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Thread: DP MYTHBUSTERS : Blowing in NES Cartridges

  1. #176
    Key (Level 9) wiggyx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameboy Color View Post
    Monkey see, monkey do.

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    I never blew in my cartridges.
    I would just gently breath on the contacts, and it worked every single time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    (I'm not so nerdy that I carry Nintendo security drivers on my person, but I most definitely have a set at home)

    **I received no reward nookie.[/I]
    Had you been carrying a 3.8 and 4.5 security bit on your key chain, this story would have ended very differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    God, I hate being "that guy" who's bumping a 4 year old thread after it's already been bumped-back-from-the-dead once before, but I can most definitely provide evidence that the ol' blow the cartridge trick can seriously damage you cartridge-based games over a period of time, and not just leave a pretty patina.

    No matter what "science" one may provide as evidence in order to disprove or discredit the efficacy of this technique, in both the long and short term, it seems absurd to do so when there's an incalculable amount of evidence to the contrary, collected over the last ~3 decades by countless gamers that says "it works" (no matter what the actual reason is for its ability to do so). Simply put, people wouldn't do so if it didn't work.

    Back on topic, I have an ex-grilfriend who's little brother would literally lick the contacts on his N64 carts. That's right, not a gentle 'phwwwww', but a full-on French kiss. At one point, knowing how much of a game nerd that I was, she asked if I could help him with a few of his games that were no longer working*. I fiddled with them a bit, grabbed some Q-tips from her bathroom along with an alcohol solution in order to give them the gentle cleaning that I'm sure you're all familiar with. I didn't have much luck, and asked if I could take them home to pop 'em open and have a look (I'm not so nerdy that I carry Nintendo security drivers on my person, but I most definitely have a set at home). When I did get them home and pop them open, HOLY SHIT, the contacts (and in some instances, a good chunk of the boards) were coated in mountains of buildup! Repulsive as this sounds (and it was), I saw bringing 'em back to life as a small challenge, on top of the fact that it would most likely score me some reward nookie for helping out**

    I performed every trick that I knew with regards to reviving carts in this state. I used an entire bag of 000 steel wool, then a bag of 00, THEN a bag of 0. When I finally cut through all the buildup (think blistered paint on a 93 Honda's rear quarter), all I found were completely severed traces and holes (not pits) in the contacts (sorta like trying to find the actual metal surface under said blistered paint on said early 90's Honda). These things were fucked. And remember, these are N64 carts, not NES or SNES. Also, this was in 1999, when the 64 was still available at your local TRU, not 9 months ago or anything like that.

    Of course I understand that this is a pretty extreme example, but if that sort of corrosion can occur in such a short amount of time, with that level of abuse, then it seems fairly safe to surmise that a more moderate level of abuse over a much longer period of time could provide a similar result.



    *As a little footnote, before the question is asked, the games were kept in a finished/waterproofed basement inside a lidded plastic container when not in use (all sloppy-like, but still in a closed, air-tight container).

    **I received no reward nookie.
    Thanks for sharing, your story is a much appreciated contribution to this ancient thread.

    However, in my original time working on this thread as well as all the years prior and the years that followed, I found that there will always been a set of gamers/collectors that will always deny the harmful effects of blowing into cartridges and live convinced that there's nothing wrong with it/that it's a completely reasonable practice to partake in.

    I am completely and totally done trying to convince any last person who believes that no damage can be had from blowing into cartridges. I've had it up to here (points at a space about a foot above my head) with people who think that the procedure is harmless and that no amount of evidence says otherwise, so please don't expect any further examination of the process from me.

    I'll leave the "mythbusting" to Jamie and Adam in the future.
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 02-20-2012 at 08:36 AM.
    "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
    Thanks for sharing, your story is a much appreciated contribution to this ancient thread.

    However, in my original time working on this thread as well as all the years prior and the years that followed, I found that there will always been a set of gamers/collectors that will always deny the harmful effects of blowing into cartridges and live convinced that there's nothing wrong with it/that it's a completely reasonable practice to partake in.

