In a perfect world, all of the Apple computer and component cases would be the same beige or platinum colors that they started out with. Reality is that some still are, many show some mild discoloration (yellowing) and some are downright orange. What causes this? The folks at Retr0brite have determined that the plastic used to make these cases had chemicals added to make them flame retardant. These chemicals, along with Ultra Violet light exposure are the causes of the plastic discoloring over time. They have also created a process to reverse this, and it is something that most folks can do at home. You can read more about it at their website – http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/. Based on my own observations, it it obvious from the patterns of discoloration that many of these computers did sit in an area that the sunlight reached. If it was purely chemicals, they would be more evenly discolored.
While I am assembling the ingredients for the brush-on application, I have tried peroxide on some really discolored keyboard keys and have one hint for you: Don’t leave them in there too long! Take them out periodically, wash them off and let them dry completely. Any that are still discolored can go back in for a while and repeat the process. Their true color will not show while they are wet.
To use this on every item in my inventory would be time prohibitive added to the already time consuming processing that each item on the website already takes between picking it up to listing it for sale. The items subject to discoloration include any external item with a beige or platinum colored case: computer cases, monitors, floppy disk drives, external hard drives, monitor stands, keyboards, mice, printer, system savers and probably more that I can’t think of right now.
In order to speed things up a bit, I will be mass listing some items, like disk drives, with just a description. You can pick up a discolored one at a significant savings over one that looks near new. Remember, they have all gone through the same testing and have passed mechanically.
N = nice or evenly colored with no obvious discoloration
L = obvious light discoloration
M = medium discoloration, somewhere between light and severe
S = severe discoloration
The disks to the right are stacked in order from top to bottom, nice to engraved, based on the appearance of the front of the drive. Based on these ratings, I’ll rate the front and left side of these drives by what I can see here, 1 is the top and 5 is the bottom:
Drive 1 – Front N, Left N
Drive 2 – Front L, Left N or L, hard to tell from this picture
Drive 3 – Front M, Left M
Drive 4 – Front S, Left S
Drive 5 – Front NE, Left N, Engravings on front
Aside from the engravings, #5 is every bit as nice as #1, but appears to be grayer 1n this picture – probably from the background.
E = engravings. Some schools actually engraved their name and serial or property number on the case. While you might be able to do something about the color, there’s not much you can do about this.
Other things that will be noted are defects in the case such as a gouge or deep scratch. Residue from or the actual property stickers. These are the anti-theft/anti-tampering kind. I have stopped removing them because the residue is impossible to get off and the sticker may look better than that.
Here is a monitor with both sticker residue and engraving:
Thankfully, the stickers are usually on the back or bottom. Engravings can be anywhere – front top, sides, back or bottom.
Things to keep in mind: Coloring level is subjective and is based on what I see when I look at each side of the item. Plastics made in different batches can start out new with slightly different hues. Beige itself can be used to describe hundreds of different colors. Third party accessories and devices may have not quite matched when everything was new.