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XL+XE keycap removal, cleaning question


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Hey folks --


Can the XL and XE keyboard keycaps be removed with standard key pullers? Do any keys have additional springs or antyhing else to watch out for that might break easily when removing?


I'd like to soak keys in mild soap and warm water / clean off manually as I have quite a few 8bits here with grimey keys that need help.. I'm also thinking the XE keys could use some hydrogen peroxide bath + UV treatment for a sorta-retrobright restoration. Any concerns with this?


(XE = 65, 130, XL = all 800's I plan to clean for now).




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For 400/800/XL/XE keyboards you do no need to pull the keycaps off to clean them.

This is what I have done many, many times.

Pull the keyboard out out of the system. Be careful of the ribbon cable.

Over the sink, spray the whole keyboard with 409 kitchen cleaner, or something similar. Nothing with bleach! Let it soak a minute, then scrub the keys with a plastic dish cleaning brush. Rinse well, very well. Shake out the water until the drips about stop. Dry what you can with a soft towel. Place it somewhere to air dry. When you think it is dry, shake it and turn 180' around, air dry again. Repeat this a couple times. Then just to be sure let dry over night. install and test.

For the XE yellow keys, I use hair salon white cream 'developer' 30 (30% hydrogen peroxide, you can get it from 10% to 40%) from beauty supply stores. This is basically ready made Retro-Brite in a bottle. And it is cheap. Just slather it on with a paint brush (wear gloves!! This stuff will burn your hands, and bleach your clothes), put is in the sun, cover with something clear (clear plastic storage box) put in a coffee cup (or other small container) of water (this helps keep the cream from drying out). Depending on how much sun you get, I would check after 20 minutes. reapply cream if needed. If unsure how well things are going, take it out and washing it off. repeat as needed.

You can use this same process for the cases. Cover badges well, and do not use on brown XL plastic(that piece should be removable, but it will take a bit of work) Use a paint brush to get cream in to vent slots, but use a small paint roller to evenly cover flat case surfaces. The trick is even coating, especially along edges and corners. Also remember the sun moves, so you may have to re-position items so the sun gets to the sides.

Good luck!! Have Fun!!

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You can buy new brushed aluminum cap covers from Best Elect. to replace any damaged aluminum function keys. Just use you finger nail to

peel back the edge of the aluminum cover on existing function keys, then pull the aluminum cover off. Use something like Isopropyl alcohol to

completely clean any sticky off of the plastic key. Then use something like a hat pin to remove the Very Thin plastic cover off the underside of

the replacement aluminum cap, center it up and stick it on. Press down a little to make sure it's well stuck.

Clean keyboards and new function keys really improve the appearance of your Atari product!

They are about $2.50 each from Best.



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