Osborne 1 Computer Restoration Part 1

Osborne 1 Computer Restoration Part 1

Hello, and welcome! In this episode, I’m going to be doing another restoration. And this time, it’s going to be on this
old Osborne 1. I actually picked this thing up a couple of
months ago and it does work although one of the disk drives is seized up and it just needs
a lot of cleaning and retrobrite. So, I’m going to get started on that, and
hopefully, if everything works out, I’ll give you a good demonstration of it when I’m
done. So, before we get started, let’s take a
look at the condition of this thing. Lazy Game Reviews did a really nice episode
of tech tales describing some of the history of this machine, that’s definitely worth
watching if you’re interested in the Osborne. To summarize, the company behind this helped
coin the industry phrase known as the “Osborne Effect”, whereby a company can put itself
out of business by advertising an upcoming product too early, thus killing sales of the
current product. So, one problem, I wanted to point out is
this cable has been yanked out of place. This section here should not be here. The problem is, the cable plugs in here. But, when you go to close it up, you can’t
because this cable is in the way. This is supposed to be, right there, like
that. So, we need to fix that. I will plug it in, however. And, as you can see, it does boot and drive
A is working. However, I had this machine apart a few days
ago just looking around and testing some things out and suddenly there was a huge POW and
then smoke started to pour out of the machine. I managed to catch the aftermath on video,
and I’ll show you later on what caused that. I decided to start with the keyboard. It looked easy enough to disassemble. However, the inside was dirtier than I was
expecting. And I also noticed a lot of corrosion on some
of the metal, especially on these screws. I began to suspect part of this may have been
underwater for a time. I went ahead and popped the little wire out
here. I actually think some previous owner may have
done that on purpose. Removing the main connector was tough, because
it was corroded. I did get it of, but you can see what this
looks like up close. I was also a little worried about these screws
being stuck or just breaking off. But they seemed to come out pretty easily. Yeah. That’s pretty yucky. So, I wasn’t sure if these keys were the
original color or if they have yellowed over the years. But, when I look at the side, I can see some
contrast where less UV light was hiding the keys. I decided the best way to deal with the corrosion
was to just soak the screws in vinegar and just let them soak overnight. I also decided, somewhat reluctantly to put
the connector in there. I hope I don’t regret this, as I’ve never
tried anything like this before! I figured the worse case scenario is I could
just replace the whole connecter as there appeared to be enough slack in the cable. Onto the keys. I got my keycap puller out that one of my
fans sent me and started pulling these keys. This device definitely makes this job easier
and now I wonder why I didn’t have one of these gizmos years ago. This little mat appears to be removable. It’s held on by a sticky surface on the
back. But, it did come off without too much hassle. That will make it easier to clean! There’s really nothing else to do here without
some major disassembly, so I’m going to leave this part alone. By the way, I noticed that vinegar was going
to town on that corrosion. I took the plastic parts outside to rinse
with the garden hose. That will save a lot of time. However, there was still a lot of residue
that didn’t rinse off, but you can see most of it just wiped off with a paper towel. Next I went to town with windex and tried
to clean as much of the visible gunk off of the surfaces. As usual, I used alcohol to get anything else
that was being stubborn. The keys actually looked pretty clean, but
when I tried scrubbing them, I could see dirt coming off on the paper towel, so I ended
up cleaning all of the keys one by one. So the surfaces were all prepared for retrobriting,
but I had to wait until the next day so there would be some sunlight. So, the next morning I went ahead with the
usual procedure. Now, I’ve been experimenting with some new
and possibly better ways of retrobriting. However, those experiments are still ongoing,
so for the meantime I’m going to use the method that is tried and true and tends to
work for me. In the past I have also had good luck with
just submerging keys in regular 3% liquid hydrogen peroxide and putting them out in
the sun. But it takes quite a lot longer, usually requiring
several days, and I’ve just found that using this stuff works well in just a few hours. I put them out in the sun early in the morning. Next I got to work on the larger plastic piece. I would need two pieces of plastic wrap for
this. I always make sure to put a generous coat
on the plastic wrap itself, then I paint on another generous coat on the computer parts. Then I put it out in the Sun. I’ve been warned that Osborne plastic may
be more prone to melting so I wanted to avoid having this out in the hottest part of the
day since it is in the middle of Summer in Texas. I’ve had some viewers send me some photos
of their projects that ended up with a streaked or uneven appearance, like these. I’ve experienced this a few times myself,
but I’ve found that it can usually be avoided by setting a timer to remind me every 20 minutes
to come rotate the pieces and massage the cream around to ensure even exposure. While waiting on the retrobrite, I had a look
at my screws here. After rinsing them off, they look much better,
even if the original shiny coating was eaten away. I also took this opportunity to work on this
little black mat that goes under the keys. It was actually super easy to clean with some
windex. I also wanted to work on this pin header because
it had a lot of corrosion on it. I decided to use baking soda. I just sprayed a little water on it to make
it like a cream, then used a tooth brush for about 5 minutes. I put it under the sink but I was careful
to only get water just where I needed it to rinse off the baking soda. So, the connector isn’t perfect, but it
looks a lot better. And so, I’ll put that little mat back on. I also noticed there is a little metal brace
that helps with the space bar but it was kind of stiff. So I applied some lithium grease to it in
3 different places and that did seem to loosen it up quite a bit. After the keys had been out for about an hour,
I decided to have a peak at one and see how it was coming along. I could immediately see how the color had
changed to a more gray type appearance, but I could tell a hint of tan on one side, so
I decided to put it back and give them another hour or two. This may have been a mistake, as you’ll
see later. I also brought in the main plastic piece and
I wanted to check the temperature, and fortunately it was only 112, so I don’t think it’s
in danger of melting yet. However, I can still tell part of it is yellow
here on the side, and that was the worst spot, so I put it back out for another hour or so. I brought the keys in again and decided they
were done. I started drying them off and they looked
absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t have been happier with the way
they looked. But something really odd happened, that’s
never happened to be me before. About 10 minutes after I dried the keys off,
I noticed they all started changing colors. They started getting these weird streak patters
on them. After about 20 minutes, every single key was
afflicted with this and there didn’t seem to be any way to cure it. It looked like the case plastic might have
been done so I decided to rinse it off and have a look. After drying it off, I could see that it looked
really good but it still had just a hint of yellowing on that one corner, which was the
worst affected part. That’s probably the corner that sat in the
sun the most during it’s life. But I also realized I forgot to get this edge
here on the other side, since it is visible when put together. So I re-applied the cream and set it back
out for another couple of hours. In the meantime, I decided to start putting
my funny colored keys back on, fortunately, I had taken a photo of the keyboard and printed
it out for reference. I started with the spacebar, which is one
of only two keys that had a spring underneath, the other being the return key. Putting the keys back on is usually the most
enjoyable part of a keyboard restoration. Some of these keys can be confusing, though,
such as these arrow keys, or like the 6 and the 9 key, as well as a handful of others. However, if you look closely there is a slant
to the bottom of the keys that shows which way they go. And, well, that’s it. I now have what I could best describe as a
marble colored keyboard. Time to re-assemble the rest of the keyboard. Time to rinse off the plastic one more time,
and hope it is done. The top ledge looks good now. There’s still just a hint of discoloration
there, but I think I managed to get most of it. However, by keeping it in the sun longer,
there’s now some streaking here, and also some on the bottom. It’s not anything I’m terribly worried
about as it isn’t nearly as noticeable as the keys. I re-attached this cable and I hope it still
works. I did rinse all of the vinegar out and dry
out out with compressed air. And I’m going to put the cable through the
hole here, where I think it is supposed to go. So yeah, I think that’s better. And here goes the bottom piece. Before I begin in the rest of the Osborne,
I want to test the keyboard to make sure I didn’t damage anything. I also want to do a test-fit here. The color difference is remarkable. It’s hard to believe that is the same keyboard
we saw earlier. Here’s a comparison shot from earlier. And back to what we have now. I fired up the Osborne and it does appear
that all of the keys are working properly. I tried every key on the keyboard. All right, so the keyboard took a little longer
than I was originally anticipating. And, it didn’t come out exactly like I was
expecting. I mean, I think I’m pretty happy with the
appearance of the case plastics, but the keys. I’m not really sure what to say about those. They look. In my opinion, they look better than they
did before. Definitely different than they did before. But they still don’t look like I really
anticipated them looking, so I don’t know. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier in the video,
I do have some new retrobrite techniques I’m trying to refine on some test equipment right
now. Some stuff that I don’t really care about. And, I’m having some positive results with
some methods, so I’m going to get to that eventually, but for the meantime, I’m going
to go ahead and say this is going to be the end of part 1 of this video, and I’m about
to start working on part 2, retrobriting the case plastics and fixing some the internal
problems that the Osborne has, as well as I am going to show you some neat things about
the Osborne computers in general and how they work and what you can do with them, and et
cetera, so stick around for that and I’ll see you next time!

