Retr0BritePosted: February 21, 2012
In recent weeks I have been playing around with my new A3000 which came in to my possession last year. I’ve always had a soft spot for the trusty desktop computer, not the modern 90’s PC rubbish, but more the vintage AT/XT variety. So when I got my hands on my first deskop, the cog’s began to whirl and a new project was born. One of my main goals is to make this an email and IRC chat machine. For that i have an Zorro Network card, which i hope when i have MUI sorted out will be all up and running (MUI is needed to install MiamiDX).
The next issue I wanted to address is the yellowing, the A3000 is a lovely machine to behold in is natural colour. 20+ years of harmful UV rays cause a chemical reaction within the ABS plastic, that causes it to yellow. Many people have in the past resorted to painting their machines, in an attempt to restore there original colour. This can pose a problem if it’s your keyboard thats become the victim of yellowing.
This tanning effect, was discovered to be caused by “Bromine” one of the chemical elements used in TBBP-A ( tetrabromobisphenol-A ) during the 80’s and 90’s as a fire retardant in ABS plastic. Untreated, ABS plastic’s are flammable. Which is not a good combination when put with electronics.
Explaining the entire chemical reaction would take a lot of space. So I highly recommend the inquisitive reader look on the Retr0brite wiki page for a more thorough explanation.
Credit should be given to David Stevenson, the man behind the Retr0brite project, not to mention the many other people who have contributed to the research and development.
Within the coming week I shall be experimenting with Retr0brite, at first testing the formula on a defunct Macintosh Plus. The one mentioned previously on this blog. As the Macintosh and Amiga’s share aesthetic similarities, it will make a good test subject before i attempt to lighten the A3000.
It should be pointed out that Retr0brite does not prevent future yellowing. What can happen once, can happen again. Such is the degrading effects of UV Sun light on TBBP-A molecules. One method I understand to work. Is to spray your restored plastics in clear enamel. I personally intend to coat my A3000 with matt varnish. Thus encapsulating the plastic and starving the Bromine of oxygen. Only time will tell if this actually works.
Today i ordered a 1ltr bottle of 12% liquid peroxide, I have already purchased a tub of Oxi powder and now only need a UV black light and packet of wallpaper paste. This does not sound like a computer repair at all does it? Wallpaper paste!?? Am i decorating the Amiga? No, the paste will act as a thickening agent to allow the solution to be applied by brush. Previously when using Retr0brite, you would need to submerge your plastic in a bath of liquid. But subsequent work has now been done, which has developed a more convenient paste.
Fingers crossed, i shall post my progress on this interesting experiment!