Refurbishing my C128


I've started refurbishing my C128, it suffered a few years up in my attic, however all in all not in bad condition. I've watched a number of youtube videos showing how various enthusiasts disassemble and clean their cases, replace capacitors etc.. I've removed the mainboard with the rf shield intact and have started on cleaning my case with the intent to retrobrite the keys and case and am toying with the idea of replacing the capacitors as long as I have it apart. So far I've used dish soap and warm water to remove any loose dirt from the case itself, however I've found that some particles and scuffs seem to be a bit harder to remove. Some of the particles are very fine roof tile tar that got on the case when I had my house re-roofed and a stubborn black scuff on the bottom side of the case that doesn't seem to want to come off. I might try one of those Mr. Clean magic erasers. I'd also like to preserve the stickers when retrobrighting (the C128 label as well as the manufacturing label located on the bottom on the bottom of the case) and need to see if can find any advice on protecting these items from damage. The other item I was curious about was the blob of solder that they used to (I assume) secure or/and ground the rf shield to the mainboard just to the top of the keyboard connector. I was wondering if this actually served the aforementioned purposes or if it had additional purposes. Also I'm toying with adding more video ram if I can still find the upgrade process and maybe some other modifications as long as I have it open. I'm still researching my options.

Link to nasty before picture... 


Alright, I cleaned it up some, still terribly yellow and still have some marks to get off the main case. 

After Soap and Water..

I'm a bit concerned about the faded color on the keyboard keys, I don't remember them being that faded and am hoping when I do retrobright the keys they don't get worse or disappear altogether (* Edit, after watching a few more videos, I realize this was the natural color of the secondary function labels, so I think I'll be fine)

Faded secondary function label..

I read that using a hair dryer with hot air will help remove the labels on the machine without damaging them. I'll try that next, also I need to deal with this nastiness.

Keyboard (gack)

I'm thinking that maybe I'll just soak the main case once I get the logo and manufacturing stickers off and see if that will remove the more stubborn particles still stuck to the main case, it seemed to work well with the keyboard keys.


Cleaned the keyboard (not perfect but much better then what it was) Just some windex on a terry cloth and a tooth brush.

I'm waiting for some sun to retrobrite the case and key's, today's overcast .sad In the meantime I removed the RF shield and besides being a bit dusty, everything looks good. I think I'll take Bil's advice and leave the caps alone for now. 


Quick update ... Due to the overcast weather on the east coast, my Retro Briting of the case and keys has been put off till the weekend, currently shows partly sunny on Sat and Sunny on  Sunday. Fingers crossed.

In the mean time I ordered a Commodore 128 64k VDC plugin board off of ebay, but it won't show up till next week and got some thermal paste to replace the old stuff that was pretty dried up for the heat contacts on the RF shield to the chips on the motherboard. Still looking to find an eprom burner and some eproms to put Basic 8 in that spare socket. If any body knows of a decent yet reasonably priced eprom burner for this prurpose let me know. I doubt if I'll be burning alot of eproms, but they seem to vary quite a bit in price and I don't have any personal expierience with the process myself. 


Still overcast so no retrobrite (again), however my 64k video expansion board showed up early! So I was able to put that in


The sun finally decided to come out, I ended up using a 40 volume creme developer applying with a paint brush coating my case top and bottom then wrapping them in plastic refrigerator wrap, I did the same with my keys, however I lined them up on a cookie sheet. I let them sit for 3 hours, turning 1/4 turn every half hour. I'm pretty happy with the results, there is still some yellow tint but it looks alot better then it did. A couple of things the led for power has a fiddliy bracket that I still need to mess with to get the led to sit right. Also I lost 1 spring for the keyboard that I'm hoping will turn up.sad  


Next I need to test it, so I did some more digging in the attic and found my 1541 disk drive, 1084 monitor (Still need to look for the video connectors), and a 1530 Datasette Unit. Both the 1541 and the 1084 need a good clean, the Datasette is pretty clean as it was stored in it's box but still could use a wipe. I thought I had a 1571 disk drive, but didn't see it. My memory may be playing tricks on me.smiley


Regarding replacing caps: I
Regarding replacing caps: I would try it first and see if it works unless you see them all swollen, or they get warm or your really comfortable soldering. I have seen people breaking working things by getting "solderitis", though old caps would be an exception. Bil
Re: Regarding replacing caps
Thanks Bil, It did work before it was relegated to the attic, but I wanted to clean it up and take a look at the mainboard before I tried powering it on again. I've yet to remove the RF shield, I'll probably do that today and inspect their condition after I finish cleaning the keyboard. My guess is that there the original capacitors and the manufacturing date on the case says 1985.


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