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    Apple (Level 5)
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    Default Cleaning NES games with sandpaper?

    I sold a few NES games on Craigslist yesterday and when the buyer picked up the games, he asked how I clean my games.

    "Q-tip and a bit of rubbing alcohol typically."

    "Oh you shouldn't do that, the alcohol can seep into the board. You should use sandpaper, it works great."

    I've never heard of using sandpaper before, maybe to get off some corrosion but otherwise I don't see the practical application of it.

    Has anyone tried using sandpaper on their cart games?

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    I used to work at a game store and we cleaned NES games with windex and those green Scotch pads. So I guess sand paper could work. I am in no hurry to try it though.

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    Those scotch pads probably work well enough to work out the heavy grim, I'd think that sandpaper would wear down the contacts.

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    What I've heard the best thing to do is to get the board out of the cartridge and rub the contacts with a pink rubber pencil eraser. Gets the crap off and won't damage the contacts. I haven't tried it myself, though.

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    I know that it's possible to use sandpaper to remove the corrosion from a copper wire, the kind that you find inside a coaxial cable.

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    I just use Q-tips and Rubbing Alcohol. If you're worried about getting the alcohol into the board, just squeeze the excess off the Q-tip, simple as that.

    I wouldn't use sandpaper though, that just sounds dangerous.
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    I'd only use sandpaper if the corrosion was really really bad. Otherwise Q-tips and alcohol all the way. Still doesn't work, then I open it up and use an eraser.

    And even if the alcohol does seep into the board, it will evaporate away immediatly afterwards. The place I work builds circuit boards and we run them through a regular dishwasher to remove solder flux so even whatever tiny bit of water is left behind after the alcohol evaporates won't be a problem.

    The only reason NES carts say not to clean them with alcohol is so you buy their special cleaner, which (surprize!), is mainly alcohol.
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    I use sandpaper all the time.

    It's all I have available at work and it works everytime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
    What I've heard the best thing to do is to get the board out of the cartridge and rub the contacts with a pink rubber pencil eraser. Gets the crap off and won't damage the contacts. I haven't tried it myself, though.
    This is the answer. I would advise against sandpaper. An eraser is the way to go. You need to open the cart in general to get it as clean as possible, but I've had excellent luck getting non-working carts going with a pencil eraser followed by a quick q-tip with electronics grade alcohol to clean away the residue.

    A dremel with a soft buffing attachment also will work, but you have to be very careful.

    On a side note, electronic contact cleaner (with silicones) is great for controller ports and cart slots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
    What I've heard the best thing to do is to get the board out of the cartridge and rub the contacts with a pink rubber pencil eraser. Gets the crap off and won't damage the contacts. I haven't tried it myself, though.
    That actually sounds like a good idea. I'll have to try that.

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    The chore boy pads work wonders. I have been using them for years. Highly, Highly recommended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
    What I've heard the best thing to do is to get the board out of the cartridge and rub the contacts with a pink rubber pencil eraser. Gets the crap off and won't damage the contacts. I haven't tried it myself, though.
    I prefer using a white eraser, it doesn't leave residue behind like a pink one does. I usually clean the cart with alcohol + q tip, then use the white eraser and then I wipe it down with a q tip again.

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    I use a pencil eraser, shines up the contacts nicely and can't damage them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giskard View Post
    I used to work at a game store and we cleaned NES games with windex and those green Scotch pads.
    Windex on games... this sounds very familiar... Was it The Game Trader by any chance? In my local mall, they used the name GameSwitch.

    Personally, I don't use alcohol unless a cart gives me a problem. First I'll try a DRY q-tip, just to wipe off the contacts and get any dirt or dust out of the channel. If it still won't boot, I use tap water. Just moisten the q-tip and clean the contacts. Then, I immediately follow up with a dry q-tip until it's dry.

    The owner of my local Play N Trade has a rather neat cleaning method. There's special cleaning spray for PCI cards and slots. I can't remember if he actually sprayed a game, but he squirted a good bit of the stuff into a Genesis Model 1 that wouldn't boot up, and it was perfectly fine afterward.

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    Every time I go to my local flea market and buy NES games, the guy always gives it a good clean with a sandpaper stick. I hate it when he does that though as when you think of it, sandpaper will take the dirt but the connectors off too. I wouldnt do it. Just use a light bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. Sandpaper is risky.
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    Recently, I've taken to using these along with Dawn hand soap, followed by an alcohol wipe:



    I cleaned a batch of SNES games with that method, and every single one of them booted up. They're even better than the Scotch-Brite green scrubbies.

    Use sandpaper ONLY as a last resort.

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    Crono (Level 14) Sonicwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dendawg View Post
    Use sandpaper ONLY as a last resort.

    I agree. Its just the simplest way of wrecking the contacts. You can clean without grinding.
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    My local game shop they use, I believe, Simple Green. All the carts I have bought from there still have that scent.

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    I use WD40. Spray a small amount on a rag. Never had a problem with my NES after that.

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