100 thoughts to “Osborne 1 Computer Restoration Part 1”

  1. I like the way these keys look.
    Also, 8 bit guy, ive been watching a lot if your videos latey, and i love the content dude. Keep it up.

  2. I always thought that for some reason old tech was just made with nasty green or brown colored plastic. Like the company just decided that puke green was in and everyone wanted that. I just realized that they were discolored from age and were actually originally normal colors.

  3. Ok, I know this is VERY late but…. Could anyone else smell (and still smell) that smoke coming out of that computer? That's not an odor soon forgotten 🙂

  4. I would love to do this. I ones opened a 10 year old pc to figure out what was wrong with it and i just enjoyed doing that. If I could do something like that and figure out how these realy old pc's worked that would be realy awesome.

  5. I had the marble coloring happen to me I just put some liquid silicone on them and it helped alot hope that helps

  6. yeh, that's how i fucked up a virtually irreplacable set of vintage rotring technical drawing pens. lesson learned! (what ever the middle layer was made of, swoll up by about 25% over the next few days after "just" giving eveything a 20 minute soak. and ruined all the glorious, triple-shot caps and barrels irreparably.) this was still "lucky". maybe try silicone oil on the back of a cap. sometimes it works wonders. no long term warranty, though!
    dont ever let ancient, unknown plastics you want to preserve soak in anything for more then 10 minutes at a time, at anything over 20°C room temperature.