    I am completely and totally done trying to convince any last person who believes that no damage can be had from blowing into cartridges. I've had it up to here (points at a space about a foot above my head) with people who think that the procedure is harmless and that no amount of evidence says otherwise, so please don't expect any further examination of the process from me.

    I'll leave the "mythbusting" to Jamie and Adam in the future.
    Well I wouldn't give up, I actually didn't even think about it being harmful intel this thread was reincarnated. I just started using canned air instead because its easier and I always have it around. But after reading this I will never blow on a cart ever again, the science makes perfect sense.

    So there's still hope for stopping this practice for people that just didn't ever think about it, like me.

    ...And I am greatful for the knowledge.
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  6. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    Why on Earth would people go out of their way to blow on cartridge contacts if it didn't produce a result?

    Care to explain?
    I hate to say it but people, in general, are stupid. People do crap all the time that doesn't work, but they continue to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    You expell far more N2 and O2 than you do CO2, just so you know.
    Yeah, so what? I picked one. I wasn't trying to conduct a science class.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    It's far more likely that the exhaled air, which has a relative humidity level of 100%, would evenly coat the contacts than a random spattering of saliva. Blow on a price of glass and let me know how much saliva is still there after the water evaporates. That small amount of moisture need only be present for a seconds. How long do you think it takes to insert the cart after blowing on it? That moisture will have a hard time escaping from two contacts pressed against each other, and as someone else already said, it only takes a very, VERY small amount to promote conductivity.
    I guess this all depends on your method of blowing on the cartridge. However, go breath on some glass and see how long the moisture lasts. Not long enough for it to be there when you get your cartridge in the NES.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    Water + O2 = corrosion. Sure, saliva will hasten the process (as evidenced by my story), but is NOT a requirement for corrosion by any means.
    I never said it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    No shit.
    What the hell is this about? None of my post was directed at you, of all this comment. Someone else mentioned "patina" earlier in the thread. I hate that word, personally. I just think people should call it what it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    If it isn't a dust issue then why do you think blowing on the cart works at all? Not to mention I remember doing this when my nes and games were still new to make them work. There's no way that corrosion or a bad connector in my then brand new nes was the cause of it not working the first time. Seriously man wtf?
    I just find it very doubtful. I've work on computers for a living. I've pulled processors, expansion card, memory modules, etc with visible dust in the connectors/sockets and they were working fine. I'm not saying it's not possible. All I'm saying is that it would take more than minor dust to prevent the connection unless you had other issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    Well I wouldn't give up, I actually didn't even think about it being harmful intel this thread was reincarnated. I just started using canned air instead because its easier and I always have it around. But after reading this I will never blow on a cart ever again, the science makes perfect sense.

    So there's still hope for stopping this practice for people that just didn't ever think about it, like me.

    ...And I am greatful for the knowledge.
    Oh, I'm not saying that the science doesn't make sense on some level, but since I'm really just a layman and had no means by which to conduct anything more than a grade-school level observational experiment with the materials I had available I couldn't really support the near-endless calls for "we want more proof!" or "in order for this to be a real scientific study you need to have this many control groups and you MUST test the materials under these specific conditions!" and the waves of scientific jargon/minutia spewed at me about the way things happen at a molecular level were simply too much for me to even know how to fit into what I was doing.

    All I originally set out to prove is that blowing directly from your mouth onto a video game cartridge was not a process that was devoid of some type of reaction that could ultimately be harmful to the electronics, and yet I still meet people deeply entrenched in this hobby that swear up-and-down that no long-term damage could possibly ever come from it.

    If I for some massochistic reason I decided to continue this experiment longer than a few months, trust me, it would likely become some type of endless lifelong struggle akin to convincing moon-landing conspiracy theorists that that actually happened.

    I deal with enough frustrating things about this hobby that this minor scientific venture was enough for me. If anybody else wants to continue the research, be my guest!
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 02-20-2012 at 11:39 AM.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Key (Level 9) wiggyx's Avatar
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    ^^^ might just do that. I'm on my way to local game store to pick up a dozen SNES sports titles in order to do some"sperimentin"...

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    It is known among photographers that even huffing on a lens to create a fog for hasty cleaning efforts will wear the coatings off of lenses. Human breath contains corrosive particles, end of story.

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    ServBot (Level 11) kedawa's Avatar
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    There are corrosive chemicals in the atmosphere, too.
    Even the stuff we use to clean carts is corrosive to a degree.

    The simple fact is that most gamers aren't collectors, so they won't own the game long enough for any real damage to occur.
    From their point of view, giving their carts a quick blow out is a convenient and effective way to get their game running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kedawa View Post
    There are corrosive chemicals in the atmosphere, too.
    Double that amount if you're in New Jersey!
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    I've been blowing on my NES games for ~25 years, and both games and system still are fine. Take THAT, science!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlastProcessing402 View Post
    I've been blowing on my NES games for ~25 years, and both games and system still are fine. Take THAT, science!
    If you cleaned the games and systems correctly you wouldn't need to be blowing on them. So obviously your games and systems are not fine.

    Mitch

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    It occurred to me this morning, while shaving, that it's quite possible there's been related research already done, by the makers of electric shavers, on the effects of blowing whiskers out of razors, and if condensation would affect the razor parts at all. Anyone wanna call Braun, Norelco/Philips, etc and see if they'll share their results?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch View Post
    If you cleaned the games and systems correctly you wouldn't need to be blowing on them.
    Because being dirty is the only reason ever that a game/system won't work. Also, blowing in the game/system totally isn't something people just monkey see, monkey do, regardless of the actual problem.




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    Quote Originally Posted by slapdash View Post
    It occurred to me this morning, while shaving, that it's quite possible there's been related research already done, by the makers of electric shavers, on the effects of blowing whiskers out of razors, and if condensation would affect the razor parts at all. Anyone wanna call Braun, Norelco/Philips, etc and see if they'll share their results?
    I dont know about that... razors arent ment to be used for 25 years... i dought they spent the money on research like that....
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    I dont know about that... razors arent ment to be used for 25 years... i dought they spent the money on research like that....
    But they are meant to be used in humid environments, though.
    Professional clippers and trimmers are supposed to last forever, but you're right about consumer electric razors. Those things last a couple years at most.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kedawa View Post
    But they are meant to be used in humid environments, though.
    Professional clippers and trimmers are supposed to last forever, but you're right about consumer electric razors. Those things last a couple years at most.
    For what it's worth, I bought my razor in 1988. I have to replace the blades/heads every few years, but it's still going strong almost 24 years later.
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    Haylookit, this got Mentalfloss'd.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/142550

    What exactly is Cramolin? A quick Google provides no authoritative result.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    That's some Myrhbusters level science (i.e. poor). The fact that it can cause long term damage is not proof that it doesn't work in the short term.
    Blowing on the carts definitely results in short term improvements in the connection. It's pretty much pointless to try and argue otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polygon View Post
    I hate to say it but people, in general, are stupid. People do crap all the time that doesn't work, but they continue to do it.
    Like voting

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarileaf View Post
    Like voting
    Hehe, well, for POTUS anyhow.
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    Blowing in my NES carts helped get them working, but it's not something I ever did daily by any stretch. I suspect that would do a lot more harm than good due to getting moisture in there. These days I actually clean the contacts instead of blowing most of the time, but if I get a used cart that doesn't work right off I'll give it a quick blow to see if that does the trick before pulling out the cleaner. Never daily or even more than a couple times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Haylookit, this got Mentalfloss'd.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/142550

    What exactly is Cramolin? A quick Google provides no authoritative result.
    Yeah, Chris Higgins reached out to me a few months ago for an interview.

    Since ultimately this thread didn't provide any conclusive/empirical/scientific "proof" that would "satisfy" anybody (here or elsewhere), I did my best to impress upon him that this study was completely non-scientific and just a bit of fun for some visual evidence.

    Regardless of anybody's opinion on the subject of blowing into game carts/hardware, I think that it's is a terrible idea and regardless of any short-term results that it nets I've seen far FAR too many NES cartridges that have shown signs of obviously related needless wear/damage to advocate it for any reason.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Don't feel bad. Even with ALL the empirical data in the world, some people will always disagree. Take evolution for example...


    You did a great job of collecting data and then presenting it in a way that's easy to digest. Thanks!

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