I mentioned in an earlier post about cleaning NES games that the best thing to do is to open the cartridge and use a pencil eraser on the contacts. I don’t advocate any type of actual cleaner, and using brasso on a video game is bad because brasso contains an acid.
So what happens when you get a game where there is oxidation on the contacts? Well, first of all what exactly is oxidation? It’s basically rust. It happens when an electron is lost between two elements. It can actually happen to many different things, and not just metal.
Oxidation in a cartridge can only come from two places… the first is from people blowing into the cartridge. Your saliva is wet and it’s gonna ruin the contacts. The other is simply from living in an extremely humid environment. It could be because you simply live somewhere humid, or your home is humid such as from a swamp or evaporation cooler. It would take a few years of this exposure to actually show the oxidation, but since Nintendo games are around two decades old its a common problem to find.
So how do we fix it? Well with my cheap Terra Cresta I received I had to resort to desperate measures. The contacts were oxidized… BADLY! One of the worst I had ever seen. So rather than sand it off with a nail file like I’ve seen elsewhere, I chose to resort to a modification of a tactic I mentioned earlier about cleaning labels. Your Thumb! It is one of the most abrasive things in the world (as is all of your fingerprints) They are constantly being regenerated, and for the purposes of cleaning a cartridge.. well if it doesn’t hurt your finger it probably won’t hurt your cartridge.
All you need to do is open the cartridge. Take the board out and set it somewhere. Pour some Comet or Ajax cleaner into a cup or on a paper plate. Next, wet your thumb under the sink. It needs to be wet, but not dripping. The moisture is only to make the cleanser stick to your finger. The moisture is not meant to “clean” the cartridge it simply acts as a “glue” to make the abrasive powder stick. Infact, once you press your wet thumb into the powder, the powder should remain looking dry. If it darkens because of the wetness then you’re thumb was too wet!
With your powdered thumb start rubbing the contants avoiding any area in the green and above. Go slowly. Go in circles. Repeat if necessary. This will not scratch the contacts at all, and it should leave them super shiny with all oxidation removed. Use a dry cloth to remove any excess powder that remains.
Thats it, thats all you need to do! Go clean your Nintendo games. Do it. Now!