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What's the best way to wash and dry N64 electronic components?


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Ok, recently my watermelon N64 decided to stop working and today I decided to crack it open to check it out. Hole. E. Cow. This is the filthiest device I've ever opened. It's not packed with dust bunnies. Instead, around all of the main components and almost smeared on the bored is a brown dusty mass. After trying to wipe off the densest spots with a q-tip, uuuugh, it was evident that this dusty stuff is legit dead bug parts. Some of the biggest were roach legs (or something) but all of the bits seemed to be ground to dust.

I bought this from NA a few years ago. It's worked fine but this was the first time I cracked it open. First, I have no clue how so many dead bug parts and dust could come from and get into this thing. It's like someone dried out insects and then crushed them up and dumped them in the machine. Nasty! So, now I want to clean this gunk out. I'm wanting to wash it off but the problem is that I see light rusting that I think I can clean and fix.

The thing is, I've found that if you want to wash a board, you need to wash and dry it fast, especially if it has a rusty spot or two. The water makes it spread quickly once it begins to slowly dry. But this thing is so nasty, I want to run it through the dish washer but as I mentioned, I need to dry it fast to prevent further rusting. There are a lot of knocks and crannies on N64 board so that complicated the drying process.

So, has anyone washed an N64 board and know how to properly dry it? I really don't want to toss this unit and I definitely think it's salvageable. It's just sooo gross and needs a solid bath. If there was ever a board worth trying to wash, it's this one.  What should I do?

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I'd say the actual best way to do it would be to clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner large enough to fit the entire thing inside, then, when done, hang it above somewhere it can drip dry, then spray/mist it down with as high a percentage isopropyl alcohol you can lay hands on to displace as much water as possible from it, give it another good shake, then let it hang for a day or two to completely dry out.  Barring access to an appropriately sized ultrasonic cleaner (or balking at buying such a relatively expensive device for one use), scrub the thing down gently with a soft bristled brush and some good 'ol soap and water, rinse it off thoroughly, then repeat the first bit I mentioned about shaking off the water, hitting it with IPA, shaking it off again, then hanging it to dry.  Unless you're planning on sanding down the rusted bits and hitting them with either paint or one of the acids that turns rust into an inert material (not all of which are safe to touch), the rusty bits will continue to rust just due to local humidity wherever it's kept, so I wouldn't worry terribly about that getting wet versus just getting all of the water out from under and around all your chips (via the alcohol) before letting it dry out on its own.  Scrubbing around with towels, paper towels, etc., is just asking for static damage to something, so best to make your peace with a little rust and being as safe and careful as possible with the rest while it's still working.

Edit:  If you're truly paranoid about the amount of time water spends in contact with the board after washing it however, just get or borrow an air compressor equipped with a nozzle that'll let you squeeze it and blast out air at pressure and blow it all over the board to push away and/or dry off any moisture quickly.  I'd avoid heat via hair dryer, heat gun, etc., just because you could end up doing nasty things to the electronics inadvertently, but blowing a shit ton of high velocity, pressurized air across the surface won't do anything more than dislodge anything that isn't attached to the surface and which most likely shouldn't be there anyway.  If you manage to blow away any components, those were going to fail and fall off anyway, so I wouldn't be too concerned about that as a possibility.

Edited by darkchylde28
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