Monday, November 21, 2011

Retrobrighting a Dreamcast

ABS plastic was commonly used in the 90's as a cost-effective way to house electronics, like computers and video game consoles. It had one major drawback that was not immediately apparent: it yellowed badly over time and more so in direct sunlight. My Sega Dreamcast that I bought second hand suffered this very affliction. I thought I was just going to have to deal with it until I found out about Retrobright. This a paste that you can make at home out of semi-common products that is supposed to remove the yellow from ABS. I thought it's worth a try, since I'm planning on playing my DC more in the near future. You basically take the highest concentration Peroxide you can find (in my case 12% from Sally Beauty Supply), mix it in a blender with Glycerin gel and Xantham Gum to form a paste. The last setup before application is to mix in a small amount of Oxy laundry powder. Blend it up and put on some rubber gloves to spread it on the plastic in question. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and put it under a UV lamp (blacklight) for 24 hours, and you'll be amazed at the results. Granted, I did not get perfect results. My DC still had small amounts of faded yellow hues here and there. Overall, however, it looks way better than it did before. Some parts look perfect. The proof is in the pictures (see above). If I had used a higher concentration Peroxide, like 15%, or if I had spread the paste a little thicker, I think it may have worked better. A word of advice: Unless your Retrobrighting 10 devices, do not make the amount listed on the website. Make 1/6 to 1/8 of the amount for a batch capable of coating one device. I'll conclude by saying that if you have a yellowed SNES or Dreamcast, or an old Apple computer, then Retrobright is your friend. I'm very happy with the results.

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