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Thread: DP MYTHBUSTERS : Blowing in NES Cartridges

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    The thing is, and it's been supported by other members in this thread and elsewhere, is that there was, and still are a very large faction of NES users out there that DON'T KNOW/DON'T BELIEVE that's what happens when you blow onto an NES cartridge.
    Good for them. They're morons.

    Yes, that goes for the people here and elsewhere who do this despite being told otherwise - you know who you are :P

    Of course, many members here swear by erasers to clean NES carts, instead of using 99% isopropyl alcohol like they're supposed to. A related issue, that's all.

    Yes, WE believe it to be true ... but some people that I meet don't.
    You don't see me sacrificing SMB/DH carts because I loose sleep over it (I don't). Much more productive to challenge people directly and tell them the score.

    I'm sorry if I'm not properly representing the quality/integrity of the Mythbusters brand via my scientific method...I thought that it was pretty obvious that I was just trying to be cute/clever with that association.
    I never asked to be thanked for pointing out an important difference between what they do and what you're doing because I thought it'd help you, but likewise I don't have anything invested in their brand, so relax!

    Again, this is just for fun. I'm really not sure what the big deal is.
    Strange idea of fun you have.

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    So, where does this misconception that I'm over-reacting/freaking out/and/or losing sleep over this thing come from?
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Frankie, most of us think the idea is great and get the fact you are just doing this for fun. I for one have and will follow your progress to see what you find.

    I am sure quite a few people have thought about doing this kind of experiment. I am glad you had the "will" to do it and thanks for sharing it with us.

    As for this not being a Mythbuster type experiment, who cares? I have seen more plenty of Mythbuster's episodes to know they are far from scientific. They mostly do experiments for fun and that is what this is about. I do remember them doing an experiment just like this: The planting growing myth(with different music).

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    I think it's a good idea too, although I don't think visually inspecting the connector after 30 days is going to prove much. A multimeter or ohm meter would be a lot more definitive.

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    Even if the experiment doesn't show much in the end, it's still a good topic to bring up, especially for collectors. I collect nes games and I try to take very good care of them.

    I dunno how knowledgeable you or the others are about how to properly clean nes cartridges, but does anyone here recommend against using 409? That's what I've used for the last year and it cleans them right up (I spray a little onto a dish towel, not the game itself).

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue lander View Post
    I think it's a good idea too, although I don't think visually inspecting the connector after 30 days is going to prove much. A multimeter or ohm meter would be a lot more definitive.
    Good idea - this would allow you to quantify the results. Too bad though that it wasn't tested with a multimeter at the beginning of the experiment. In future this would be an awesome addition.

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    You know what the secret is about "blowing" and I don't want to say it since it is a horrible secret which I do not commit to

    While yes I do agree that blowing directly on a cart will make saliva get on it and thus sed damage the cart but not as much as alcohol.

    However the thing is....

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    Quote Originally Posted by c0ldb33r View Post
    Good idea - this would allow you to quantify the results. Too bad though that it wasn't tested with a multimeter at the beginning of the experiment. In future this would be an awesome addition.
    Another interesting experiment would be to use a multimeter to test to see if blowing on a cartridge DOES improve the connection on a dirty cart. Or does it just seem that way?

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    I rarely blow into cardtridges. I used to do it a lot when I was young, until a guy at a video games store told me that I could damage the game.

    I'm using rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, since. Besides, I'm always keeping a small bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and swabs, in my games cupboard.

    I like to take good care of my games, there's dust cover on all of them.

    I'm a real game geek!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post

    Of course, many members here swear by erasers to clean NES carts, instead of using 99% isopropyl alcohol like they're supposed to. A related issue, that's all.
    I've had several NES cartridges that wouldn't play no matter how many times I scrubbed them with alcohol. Only thing that worked was a nice hard pencil eraser.

    On a related note, I know when you clean metal with the kind of rubbing alcohol you get at the drug store, it leaves a fine sticky residue that tends to accumulate crap quicker than before. Is that less of an issue with 99% isopropyl alcohol?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue lander View Post
    I've had several NES cartridges that wouldn't play no matter how many times I scrubbed them with alcohol. Only thing that worked was a nice hard pencil eraser.

