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Macintosh LC Monitor Restoration


Hello, and welcome back to The 8-Bit Guy.
So, in this episode, I’m going to be doing a restoration on this Apple RGB monitor. Now
normally, I don’t get to excited about monitors. To me they’re kind of like a RAM chip or
a hard drive or something. They’re just kind of a generic item. Unless, they are a
matching monitor that goes with a specific system. And in this case, this monitor is
the matching monitor for the LC series of Macintosh computers. Now, I’m going to be
doing an episode in a couple of weeks that heavily involves the LC series computers,
so I wanted to have a matching monitor. So Nate Spencer, who is a friend of mine, donated
this to me and supposedly it works but it needs a lot of cleaning and some retrobrite
and whatnot. But, when I’m done with it I’ll have my matching monitor so I can go
ahead with that episode that I’m going to do. Now, as an interesting coincidence, you’ve
actually seen this LC-II before. In fact, you saw it exactly two years ago. I did an
episode called adventures in retrobrite and in this episode I explored a variety of different
ways to possibly retrobrite things, but one of the things I did was, it was also the first
episode where I featured my black crate and I did the submersion method outside in the
sun with the hot hydrogen peroxide. And, that method has worked more or less flawlessly
for me for the last two years and this was the very first computer that I actually used
that method on and here it is two years later and it still looks great. So, I’m very happy
about that. This computer needs a hard drive so I’m going to have to do a little work
on this computer too, but aesthetically speaking, it still looks great, especially compared
to what it looked like before, which as you can see it was absolutely terrible two years
ago before I did the restoration on it. In fact, if you look at the back of it, you can
still see that one little port cover that I never actually retrobrited and you can see
the stark contrast between what has and has not been retrobrited. And like I said, two
years have passed and there has been no re-yellowing that I can see. So, I’m real happy with
that. So, anyway, first thing we’re going to do is plug this thing up. So, I just want
to confirm before we start that the monitor works. OK, so it looks like the monitor is
working fine so let’s get started. Although, before we go too far, I wanted to
show you something. It seems my LC-II is technically working, but take a listen to this horrible
sound it is making. Yep, that squealing is actually coming from the speaker itself. Here,
I’ll unplug it so you can see. So, this is something I’ll need to look into after
finishing the monitor. So, let’s take a closer look at this monitor.
It’s pretty yucky looking. It doesn’t look too bad at a distance, but up close you
can see its pretty gross. And, if you sit it on top of the LC-II, you can see it is
definitely yellowed and does not match. The first thing I’m going to do is remove
this microphone holder. I have always found these irritating and I have no plans to use
one of those microphones. These things are just held on by double-sided tape. I’m going
to try peeling it off with my fingers, I don’t want to risk damaging the plastic by using
a screwdriver or something. Ahh, there we go. And with any luck, I can gently pull this
tape off and maybe leave no residue. You can also see the original color of the monitor
underneath. Step one, as usual, is just some windex to
clean off the dirt. It’s actually amazing how much gunk this takes off quickly. And
then this happened. Yeah, well, I guess I should say this is not real windex. Its like
generic Sams club window cleaner. I guess the plastic isn’t made so well. Time for some alcohol to see if it will remove
the remaining gunk, such as this stuff here. I think it’s left over adhesive from something.
And not only does it remove it, but the original color of the monitor is now revealed under
the gunk, so that gunk has been on there a long time. Wow, this monitor already looks so much better
just from a good cleaning. But I still plan to retrobrite it. Because, I still don’t
like that it doesn’t match the computer. Oh and there’s another problem I noticed.
If you look at the bottom here, you’ll see it is missing all 4 rubber feet. So, I’ll
have to find some feet. And now to work on these side vents. I say
vents, they are just cosmetic lines, really. But there is crud built up in them. I’ll
brush as much stuff out as I can. Later on, I can hit this with the water sprayer outside
and hopefully get anything left over. Here’s another trick I do on stuff like this. I’ll
just use a screwdriver combined with the paper towel to get the stubborn dirt out. Anyway,
yeah, that looks noticeably better. Now time to deal with these rubber feet. There
is left over adhesive in these rectangular areas. So I’ll put some WD-40 in there and
let it sit for a few minutes. I’ll also get this little area next to the foot. I don’t
mind using a screwdriver in these spots since if I scratch the plastic nobody will ever
see it once I put new feet in there. OK, so far so good. OK, now I’m going to start disassembling
this thing. The only two screws I see are these here on the bottom. So I’ll start
by removing these. And this is really an annoying angle to try to remove screws. Anyway, it
looks like I can separate the bottom little, but I can’t figure out how to go any further.
So, I’ll take a look at the service guide. In this photo it shows I’m supposed to push
