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Manager - AB7RG
Manager Notes

Display Restoration

Created by on 2006-09-02
I am horrible at not scratching the displays on my handhelds. Last fall while on a week long public service event, I took a header and in the process scratched the display of my D7A. It wasn't just a single scratch, it had a couple deep scratches and then a bunch of "road rash" on the rest of it. It made it very difficult to read. I had been meaning to get some windshield polish (the kind made for aircraft), but never got around to it.

A couple days ago while in an auto parts store a package caught my eye for restoring fogged plastic headlight covers. I picked it up and read the directions, and I thought why not, maybe this would work on my scratched display. I forked out the nearly $15 dollars and took it home.

In the kit, were several sheets of wet dry sandpaper ranging from 1000 to 2500 grit. Additionally there was a small bottle of liquid plastic polish. Not wanting to destroy my display, I carefully read the directions, and then tried a small amount of the polish on a corner of my display. Not noting any ill affects, I jumped right in and started with the 1000 grit paper which had been soaked several minutes in water. When it looked uniformly foggy and I couldn't see any of the diagonal scratches from before, I moved to the next grade of paper. In the directions they tell you to only go in one direction, i.e. horizontal and with each course of paper to switch back and forth from horizontal to vertical. After getting to the 2500 grit and having a uniform looking display, I moved to the polish.

The directions call for the application of the polish in a moistened corner of the supplied polishing cloth. Using firm pressure and a circular motion, I worked the display for about 10 minutes using care to keep the water and polish out of the speaker-mic. I removed the excess with the dry part of the cloth and polished until the display was shiny.

I was amazed, the display now looks new (although the case still has the evidence) and so much more readable. The kit is made by Permatex and is labeled as a "Headlight Lens Restoration Kit". If you have display scratches, you might want to give this a try. FOLLOW the directions for the best results.

73's Rick - W7STS

KC2OZU 2006-09-14
RE: Display Restoration
Metal polish seems to be the way to go.

I purchased a police-style lightbar for my vehicle, it came with HEAVILY yellowed and scratched plastic domes. I found something on Ebay called Janvil, a 3-part system - 2 compounds and a spray. It worked like a miracle, but I'd swear that by sight and smell, it was just 3M Rubbing Compound, Collinite's Metal Polish, and Armor-All.

I also used it on the plastic screen on a car stereo, and it worked wonderfully.

As to my HT, I sold the old Icom F-30GS with the scratches, and I keep my shiny new VX-7R in the vynal case which also covers the display.
KE7EGO 2006-09-06
Display Restoration
Lemon Pledge....used it to clean the windows on our aircraft. Works great on polycarbonate windows, glasses, and displays.
NA3J 2006-09-04
Display Restoration
Great to read this article about cleaning up plastic lenses, something I have needed to do.

When I get a piece of gear and the display is in good condition, the first thing I do is to put a piece of high quality clear packing tape on it, and trace the edges with a very fine blade - a single or double edged razor works well.

73
john
K8DXX 2006-09-04
Display Restoration
Crest toothpaste did the trick on the previously hazy clear plastic instrument panel of my 1998 Aurora. Thanks, guys!

Bill / K8DXX
W2BBQ 2006-09-04
RE: Display Restoration
Terriffic threads fellas. I have numerous items with lightly scratched lens and am interested in a restoration.

Tried Brasso, which I had on hand, on an old cell phone and a pair of plastic saftey goggles. It did nothing.

I'll look into Displex and Never Dull.

TNX guys
K1CJS 2006-09-04
RE: Display Restoration
W4DL, It would be nice if you told us what the stuff you use is!
W4DL 2006-09-04
RE: Display Restoration
I have been using a product which was recommended by an aircraft pilot which they use on private plane windshields. It consists of 3 separate bottles of liquid which you rub on with a cloth in 3 steps. Cleared up the XYL's headlamp covers like they were new! Antique radio sells the stuff, and I imagine you could find it elsewhere..is was cheap, about 8 bucks for enough to last a long while if you are only using it for radios and other small jobs.
KC8VWM 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
almost any series of fine abrasives will work but my favorite is toothpaste.

