar

Unread post by Halvar » 16 Dec 2014, 01:52

You should be able to get something similar locally. It's called cream developer or cream oxidant. Go for the 12% variety (sometimes called 40 vol, which is the same).

Well unless nobody dyes their hair blonde in Sweden. Err, wait a minute...

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