Retr0brite

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Retr0brite

Hi guys!

My cousin says that using retr0brite on our Apple IIe and IIgs computers depreciates their value. Which means that you'd get more for them if they are yellowed. So, nobody should use retr0brite to make them all look like new if the intent is to sell them.

Is this true? Which would you pay more for?

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I don't retrobrite personally

I don't retrobrite personally, but I think if people are looking on eBay, etc., especially if they don't know something has been retrobrited, they might pay more.

 

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Value of any kind of

Value of any kind of collectible/no longer sold item is a bit of a gray area. They don't really have a set value. The value is really what someone is willing to pay for it at that time. And people often look at what the last one sold for on ebay to set a value going forward.

 

 

That said, some people may want a system that looks fresh from 1985 and be willing to pay more for it. Some might prefer it untouched and be willing to pay more for that.  Others might not care either way and want to pay as little as possible regardless of condition. 

 

 

I have several Apples (and other devices from the 80s/90s) that could stand to be retrobrighted. I'm personally on the fence. From a nostalgia standpoint, I'd love for them to all look new again. But then I worry about things like streaking/uneven color when done or the fact it will probably just start to change color in a couple years again. And there are people who theorize that it weakens the plastic. I don't believe that has actually been proven or disproven either way. But all things to consider if you are contemplating it. 

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Uncle Bernie's comments on retrobrighting:

In post #3, nick3092 wrote:

 

"But then I worry about things like streaking/uneven color when done or the fact it will probably just start to change color in a couple years again. And there are people who theorize that it weakens the plastic."

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

I have found that streaking / uneven color probably happens due to lack of proper degreasing before applying the retrobright process. The worst results I got when the computer or instrument in question had been used by a heavy smoker ... it's almost impossible to get this type of yellow-brown stain away. But greasy fingers on places near the keyboard where hands tend to rest also can cause problems. Ah, and never run anything based on aluminum or aluminum trim through the dishwasher ... this ruins these parts forever.

 

I have also found that key caps are notorious to get uneven colors but if you look closely under magnification you can see it's not discolored plastic, but rough areas, which look duller. If its double injection molded keys, you can polish these imperfections out using a high RPM (I use one with 12000 RPM) Dremel like tool, a 1" diameter felt disc, and chrome/aluminum polishing paste they sell for cars. The trick is to work with the bottom of the disk touching a water bath so it will always pick up water to cool the work. A gentle touch also is necessary. You do not want to melt the plastics by heat from friction.

 

The yellowing will come back years later, this is inevitable. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT caused by sunlight exposure as such working to destroy the plastic, but sunlight can warm the plastic a little bit more over room temperature which accelerates the process of yellowing. This yellowing is caused by flame retardants coming up to the surface and decomposing there. These were mixed into the plastic both to poison and protect us. Otherwise any cheap plastic enclosure would, once ignited, burn like the nasty stuff they fill into Napalm bombs. So pick your poison, literally: wreck your nerves with neurotoxic flame retardants (and avoid the Napalm bomb in your living room) or bear the fire hazard. Which means you could never leave the appliance powered up unattended, and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Now, it should be an aircraft type fire extinguisher based on Halon, and not the dry powder type (will ruin everything in your living room) nor the CO2 type (will suffocate everybody in the room) nor the water type (electric shock hazard). Ah, the great mysteries and hazards and pitfalls of modern living. Imagine a Jetsons style world in which everybody uses a nuclear powered flying saucer, even your moronic neighbor who always is stoned / drunk. Thanks God we never made this kind of "progress".

 

As far as I have seen with equipment I have retrobrighted myself, there is no noticable embrittlement of ABS plastics caused by retrobright. Where it gets brittle and cracks occasionally is on the inside, and the posts for the screws are the most likely parts to crack. I never retrobright the inside of plastic shells so it can't be the retrobright process causing that. It's just age. Plastics are not meant to last forever.

 

The final problem with retrobright here in the USA is that you can't get higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. I found some specialized chemical companies who sell it gallon wise or by the drum and with specialized hazmat shipping. This is not financially viable. The alternative which I found somewhere on the web is "Salon Care Professional 40 volume creme" which you can buy at your local "Sally Beauty" store, but the price went up, despite the U.S. Government Bureau of Lies and Scams ("BLS") claims the inflation is in the low single digits. Not so. I used to get a 32 Fl Oz (946 ml) bottle for ~$9 and just a few days ago I had to pay $14.60  for the same bottle. What a lie and what a scam ! Watch out to get the gel, and not the fluid. The fluid is almost pure, diluted, stablized hydrogen peroxide which will run off like water - so you need to procure all the other hard to get ingredients and do the mixing yourself. The gel is ready made and no mixing required. At least here in the fierce Colorado Springs sun, 3 cycles of 45 minutes each are enough to get the yellowing away.

 

As for the value of "collectibles", I prefer to buy the ugly, yellowed ones, and negotiate the price down until it's a steal, using the argument that it looks yellowed, gross, and nobody wants to touch it, because, well, ... it's gross / icky. So at least for me, the non-retrobrighted ones are preferred. Now if you think you can get more $$$ by retrobrighting, think again. It takes a lot of work to do it right (I've just spent about 8 hours retrobrighting and polishing a set of key caps) and unless you are willing to work for peanuts, it's not worth the effort, if you intend to sell the finished piece. I only retrobright ONE specimen of each type of machine I have in my collection, nice and clean, fit to demonstrate, and keep the ugly ones hidden from light in a dry, cool place, in their original condition.

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

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I have lots of experience

I have lots of experience using retr0brite. Streaking is usually caused by using the gel version and/or using creme developer instead of clear developer.

The gel recipe calls for using Xanthan Gum. The recipe for it usually results in streaking. The truth is that the recipe must be altered so that the hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen.

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 UncleBernie wrote:Plastics

 

UncleBernie wrote:

Plastics are not meant to last forever.

Try telling that to an environmentalist! :)

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jeffmazur wrote: UncleBernie
jeffmazur wrote:

 

UncleBernie wrote:

Plastics are not meant to last forever.

Try telling that to an environmentalist! :)

Well...  I once had one tell me that the Sun had no influence on temperatures or climate on Earth...  so...

 

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Retrobrite also negatively

Retrobrite also negatively affects the molecular integrity of the plastic, use with caution or better yet don't use at all on anything that has any real value.

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