Today, I am following up on the cleaning of my Apple //e Platinum. In the first part, I focused on the beast’s guts but didn’t address the case. The main reason for the delay was the weather. Indeed, part of my pimping, I definitively wanted to retro-bright the case. Sure, it was not bad at all, and I could live with it. But we are pimping here, not sponging! If you don’t know what retro-brightening means, have a look at my post here. It will give you all the basics with my Sony HBF-500F MSX2 computer as an example. So, without repeating myself too much, besides using the right chemicals, we need a lot of sunlight – the UV part of it – and a lot of heat. I had to wait for the last weekend before the conditions were met here in the Pacific Northwest.

Pimp My 2E - Clean-Up Part 2 - (39)

The brightening went well but took me two-three passes. The first pass, done during Saturday, took care of most of the yellowing. I used the same approach as with the Sony, and after coating the plastics with peroxide, I wrapped the parts into a standard kitchen wrapping film. This keeps the parts moist and helps to raise the temperature. Although I used a toothbrush to regularly move the film over the plastic – to avoid leaving air or peroxide pockets at the same location for hours –, the top cover came out marbled. By this, I mean that a very light color difference was visible and formed large patches as in camouflage. It was very subtle, but once I’ve seen it, I could not stop seeing it like Cleopatra’s nose in the middle of her face.

Pimp My 2E - Clean-Up Part 2 - (20)

No problem, Sunday was even more favorable to retro-blighting (more heat). I did a second cycle on both the case and the cover. I wanted to keep them in sync as much as possible. The case came out of the second cycle perfect. Note that I used a different technique this time. I applied a thin, as regular as possible, peroxide layer and let it dry out. Once dried, I re-applied a new layer. Every two applications, I thoroughly washed the plastics. The marbling on the top cover disappeared mostly. There was still a small pattern I could see. And now you know that I could not end there.

Pimp My 2E - Clean-Up Part 2 - (34)

I, therefore, did the third cycle on the cover only, using yet another technique. This is the classic one: use a container, dilute the peroxide into water, immerge the parts, and leave it alone. I did all that, except for the leave it alone part. Indeed, the foam formed by the peroxide could add yet another pattern if I left the cover unattended. So, I had to regularly and gently shake the container. After an hour of this treatment, the cover came out spotless!

The main issue with retro-brightening, besides the weather and the alignment of all the planets, is to know when to stop. I had two pieces of plastic to compare with: the plastic around the rainbow Apple badge – likely a different one – and the rear bar holding the cover – which was never exposed to the light. They kept, therefore, their original color. Or at least, the color I targeted. More on this later. It is critical to keep checking and comparing the current color to the target during retro-brightening. Indeed, it is very easy to over treat and bleach burn your computer. And of course, always wash abundantly with clear water once you are done!

Pimp My 2E - Clean-Up Part 2 - (5)

Let’s get back to the original color. If you search the web, you may find several articles about Jerry Manock, the industrial designer commissioned by Steve Jobs to create the shell of the Apple 2. In these articles, it is often mentioned that the original color of the Apple 2 is Pantone 453. That seems reasonable when I compare it to the Apple //e cover I am showing on the illustrations. However, the Platinum version came with its shed of grey: Platinum! This color was part of the Snow-White design created by Frog Design to revamp the Apple product lines, and it was in service from 1987 to 1990. I have identified Platinum as between Pantone Cool Gray 1 U and Pantone Warm Gray 1 C. Now that the case is clean, I will next reassemble the computer and continue the pimping. We are not yet out of the woods! Stay tuned.

Pimp My 2E - Clean-Up Part 2 - (1)

Note: the Jerry Manock photo is © by Sasha Goldstein.