Blog ♥ Restoring faded plastic on a TI-99/4A with an unusual secret ingredient

I noticed that the black plastic on my TI-99/4A had become dull and cloudy-gray with age. So, I decided to try freshening it up with something a little unusual: automotive trim restorer. Why not? I find cleaning and restoring old electronics really, really satisfying, so I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do.

Applying the trim restorer to the TI-99/4A was really easy. It's a clear gel that you buff into the surface until the plastic is darkened and has a slight sheen. It's a good idea to go over it with a microfiber cloth to grab any excess gel—otherwise, it can look a little oily. Some latex gloves would be a welcome addition to this setup to keep hands protected.

In addition to the trim restorer, I used some electronics-safe alcohol to clean the PCBs (not shown in the video) and in between the keys. It's good if you need to clean anything near electronic components, though it also has a bit of a drying effect on plastic.

The TI-99/4A looks even better in person than it does in the video. So shiny and new! If you're curious about the specific brand of auto trim restorer I used, it's called TriNova (Amazon link), and it's specifically formulated for black plastic. I don't have anything to compare it to, as this was my first time trying this type of product, but it definitely did a nice job.

I'm looking forward to fixing up my Atari 2600 shell next time. And now that I've purchased this trim restorer, maybe I'll actually use it on my car, too! Ha!

(Video soundtrack: TRACK+FEEL II (memoryboy remix) by chalkboards.)

Posted February 9 at 9:20 AM while drinking my morning coffee.