NES Game cartridge pin clean up
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Author:  Pasky [ Fri May 23, 2014 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  NES Game cartridge pin clean up

So I was going through my games and had a SMB2 cart that just wouldnt boot. Cleaned the pins with alcohol, still wouldn't boot. Took it apart and there was a lot of black crud on the pinouts:



So I got some aluminum polish I bought from autozone a few years ago:



And with a dremel buffer (you can do this by hand easily with a cloth, just dont get the stuff on your hands):



Boots every time now.

Just thought I'd throw this tip out there. Try to avoid rubbing it on the chips and clean it all off with alcohol. You wanna rub the polish on until it gets black in a circular motion, then take a clean cloth and take it off. Wipe down with alcohol and you're good to go.

Don't suggest doing this unless you have a cart that isn't working very well as you're removing the original coating.

Author:  koitsu [ Sat May 24, 2014 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NES Game cartridge pin clean up

Yep, that method has been discussed in the past using a different type of cleaning solution, but effectively it does the same thing. I use the latter myself.

What is worth pointing out, however, is that if using these cleaning compounds, you need to be very meticulous removing any leftover residue from the compound itself. They tend to be "chalky", leaving an off-white film of crap on the pins which has to be cleaned off using water or isopropyl alcohol.

I have received a couple carts and products from people over the years where these compounds have been used on cart connectors but water/etc. had never been used to clean off the residue.

For carts or things which can't be easily opened (ex. Famicom carts, or NES carts where the individual lacks the proper security bit), just use a wet Q-tip, followed by a dry Q-tip.

And also for readers: you don't need to use very much compound. Half of a US dime is enough for both sides, IMO.

One thing I do worry about with these compounds is their harshness. Most of the time when cleaning the edge connectors, the cleaning device (rag, Q-tip, etc.) becomes slightly grey which is expected (mix of the compound and the oxidised tarnish from the edge connectors). However I've cleaned a couple carts where the results were thick and black, not grey, and upon examination of the edge connectors, found that some of the gold metal had actually disappeared (i.e. just bare off-white PCB was exposed). It's hard for me to know if this was caused by the compound or not, but I still mention it as a caution. I think this is what Pasky meant when he said "Don't suggest doing this unless you have a cart that isn't working very well as you're removing the original coating" -- I agree completely.

Author:  guitarzombie [ Sat May 24, 2014 5:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NES Game cartridge pin clean up

Yup! Altho even tho I had no idea, I had some aluminum polish for one of my guitars and it worked. Mentioned it to everyone I knew thats into these. Its a pain in the ass but guaranteed.

BTW I think the amount you use depends on the problem. Ive had some carts CAKED with crud I just couldn't get off even tho all the other pins were polished. You need the abrasive on there to try to wipe and clean it off.

Afterwards ill use rubbing alcohol on it to clean all the residue as well.

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