VOGONS


First post, by alienmannequin

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Hi all,

Pulled this lovely little thing from storage to do a CF mod, and found that I was having to superglue bits and pieces that simply shed from it.

20201018-092238.jpg

The question is, how to take care of it? Is it possible to restore the plastic to a less brittle state?

Anecdotally, my ZIP drive has shattered into a million pieces with ordinary handling as well.

I would love a way to condition plastics so this doesn't happen. As well as safely, so they can be handled without carcinogens leeching, or is that too much to ask? I've looked into car plastic conditioners, but they seem for outdoor use only, and extremely toxic. How have you all taken care of your precious plastics?

Reply 1 of 12, by Errius

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The rubberised coating of some mobile phones and USB sticks also has a tendency to turn to liquid over time. The underlying plastic is undamaged however.

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Reply 2 of 12, by wiretap

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You can't really do a whole lot besides keep it properly stored. Away from any light, no smoke or other chemicals (especially aerosols), 72F / low humidity (<35%). Plastics vary greatly in composition from device to device. Some hold up extremely well and others just turn brittle. Once the plastic molecule chains start degrading, there isn't a whole lot you can do to save it since it impacts the interior of the plastic, not just the inner/outer sides.

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Reply 4 of 12, by Jo22

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What about dish soap? I heard it has a positive effect on plastic. It could be wrong, though.
Just mentioned it for further investigation.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 5 of 12, by alienmannequin

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wiretap wrote on 2020-10-17, 23:49:

You can't really do a whole lot besides keep it properly stored. Away from any light, no smoke or other chemicals (especially aerosols), 72F / low humidity (<35%). Plastics vary greatly in composition from device to device. Some hold up extremely well and others just turn brittle. Once the plastic molecule chains start degrading, there isn't a whole lot you can do to save it since it impacts the interior of the plastic, not just the inner/outer sides.

Thanks for this. Wasn't aware that aerosols had an impact on plastics. I would have thought that running AC would increase brittleness (drying)? When one has even a modest collection, one has to run a spreadsheet reminding about keeping batteries charged etc. It's a real shame that my fave devices also seem to weather the poorest. Guess taking them apart frequently is potentially a bad idea. For the Libretto, it was unavoidable - had to replace the CMOS battery, as well as the HDD with CompactFlash - getting it in from the drive bay was doing damage.

Doornkaat wrote on 2020-10-18, 04:46:

Depending on the material there are products that'll slow the deterioration. I don't know wether they can actually restore the plastics though.

Was thinking of ordering some of this stuff and trying on a non-functional Toshiba of similar vintage.

https://automotivesuperstore.com.au/autoglym- … fb29c5b0107e551

Can't hurt, right?

Jo22 wrote on 2020-10-18, 10:00:

What about dish soap? I heard it has a positive effect on plastic. It could be wrong, though.
Just mentioned it for further investigation.

Scary, but I'll look into it. Thanks. Can't be the only one with this issue? Laptops particularly appear to do this.

Interestingly, all of the Windows CE Handheld PC devices I own hold up remarkably well, despite a similar vintage.

Reply 6 of 12, by Doornkaat

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alienmannequin wrote on 2020-10-18, 18:39:

Was thinking of ordering some of this stuff and trying on a non-functional Toshiba of similar vintage.

https://automotivesuperstore.com.au/autoglym- … fb29c5b0107e551

Can't hurt, right?

Go for it and report back so we may all learn! 😁

Reply 7 of 12, by pentiumspeed

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Any conditioners that based on silicone oils damages the plastics and feel terrible feel at a touch. Like armorall etc.

Plastic breaking apart and degrading is a big big issue with archivists that preserves the old artifacts that is made of plastic like for example very early barbie arms and neck breaking.

Back in the day when I had Compaq LTE 386s/20, it was breaking easily already 2 years old from purchase due to bad plastic formula.

Oh yeah, when I was TV tech in late CRT days which was later than 2003, one brand was Sharp which used very bad plastic formula stuck in my mind. A playful slap on the few years old Sharp TV back cover, shatters easily, breaking easily than bar of chocolate. More like sugar smash props.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 8 of 12, by Jo22

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-10-18, 21:37:

Oh yeah, when I was TV tech in late CRT days which was later than 2003, one brand was Sharp which used very bad plastic formula stuck in my mind. A playful slap on the few years old Sharp TV back cover, shatters easily, breaking easily than bar of chocolate. More like sugar smash props.

Cheers,

Thanks for sharing your experience! 😀
I always had a good opinion on Sharp as a company in general.
Their products often stood a bit out of the mass when it came to built-quality, function and design. Well, at least in the 1980s.
I've got a Sharp MZ-731 computer, for example, from 1982 or so. The plastic is still fine and the PSU, also.
Anyhow, Sharp had several divisions, I think. Maybe the TV part of Sharp went down hill over the years. Or it's a different company by now that produces under the Sharp brand.
Or their plastic mixture became somehow, bad. I don't know. 😅

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 9 of 12, by pentiumspeed

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Sharp gone down hill on TVs. Any I see I have problems with them. Some had very strange power supply regulators.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 10 of 12, by dionb

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If anyone knows a magic wand to wave, I'd be grateful...

My big problem is with Sun machines. Mid-1990s they had the combination of beige case with purple plastic accents (the classic 'Aurora' case of the SparcStation 4, 5 and 20 is the best example). The beige stuff is fine, but the purple bits simply disintegrate these days. I picked up a pristine-looking SparcStation 20 two years back. By the time I had opened the case, I had about fifteen bits of crumbled plastic in my hands - and I'm familiar with the design and pretty careful, so that wasn't due to abuse either.

Would there be any kind of chemical bath you could immerse this sort of thing into to replace whatever stuff is being lost over time?

Reply 11 of 12, by debs3759

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Only solution I can think of is to talk to someone with a 3D printer and the skills to design a replacement. Beyond my skill set though, and I would have no space for the printer, so easier said than done.

Reply 12 of 12, by alienmannequin

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-10-18, 21:37:

Any conditioners that based on silicone oils damages the plastics and feel terrible feel at a touch. Like armorall etc.

Perhaps that's why they have the silicone-free formula. Impossible to do any scientific test on it with my limited knowledge, but it's worth a shot perhaps.

dionb wrote on 2020-10-19, 09:24:

If anyone knows a magic wand to wave, I'd be grateful...

My big problem is with Sun machines. Mid-1990s they had the combination of beige case with purple plastic accents (the classic 'Aurora' case of the SparcStation 4, 5 and 20 is the best example). The beige stuff is fine, but the purple bits simply disintegrate these days. I picked up a pristine-looking SparcStation 20 two years back. By the time I had opened the case, I had about fifteen bits of crumbled plastic in my hands - and I'm familiar with the design and pretty careful, so that wasn't due to abuse either.

Would there be any kind of chemical bath you could immerse this sort of thing into to replace whatever stuff is being lost over time?

So frustrating. I would also like a magic wand... hoping one of these automotive plastic-repair thingies will do the trick?