down this area, while pulling back. Well, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,
but I’ll give it a try. Ok, I see how it works now. OK. And there we go. So, the very first thing I always do when
working on a CRT is to discharge the tube. Interestingly enough, I have so far never
encountered a tube that had any noticeable charge on it. I suspect because most of the
tubes I’ve worked on are later model ones that have bleeder resistors inside to discharge
it after power off. And this one also has no spark, but at least I have the peace of
mind of knowing for sure that it is discharged. And another ritual of mine is to double check
the flyback is discharged by tapping the anode cup to the chassis. Whether that accomplishes
anything, I don’t know, but I do it anyway. So, it appears they have this monitor divided
up into two major boards. This bottom board down here, this is like the power board, this
is where all of the high voltage electronics goes. And this is actually the board that
is plugged directly into the back of the CRT here, it handles all of the signaling from
the actual computer and displaying it on the screen. This has actually got some like goop
here or something that’s connecting that and I don’t want to have to cut through
that, so I think I can actually leave this board on here on the back and just try to
unplug everything from this bottom board and get it out, because the bottom board unfortunately,
has to come out. OK, so the first thing I do before disassembling
something like this is to take many high resolution photos of this thing from many different angles.
That way if there is any question later where some wire goes, I will have a good record. Now it is time to start unplugging things.
Unfortunately, I realized I was going to have to remove that rear board too. And there’s this goop I need to cut. Or
at least I thought I did. In retrospect, I feel pretty dumb about this now, and if you
haven’t noticed why, you’ll see why shortly. Unfortunately, the further I went along, I
realized there were more and more things I was going to have to disassemble. This job
was becoming more complex by the minute. So, eventually I realized that this rear board
wasn’t glued on, but rather there is a release mechanism. You just rotate this white knob
and then it slides out easily. I guess I haven’t seen a setup like this before, thats why I
didn’t realize how that worked. Unfortunately, there was still this one wire at each end
that was connecting this smaller board. It appeared I could remove it by prying this
plastic piece open. However, I was extremely irritated to find out it was soldered in place.
So, I decided for the time being just to leave it attached and sit the smaller board to the
side. And now time to continue trying to get the larger board out. When I first took this piece out here I was
really stumped as to what this thing was. I was thinking is this the flux capacitor.
Then I realized these cylinders are actually the brightness and contrast knobs that stick
out the side of the monitor. OK, time to see if I have everything unplugged.
Hopefully this whole bottom piece will come out. And it does! It’s kind of dusty so
I’ll hit it with some compressed air. All of the caps look good, and since it was working
fine before I took it apart, I don’t plan to mess with any of this. And of course, here
is the tube that I need to remove in order to get the front bezel off to retrobrite.
The tube itself is held in by 4 large screws. The tube itself is a little hard to get ahold
of and there is a large degaussing cable that is making it stick to the bezel. Nevertheless,
I got it out. Whew, that was a lot of work. Perifractic’s lite-briting technique is
starting to look a lot more attractive. And before you ask, I do plan to try that at some
point, but not on this item. I mean, it seems like it works, but I want to test it out on
something I don’t care about first and do some more research on it. As usual, it seems the day I want to do this,
it is total overcast outside. However, the forecast for the rest of the week is very
promising for retrobrite. First let me apologize for the overexposed
picture, I had my exposure set manually and couldn’t see the screen out in the bright
sun. Let me grab the temperature here this morning. Its already 118 degrees, and hopefully
that will rise another 20 or 30 degrees throughout the day. OK, there we go. And I’ll just
recover it here. Now we wait. OK, so it is late evening and its time to
check on this. It only got about 6 hours of sunlight due to me getting a late start on
this, and probably only 3 or 4 hours of direct sunlight. Nevertheless, it does look better.
As I’m drying it off inside, I can see the top part is still yellowed. I can also still
see a contrast between the exterior and interior parts of the plastic. But I’d like to see
how much progress was actually made, so I will compare to the rest of the monitor like
this. And yeah, I can definitely see some improvement, but it’s not done yet. So, the next morning I decided to get an earlier
start on this. Overnight the water temperature fell to 88 degrees. Another problem this has
is that I have more water in here than usual because this is a taller object. So, it takes
longer to heat it up. So I’m going to help speed that up a bit by pouring in some boiling
water. And that has increased our temperature to 107 degrees. And now I’ll put the bezel
back in for another day’s worth of retrobrite! OK, so we’ve reached the end of the second
day. Time to take it out. So far, it looks pretty great. I’ll need to rinse off all
