Best practice for cleaning/restoration

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Rahsennor
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Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by Rahsennor » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:31 pm

I have a NES, SNES, cables, controllers, carts and boxes covered in ten years of accumlated dust, dirt and rat droppings. I don't dare turn anything on yet, but I know the NES controllers are thumb-destroyingly worn - one button on controller two doesn't work at all - plus the usual CIC issues. Otherwise everything was in working condition when last used.

Emphasis on "was". Any advice? I know my way around a multimeter and soldering iron, if it comes to that, but for now I'm mainly concerned about getting the filth off without damaging anything.

Pickle
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by Pickle » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:39 am

I would blow off debris with compressed air and then use iso alcohol with cotton balls/qtips to clean off the rest.

lidnariq
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by lidnariq » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:39 am

I have read descriptions of people who have successfully cleaned up electronics using ordinary water. (But they probably have relatively soft water...)

The important thing is just letting it dry completely, and using materials that will leave no possibly-conductive residue.

For DIP things, there's enough clearance under the ICs that drying will be pretty fast, regardless. For SMT things, you may need to wait a week afterwards, and/or add some kind of desiccant.

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l_oliveira
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by l_oliveira » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:15 pm

Instead of waiting for a week, I just use a hairdrier to warm it up.

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Fisher
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by Fisher » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:57 am

I heard an isane tale of a guy who cleaned rusted metal parts with Pepsi / Diet Coke.
Does it makes any sense??
I think I remember seen, when I was a kid, my mother using a instantaneous juice named "Tang" to unclog pipes, and also some people told me they used Coca-cola to clean toilets, but man... is it for real??

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l_oliveira
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by l_oliveira » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:23 am

I use vinegar for battery leaks, for example. It does make perfectly sense as the intention is stop the chemical reaction by neutralizing it.

If you have caustic, make it acidic. If you have it acidic make it caustic to counter.

After you neutralize the ongoing chemical reaction you can take action on repairing.

lidnariq
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by lidnariq » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:25 am

Coca-Cola is full of both phosphoric acid (good for fixing iron rust) and is carbonated (agitates the solution for you, requiring less effort) ... but I'd doubt the phosphoric acid would be as useful on PCBs' tin, copper, or gold plating.

icemanxp300
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by icemanxp300 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:44 pm

I have read that I think neo geo people pop those pcb's in the dishwasher lol. I don't know about that though. I would remove the pcb from the shell, clean the shell thoroughly, blow the pcb off w/compressed air, use an electronics cleaner like deoxit on hard to get areas and clean w/iso alcohol.

Then if any damage remains address that such as broken traces, bad caps, and so on.

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Memblers
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by Memblers » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:57 pm

I've heard several people say that boiling an NES connector in water works really well to clean it. Though I'd say to use distilled water.

I use DeOxit to clean cart edges and connectors, that stuff works great. I have the spray bottles (seemed expensive but they've lasted a very long time), kind of wished I'd just bought the concentrated liquid though since I rarely spray it directly into things. I put it on a q-tip for carts that are in a shell, microfiber cloth if it's out of it's shell, and onto card stock or folded up paper for inserting into connectors.

For controllers you just have to be careful, the board has black conductive carbon that can rub off. I cleaned the silicone rubber parts with water and a little soap, ended up tearing one of those though so I'm gonna have to sacrifice an NES pad to repair this Famicom's B button.

icemanxp300
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by icemanxp300 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:32 pm

Memblers wrote:I've heard several people say that boiling an NES connector in water works really well to clean it. Though I'd say to use distilled water.

That's what they say, they also say boiling them re-aligns the pins to factory. I have personally done this method numerous times. One time I pulled 10 systems apart and went down the line and boil/baked them all.

Now for my controversial process. Doing multiple testings I have found that boiling and baking serves barely any advantage unless you use a metal polisher like Brasso on the board pins. Like I said controversial lol. Yes this does remove the plating but I have found that by doing this and coating the pins w/deoxit gold, it gives you a system that works 100 times better. Don't forget to disable the lock-out while you are at it.

As far as the pins re- aligning that's complete bs. The main problem w/these old pins is the edges get spread far apart and I have boil and baked at least 20-30 pins and have never had a pin close the gaps on the edges once yet and as such they never perform as they need to.

I finally turned to new pins which work great. Yes they have a death grip and that grip is probably why they work so well. They scrape through the last 30 years of oxidation on the main board to get a good connection. Just like my results using Brasso, they pretty much do the same thing.

In my opinion you are wasting time boiling and baking. People still like to take original pins and tediously bend the edge pins back and you can do that if you like but I never had good results though.

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l_oliveira
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by l_oliveira » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:10 am

Memblers wrote:For controllers you just have to be careful, the board has black conductive carbon that can rub off. I cleaned the silicone rubber parts with water and a little soap, ended up tearing one of those though so I'm gonna have to sacrifice an NES pad to repair this Famicom's B button.
Controller silicone rubber has the stress from being pushed a lot of times by the user so it has a inherent weakness at the joint of the "diaphragm" (think of a acoustic diaphragm, not the contraceptive one lol) formed by the silicone membrane. It's very likely to rip even under heavy normal use. I prefer to wash it without pushing or flexing it. After it's clean I put it backwards in a table and rub the carbon conductive surface with something mildly abrasive, such as paper, for example. It's important that you don't flex the silicone rubber to avoid ripping it off.

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l_oliveira
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by l_oliveira » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:15 am

icemanxp300 wrote:People still like to take original pins and tediously bend the edge pins back and you can do that if you like but I never had good results though.
I've done that with my NES like 10 years ago and it is still running good... Maybe the way people bend the pins (too mildly?) is why it isn't working for them?

I avoid letting cartridges into the system while it's not in use...

Bratwurst
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by Bratwurst » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:49 am

Don't use rubbing alcohol to clean anything rubber, like controller cords, as it will dry them out and age them prematurely.

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l_oliveira
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Re: Best practice for cleaning/restoration

Post by l_oliveira » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:18 pm

I like to use the usual dish wash soap and a pair of cleaning cloth pieces. I wash the cable with soap, scrubbing it with one of the cloth pieces and then I dry with the other. I avoid to dip the connector and the controller sides so water doesn't enter the cable.

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