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Possible to whiten 5200 Trackball ? Worthwhile?


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Is the ball in these typically that yellowish color when new? After seeing images in some recent topics I decided to dig mine out of storage, forgot what great condition mine was in and about the only thing I have that also still has the clear plastic on the aluminum strip (MUST RESIST REMOVING 😛) I really need to try this accessory more as it seems to be in excellent shape however, I noticed like many pictured the ball seems discolored yellowish, looking up images online it seems it WAS originally white? If it should be white might look into brightening or SHOULD I BOTHER? Is it more trouble than it is worth? I only lightly tested it upon receiving the 5200 / games etc in a lot years ago. I should do more testing and also maybe give it some maintenance if required. ANY GOOD TUTORIALS or videos on that? Also, I may have posted similar at one time but my memory is not getting any better 😛 Still, thanks in advance for any / all replies....

 

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Test it out.  If everything works, I would not touch it. 

The 5200 was designed well.  It doesn't break like the joysticks do.  No lousy plastic membrane for the buttons for example.  The only thing I've seen go wrong is rust on the inside.  If that happens, you have to carefully brillo-pad the rust off, then lubricate everything.  But if you keep it stored in a dry place (and it looks like you do by the condition of the outside), I'll bet it works perfectly. 

 

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Those trakballs are your standard cue ball from a billiard ball set.  Yours has yellowed from age and trying to use chemicals on it can cause it to yellow even more.  It is made of ivory and of the same quality Atari used in their arcade trakball designs.  That controller is one of my favorites to use with the 5200 system.  It's a solid design.  As long as it works I wouldn't mess with it.  But...if the yellow ball bothers you buy a new cue ball from a store, pop the top off, remove old ball, put new ball in, put the top back on.  Yes, it really is that simple and I've done it in the past.

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Wasn't removing yellowing from plastic something simple like soaking in baking soda and water for several hours. I am sure modern pool/billiards balls are all acrylic (imitation ivory) and cannot use natural ivory because of the band on elephant hunting. . But may need to measure diameters before you go and order them from eBay or another website.

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1 hour ago, peteym5 said:

Wasn't removing yellowing from plastic something simple like soaking in baking soda and water for several hours

"Retro-brite" is what they call it, and it's a process of using hydrogen peroxide and UV light to whiten plastic.  One method is just to create a mix with water in a clear tub and leave it outside.  Another is to create a paste, "paint" it onto the surface and apply saran wrap to stop evaporation.  The 8-Bit Guy on youtube has done several vidoes on the different techniques. 

I've never tried it. 

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I’m going to try to put an 8-ball inside mine. 
 

retrobrite: This process removes oxidized fire retardant from plastics. That’s what causes the yellowing. I doubt pool cue balls have fire retardant in them. Extremely doubtful retrobriting a cue all will do anything. Cue balls are not made of computer console plastic material. Cue balls have zero potential to burst into flames.

As for retrobriting causing rapid re-yellowing...uh, nope. I use the 8-bit guy submersion method with peroxide from Sally’s beauty supply and no items I’ve retrobrited (in five years) have re-yellowed or become brittle. 
 

I can’t speak for different methods.
 

my rig:

 

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Edited by Airshack
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50 minutes ago, Airshack said:

I’m going to try to put an 8-ball inside mine. 

An eight ball is too big.  A cue ball is just about the right size, but even then I needed to put a gasket for separation and an extender for the button when I enhanced my Wico trackball unit.

 

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I had a few mishaps at first but with the clear tank and liquid I use now there's no issues. Most of the problems I had in the past was from using gel and trying the clear plastic wrap method + gel. In the dip-tank with peroxide the results are always uniform and pleasing. Just saying, it's all about technique. 

Edited by Airshack
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13 minutes ago, intellicolecovisonary said:

An arid climate without huge temerature swings sure helps but there are as many retrobrite failure stories as there are success stories. ..https://68kmla.org/forums/topic/31138-retrobrite-failure/

This link highlights the saran-wrap method and paintbrush methods. Both using gel and plastic wrap afterwards. Kind of making my point here.

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