of the peroxide. After drying it off, it looks pretty darned good. But I’m seeing a weird
spotted pattern on the top here. Now, one thing I’ve learned over the years is that
you have to give plastic a good hour after removing from the solution to see what it
is really going to look like, so hopefully these spots will disappear. But even if they
don’t, they are very faint. And here’s what it looks like compared to the rest of
the monitor. And so this is some of the unexpected weirdness
that can happen any time you retrobrite. First of all, on the top I thought there was going
to be this weird pattern that I showed earlier when it was still kind of wet. Once it dried
out, that pattern is gone but now there is a very slight streaked pattern that looks
like from where I was wiping it, which makes no sense. This is what I’m more concerned
about. I don’t know if you can see it on the camera but there’s this little section
about so wide and I know exactly what caused that. At one point during the retrobrite,
I found this thing had floated to the top and this corner was slightly out of the water
and so it did not get treated as much. So, I’m going to go put it back in there again
today and we’ll see what happens. OK, so I went and put this out for another
day and you can still sort of just barely see that spot there. It might be possible
to get it out by putting it out there again, but I just don’t have any more time to wait
on this and it is so minor. I’m just not going to worry about it. So, time to start
re-assembling. OK, time to test it. Well, nothing blew up.
Now I’ll power on the computer. And, good news everyone. It seems to still be working.
Now it is time to start on the rear piece. This will be the largest item I’ve retrobrited
in the crate. I’ll start by spraying these vents really well to get any remaining dirt
out of those. So, one problem I deal with a lot is the formation
of bubbles due to the reaction on the plastic. And these bubbles, after a while, tend to
make plastics float to the top. This can be a problem. However, in this case I’m going
to stick this brick in here, which should eliminate that concern. And since this thing is much taller, I’m
going to have to add a lot more water. Now, I’m concerned about two things. By adding
a lot more water, I will be diluting the hydrogen peroxide. Another problem is the water temperature.
It will take longer for the sun to heat this up. In fact, I had to put so much water in
here just to get the tip top of this thing submerged, there is no room at all for the
greenhouse effect. So, I’ll just remove the plastic wrap here completely. In fact,
this still doesn’t want to completely submerge, so I’m going to rotate it around the other
way, since the crate is on a slight incline. And I’ll add an additional bottle of peroxide. I let this sit out for the rest of this day,
which was just a few hours, and then the entire rest of the next day. I did come out every
few hours and try to eliminate these bubbles. I also kept my eye on the temperature. It
stayed pretty warm, but it never got quite as hot as it did with less water. In fact,
by the end of the second day the temperature only reached 101 degrees. I thought about
getting my Souz-vide cooker out, but I could tell the color was improving despite the lower
temperatures, so I just left it alone. And so here we are a day and a half later.
So, drying it off, I can already tell this looks so much better. I’ll go ahead and
re-assemble it and see if it matches the front bezel. Yeah, I think this is going to look
great! Now I’ll screw it back together. I also took a trip to the hardware store and
found some feet, which I am hopeful will fit. So here goes. And look at that, a perfect
fit! And let’s have a look at it on top of the
LC-2. It definitely matches well. Keep in mind that the worst of the yellowing was on
the top of the monitor, so even when I showed the comparison earlier the contrast between
the computer and monitor didn’t look terribly bad, it really didn’t paint a good picture
of how yellow it was. Still, when you look at the picture I took before and after, you
can definitely tell some difference. I also managed to borrow a working hard drive
solution for this. Speaking of the LC2, I said I was going to re-cap it. I had hoped
to show that in this video. But it turns out, I ordered the wrong caps. These are the correct
values, but they are not the correct size. If these were traditional caps with wire leads
on them, it might not have mattered, but since they are surface mount, I really need them
to be the right size. So I have had to re-order the caps, but they won’t be here for several
more days. So, I won’t be able to show you the re-capping. OK guys, so if you’re still with me, this
is probably not the most exotic thing that I’ve ever retrobrited before, but it is
something that is kind of important to see how to do, you know what’s necessary to
tear down one of these monitors and put them all back together. And amazingly, this one
still works. But, you may be wondering what’s this special episode that I’m going to be
doing that I needed the LC system for? Well, if you notice this thing is running the Oregon
Trail right now. Now, that’s not the Macintosh version of the Oregon Trail, that’s actually
the Apple IIe version of the Oregon Trail. The reason it’s able to do this is because
there is a special card inside this LC-II, which allows it to fully emulate an Apple
IIe. And this is a really fascinating piece of equipment and that’s what the next episode
is going to be about, that I needed the LC-II for. So, anyway, stick around for that episode
and thanks for watching!

Glenn Chapman

100 Comments

  1. I’m right down the street from you in Texarkana and I guess the sun just isn’t as close or something lol. the same exact setup you’re using and I can’t get my plastic to get whiter. Very disappointed.

  2. A substitute for that grey goop would be ATV silicone. AKA, "liquid gasket." Available at any auto parts store. I keep a tube of high-temp stuff in the toolbox for working on engines, but it doubles nicely for tacking electronics at joints like that. You can actually get the "proper stuff" from Digi-Key and other electronics suppliers, but it's pretty expensive.

  3. 2:36 That's the sound of the ghosts and spirits in your magical computational device expressing their displeasure of decades of imprisonment within. You should call you local sorcerer to see if he can cast a pacification spell on them. This should eliminate the malady, Sir tecnomancer.

  4. Next time instead of adding tons of water and diluting the solution, just add more bricks instead.

  5. That was the most horrific noise I have ever heard coming from a computer, wtf

  6. Adrian Black found that Royal Blue LEDs used for remote phosphor lamps work really good for retr0briting. I'd like to try that sometime, if I can find a good source of them.

  7. Was that the video or power cable that was permanently attached….

  8. LOL Another old "school" computer. bet the gunk on top was a class room id or station id

  9. So the secret to apple having high power machines was the flux capacitor. It all makes perfect sense now!

  10. Hi David. i v seen all your videos, it's nice to see all this machines still alive… PS : could u tell me pls.the exact name of the ending song theme? …… Greeting From italy 🙂

  11. Good to see you discharged it to the correct place, the braid across the back of the CRT which in your case it was connected to the rim band lug.
    The reason most modern units do not arc is that the FBT has a built in bleed resistor (which is usually part of the Focus/G2 chain and very often the HV sense point) not the CRT.

  12. Never owned the LC model, but I remember going to my friends house when we were kids and his mom had one and it always reminded me of a pizza box.

  13. >TX weather 99 degrees
    >VA weather 105 degrees

    WTF!?!?!?

  14. I've tried to retrobrite my C64c, and its still very very yellow, its tan color

  15. Good vid it worked with my severaly yellowed 2006 white plastic macbook with a broken screen
    mac os x 10.6.1
    windows: windows XP

  16. Ha the LCII first Mac I ever used. I have some seriously fond memories. I remember seeing the first one in Jr. High School in 92, and by Graduation in 98 we had Brand new G3 "Molar Macs". Insane computing progress in just 6 years. It certainly feels like the advancement has slowed some these days. I just WIsh Apple never discontinued HyperCard

  17. that's a lot of work to get a front bezel off..
    put a piece of thick foam under the fron of the tube , loosen the 4 tube screws, loosen the mainboard backplate , and your done.

  18. btw, was the squeeling solved with the recap, or was it something else?

  19. How about trying a tiny pump to keep the peroxide solution in circulation? It might help with spreading the stuff

  20. rad! Those were in my school's computer lab in 1995. Cool to see one look mint.

  21. Wow for two years you’ve had that black box which you have consistently complained about being too tall and limiting your retobritght time

  22. remember kids your mac lc2 should not make a kettle sound unless it's dying from cap juice on it's board

  23. You know, I've gotta ask: Do you ever get odd looks or questions from your neighbors when you leave old "junk" (in their eyes) computer parts sitting in a vat of water out in the drive way? It's gotta be a very strange sight for someone who has no idea what you're doing!

  24. You should probably buy a sous-vide-vacuum heater, set the temperature to 160°, put it into the usual box in the sun and wait. The sun will do the basic heating, saving energy, while the heater will do the rest to achieve the optimal reaction temperature. It will also even out fluctuations in the sunlight.
    Use a vibrating/shaking machine as the bottom part to get rid of the bubbles in the tub.
    EDIT: Oh, I just heard you say that you have a sous-vide cooker in the video. Well…

    Why didn't you use it to speed up the whole thing though?

  25. I don’t get how these computers always get so dirty, what the hell do people do with these lol. Must be constantly spilling food and drinks on them.

  26. I swear I have watched this video 6,000,000,000 times but I still find it entertaining.

  27. @8bit guy the mic holder if you use a little fishing line filament and use it like dental floss you can can sort of "saw through" the sticky pad without risk of damaging the plastics 🙂

  28. !!make sure you dont get this on your hands,it will burn your skin off,my hands are still raw from the same solution!!

  29. I don't know if this would help any, but the things that float when trying to retrobright, if they have a part that you won't see that you don't care if it recolors correctly, would taping some sort of weight to that part help?

  30. do not applicate window cleaner to CRT screen, it is damaging the antiglare coating !!!

  31. Wow! There is a service Guide. And that for an apple device! Apple devices cannot be serviced! Just call the support to replace it and pay for it! DESTROY THE PLANET!

  32. there is something deeply relaxing about a computer being cleaned and resurrected like goddamm technomancy

  33. hey 8 bit guy when you get those streaks in the plastic have you tried rubbing again with baking soda to see if it comes out since it has an abrasive effect

  34. 3:50 the windex broke like my crushed dreams because i don"t have the money to make a business

  35. Oooh yeah! MORE RETROBRITE !!! Do not stop, wizard! = D

    Thank you for the video!

  36. You should leave the plastic on as it cuts down on evaporation. That's where you were loosing so much heat.

  37. Do the people at the hair care store or whatever wonder what the deal is with that guy coming in so often to buy that salon developer stuff?

  38. 4:56 Q-tips are your friends. Or please use some kind of hard plastic instead of a screw driver.

  39. The only problem with RetroBriting is that you need lots of sunlight, which isn't very common for a good chunk of the year over here in Oregon lol

  40. 9:47 Where can I buy SalonCare 40 volume in Canada? That's weird, the most concentrated one is the cheapest?

  41. You might want to remove the speaker over wise I might blow the speaker then I will catch fire or spark

  42. Those LC monitors are awesome looking. I like the box shape, color, and size. Its a cook mon itor.

  43. That "horrible sound" I swear is used in Gingerpale's video "Stay Inside".

    EDIT: Specifically the snowman melting part.

  44. those Frog Design Macs were the shiznit. I used to have ASSLOADS I picked up for next to nothing in the early 2000s when people couldn't give them away. Then I moved across country and sent them all to a recycling center. I deeply, deeply regret that.

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