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Thread: DP MYTHBUSTERS : Blowing in NES Cartridges

  1. #201
    Don't do it...or,do. (shrugs) Custom rank graphic
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggyx View Post
    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!
    Well, I knew going in that I didn't have the time or the tools to do a really comprehensive scientific analysis, so I was generally prepared for the lack of acceptance of any plausible theory that this may have set forth.

    It's been over 20 years and in that length of time people strongly adhere to their own personal experiences in forming their opinions on this kind of stuff. I fully include myself in that statement.

    In my time at Funcoland literally thousands and thousands of NES, Genesis, SNES, Gameboy, Game Gear, carts passed through my hands and as a part of my basic responsibilities I had to evaluate almost every single one before buying and/or selling.

    Something caused all the mold, mildew, corrosion, wear and damage to the cartridge contacts of games that had them. Wherever we found evidence of that, I and all of my employees got into the habit of asking the owners of the games "do you blow in these?". Games that had that kind of stuff going on would get a "yes" 100% of the time, so ... there's something here, there's some sound logic and basic evidence.

    Anybody who is still filled with a burning desire for MOAR DATA should run with what has already been done and give us some more empirical data to work with.

    I'm not doing this again because I swear I almost gave myself a full-blown respiratory infection doing it.

    Really though, I just wanted to do something that showed some level of evidence that the act of blowing onto the contacts of NES carts had some kind of potential long-term effect.

    Nice to see your cartridge licking made the article! See, it pays to bump old threads!
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


  2. #202
    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    (So, no one here knows what Cramolin is, then?)
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    (So, no one here knows what Cramolin is, then?)
    I had never heard of it before the article.

    Looks like a branded formulation of anti-oxidation compound/solvent that is no longer produced under that name/by that company.

    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


  4. #204
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    It has been a really long time since I saw this, and I just read a bunch of it and I don't think that I replied before but...

    To offset the claim of blowing in carts does damage to them, while I agree that there could be some changes to the cartridges visually, evidence that I can point to as a potential data point to say that it doesn't really do any long term damage is this...

    In running the GOAT Store now for more than ten years, I would guess that minimally we have had 10,000 NES carts pass through our hands. NES carts were the most likely to be blown in because of the crappy NES connectors, as has been pretty well established. In that time that we've been selling, I can honestly say that I have never checked the cartridges that we have gotten in for damage, and because we go through so much stuff on a regular basis and unfortunately we don't make enough money for the store to be a full time job, I'm also certain that 3/4ths of those carts or more I did not get a chance to physically try before they left our hands...

    But, while NES carts are easily one of our top sellers, we have never had any returned because they weren't working. We've had a few bad games here and there for the 2600, Genesis and SNES, but for whatever reason I have yet to have any returns on literally thousands of NES carts through the years.

    To me, this is a pretty strong data point that while some slight changes to the cartridges may appear to take place, whatever those changes are do not seem to affect the cartridges enough that in a 25 year span that many of them are failing. I'm sure that our zero issues is a pretty unique case, but at the same time... it's a pretty strong data point.

    I do appreciate the test, but I also don't think that people should be too worried about it... as long as you aren't licking your cartridges, that story was gross.
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  5. #205
    ServBot (Level 11) kedawa's Avatar
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    Maybe that's because NES owners assume it's their system, not the cart.

  6. #206
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    I know what I've seen, and just because some of you have never personally encountered something similar to this after cleaning off a mound of mold/growth from a cartridge where the owner personally admits that "blowing into the cartridge" was the only "maintenance" that they've ever done - doesn't mean that it doesn't occur.

    Even if it's only one out of 10,000 or one out of 100,000, I've been fortunate/unfortunate enough to see legitimately un-salvageable cartridges.



    But, whatever. Go ahead and blow into your stuff all day long. It's your stuff!
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 10-12-2012 at 12:04 PM.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


  7. #207
    ServBot (Level 11) MarioMania's Avatar
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    I open my carts to fully clean it..

    I still have a nasty urge to blow, I just can't help it

  8. #208
    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    Found this thread again after watching Gangs of New York and doing a bit of post-viewing reading. Mental Floss has a nice article on the names of various NYC landmarks. Ahem.