    On a related note, I know when you clean metal with the kind of rubbing alcohol you get at the drug store, it leaves a fine sticky residue that tends to accumulate crap quicker than before. Is that less of an issue with 99% isopropyl alcohol?
    I also heard that metal polish was very good to clean cartridge but, you'll have to open it, in order to clean it properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue lander View Post
    I've had several NES cartridges that wouldn't play no matter how many times I scrubbed them with alcohol. Only thing that worked was a nice hard pencil eraser.

    On a related note, I know when you clean metal with the kind of rubbing alcohol you get at the drug store, it leaves a fine sticky residue that tends to accumulate crap quicker than before. Is that less of an issue with 99% isopropyl alcohol?
    Sticky?

    The only time that alcohol would leave a "sticky" residue is if it causes some type of glue that's already present there to become solvent again and then dry again to a tacky state.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    Sticky?

    The only time that alcohol would leave a "sticky" residue is if it causes some type of glue that's already present there to become solvent again and then dry again to a tacky state.
    It all depends on temperature. At as high as 75 degrees rubbing alcohol leaves a small amount of residue, which dust and whatnot loves to stick to.

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    I generally use PCB/electronics cleaner, eraser, swabs, and compressed air to clean out my MVS carts when they get the 'Yaton" dirt treatment. I would think that the same method would work well with NES carts (sans outer covering of course). I've seen people go as far as running PCB's through dishwashers without batteries attached and without soap.

    "You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."

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    Now that I think about it, old MVS cartridges do tend to exhibit the same kinds of errors that NES cartridges do. Garbled graphics, games that only work half the time, etc. I wonder if it's because they're both exposed to dirty environments, or if it's because the connector pins in both systems get bent back easily.

    Before I found out you could order replacement NES 72 pin connectors online, I used to manually bend the pins up with a paperclip, and then slide a small rubber band underneath it so they couldn't bend back as easily. That increased my NES's reliability far more than any rubbing alcohol or blowing.

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    Cool experiment. To those who think the Mythbusters don't do stuff like this...they do all the time(5 second rule anyone) And speaking of Mythbusters, remember the salsa jail cell escape? Electric current might speed up the reaction after all.

    I'm wondering if the people who think the blowing is just a way to remove and reset the cartrige actually had an NES??? Or maybe they're from a dry climate or something? I remember trying to reposition cartriges what seemed like hundreds of times at all different angles and then finally blowing in it to have it immediatly work like a charm. Strange though that I can't recall where I learned of this technique yet everyone seems to know it.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Needs pics of the hot girl from MB blowing . . . into the carts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OMF2097 View Post
    MVS carts when they get the 'Yaton" dirt treatment.
    at the "Yaton" treatment!

    I take those carts and soak the cases. Sometimes removing the labels and having to nearly boil them. And I've had to literally wash a few PCBs too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    To those who think the Mythbusters don't do stuff like this...they do all the time(5 second rule anyone)
    If you're replying to me you misunderstood me. Mythbusters gets a very obvious result in a relatively quick period of time because bacteria doesn't take long to grow in a culture.

    Now, if Frankie uses a multimeter (which may or may not be useful depending where you put the 'trodes; after all only parts of the surface of a contact will be pitted and corroded) that'd put it in line with, say, the bathtub electrocution experiment. Otherwise, though, this was just going to be "eyeballing it."

    Anyhow, some random thoughts:

    Blue Lander, I can't imagine the isopropyl is leaving a noticable residue. Most likely you aren't cleaning it enough to clear off all the dirt - I find I have to use a few q-tips per side of a dirty NES cartridge to get it somewhat clean. Other possibilities are applying it with something that's not clean (I bet you a washcloth will leave some garbage behind) or not using actual 99% isopropyl.