=============

I recently found out that toothpaste contains clay as it's primary abrasive material.

Brushing your teeth with clay. Interesting huh?

K8DXX 2006-09-03
Display Restoration
Several years ago, I think I "overcleaned" the clear plaastic instrument panel on my 1998 Olds Aurora. Now, portions of the plastic covering the gauges are hazy. Does anyone know if any of these techniques or products would defog my instrument cluster.

Thanks. Oh, by the way, I do have an Icom 706 MkII in the Aurora so now, this is officially a ham radio-related question :-).

73

Bill / K8DXX
NS6Y_ 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
Brasso has a grit in it, plus ammonia - the ammonia helps get the tarnish off of brass etc. it has no real bearing in plastic polishing. It's good to get a basic polish, then finish with Never-Dull. Never-Dull is indeed abrasive-based, it's just a very fine abrasive. It's that very fine abrasive, kaolin maybe, made into a paste with kerosene or something, and in that wadding.

I swear by the stuff!
KI4OGD 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
KB1LKR
"I expect Nevr-Dull (a great metal polish BTW) probably behaves simililarly to Novus #1, which is very mild"

Nevr-Dull does not remove scratches, it's a solvent based polish, not an abrasive polish. Pretty much any abrasive polish will work for this purpose, just so long as it's not too abrasive.
N6AJR 2006-09-03
Display Restoration
almost any series of fine abrasives will work but my favorite is toothpaste.

I used diesel fuel in a car (1/2 gal to a tank of gas) for a top oil, and use brake fluid into diesel fule ( 1 quart to 50 galons of fuel) to clean injectors in big rigs...
KB1LKR 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
I'll second K1KDX's recommendation for Novus plastic polishes -- though it can be harder to find than some of the other solutions, however any wholesale plastic or industrial hardware supply house should have it and it can be found for wale on the web w/ a quick Google search. I first encountered it years ago at work where we used it (mostly #1, occasionally #2, though never #3 which is most aggressive) on polycarbonate projection TV lenses. I expect Nevr-Dull (a great metal polish BTW) probably behaves simililarly to Novus #1, which is very mild. Note too, plastic auto headlight (and other) lenses can also benefit from this if hazed from age & road grit.
KC8VWM 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
I think someone already mentioned this but I also used a product called Displex that removes scratches from cell phone, game boy and PDA displays. I have tried Brasso, various brands of car wax and tried using other ways in the past with limited success.

Displex on the other hand works by dissolving and reforming the plastic display on the molecular level.

Works well on radio equipment displays. I keep some in a boat anchor restoration toolbox.

It's about 8 bucks a tube and will do numerous applications. I bet someone entrepreneur ham could repackage this and sell it to other hams as "radio display repair goop" or something.

For now you can get it here:

http://www.cellularaccessory.com/displex.html
K5LXP 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
KB3KYO beat me to it. I use Belkin PDA screen protectors on the displays of all my HT's. Just cut a section to overlap the size the the display, make sure it's perfectly clean (dust will cause bubbles), and after application use an x-acto knife to trim around the edges. While it won't prevent scratches from sliding down pavement, they do a great job of keeping day to day scuffs and scrapes from damaging the screen. The protectors themselves are soft vinyl-like material and won't show scratches, so the same screen protector can last for years.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
K3EY 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
What the author is talking about is the same deal used in the airline industry on the wind screens for the pilots to be able to see clearly. The product is called Micro-Mesh and works wonders on Plexiglas, Acrylite, Lucite, Fiberglas and many other transparent panels. It comes in a Kit with concise instructions with several different abrasives from fine to extremely fine and a special polish to top it off. It’s works like you can’t believe!


Curt/k3ivb
K2WH 2006-09-03
RE: Display Restoration
BRASSO! The best and no need for sandpaper or other gimmicks.

k2WH
NS6Y_ 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
A brass polish, of all things, called Never-Dull works great. I'd probably do the final polish with a silicon cloth or something really smooth.
K4JJL 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
2 words: brake fluid

I've been using brake fluid to clean up displays on my Motorola Spectras for 3 months now. Works much better than anything else I've used. Just put a little bit on a paper towel and lightly rub the display. The scratches will vanish. When you get it as smooth as you like, just wipe completely with a clean paper towel.