    You know, it's an interesting thing to consider - there is really a very little amount of empirical data on even something that seems cut-and-dried like this; most of the talk on both sides is really just "monkey see, monkey repeat," or anecdotal at best. I'm still a proponent of not breathing onto cartridges because the water in breath should oxidize the material; so too will the presence of salts if any carry on the breath (doesn't seem so likely though). However, the place I see rust most on gaming systems is on steel emissions cages in consoles...that must have been kept in garages. One other thing that might be a part of this: Corrosion from contact between metals. I don't know what's typical on NES cartridges versus the interior socket's connectors, but there have been cases of corrosion in computer hardware where the pins on a part connector (for example, the connector of a memory stick) meet another metal inside the connecting receptacle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    Have any pennies in your pocket that look like this?



    No. Most of them probably look like this.

    I'd be really rich if all the pennies in my pocket looked like the '55 doubled die variant there. In fact I could trade my entire collection of stuff (all of it) for a handful in my pocket, and be able to buy everything back...with change left over.
    Quote Originally Posted by Koa Zo View Post
    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.
    I'm tempted to say that's a myth. That would only be true of the older "painted-on" coatings, at most; I'm not aware of any modern coatings being degraded by what is essentially water vapor. One of the most professionally used modern cleaning tools, the Lens Pen, advocates gently blowing onto a lens surface to help the cleaning process.

    Old coated lenses - the original bunch of 'em, all probably predating the introduction of autofocus systems like Canon's EF series (1987-present; a better run for a common electronic connector than the NES socket!), are simply more prone to wear than modern coatings, a bad situation which was remedied quickly. Having a coating that is easily abraded is bad for obvious reasons.

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    Found this thread again after watching Gangs of New York and doing a bit of post-viewing reading. Mental Floss has a nice article on the names of various NYC landmarks. Ahem.

    You know, it's an interesting thing to consider - there is really a very little amount of empirical data on even something that seems cut-and-dried like this; most of the talk on both sides is really just "monkey see, monkey repeat," or anecdotal at best. I'm still a proponent of not breathing onto cartridges because the water in breath should oxidize the material; so too will the presence of salts if any carry on the breath (doesn't seem so likely though). However, the place I see rust most on gaming systems is on steel emissions cages in consoles...that must have been kept in garages. One other thing that might be a part of this: Corrosion from contact between metals. I don't know what's typical on NES cartridges versus the interior socket's connectors, but there have been cases of corrosion in computer hardware where the pins on a part connector (for example, the connector of a memory stick) meet another metal inside the connecting receptacle.

    I'd be really rich if all the pennies in my pocket looked like the '55 doubled die variant there. In fact I could trade my entire collection of stuff (all of it) for a handful in my pocket, and be able to buy everything back...with change left over.

    I'm tempted to say that's a myth. That would only be true of the older "painted-on" coatings, at most; I'm not aware of any modern coatings being degraded by what is essentially water vapor. One of the most professionally used modern cleaning tools, the Lens Pen, advocates gently blowing onto a lens surface to help the cleaning process.

    Old coated lenses - the original bunch of 'em, all probably predating the introduction of autofocus systems like Canon's EF series (1987-present; a better run for a common electronic connector than the NES socket!), are simply more prone to wear than modern coatings, a bad situation which was remedied quickly. Having a coating that is easily abraded is bad for obvious reasons.
    Well, hey, I'm HOPING at some point somebody has the capacity and the professional facilities to be able to conduct an actual, fully scientific study on this.

    I'm sure there's a way to prove empirically whether or not some measure of wear/tear/damage occurs via human breath (+whatever biological matter comes with it) on metal contacts over extended periods.

    Even if what we've examined here never amounts to anything conclusive, at least we've furthered the conversation and kept it alive for so many years.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


  10. #210
    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Well as nerdy as it gets on the real Mythbusters you could just go and submit all these related things from NES games to socketed computer parts for them to try out as a side thing to whatever large they want to run into or blow up that week.

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