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Thread: Best way to clean card connectors / sockets

  1. #1

    Default Best way to clean card connectors / sockets

    I picked up an original Nintendo Entertainment System and at first it seemed okay, but now the cartridge seems a bit tight to push in and pull out. Back in the day I remember this being super easy. I watched a video on it and the guy recommended not getting a replacement socket because they are not as quality as the original. He uses sandpaper on it and boils it for a number of minutes. Part of the boiling is to leave it in for a few minutes, then pull it out and plug/unplug a cartridge a number of times, then boil it for a few more minutes. Then for cartridges he uses an eraser to clean the contacts.

    I know you guys have dealt with tons of sockets and card edges, how do you usually clean them - admittedly this is a socket that would get constant use from changing cartridges. I'm assuming the metal needs to be clean and smooth and I've even got some deoxit I could wipe on the socket pins after cleaning them if that would be helpful.

  2. #2
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    That last one would be my method of choice--either that or some plain old contact cleaner. I don't like erasers, particularly the pink ones used on pencils, because they're abrasive. A gum eraser, sure.

  3. #3
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    There is a difference in a tight cartridge vs dirty contacts.

    Is the cartridge hard to remove but everything works, or hard to remove AND doesn't work?

    The gum eraser technique works great for cleaning card edge. Not as convenient for cleaning the socket contacts.

  4. #4

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    I got it last weekend, at first it seemed ok, not too tight, but today using it, all the cartridges seemed tight to both insert and remove. It was working, and now not - over the course of a few days with maybe 20 insertions.

  5. #5

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    Chuck are you saying you would recommend the boiling?

  6. #6
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    Chuck, what is your hangup with abrasion? I use sand infused art erasers index.jpg.
    They get off corrosion and polish the contacts to a shine, beside cardedge contact cleaning I gently use them on IC leg cleanup also. I swear by these things.

  7. #7
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    It is too easy to entirely remove a layer of plated material unless you are very careful. When that happens, the oxidation will probably become worse than if you had left it alone.

  8. #8
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    Never had a problem remotely close to that.. Its not sandpaper. You would really have to go to town on it for a while.

  9. #9

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    The hard gold plating is 30 micrometers at best. It doesn't take much to take it off

  10. #10
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    ...and if it's old card, it may well be subject to wear already. Once you're through the copper base layer, it's usually curtains for the card. So I avoid any abrasives at all.

    Consider the paint on your car--you can probably get a nice shine using 800-1000 grit paper, but it's not something you want to do routinely. And the paint on your car is several times as thick as the plating on a card edge.

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