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Oily substance on GBA games from Japan


phart010
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I bought a loose copy of Darius R on GBA from Japan a few years ago. One thing I immediately noticed on receiving the game was that it had a light oily substance on the outside of the cart. No big deal, maybe someone had greasy hands and held them game. The label was fine. I just cleaned with some alcohol and then tried to play it.
 

Well the game did not power up. I opened the shell and found that the pcb was covered in a thin clear oily substance. This stuff had leaked onto the outside of the shell and that’s what I had found on the outside. I cleaned all of this substance off the pcb very well with alcohol but the game still did not work.

Months later I decided to take the chips off the pcb and apply them to an equivalent pcb from Star Wars trilogy.  The transplant I created worked, but the soldering slightly botched.

I was not totally happy with the transplanted game that I have in my possession, so when I found another copy of Darius R on eBay for a good deal in July or August this year, I went ahead and bought it. Different seller but still from Japan.

I just received the package today and wouldn’t you know, the game had oily substance on it just like before. I opened it up and wiped up all the oily substance off the inside of the shell and cleaned the pcb. This game actually works! But what the heck is this oily substance??

Has anyone ever found oily substance on GBA games from Japan? FYI this game does not have a battery. Is this something the people in Japan customs did? Is it something that people commonly see with Darius R.. I need to know

 

It was on there pretty thick. I had already wiped some of it off the inner shell before I thought to snap this picture 

BF672E56-2BEB-4AEC-8E0A-2BB0934B6444.thumb.jpeg.a99ec51b3673215b5c02501bb9187116.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Driftwood said:

It’s not a darius issue...

 

045D95B6-04EF-425F-904D-FF3C3A4476DC.jpeg

It’s such a coincidence that I bought two copies of this game from different sellers in Japan and they both had the same oily issue. I’ve bought plenty of games from Japan but have never seen this before, only with Darius R

Also I’m amazed at how much oil there was, yet none of it seemed to get on the label (in both instances!). After a thorough cleaning you would not know the game had been covered in oil

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On 9/16/2021 at 5:24 PM, phart010 said:

I bought a loose copy of Darius R on GBA from Japan a few years ago. One thing I immediately noticed on receiving the game was that it had a light oily substance on the outside of the cart. No big deal, maybe someone had greasy hands and held them game. The label was fine. I just cleaned with some alcohol and then tried to play it.
 

Well the game did not power up. I opened the shell and found that the pcb was covered in a thin clear oily substance. This stuff had leaked onto the outside of the shell and that’s what I had found on the outside. I cleaned all of this substance off the pcb very well with alcohol but the game still did not work.

Months later I decided to take the chips off the pcb and apply them to an equivalent pcb from Star Wars trilogy.  The transplant I created worked, but the soldering slightly botched.

I was not totally happy with the transplanted game that I have in my possession, so when I found another copy of Darius R on eBay for a good deal in July or August this year, I went ahead and bought it. Different seller but still from Japan.

I just received the package today and wouldn’t you know, the game had oily substance on it just like before. I opened it up and wiped up all the oily substance off the inside of the shell and cleaned the pcb. This game actually works! But what the heck is this oily substance??

Has anyone ever found oily substance on GBA games from Japan? FYI this game does not have a battery. Is this something the people in Japan customs did? Is it something that people commonly see with Darius R.. I need to know

 

It was on there pretty thick. I had already wiped some of it off the inner shell before I thought to snap this picture 

BF672E56-2BEB-4AEC-8E0A-2BB0934B6444.thumb.jpeg.a99ec51b3673215b5c02501bb9187116.jpeg

Maybe its a old expired thermal gel/paste? Have you tried contacting the sellers?

On 9/16/2021 at 9:09 PM, Murray said:

 

BF8E2509-5D93-4D57-BF5B-E1A60981D7C2.jpeg

I forgot but was this the whale wars or the dolphin and the whale responsible for dropping atomic bombs episode?

On 9/17/2021 at 12:04 AM, phart010 said:

It’s such a coincidence that I bought two copies of this game from different sellers in Japan and they both had the same oily issue. I’ve bought plenty of games from Japan but have never seen this before, only with Darius R

Also I’m amazed at how much oil there was, yet none of it seemed to get on the label (in both instances!). After a thorough cleaning you would not know the game had been covered in oil

Both sellers from the same city?

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17 hours ago, AnimalHouse said:

Maybe its a old expired thermal gel/paste? Have you tried contacting the sellers?

Both sellers from the same city?

Wouldn’t thermal paste have silver or metallic powder in it? This is just clear oily liquid.

The first seller was a long time ago, dont know if I can still see where he shippped from. By the way, he was a douchebag. Got really upset that I wanted to return the game. I was able to return it to him, but he apparently did not receive it. Then it was returned back to me.

After this, he banned me from future purchases and added a stupid message in his later auctions saying something to the effect that games are collectible objects for display purposes only so they don’t have to work and if you try to make a return he will interpret that as disrespect.

The recent one I bought was Tomakomai city Hokkaido.

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29 minutes ago, phart010 said:

Wouldn’t thermal paste have silver or metallic powder in it? This is just clear oily liquid.

Yeah here it does but I was thinking Europe and Asia sell different color, no? Another idea I had was custom border agents sprayed a chemical to see if there was a reaction. Like smugglers hiding drugs.

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17 hours ago, phart010 said:

Wouldn’t thermal paste have silver or metallic powder in it? This is just clear oily liquid.

The first seller was a long time ago, dont know if I can still see where he shippped from. By the way, he was a douchebag. Got really upset that I wanted to return the game. I was able to return it to him, but he apparently did not receive it. Then it was returned back to me.

After this, he banned me from future purchases and added a stupid message in his later auctions saying something to the effect that games are collectible objects for display purposes only so they don’t have to work and if you try to make a return he will interpret that as disrespect.

The recent one I bought was Tomakomai city Hokkaido.

Could there be a chance it was from the same owner or belonged in the same shop? 

My guess on the substance is that it could be simply a cleaning agent that remained. Or perhaps moisture mixed with metal corrosion? Or some kinky massage oil?

 

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This is probably unrelated, but I remember two years ago buying some Famicom carts off Ebay, and several of them arrived with stained labels. They were such a good deal that I didn't complain, but they definitely weren't like that in the original photos. Like somebody spilled something all over them.

One of the aforementioned carts (staining on the left side):

f4oNnww.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
20 hours ago, kazuo said:

Were these things wrapped in plastic bags? If so, it could be the plastics breaking down slowly over time, leaving a film all over the cartridges. Happens all the time with rubber/plastic sheath on controller cards, for example.

They were wrapped in bubble wrap. But I doubt it was plastic film. There was much more oil inside of the cart and on the pcb than there was on the outside of the cart. Luckily none of it got on the labels

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