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Thread: Once and for all - Cleaning Game Contacts- What Is BEST?

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) omnedon's Avatar
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    Default Once and for all - Cleaning Game Contacts- What Is BEST?

    OK. I can only speak from 6 months or so experience here, so I need feedback from the old timers.

    What is the best, safest way to clean game cartridge contacts? Especially NES?

    In my short experience, I've had nothing but success with Q-tips and rubbing alcohol, using this method:

    Take a Q-tip, and some rubbing alcohol. Lightly wet one end and clean the game contacts. (Take care to not use enough alcohol to cause any 'runoff' into the cart - tilt cart if necessary) Dry the contacts with the dry end. Repeat until your Q-tips come out with no black residue.

    I've read, in other places, claims that this is a BAD long term solution. If it is edumacate me, and tell me why. What method is better?

    In my opinion, with the NES anyway, 40% of blink is caused by filthy carts, and 60% is caused by the crappy 72 pin design.

    If this has been covered to death, my apologies to all.
    ... for your gaming and iPod service needs http://www.oldschoolgamer.com/ For all your Video Game console and iPod upgrade/repair needs!

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    Pretzel (Level 4)
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    I've used rubbing alcohol for some time, and have had no problems with it. So if it works for you, I say use it. If you REALLY are afraid that alcohol is bad for your contacts (its bad for your liver anyways), then you can try a pencil eraser. First you have to take the circuit board out of the cart (duh), so it involves some unscrewing. But if you rub the pencil eraser over the contacts, they will come clean with no chemicals. I use this method if the contacts just WON'T come clean no matter how much rubbing alcohol I use.
    -Dobie
    NES, SNES, & Gameboy Collector

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) omnedon's Avatar
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    I agree that a pencil eraser is a good idea, as a second try.

    Perhaps alcohol only leaves a residue, if you don't clean it off after. I always leave 'em dry.
    ... for your gaming and iPod service needs http://www.oldschoolgamer.com/ For all your Video Game console and iPod upgrade/repair needs!

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) FABombjoy's Avatar
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    You should only use gummy art erasers. Standard pencil erasers contain abrasives, which is why they work so well... untill you 'erase' the contacts from the board. Remember, the metal coating on cartridge circuitboards in incredibly thin. Measured in microns thin.

    Rubbing alcohol & cotton swabs OR chamois tipped cleaners are about the best, the latter being significatly more expensive. You can always clean with soap and water, and use alcohol to remove the soap residue.

    A little rubbing alcohol that drips inside the cart shouldn't hurt anything either.

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    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    Or you can get actual contact cleaner. It just sprays on, and that's it. Used to use it on radio contacts.

    Me, personally, I also use the alcohol/q-tip method with no problems.

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    Banana (Level 7)
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    Default

    on horribly filthy carts I've used Windex to clean them. they went from almost black to gleaming with little effort. then I just clean them again with alcohol to get all the Windex off, and dry them of course.

    not sure what long term affects using Windex has but if it's so grubby you can't get it clean or working with alcohol then what the hell?

    also I find that standard Q-tips shred too easily. I like to use the child safety ones. they are fatter and more tightly compressed and also the make up applicator ones, they are also more tightly compressed and are flat on one end and pointy on the other.

    they work GREAT!

    I give the cart a good scrubbing with the baby Q-tips and Windex then clean them off with the make up applicators and alcohol.

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    Pear (Level 6)
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    The important thing to consider is the percentage of alcohol that you use with the rubbing one!

    There's a range anywhere from 40% to 100%!

    What I do to clean carts is:

    - mix 50/50 100% with fresh water
    - Use this mixture to clean slightly dirty contacts/actual cart with stickers!
    - Use a white eraser to clean flithy bad-ass cart contacts!

    The eraser is not as bad as people make it think! This method is used in very expensive labs on expensive equiptment all the time!

    LK

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    Pretzel (Level 4) MarkM2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonk

    - mix 50/50 100% with fresh water


    LK
    Hmm.. I was under the impression that a HIGHER alcohol content is preferred. (Since the rest is water, wouldn't that cause the contacts to corrode?) Please correct me if I am wrong...

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    After years of dealing with computer and video game contacts i can tell u that a simple eraser is best and saftest way to clean them.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    I agree. Dirty games cause the blinking NES.

    To avoid the blink, I clean each game very thorough when I acquire them. I open each cart up, take the board out, rub the contacts with an eraser to get rid of all the dirt. Once the contacts are shinny, I clean them again with alcohol and a Q tip to get any eraser particles off. Then I use a can of air to make sure they are dry and then I reassemble the cart.

    I have my original toaster NES with the original pin connector and after I clean my games the thing never blinks!!!

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    Pear (Level 6)
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    when dealing with water & alcohol, the following rule of thumb must be remembered:

    - Water is the cleaning agent
    - Alcohol is the "evaporation" agent

    Alcohol on its own does not clean the contacts! The water does.. the only reason the alcohol is there is to make the water evaporate faster (the small amount that's left that you just can't get off with simply wipping it).

    Hope this helps,

    LK

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    ServBot (Level 11)
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    I'd like to add that there are some people who say that using a fine grade sandpaper is the best thing to use on trouble carts...These people are fucking morons!

    -End Communication.

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    Banana (Level 7)
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    "fucking morons"....that's nice.

    I've sandpapered a couple heavily corroded NES carts and got them working again. I'd only use it as an absolute last resort but it DOES work.

    sometimes alcohol and pencil erasers just don't get it done.

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    Well, you might feel differently if you picked up a few semi-rare carts that had the contacts heavily sanded...or more specifically, had filthy contacts AND deep sanding marks on the contacts.

    Some HEAVILY corroded carts need more than just a cleaning, but using sandpaper as an all-purpose solution in just lunacy.

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    Pear (Level 6)
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    Default sandy duncan?

    there's a BIG difference between a jewelry sanding cloth and #6 grit paper- the folks who sanded the contacts down badly probably figured "as long as it's abrasive, it'll work", lol...

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