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The eMac was an all-in-one G4-based Mac designed for the education market and released in April 2002. It was the last Mac to use a CRT display and was sold at a low price to schools and other institutions.

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Front panel became very yellow. Is it possible to remove it?

I bought this eMac about 10 years ago and just so happened that I didn't have a place for it and some of my friends were asking for a spare computer for word processing and other light tasks. The last friend that had it did something (?) and the front panel became really yellow. I am aware a lot of Apple products of the time had this yellowing problem because of UV exposure, but it seems strange as the back is still completely white so is the CD tray. Could this be a job for Retr0bright? Do you have to disassemble the entire machine in order to unscrew just the front panel?

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You can actually kill yourself if you create a complete circuit and touch the CRT with a charge, so you need to be very careful and properly discharge it. Refer to my answer here: Disassembling an old Apple monitor. Do not assume the bleeder resistor works; it’s probably burned out after 10 years of having to discharge 15,000 volts in seconds every time the monitor sleeps.

Beyond that, it’s up to you. Retrobrite probably won’t work on eMac plastic, so I wouldn’t bother. If you want to restore it, find a good used front that matches the system you have. It’s honestly just a cosmetic problem. If it isn’t degraded, I’d live with it.

The risk of death is high (especially if you aren’t confident around high voltage) and most people will not get it right. That said, some do but that’s a VERY slim group. If you’re careful you should be fine, but you need to evaluate your skillset before you try and restore the plastics.

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Thank you for your reply.

I am aware of the dangers whilst working with CRT components, I have taken apart multiple Apple CRTs for restoration purposes. Why do you think retr0bright might not work on the eMac plastic? You think the UV yellowing goes through the entire thickness of the plastic but the retr0bright solution only affects just the surface level?

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Apple plastics from this time period are weird. They use painted material over bonded polycarbonate in many cases since they started doing that with the white iBook. This predates the move to aluminum.

I may be wrong, but the front panel of the eMac appears to use the same assembly method.

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That is true, but that technique sure made some nice looking machines!

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The problem is when they yellow you end up with this catch 22

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Sorry if off topic... Is this [catch 22] a reference to the american novel? I might not be aware of the joke.

I collect these machines primarily because of my interest in their industrial design aesthetic of the time, this is why it esspecially annoys me when the look of the machine is compromised.

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You might give this a shot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZoVeRvn...

Looks like Mr Clean bought this product out

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Clean-Original...

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I think this is a bit different since the eMacs case as @nick mentioned is sort of two layers of plastic. Usually the palm rests of these MacBooks become yellow due to sweaty palms and human grease, where's the eMacs translucent case becomes yellow because of UV exposure. This is not something you can scrub off as it is a chemical change of color.

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Hum, UV exposure inside a house, I hadn't thought about that. I suppose if you had the front of the monitor facing a window that could happen but it sure makes the screen hard to discern.

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Even if you try and shield it, it's not possible to prevent exposure. The only way to do that is to never open the box.

It usually happens because the system was in a UV heavy environment on these white systems. Sometimes it happens because of age, but it's almost always heavy UV exposure.

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I guess in this case applying the Retr0bright solution on the backside of the front plate would produce no results on the front side as it only works on the surface level?

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