Cigarette burns or soldering iron scorches?

plazma

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I recently made a new blog post about these mysterious marks.
http://pasilassila.blogspot.fi/2015/08/cigarette-burns-or-soldering-iron.html
I wanted to post the story in my blog and here to remind people how to store old computers and accessories.
Here is the story:

Cigarette burns or soldering iron scorches?

IMG_20140629_161208.jpg


You have probably seen odd burning marks on old computers and accessories. Many of my Commodore equipment have them. You may think they have been made by keeping a burning cigarette on top of the computer. Or maybe some one was sloppy with a soldering iron.

IMG_20140629_164816.jpg


They are in fact caused by PVC insulated cables. PVC plastic is hard by nature. To make it soft phthalates are used as plasticizers. If you wrap cables around a hard plastic case the phthalates may soften the hard plastic and cause these marks over time.


To prevent these marks never wrap cables around plastic computers, drives, joysticks, PSUs etc. for a long period of time. Place the cables in a separate paper or plastic bag.

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Merlin

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They are neither scorch marks nor cigarette burns. What has caused them is wrapping the mains cables around the main unit. Plasticiser from the PVC mains cable (usually something like a phosphate ester) has leached out of the cable and has softened the ABS plastic. It's quite a common problem with equipment of this vintage.
 

soeter04

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Yup, i've seen them on loads of retro goodies. Not much that can be done to fix/correct it i reckon?

Oddly enough I've noticed these marks mostly on Japanese consoles (Nintendo CTGs, Epoch Cassette Vision, Bandai TV Jack, you name it), rather than on Commodores or Amigas... Are the Japanese more eager to wrap cables around items? Is it a cultural thing? :D
 

Vyncynt

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It could be collateral damage from playing too much Spy vs. Spy
spy-vs-spy-c64.jpg
 

ElectroBlaster

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Ah this old chestnut! I agree with whats been posted, these nasty little scabs are from wrapping cables around things and it not completely exclusive to old computers, c64's and the Amiga. I had a pc setup in the far corner of our room and with that an old KVM. I had a cable draped over it and thought nothing of it until one day I decided to move the whole lot. Then discovered the KVM's plastic box had those melted dings on it :(

Not much you can do once it happens though. I have been trying to think of possible ways to fix things like this on our retro gear.
 
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