  7. Something I noticed when I was watching someone restore an old Gameboy, they put the case in a bag, poured 12% hydrogen peroxide in it till the entire thing was submerged, put THAT bag in another bag and set in 45-50 degree water, and let it sit for 6 to 12 hours.

    Here's the video


  8. The keyboard actually does not look bad , i think it is very very nice . It almost looks like expensive marble 🙂

  9. The keys are all burnt, what catastrophic restoration , never use retrobright for that , it's a stupid geek's method.

  10. Theres a keyboard just like that in my grandparents basement if you want it. It has to be from the O1 because I called my grandad and he said he had one back then. Maybe you can give those keys another try lol

  11. I'll say it. The new keys look SICK, it adds a perfect level of eccentricity to an otherwise quite boring looking device. They look even better than they would have had they not streaked.

  12. These videos pretty much convinced me to not bother using the thick goop for retrobrighting, unless you massage and keep adding more goop every 20 minutes.

  13. If your plastic parts fit, put them in a dishwasher. It will save you a lot of time with your cleaning.

    As well, for rusty and nasty screws, if you can't find suitable replacements, you can get rust removing products like "evaporust", which will remove the rust for you.

    For corroded connectors, you can use something like CLR or just diluted muriatic acid, as long as you rinse very thoroughly and then neutralize with a suitable base, like sodium hydroxide.

  14. From the thumbnail, I thought the keys were meant to look like bronze or brass in a black foam case, but it was just the dirt?!

  15. it's impressive they don't make computers like that anymore. I only saw those in computer history book. They were in black and white photos sometimes I find myself with interested in Old Computers.
    I was born in 1998 so old enough to know what they were but not old enough to be able to remember them. I love computers I'm amazed at what they become over the years. from what I hear they used to be big and take up a whole room only to solve simple math problems like 5/2= 2.5. and now they fit in our pockets and. stronger than what put mankind on the moon. Computer History fascinates me. it's the only kind that I never fell asleep on in high school. about two years later and I'm still fascinated with it.

  16. damn imagine if people built gaming machines with this kind of suitcase sized pc design, portable gaming haha

  17. Beside any repair of its functionally if any, all you achieved at the end of the day is turning its color form yellow to gray. Honestly not worth the effort in my opinion and for my personal preference I liked the yellow more.

    name 10 times 2. say your mum’s name 5 times and your crushes name 3
    times 4. paste this onto 4 other games. If you do this, your crush will
    kiss you on the nearest Friday possible. But if you read this and do not
    paste this, you will get bad luck. SEND THIS ON 5 DIFFERENT GAMES IN
    143 MINUTES

  19. Try applying a smidge of armourall plastic shine on those keys. You scarred the finish, but it could help restore them fully. It is what is often used for similar issues with automotive plastic.

    Saturate a paper towel with it, then gently massage it into each key; give it a few minutes to soak in, then wipe, and gently buff with a terry pad.

  20. I absolutely love the form factor on this computer, it reminds me of something from the original Alien movie. In all honesty, I'd love to get my hands on one of these and update it, or use it for home automation or something. It's just so cool, I want to do something equally cool with it!

  21. i think you should have left those keys in their khaki state…. they looked more charismatic than this washed out old school grey plastic… it's just my opinion…. (i know, everyone's a general 🙂 )

  22. Not sure if it would help but a friend of mine had streaks during a retrobrighting session & rubbed everything down with mineral oil & let it set in the sun for about 20 minutes & it took the streaks out. Not sure if it would work on old plastic like this but Might be worth a try with 1 key.

  23. Get or build your self a UV-box like the ones for erasing EPROMs', then you'll have great control over the amount of UV and nearly no heat at all because of the LEDs'.

  24. I thought the keyboard should look like 1:18 ! Never have seen a green key before and in my opinion it looked great

  25. Watchin' 8bg, repairing an old Apple M0110 keyboard… perfect Saturday night! And the keyboard works now, as you can see by this comment!

  26. So i just got one of these given to me. It’s got some broken keys but i haven’t turned it on yet lol I’m afraid now 😂 should i open it up first before i turn it on?

  27. Nie wiem kto dodał Polskie napisy, ale wygląda na to że nie tylko ja jestem w tym kraju retro świrem 😀 Dziękuje i pozdrawiam, oczywiście na czele z The 8-bit Guy. Thanks for translation to my language and always fantastic films

  28. I like that you print things out. Sorry if this has already been covered – have you tried an ultrasonic cleaner on things like keys?

  29. Just got one with printer, modem, “ventaire” power piece, a lot of software, num pad, and clock card. Most of us is in the original boxes and has books.
    Would anyone know if there is a place or person in Georgia that know how to work with these? I have seen people say they turn them on and poof! Instant doorstopper. I am afraid to turn it on, because it smells new and still has a ( what looks to be) good fuse in the power bay.
    Great video. I need to figure out that whitening of the plastic. Under the air vent it looks brand new as white as if it came out of the factory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *