Time ago I’ve found in a old an dirty container a quite decent Commodore Disk Drive for 5,25″ floppy disk. I’ve always loved these kind of media and in fact I’ve recently decided to change the logo of this blog from Mario’s Goomba to one of these neat 3M disks 🙂
However the drive was in a bad shape. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the cables to connect it to my C64C so at the moment I don’t know if it’s working or not so the only thing I could do was open it, check if there was something missing or in bad shape and clean everithing to give it a decent shape, at least cosmetically-wise.
In order to do it I tried my first retrobrighting process so first of all I bought everything I needed for the job. I aldready had the plastic wrap (I have tons of plastic wrap in my house, who knows why) and a cleaner but I needed hydrogen peroxyde and a small paint brush. Simple stuff, I’ve paid them less than 3€.
First thing to do for a good retrobright is obviously open the drive (it has only 4 common screws), then I unplugged a couple of connectors and I unscrewed all the actual hardware. Luckily there are only 6 screws and there’s nothing more to remove, because cleverly Commodore fixed the one-piece disk reader to the plastic case.
After then I vacuum cleaned the two shells and you can imagine how dusty it could be after like 30 years spent stored in a messy place and I wiped it a bit with one of those cloths you use to clean the glasses. The last part was using some pressurized air to definitely clean it all over and rinse it under the water.
After it was dried off I started with the actual retroblight process. First of all I’ve cut two pieces of plastic wrap, both long more or less like a forearm and I placed them on the table in a way they were a bit overlapping. The I put on them one of the two plastic shells and I’ve applied the mix for the retrobright. Unlike most of the tutorials I’ve seen online, where they use only hydrogen peroxide, I’ve used a (slightly modified) recipe I’ve seen from one italian collector, Matteo Turchi, which is 2/3 hydrogen peroxyde and 1/3 acid base cleaner (I’ve used the Cillit Bang, since I have 4 bottles of this and, again, don’t ask me why, it looks like I have huge amount of useless stuff in my house), and obviously I wore my usual blue gloves.
I’ve gently put this mix with a paint brush on all the surface of the plastic, be careful not to leave any dry space. For greater security I’ve covered the original Commodore labels with some tape, to avoid they could be ruined by the solution. Then I wrapped the plastic as tight as I could with the wrap and I let it sit under the sun. Actually I’ve placed it outside on the terrace way before the sun was coming (there’s always some reflected light that can speed up the process). I left the piece under the direct sunlight for let’s say 4 hours only because, unfortunately, my terrace is a bit underexposed to the sun, otherwise I would have left it there for more time, but the results have been good anyway.
I compared the color of the platistic that usually is exposed to the light with the one under the “1570 Disk Drive” label that has never seen the sunlight and, although there was still a difference between the color, I could say that the plastic was actually brighter than before. For further comparison I placed the two plastic pieces one over the other to see the difference as, as you can see, the color is different.
Now I’m looking after some cables and floppies to try the disk drive, even though I confess I’m not so confident, because I’ve seen some rust on the mechanisms and I don’t think this will ever work, but never say never, fingers crossed and see what happens!