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tezza
January 3rd, 2009, 09:48 PM
Having de-yellowed a few of my cases (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2009-01-01-de-yellowing-old-cases-2.htm), I now need to give the keys the same treatment.

How to remove them however?

I'm sure keyboards differ, but are there some general tips? For example, for most (apart from spacebars perhaps) is it enough to just secure the key in the jaws of a pair of pliers and pull hard? Or pop it off with a screwdriver from underneath? Is there any particular technique? Once extracted, do most keys just push back on?

The keyboards concerned are:
Atari 130XL
Apple IIe Platinium
EACA Colour Genie
Commodore SX (spacebar only)

I have removed a key from a Apple IIe keyboard and replaced it successfully. From memory I think I just gave it a good pull.

Anyway, any wisdom would be most welcome.

Tez

patscc
January 3rd, 2009, 10:09 PM
tezza said...jaws of a pair of pliers
Personally, I usually try to put a thin blade underneath the key on each side and gently pry up to see if it will easily pop off. This way, I'm not too suprised by metal clips, springs, and whatever else the designers decided to use to give that 'tactile' feel.
I don't like to pull, keys get marred, and then there's those anoying keys that have a metal clip hooked to something.
I try to start with infrequently used keys just in case I muck something up...

patscc

tezza
January 3rd, 2009, 10:13 PM
Personally, I usually try to put a thin blade underneath the key on each side and gently pry up to see if it will easily pop off. This way, I'm not too suprised by metal clips, springs, and whatever else the designers decided to use to give that 'tactile' feel.
I don't like to pull, keys get marred, and then there's those anoying keys that have a metal clip hooked to something.
I try to start with infrequently used keys just in case I muck something up...

patscc

Good advice. Pliers were something I thought of while typing but on thinking about it further, I can see how they could easily damage keys.

Googling around, I found this link, which offers some good advice, at least for "PC-type" keyboards. It may work for other types.
http://www.totse.com/en/technology/computer_technology/cleankey.html

Tez

gerrydoire
January 3rd, 2009, 10:33 PM
How does de-yellowing affect the texture of the plastic, is there any melting away, loss etc?

tezza
January 4th, 2009, 01:32 AM
How does de-yellowing affect the texture of the plastic, is there any melting away, loss etc?

According to the two threads on yellowing in this forum, the process does not affect the texture of the plastic at all. This is what I found. None of the three cases I processed showed any difference at all in texture after the treatment. Regarding keys, others have remarked that there should be (or is) no effect on the letter/number/symbol imprints.

Nothing is entirely risk free however, and there may be situations where an unusual plastic or process has been used in the manufacture which does adversly react with the de-yellowing treatment. Labels seem to be affected sometimes so it pays not to paint them with the paste,or cover them with wax if using a bath.

I guess it's up to the individual as to whether or not they want to take that risk. From what I've read it seems to be a very small one.

If anything adverse happens I'll be sure to post a note about it.

Tez

Terry Yager
January 4th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Just to be safe, is it possible to use the thickened solution and brush it on the keys without removing them? I'd be concerned about breakage of old, brittle plastics, even when exercising caution.

--T

tezza
January 4th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Just to be safe, is it possible to use the thickened solution and brush it on the keys without removing them? I'd be concerned about breakage of old, brittle plastics, even when exercising caution.

--T

Yes, I'm considering this too Terry. It's certainly the safer option and the paste would have no trouble covering the keys.

The paste is very water soluble and would disappear in no time at all after washing. The big unknown is how safe are keyboards to wash? I know some are and some are not.

I've dishwashed a few keyboards now. Most have not been affected, but at least one (a PC clone-type) did not work at all after washing.

For those keyboards with membranes one option would be to remove the membrane, and just paste (and wash) the plate containing the keys and the stroke mechanisms. I intend to give this a go this coming weekend, perhaps with my Atari 130XL and colour genie keyboards.

Back at work now after the Xmas break so the vintage tinkering (and posting) will probably slow down a little.

Tez

Druid6900
January 4th, 2009, 08:03 PM
To remove keys, I just use the L end of a PC backplane cover and gently lever the key off.

patscc
January 4th, 2009, 08:31 PM
Terry Yager said...brush it on the keys without
It occurs to me one could make a jig, or brace, or something, to suspend the keyboard upside down above a tray filled with the stuff so that the caps just touch it, or are barely immersed, or something along those lines, rather than brush it on, and then using the same approach for rinsing.
I'd be too worried about something leaking into the keyboard if I brushed anything on, but then, I might just be too klutsy.

patscc

tezza
January 5th, 2009, 01:39 AM
It occurs to me one could make a jig, or brace, or something, to suspend the keyboard upside down above a tray filled with the stuff ...

Yes, that crossed my mind too. It would take a bit of doing and evaporation might mean constant replenishment of the liquid might be needed.

I have two colour genies, one yellowed, one not, so can afford to wreck the keyboard of one. The Atari 130XL is not really a classic machine so if I damage the keyboard I will be glum but not devestated.

Of my machines with yellowed keyboards, the most valuable to me would be the Apple IIe Platinum. I have prised off Apple IIe keys successfully in the past though.

Of course I dont wish to wreck any of them.

Tez

Lorne
January 10th, 2009, 04:38 PM
I've had no problem just pulling the keys of my Osborne 1, 1a and Televideo keyboards.

Brushing on the solution would get real messy, and who knows what it might do to other parts of the keybaord. I know from experience, that the solution doesn't like painted parts.

tezza
January 12th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Just a follow up on this...

I got around to removing the keys from my Atari 130XL and Apple IIe Platinum. Actually it was a very easy process. It just required time, patience and some care. Not the sort of job to be rushed.

Anyway these keys are presently de-yellowing in the sun (sounds like a contradiction in terms doesn't it). I'll post a note in the appropriate thread when done.

Tez

nige the hippy
January 13th, 2009, 02:44 AM
Back in the days when it was actually commercially viable to repair keyboards, the guys used to use these.... (see picture)... for removing keycaps, they seem to be still available, do a google for keycap puller.