We were all confused when 1.2 came out about what we could and could not reverse engineer, and what recipes we’d be able to get. After putzing around, I have figured out a few things about armor that is “old.” I have no comments on all the new armor added in Patch 1.2 or on mods/augments/etc that are not armor.
(1) If you hover over the crafted item and it has “chance to blah blah research blah blah” on it, that means you might get a new schematic out of it. Otherwise, forget it.
(2) If you’ve learned all the recipes you can possibly learn from a crafted item, you will get text in the tooltip that says “no available research” or something similar.
(3) You cannot learn a new schematic from RE-ing a non-crafted (drop/purchased) green, blue, or purple piece of armor. There is no research chance stated in the tooltip. It will not say “no research available” either. The tooltip is just silent on the research issue.
(4) You CAN RE a not-crafted (drop/purchased) green, blue, or purple piece of armor for mats only. You will see the required level of synthweaving/armormech to do so on the tooltip. However, the mats are piddly. Even for raid purples. You are probably better off vendoring the item.
(5) You cannot RE an orange at all. Not for a recipe. Not even for mats. Not even if you just crafted the damn thing and want to recoup some mats… It says “no research available” but it lies. What it really means is “no, hahahah.” It is grayed out when you hit the “Reverse Engineer” button.