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De-yellowing consoles


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It's usually just some sort of hydrogen peroxide (liquid solution or cream) and light (sun or UV).

 

Some submerge in liquid and others cover in cream then wrap in cling film. Just go for whatever is easiest for you. You can't really mess it up

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I have used peroxide cream (I got a 1L bottle off eBay for £7) as above to do some A1200 keys and an Amiga mouse, results are pretty good. Apparently with non-white plastics you are at a higher risk of patchy results with cream/cling film so I won't do those. As a test I put a very yellow NES pad I am modding outside in the cloud and rain the other day and it still seemed to work albeit less quickly.

 

8-Bit Guy on Youtube has extensive videos on it that are worth a watch.

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I have to say I haven’t seen any real evidence of permanent damage caused apart from some comments around making the plastic brittle and aforementioned marble effect on grey plastics when cream vs. immersion is used. I would certainly think twice about doing it on very old/rare items which are brittle anyway. 
 

Aesthetic improvement is obviously subjective but returning something to how it originally looked vs. patchy fag stain yellow is fairly strong motivation. The re-yellowing speed also seems to be very inconsistent and is probably determined by the storage conditions (my GameCube front panel has yellowed badly despite not seeing daylight for 15 years and is in my loft, my DC which has spent most of its time in a cupboard is only slightly gone). 
 

 

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@Colonel Panic I've tried Litebrighting (just using the sun, no other agents) and that was reasonably successful on an A1200. In the UK, though, it's not often an option, mind ;)

 

As @mikejenkins says, The 8-Bit Guy has done a few restorations too. His (and a few others, like Jan Beta)'s current indoors method is a plastic tub with a hydrogen peroxide/water mix, a bank of UV LEDs, and a tin foil lining. Heat seems to be an important factor in activating the colour change (i.e. it's not just UV and/or bleach doing the heavy lifting.

 

In fact, bleach seems to be the least important ingredient of the three (heat/light/bleach). You could try buying a large plastic container, line it with tin foil, then add a large strip of UV LEDs, box it up to concentrate the light (and generate warmth) and leave it for 24 hours.

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, CovisGod said:

I always thought consoles were coated in something anti-flammable and after years and years the coating wears off leaving the console with a yellow tinge,

 

I obviously dreamt that :doh:

 

The people who invented retr0bright had a theory that it was to do with flame-retardant bromine, not painted on as a coating but actually included in the ABS plastic mixture itself. They thought that over time the bromine would leach out of the plastic and cause the surface discoloration.

 

I've found a few more recent posts that seem to suggest it's not that at all, and the flame-retardant part was a red herring.

 

I'm not a chemist so I don't know either way, but here are the links:

 

https://medium.com/@pueojit/a-look-into-the-yellowing-and-deyellowing-of-abs-plastics-db14b646e0ad

 

https://www.quora.com/What-is-happening-in-terms-of-a-chemical-process-when-hydrogen-peroxide-is-used-to-restore-discoloured-Lego

 

 

 

 

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That's really interesting! I've certainly had things in the attic that seem to have continued yellowing despite not being in the sun for long. 

 

Its supposed to be sunny for the next few days so, I've just put out some extremely yellow Lego to test. Might put my dreamcast later too. 

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On 21/06/2020 at 22:47, Protocol Penguin said:

Note that it isn’t a permanent fix, and that the console will eventually re-yellow (or have a duck-egg green tinge), and at a much faster rate than it originally yellowed.

 

On 21/06/2020 at 23:03, Dudley said:

I'd never do it, you're trading a temporary aesthetic "improvement" for permanent damage to the machine.

 

I did my Dreamcast nearly 2 years ago (thread here  ) and it still looks as good and bright as when I first did it.

 

105427212_10158195699390803_283017810108

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hey peeps. I am thinking of trying this on a snes controller. Last time I did this, my terrible job seemed to cock up the darker plastic on the snes body (like on the ones above) so I was wondering if maybe it isn't a good idea on snes controllers because of the darker grey plastic?

 

429425256_snespad.jpg.0e4b32f8c74ce387cb38012e6d778d81.jpg

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From my personal experience and how well people pull it off on youtube I would stick with 12% liquid and use UV LEDS in a clear tub covered with foil. I tried gel which was blotchy and leaving it in the sun and it just wasn't consistent.

 

as for timing, it'll take longer depending on how yellow. 

 

[edit]

Some of those links suggest otherwise and i would be more inclined to follow them!

 

 

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Funny this thread got bumped, I just got some USB powered UV LEDs last week!

 

Where's the best place to get liquid peroxide?

 

EDIT:

 

Oh wow, this thread is over a year old now. All I did was take the consoles apart and clean their guts. The yellowest of them is just a shell in a clear tub waiting to be bleached.

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I did my very yellow old SFC and pads, the pads took a long time and the console took about 2 days and still isn’t perfect but better than it was. If you’re doing a SNES console take all the extra bits of dark grey plastic off as mentioned above, it has ruined my eject button because I didn’t do this. 
 

I got 2x8L bottles of 12% liquid from Chris and sons website. 

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Not sure what the measure of “original” is there, a dark yellow SFC is not original looking by any means. In this case I can just get another eject button but there is certainly a risk of permanent cosmetic damage if you mess it up.
 

Whether the risk of this permanent damage is worse than the other permanent damage that causes the yellowing is obviously in the eye of the beholder, I think it looks a lot better now than when I started (original pad included to show before state, console was worse than this and uneven).

 

That said, I personally wouldn’t carry out this process on anything rare or expensive. 

B9C18964-15BD-4977-92CC-5A09C29AA9D2.jpeg

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Honestly it's a piece of cake as long as the weathers good. I've done about 10 Dreamcasts over the last 3 years and all of them came out way better than they started with. It's also a good opportunity to get all the accumulated crap out of them and give them some TLC

 

That said the Dreamcast plastic is thick, very high quality stuff. Never done a SNES.

IMG_20210630_132753 (2).jpg

 

Last one I did came out like it was brand new. 

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