    Washing a PCB can be safe so long as you are able to get everything dry - which is actually harder than it sounds as many chips are socketed or whatnot. I have done with with a number of PCBs, from Genesis 2 mainboards to a few arcade boards. I haven't washed anything in a dishwasher though - all by hand under a faucet with no soap. It tends to leave waterspots but it's much better than having lots of dirt all over stuff.

    Of course there are lots of potential pitfalls - damaging the PCB with heat at any point in the process, from washing it to blow-drying it, is a big possibility.

    The key reason washing PCBs is considered "safe" by many while blowing on NES cartridges isn't is that you must repeatedly blow on a NES cartridge and you don't clear off the moisture.

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    I'm sorry, but I've never heard that applying water in any capacity to circuit boards is safe under any circumstances.

    I'm well aware that freshly created silicon circuit boards (pre-component solder) come out of an initial "rinse bath" ... but that water is HIGHLY filtered, sterilized and deionized.

    "Washing" circuit boards under tap water is not the same thing, and can't possibly be a reccomended process.
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    I agree that a meter would ultimately yield the best results. You won't see physical damage in a short time frame.

    While we're sort of on the topic, I'll let everyone in on my superman of cleaning solutions:

    http://www.weiman.com/products/smooth/cleaner.php

    It is slightly abrasive, and I certainly don't recommend use in every case (or repeated use) but this stuff is AMAZING. I'm an experienced electronics guy and I've used tons of products for cleaning, but I have never, ever seen something that works this well. It can clean the most green fuzzy, blackened corroded filthy cart connectors with a few wipes and they look NEW. You can't get a sense for how unbelievably effective this stuff is until you actually see it with your own eyes.

    I use this stuff on the worst of the worst and it comes through every time. The regular stuff gets cleaned with anhydrous (>99%) ISO, or a Techspray type contact cleaner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    I'm sorry, but I've never heard that applying water in any capacity to circuit boards is safe under any circumstances.
    It can be done safely, but it's not a novice task in terms of doing it correctly or knowing what to watch out for.

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    Nowhere around me seems too sell 99% isopropyl :/ Is 91% good enough or will that damage it (note after I clean it I turn the qtip around and dry it right off)

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    Quote Originally Posted by remowilliams View Post
    (WATER) It can be done safely, but it's not a novice task in terms of doing it correctly or knowing what to watch out for.
    Does the water need to be boiled, distilled or irradiated with ultraviolet light?

    ALSO - WEEK ONE RESULT PHOTOS ON 1ST POST!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    I'm sorry, but I've never heard that applying water in any capacity to circuit boards is safe under any circumstances.

    I'm well aware that freshly created silicon circuit boards (pre-component solder) come out of an initial "rinse bath" ... but that water is HIGHLY filtered, sterilized and deionized.

    "Washing" circuit boards under tap water is not the same thing, and can't possibly be a reccomended process.
    We build circuit boards at work and we often put then in a standard dishwaher to clean off the solder flux. That's after the components have already been installed. And these are for industrial controllers that have to meet all sorts of standards. Ironicly, when they dry we put them water tight enclosures.

    But it's not the water that damages electronics, it's current flowing through the water into something it's not supposed to that does. So as long as currents not flowing, water is ok...though prolonged exposure is sure to rust and corrode stuff. Which is probally what's going on with blowing in cartriges.

    Also, isn't saliva acidic? That might be a factor too. Maybe you should test the pH of your spit.
    Last edited by jb143; 06-03-2008 at 06:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    We build circuit boards at work and we often put then in a standard dishwaher to clean off the solder flux. That's after the components have already been installed. And these are for industrial controllers that have to meet all sorts of standards. Ironicly, when they dry we put them water tight enclosures.

    But it's not the water that damages electronics, it's current flowing through the water into something it's not supposed to that does. So as long as currents not flowing, water is ok...though prolonged exposure is sure to rust and corrode stuff. Which is probally what's going on with blowing in cartriges.

    Also, isn't saliva acitic? That might be a factor too. Maybe you should test the pH of your spit.
    I'm sure the acidity of my saliva is a factor.

    Good info on the circuit boards.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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