Arduino Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: CSGuy on Feb 27, 2014, 10:14 pm

Title: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Feb 27, 2014, 10:14 pm
I have NES games that need to be cleaned because the contacts are all dirty. I've been looking online for a couple weeks and have heard everything from Goo Gone, Alcohol, Peroxide, Orange Cleaner, Water, Oxy Clean, Magic Eraser and everything else under the sun.

I've also been told that all of that stuff damages the contacts and can damage the circuit board. I don't think any of these websites really know what they are talking about.

I figured I would ask here, since people here know about electronics, and I'm assuming that the game contacts are nothing more than solder or something similar.

I'm looking for a REAL method to clean the NES game connectors without having to worry about damaging them. Is there any method that I can use that will clean the junk off of the game contacts without damaging anything?

You can't really buy NES games easily anymore, so I don't want to take a chance of breaking them while cleaning them.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Feb 27, 2014, 10:25 pm
A vinyl pencil eraser.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Feb 28, 2014, 12:25 am
I tried that before. It works, but it doesn't get all the dirt off. I can still see black on the contacts. The alcohol takes all the black off, but I'm worried it might damage something.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 01, 2014, 02:15 am
If we are talking about contacts that are tracks on a fibreglass PCB, I cannot see that alcohol will damage anything.  The only thing it will generally affect is PVC paint or glue.

I also doubt that the black coating will significantly affect the operation of the connector if you have used the vinyl eraser.  Actual corrosion (green) is more of a problem.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 01, 2014, 06:55 am
Hi,

This is what I'm talking about. Can you check this video? I'm talking about the contacts that he is cleaning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKxbE_EKmdM
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 01, 2014, 08:15 am
Well, I may be a cynic, but I suspect the cleaning compound is related either to toothpaste or household cleaner such as "Jif", and the "rinse" is probably alcohol.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 01, 2014, 02:53 pm
Well I don't know what it is. I was thinking it was jewelry cleaning paste which would be safe on brass.

But in any case. I'm just trying to find something that would be safe to use on those brass contacts.

I tried erasers, but dang, you can see all that black garbage that the cleaner takes off? The eraser won't do that.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 01, 2014, 09:22 pm

Well I don't know what it is. I was thinking it was jewelry cleaning paste which would be safe on brass.


Actually, the contacts are - or should be - gold plated, definitely not brass!


I tried erasers, but dang, you can see all that black garbage that the cleaner takes off? The eraser won't do that.


An abrasive cleaner will remove a very fine layer of the gold, which will show as black on the cleaning cloth.  Not necessarily the same black as you see on the contacts which - if they are otherwise clean - need not be a problem.

My suggestion was that if you have cleaned with an eraser, whatever remains on the contacts should not be a problem in operation.  It has always worked for me with computer daughter (expansion) boards.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 01, 2014, 10:34 pm
Dang, it's amazing how much crap you can get told on the Internet, and how many people believe it.

All the websites I've been to have told me those were brass contacts, and that's why people use jewelry cleaner on them.

I didn't know the black would be the gold coming off-that's interesting. I wonder why the gold is black, and why the contacts being dirty won't stop the game from playing. Like you said, the black shouldn't hurt anything-I would think having that black on there wouldn't give a good connection between the game and system.

Well I'm going to try it again with a pencil eraser and see what happens. I wasn't seeing all that black come off with the eraser so I was assuming that my games weren't getting cleaned.

I'm going to try to fix one game that I have that's not working.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 03, 2014, 03:13 am
Gold of course, does not oxidise, so that is why it is used to plate electrical contacts such as these.  If it looks like gold, it certainly should be gold, otherwise it not going to work too well.  The black deposit would be from something else, perhaps from the underlying copper or a contaminant.  As long as it is not thick, it should really be removed locally by the action of inserting the cartridge into the socket.

If you use an abrasive, the fine particles removed tend to scatter light rather than reflecting it, so look black.  (Even finer particles are likely to be transparent and in fact finely beaten gold can itself be made to look transparent with a green hue.)

A game that is not working may indicate a faulty ROM, particularly if it is actually an EPROM.  You could write an Arduino program to read the content and compare it to a known dump of the code - I believe there are a few of these on the 'net.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 03, 2014, 04:36 am
Thanks.

I'm just having a problem getting the NES to work. It's all of the games, so I know it's a problem with the NES. I took it apart and cleaned everything good and also cleaned the contacts in the NES and fixed the pin connector in the system like the online repair guides showed, but it still just blinks on and off with a blue screen when I try to play a game.

If I giggle the game while its in the system. I can sometimes get the game to start playing.     =(
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 03, 2014, 11:54 am
Need to check the soldering on the socket in the cartridge dock - is that what the guide meant?  Also get an idea of the tension of the wipers in that socket.  It may need replacing.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 03, 2014, 07:22 pm
I found a brown wire inside that was broken in half. It was a VERY tiny wire, the smallest I've ever seen, but I managed to repair the wire, and now the controllers are working again. I also remembered that I could use a multi-meter to check all the other wires to make sure they were working.

The connectors are supposed to be the problem in most cases, and mine look a little tarnished. Cleaning them didn't help. eBay has some brand new ones for sale, that are made of a different metal that won't tarnish.

I'm going to try to get some of these and replace the existing pins on my NES and see if that fixes it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/380852831039

Here's hoping...... I'll post back if I ever get it working. It would be nice to be able to fix it. That means maybe I learned something from the starter kit after all.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 05, 2014, 11:19 am

I'm going to try to get some of these (http://www.ebay.com/itm/380852831039) and replace the existing pins on my NES and see if that fixes it.


Good idea - as long as you are in America - the shipping charges prohibit sales to any other country.

And - did you notice the contact cleaning tool they sell?
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 05, 2014, 12:53 pm
Yes but when I contacted them, they told me the contact cleaning tool was similar to sand paper, so it sounds really abrasive to me... I'm worried that it will scratch the contacts all up.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: Paul__B on Mar 06, 2014, 12:19 pm

Yes but when I contacted them, they told me the contact cleaning tool was similar to sand paper, so it sounds really abrasive to me... I'm worried that it will scratch the contacts all up.


Well at least they are honest.  The grey "ink" erasers of that type are abrasive.
Title: Re: Help With Nintendo
Post by: CSGuy on Mar 06, 2014, 01:33 pm
Yea. I'm planning on ordering one of those pin replacements this weekend, and then doing some repairs to the system after I get it. If it works then I will order a few more of those pins to fix my other systems.

Sounds like the original pins made by Nintendo had this problem where they tarnished badly over time, and that's why so many people have this problem. It states the new pins won't do that.

I put my NES systems away about 10 years ago and they worked fine. I pulled them out recently to play them again, and NONE of them worked. They all randomly had the exact same problem.

I'll let you know if it works after I'm done. Hopefully, it does.