Just remember, a little goes a long way. Use sparingly. If you saturate it, it could eat holes in the display.
K4JJL 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
2 words: brake fluid

I've been using brake fluid to clean up displays on my Motorola Spectras for 3 months now. Works much better than anything else I've used. Just put a little bit on a paper towel and lightly rub the display. The scratches will vanish. When you get it as smooth as you like, just wipe completely with a clean paper towel.

Just remember, a little goes a long way. Use sparingly. If you saturate it, it could eat holes in the display.
AB0RE 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
I have used Displex for some time. (http://www.displex.com/polish/index.htm) This product is a toothpaste-type consistency and gets most moderate to light scratches out. Some of the deep ones don't come out completely but are lightened up.

73,
Dan / ab0re
N2LRB 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
I don't use anything. 1. I keep the think plastic most displays have on the display as long as possible. I have had my TS-2000 for over 3 months now and have not removed the plastic sheet on the display. Works great!

On my handheld, I did the same. But that feel off 3 months ago. So I do the very best thing for my display.
I take care not to get it scratched. I am not sure how most people get their displays scratched, but I find most scratches are avoidable. Then again, I do take very good care of all my stuff. My IPOD is in a plastic case 99.9 percent of the time and hence is in mint condition. It is now 2 years old.

Best maintenance is Prevention.
KB3KYO 2006-09-02
Protection beforehand
I put those little "screen condoms" (for lack of a better term, hope no one takes offense) on my HT and cell phone screens.

Go to Wally World and buy screen protector kits for handheld games like Gameboys. Then you can cut 'em to fit your little screen, and that see-thru plastic becomes a nice shield to protect your screen.
K9VQ 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
I've used a metal polish for years called Simichrome. It is imported for Germany by Competition Chemicals in Iowa http://www.competitionchemicals.com/. I first discoverd itin a motorcycle shop about 40 years ago and it is the best polish I have ever used. It is marketed as a metal polish but I have found it will polish almost anything I have tried it on. I have used in on cars, motorcycles, guns and ham radio gear. It will make old bakalite knobs look like new. This stuff will even make an old Drake copper chassis look like gold. Very good on most plastics, I even use it to remove fine scratches of my eye glass, CDs and DVDs.

I know I sounds like I work for them but don't. It is a very good product. Must be, I been using it for almost everything for about 40 years. It can be found in some auto parts stores and most motorcycle shops.
K6LCS 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
BRASSO. Available at Home Depot and other like stores everywhere. Reading the label, "For this metal and that metal and this metal and that metal...Oh, and for platic lenses, too!"

Dis a Q-Tip(tm) into the can. Touch the now-saturated tip in the middle of the scratched lens. Take your clean thumb and gently rub in a circular motion.

You will be amazed at what this liquid can do for plastics.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
K6BZ 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
-k1kdx
I second the vote for Novus. I've used it to brighten up some pinball plastics. The stuff works great.
K1KDX 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
I collect old pocket calculators and the display lens is almost always in need of some restoration. I use the Novus #2 and #1 polishes for scratch removal and polishing (defogging) -- they're designed specifically for this purpose. Their #3 polish is too abrasive and will often deform the lens.

-k1kdx
K0BG 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
If the scratch isn't too deep, even RainX works.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
KB2FBI 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
On my Jeep, there is a clean-clearer for the rear soft-top clear vinyl. It is just an on and off product and works well. Don't let scratches go too far before cleaning! I got it at J C Whitney (catalog/online) As with all cleaners and compounds, ALWAYS keep the cloth damp with water. ALWAYS. And rinse it out often. Just a cheaper solution and NO sanding.
W6TH 2006-09-02
RE: Display Restoration
.
I used pumice powder and worked for me.
WA7CC 2006-09-02
Display Restoration
I used ceramic stove top cleaner (for flat top stoves) and it worked for me.