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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:20 pm

Before/After of retrobrighting my breadbin keys. It can be done!
IMG_9622.png


How I Did It

First I removed the keyboard from the Breadbin (which came with a cracked case in 3 places, and doesn't boot. Ebay really sucks sometimes. I did get a partial refund at least...). I then put it in the dishwasher and used 1 cleaning tablet. This doesn't hurt the keyboard as it has non-corrosive cleaners (that's why our silverware doesn't corrode, too).

I put it on 1 single wash cycle, and turned off the drying. Just a nice wash.

Next I got a Q-tip and some 40 volume salon creme. Something like this.

I dabbed the creme onto the white letters and numbers. Then to trap the gases, I wrapped the keyboard in saran. Then I put the thing in the window. We've had gray skies and snow here the past few days, so I left it over there for several hours. Today we had sun, so I moved it to a window that was getting a lot of sun and producing some heat. Heat is a good thing.
IMG_9621.jpg
What you see on the inside of the saran is not just water condensation but trapped gases produced vital to the whitening chemistry involved.


Then I took the saran off and cleaned the top of each key using paper towels and rubbing alcohol.

Here are the results. It's not easy to fully appreciate with this photography as the exposure is a bit too high with the yellow version - but trust me when I say it's noticeably dramatic.

The "F" keys still aren't perfect, but this is good enough for me now. I can always do it again some other time - and probably will, as the affect is not permanent. But it's a hell of a lot better than where I started.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:43 pm

The springs, however, were hiding a ton of corrosion.
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IMG_9623.JPG
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obitus1990
USA

by obitus1990 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:59 pm

The spring corrosion is probably from the bleaching treatment or the water from washing it. I have found that the metal C= used in the springs for those keyboards tarnishes very easily with even just a little bit of moisture.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:05 pm

I never submerged the keyboard in bleach - just put it the dishwasher. And the tablets are non-corrosive to metals.

But I suppose anything's possible.

The inside of the motherboard was pretty nasty and the case was gross to touch without leaving a residue on your hands when I got it. I think this old girl was just left in some musty garage. It's also likely that the crap shipping job isn't what killed the machine, but potentially its previous environment.

I'm going to hook it up to a diagnostic cart tomorrow night and see if we can figure out why she won't wake up. Would be nice to know.
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dalek

by dalek posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:06 pm

Any tips for getting the keys off? When I tried on my brown key breadbin I got a few off then snapped a post. Ordered another post from ebay, replaced it and decided it wasn't worth the risk/effort anymore so gave up :)

I think I'd rather get all the keys off and dishwasher the parts but not the springs, because yeah those springs look water affected.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:03 pm

@dalek I use a typical keycap puller.

Unlike some of my other keyboards I've disassembled, the breadbin keys were unusually tight. I had to use the puller and pull straight up while holding onto the metal board with my other hand. You put the puller over the key, then twist slightly to get directly below 2 corners of a keycap. If you pull up vertically, and not an an angle, you shouldn't have anything break. That said, I did have a couple springs fly off but I did it over hard wood floors so they were easy to hear/find.
IMG_9627.JPG


Worth noting that some of the keys were so damned tight, the puller would sometimes put a tiny mark on the bottom of the key from the force. But it's not noticeable when they are all installed.
IMG_9628.JPG
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:39 pm

I should point out that when I took these pics it was less than a day after putting it in the dishwasher - a tried and true method. Much of the keyboard hadn't even dried yet (actually, there are still bits that are wet as I write this). It takes 2-3 days at least to dry the whole thing out. I doubt the amount of corrosion seen in the pic above could have been produced in less than a day.

As I removed the keys, the vast majority of the issue was around the F[unction] keys and top row. This keyboard was definitely exposed to moisture beyond what I did, and the corrosion just strikes me as way too serious to be caused from less than a day ago.

Either way, I'll be soaking the springs in vinegar - a suggestion by Mattsoft. "They may turn brown/black but the corrosion will be gone."
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dalek

by dalek posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:17 pm

Cool thanks - I've ordered a puller from chinabay for a whole $1.50 so might have another crack at it.

Mine were really tight too - and I think the slightest angle was enough to snap the post.

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