Open source computer polish: Retr0Brite

The Retr0brite Project is an open-source effort to develop the world's finest vintage computer polish, to whiten up the yellowing chassis of your old Amigas and such.

Dave from Manchester, UK, aka 'Merlin', the chemist behind the project, explains. “I came across the use of peroxide in July 2008 when Kristian95 told us about what people like AmigaGTI were doing with it over at a1k.org. I was intrigued by this, as I am a former industrial chemist. I am also a plant Safety Manager by trade and, purely by coincidence, around that time I read about a dust explosion that had occurred in the UK with a chemical called TAED, which is the booster in the ‘active oxygen’ laundry products.”

“This got me thinking, and after some really 'full-on', serious chemistry discussions with other EAB members, like Rkauer in Brazil, who is a plastics Engineer and my good friend Zetr0 from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK, who endured endless phone calls from me. We wrote some epic threads on English Amiga Board about the possible causes of the yellowing and eventually we arrived at the theory that it was the Bromine in the flame retardant that was the cause. We also knew that Ultra Violet light was another major factor. Having identified the culprit, the next stage was to try to develop and perfect a means of treating the plastic and reversing the yellowing without damaging the plastic. Being a former industrial chemist helped me tremendously, in understanding what was going on at the molecular level and to develop a treatment process to reverse the effect.”

“The problem was finally cracked in late July 2008 with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, a small amount of an “Oxy” laundry booster as a catalyst and a UV lamp. Proof of this concept was demonstrated on EAB by Tonyyeb from Hull, UK, Chiark from Leeds, UK and myself.

The “Retr0brite” Project (via /.)