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New Way to Clean Cartridges - "Lysol"

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So I win this fairly inexpesive lot of 6 N64 games off of the e-bay. I actually won the lot mainly to get the box for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys to help finish up the N64 covers section over at thecoverproject.net. I only spent $15.00 with shipping and there were a few other games I was looking for in the lot as well as the Hercules box, so a decent deal. Four of the games were described as "like new", which apparently only referred to the fact that they have their box as well as the cartridge (3 of those 4 did have their manuals too) it has nothing to do with their condition (more on that in a second). So I finally get the package, big shock, all of the games/boxes are wrapped in 1 to 2 wraps of paper towels and stuffed into a plastic envelope (not even a bubble protected envelope). Apparently the bulk of these games were ex-rentals from Blockbuster and I'm not sure how many of you have seen ex-rental N64 games from Blockbuster, but from a collector's standpoint are completely worthless. Blockbuster used this sort of, what I can only imagine to have been, a heat-cured plastic coating over the top of their magnetic security strip on the back of the cartridge. Which I have yet to find a decent way to remove without scraping with a razor knife which of course damages the plastic, not to mention it also pulls of the rear cartridge label. Also 3-4 of them have marker writing on the top of the cartridge so that the Blockbuster employee could identify the game when they opened their drawer where they stashed the games, which I can remove so not as bad as the plastic coating. Anyways as the picture in the auction conviently doesn't show any of these details, I take this as my bad luck for not asking the seller about the games' conditions and realistically again I mostly was interested in the Hercules box and it was only 15 bucks so I'm not too pissed, but upon testing, 3 of the games don't work. Now I presume that I can take them apart and clean the contacts like I always do, but this in combination with the conditions of the games I e-mail the seller to see if there is anything we can do about this, possibly a partial refund. Here is his response:

 

"I have never had any trouble with them. I had bought them years ago from blockbuster. A trick I used to use to get my games to work was to spray lysol in the cartridge, worked every time."

 

This is not a direct quote as I capitalized 4 words and added 3 periods for coherency, and please pay special attention to the words I've highlighted in red. Well hell, I never thought to spray lysol into my game cartridges to get them to work. I apparently have been wasting all my time and money on costly proper electrical contact cleaners and conditioners. How stupid of me. So next time you have a cartridge that doesn't work, grab the nearest can of surface/air sanitizer and spray it directly in your game cartridge. For best results, and I haven't tested this yet to be sure, but I'd just go ahead and spray some lysol directly into the cartridge slot on the game console as well. If it helps the game's contacts, surely it will help the cartridge slot contacts.

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Lysol is mostly alcohol so I'd assume it works in a similar way but leaves your carts smelling like...well...whatever scent you used.

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Lysol?? I've always had good luck with a Q-tip and good ol fashioned water! I dip one end of the q-tip in warm water and scrub it on both sides of the contacts (no need to ever take a cart apart) if the contacts are dirty it usually comes out black. I use the other dry end of the q-tip the same way and it drys the contacts. That's it. I do this with EVERY cart for every system and it's always worked fine.

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Yes, I back you up Warriorisabouttodie.

 

I use Q tips and water too, I dip one end of the Qtip in water, wipe the excess and scrub the cart contacts until they look clean, the Qtip will look dark of all the dirt it removed. Now use the other end of the Qtip leave it dry and scrub again the same area and the contacts will look shiny. That should do it in most cases.

Also wait a couple of minutes before plugging in the cart you cleaned to allow it to dry.

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screw Lysol and water. Want cartridges to work and be shiny? Armor All baby!

 

Oh my. He went there...

 

I use Q-Tips and alcohol. When that fails I clean the contacts with a fine grade sandpaper, then wipe them down to remove any fine particles.

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I would never have thought to use water on an electrical component as it will eventually lead to corrosion not to mention potential shock hazzards. Personally whenever possible (exposed screws) I disassemble every cartridge, burnish the contacts with a fiberglass eraser, wipe the dust/dirt clean with with an electrical contact cleaner, and then coat with with a contact conditioner for long lasting corrosion protection. If the screws are hidden behind a label, and I can still get the fiberglass bristles into the cartridge end, I'll do the same as the aforementioned. If the contacts are not exposed enough for the fiberglass eraser, usually like those in the cartridge slot on the console, I'll use a de-oxidizing treatment on the contacts, clean with contact cleaner, and then coat with the contact conditioner. With these methods I can usually make about 99 out of 100 non-working cartrdige games work again. Sure it may cost a little more, not to mention the extra time required, but I've got games that I've done this to years ago that still work perfectly to this day without a speck of dust, dirt, or corrosion on the contacts.

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Yeah, water is not a good idea or Lysol for the same reason (lots of water in it). Isopropyl alcohol is good, anyhdrous Iso or contact cleaner is the best.

 

Speaking of godawful indescribably filthy and corroded cart contact cleaning - this stuff is the best and most amazing cleaner I've ever used in that area. With literally just a few wipes the contacts look new. It's hard to believe until you see it yourself.

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Well I´ve used the Qtip moistened with water method with over 300 carts and they all work, some of them have been with me for like 20 years and they still work fine. But of course never insert a cart without allow it to dry for a few minutes, it should be completely dry before you plug it in.

 

If you have Iso alcohol at hand well of course it is better than plain water, but it won´t hurt either to use the damp Qtip method.

 

Best choice would be to use Electrical Cleaning products, you might be able to find them at Radio Shack or Steren Electronic Stores.

 

Armor All is only good for plastic surfaces I do not recommend to apply it on the contacts as they may get all messy and greasy.

 

The Weiman kitchen cleaning product I think is overkill and the chemicals it contain may be way too strong and I don´t doubt you probably used it with success to bring back to life highly corroded contacts with it but still it sounds like an overkill.

