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NES game cleaning

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I have seen numerous videos on how to clean cartridges but is there a BEST/RECOMMENDED cleaning? I do not want to damage pins. I’ve seen people wipe both vertically with pins and horizontally. Have read NOT to wipe horizontally. Also have seen multiple cleaning products use. This is the expert community, share a video or some tips and tricks for cleaning. Thanks much.

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I don't think people will ever agree on this because of the ratio of random people with lots of followers on Youtube to vocal electrical engineers will never be in science's favor. Electrical contact cleaner and alcohol would be the safest since they're not abrasive. Erasers, stovetop cleaner, fiberglass brush, Brasso, metal polish etc. are all removing the top layer of material to make it aesthetically nice and shiny. It depends if your goal is shiny Instagram-worthy pins or non-destructive cleaning to improve an electrical contact.

The problem is you can do almost anything to a cartridge and have it work immediately. You could take 200 grit sandpaper to a dirty NES cart and it would work the first time you put it in after sanding it, thus leading to lots of theories of what the best method is. NES contacts are copper plated with nickel plated with gold, so look up electrical contact cleaning in the "real world" IMO. I wouldn't trust anyone in the gaming community as an absolutely expert on this, including myself and this post. Too much random bad information out there.

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Alcohol to remove permanent marker

Bestine to remove glue residue

Melanine...melamine...Malania? Foam to remove scuff marks on white backgrounds for cardboard and paper

Pins just use a rubber eraser for heavy garnish, and alcohol and qtips for light...you can probably do repairs for badly messed up games with a plating solution, though I’d leave that to the pros 


And guys, take a toothbrush and clean the damn top left corner of your NES carts. No one wants 35 year old dust and grime on their shelf.

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A white eraser is proper for contacts.  Generally speaking, a pink erasure will remove the plating from the pins.  There are some pinks that work properly, but off-hand I'm unsure how to determine the distinction.

Special note: When I have an unlicensed game that has a back label over the middle screw and I do not wish to punch through that label, I'll use a very soft moldable white erasure pressed around something flat like a popsicle stick to get in there and then follow it up with a "contact-cleaner-laden-q-tip-head" (five times fast, everyone.)

On 9/24/2020 at 12:55 PM, ThePhleo said:

And guys, take a toothbrush and clean the damn top left corner of your NES carts. No one wants 35 year old dust and grime on their shelf.


..I've seen stuff inside the plastic surrounding the pins as well that looks like something out of horror movie.. 


Edited by PII
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