29 May 2019

Commodore Project 64 Part 2 - Retr0bright Phase 1

A while back I attempted to retr0bright a disgustingly oranged calculator. It did not work. I used 40 volume hair creme, which has a lot of hydrogen peroxide, the key ingredient in making things whiter. Vintage enthusiasts swear by the stuff, so I pick up a gallon of it from Sally Beauty for like $10. The mistake I made when attempting to de-orange that calculator was I never left it in the sun. It turns out you need ultraviolet light to activate the hair creme.

So with today's post, I want to revisit that device as well as move forward with the Commodore Project 64.

I think the bottom of the Vic-20 place is the best place to start. It's the worst-looking part of the chassis, but if I screw it up, the damage won't be visible from above at least. I began by removing all of the rubber feet and then used a heat gun to cleanly remove the product sticker. I also scrubbed all of the parts with soap and water, and used an abrasive pad to remove any marks.

Removing the sticker revealed the true color of the Vic-20 chassis. This would help me figure out when the case was looking the way it should. With this point of comparison, I brushed the 40 volume creme all over the surface and laid clear plastic wrap over that to keep debris from getting in it. 

This went outside onto my porch, which only gets a few hours of sunlight each day.

I had to move it twice over the following hours so it would always be in direct sunlight. I also rotated the piece so that every area would be affected.

And here's the result of the first phase:
The difference is huge. The yellowing was reduced significantly. I'm pretty happy with the results so far, but there's still work to be done. 

While cleaning the top of the chassis, I found some nasty damage had been done to the vent. I believe this was caused by a candle because I've also found wax between some of the keys and in other parts of the chassis. My guess is a candle fell over onto this machine at some point in the past. 

It's unfortunate to see this kind of damage, but I'm hoping the retr0bright will lighten that area up and make it less noticeable. 

In Phase 2, I'll be doing the entire case as well as that ugly orange calculator. Thanks for reading!

If you're interested in retr0bright, here are some places to start:

https://www.retr0bright.com/ - a website dedicated specifically to it.

And this video:

In fact I recommend watching ALL of the 8-Bit Guy's videos. His content is fantastic and he has been a huge inspiration to me. 


  1. Awesome Cal, will use your tips for my next project.


    1. strange, didn't use my name

      so again, cheers from germanrifter []-)