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screw Lysol and water. Want cartridges to work and be shiny? Armor All baby!

Screw Lysol, water and Armor All! I just use my tongue! :P Tastes delicious! :D

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The Weiman kitchen cleaning product I think is overkill and the chemicals it contain may be way too strong and I don´t doubt you probably used it with success to bring back to life highly corroded contacts with it but still it sounds like an overkill.

It is slightly abrasive so I don't recommend it for any type of regular cleaning. But nothing has beat it or even come close among the tons of products I've tried on the worst offenders. It has ISO and some detergents in it, and while extremely effective it has never done any damage to stuff I've used it on. In fact it's often saved damage as several cases would have needed sandpaper or steel wool to bring them back to life.

 

The last thing I used it on was a GB game & watch cart. The outside was in fair shape, but the contacts were literally black/green and fuzzy. It looked like it had spent several years in the bottom of someones fish tank, then covered in feces and baked in an oven. After a few wipes on each side, the contacts were shiny as new.

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I dip the cart contacts in Coke,and then put a nice thin coating of peanut butter,works wonders!

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screw Lysol and water. Want cartridges to work and be shiny? Armor All baby!

Screw Lysol, water and Armor All! I just use my tongue! :P Tastes delicious! :D

 

Just like chewing tinfoil. Yeah!

 

I use a qtip and pure grain alcohol. It was a discovery I had made accidentally. It works far much better than isopropryl alcohol.

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screw Lysol and water. Want cartridges to work and be shiny? Armor All baby!

Screw Lysol, water and Armor All! I just use my tongue! :P Tastes delicious! :D

 

Just like chewing tinfoil. Yeah!

 

I use a qtip and pure grain alcohol. It was a discovery I had made accidentally. It works far much better than isopropryl alcohol.

Talk about chewing tinfoil!Try doing that while wearing BRACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thats what the seniors did to the minor 9th graders in high school who wore braces!for initiation!

Edited by Rik

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I use a qtip and pure grain alcohol. It was a discovery I had made accidentally. It works far much better than isopropryl alcohol.

Well high content stuff like Everclear is 95% alcohol, which is way better than regular isopropyl (~70% or so). Not quite as good as anhydrous (99+%), but Everclear is likely easier to buy locally than anhydrous which is considered an industrial only product. :)

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Here's how to get the Blockbuster markings off of N64 carts without damaging the main labels (the back label will not survive).

 

If it's a full cart 64 shield:

Cut it at the top of the main label, and use ink remover to take off the "Property of Blockbuster" logo. Leave the 64 shield intact over the main label. Slowly remove the rest of the 64 shield, taking the metal strips and the back label with it. Use Goo Gone to clean the back of the cart, and to remove anything else sticky from the cart or main label (remember it has the clear plastic over it). Finally, naptha will take any sharpie type marks off the cart plastic.

 

If it's the half cart thing that wraps around the back, I'd take the back label off with it and use Goo Gone to remove the sticky stuff.

 

Remember that you can simply match up the stamped codes that were on your Blockbusterized cart with those from a common cart and switch the entire back panels. Also note that Goo Gone can be used on the labels if you apply it ONLY to the rag (not the label itself) and rub lightly to remove whatever is on there.

 

Blockbuster box stickers can sometimes be removed by peeling slowly.

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I use a qtip and pure grain alcohol. It was a discovery I had made accidentally. It works far much better than isopropryl alcohol.

Well high content stuff like Everclear is 95% alcohol, which is way better than regular isopropyl (~70% or so). Not quite as good as anhydrous (99+%), but Everclear is likely easier to buy locally than anhydrous which is considered an industrial only product. :)

 

Everclear! Now that takes me back to my college days. It was, and still is I believe, illegal in Michigan so my friends would make road trips to Indiana just to pick it up. Those stories are for a different forum ;)

 

For cleaning dirty contacts I use 99% Isopropyl and wooden q-tips. The wooden Q-tips don't bend as much so you can put a little more pressure on the really dirty spots. I have used steel wool on contacts that were so dirty they were black but you have to be VERY careful and I would not recommend it because you can easily take the thin gold plating off the contacts.

 

I have also used regular pencil erasers on a game&watch joypad contacts and it worked great. I have had less success using erasers on game contacts but they can get some stuff off.

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I miss everclear... its illegal in PA. I never thought to have used it to clean carts though.

 

I'm going to try the Glass cook top cleaner tonight. I'm taking your word on it. If it cleans that good, it should fix up any NES cart connector with no problems.

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I miss everclear... its illegal in PA. I never thought to have used it to clean carts though.

Just go to a liquor store and buy the cheapest alcohol like vodka or gin. The cheaper the alcohol, the higher the %.

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Just go to a liquor store and buy the cheapest alcohol like vodka or gin. The cheaper the alcohol, the higher the %.

Not necessarily; there's plenty of cheap stuff that's not very high in alcohol content. The "Proof" number tells how much alcohol is in it -- Proof = Percent Alcohol X 2, so pure alcohol would be 200 Proof.

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Just go to a liquor store and buy the cheapest alcohol like vodka or gin. The cheaper the alcohol, the higher the %.

Not necessarily; there's plenty of cheap stuff that's not very high in alcohol content. The "Proof" number tells how much alcohol is in it -- Proof = Percent Alcohol X 2, so pure alcohol would be 200 Proof.

I had posted that assuming that they would read the label for the proof.

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I've used Bicardi 151 on some really nasty carts before, works as good as Everclear. Both have been banned in the bars I've worked at. Everyone got sick of cleaning up, after everyone got sick. Never failed, who drinks that kinda crap anyway?

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