Finishing the Atari 130XE restoration. Key de-yellowing

Having de-yellowed the case, it was time to turn my attention to the Atari 130XE keyboard. Like the case before treatment, the keys were severly discoloured. What should have been white was a cheese yellow!

The first job was to remove the keys from the keyboard mounting. This proved a very easy job. Off with the case, then just a matter of pulling the keys straight up and away from the keyboard with the fingers . They came off easily. Several of the larger keys (Space bar, Shift etc.) were also fixed with a small bar poked through two tabs at the lower side of the keys. The bar proved easy to unhinge from the keys with a little pressure.

Photo 2. Keys came off, one at a time

Once the keys were off, it was time for treatment. This consisted of a solution of 6% Hydrogen peroxide activated with a pinch of "Oxi-Magic" poured over the keys in a jar, and left in the sun.

Photo 3. Key Treatment

The whole process took three days which was considerably longer than the paste prepration which I used on the cases. In fact the spacebar had one day more again! However, despite the longer-than-expected treatement time, the process worked fine and the Atari 130XE has now lost that unwelcome geriatric look.

Photo 3. Restored Atari 130XE

One thing to watch though. I gave the keys a long three day soak in the activated peroxide bath. For most keys all that happened was that the yellowing disappears but SOME keys faded just a little. See Photo 4.

Photo 4. Key fade during restoration

Notice the Letter "N". Just a little more faded than it should be. Same with the letter "M".

Still, it's just a minor side effect and the unit looks WAY much better than it did. An indication that the process is not completely without penalty though, and some caution is needed.


5th February, 2009

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