A game console released in North America by the Nintendo Company in 1985, called the Nintendo Entertainment System, model NES-001.

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Is it Safe to use Isopropyl Alcohol to clean cartridges?

I want to clean the contact points on my old NES Carts. I thought to do this with a little bit of Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol) and a Q-Tip, or perhaps a micro-fiber cloth.

I don't think this would damage the board, but the NES Carts have a label on the back that tell you not to do this so I am a bit hesitant to try it.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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I'm pretty sure you mean "Isopropyl" alcohol, Isopropyl relates to the hydrocarbon, whereas "isotopic" refers to varying masses of the same element based upon different numbers of neutrons.

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NO. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, it you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, so its dead, so yeah

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higher concentration alcohol will not rust the pins or make it useless. get the purest rubbing alcohol you can find (50%+) and it will be just fine. i own 1100 games and been collecting for 25 years and none of them have EVER rusted or corroded from this method. Just make sure you use the dry and of the q-tip to soak up any excess when you are done and youll be fine.

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If you think isopropyl will cause rust, you need to retake your science studies.

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it works well and you can get surgical alcohol sometime called rubbing alcohol from most chemists/drugs stores it will not cause corrosion as the contacts are non reactive to alcohol.

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well if you open up the cartridge you can see how dirty they are generally, if they are REALLY dirty then yes it's fine to use alcohol on it and Q-Tip's (is that an American thing?) we call them cotton buds in the UK ;p

Another good method is using a pencil eraser on them, i've done that a good few times, just make sure there is no eraser shavings left on the cart anywhere.

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+ I would not have know what cotton buds were, thanks. Cotton buds around here are what pop out just before the bolls appear and the weevils come ;-)

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Great - I just wanted a second opinion before I went ahead and did it myself! Haha yah 'Q-Tips' are what they are generally called in at least my area of the US...'Q-Tips' being the name of the company - I guess I could have called them "Cotton Swaps". Haha

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Yeah cotton swabs is another word we use here :), but looking at Q-Tips on wikipedia, the guy who invented them actually went on to found the company Q-Tip so i guess Q-Tip is the correct wording for them and my "cotton bud" is just a cheap UK imitation ;p

Good luck John, i hope your game works now :)

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NO. It is not safe to use alcohol on it. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubbing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, my friend at a retro game shop told me it, and it WORKS. if you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, that means it is dead, hoped that helped

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Carter Setlock, I would like some sources for your claim about alcohol not being safe.

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Yep, it's fine. It's better than fine, beats blowing in them, as that oxidizes them from the moisture. Just don't use anything strong like acetone, that will eat the plastic!

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NO. It is not safe to use alcohol on it. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubbing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, my friend at a retro game shop told me it, and it WORKS. if you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, that means it is dead, hoped that helped

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What type of countertop cleaner?

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Carter Setlock, I would like some sources for your claim about alcohol not being safe.

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In the meantime I will submit the following: The usage of Isopropyl Alcohol (99%) is a perfectly valid solution to cleaning any kind of electronics.

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Hi folks,

Nintendo Repair Shop repair tech here. While using rubbing alcohol won't hurt your games (unless you absolutely douse them in it), using alcohol and a qtip is really not an effective cleaning method.

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- can I come and sell my stuff on your site?

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Nope, we only sell our own products through our site. Craigslist is a good venue for selling your own stuff though. We have several free repair guides that show how to clean NES, SNES and N64 games the right way. Hopefully you guys find these useful.

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I'm pretty sure Mayer was trying to subtly criticize you.

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I saw what he was doing with that. Just felt it was flawed. As far as I can tell, this isn't his site. Not to mention, the information we just put up will help more people with this issue than anything posted in this area thus far. We aren't just peddling goods. We have a real solution that we offer at a very reasonable, competitive price along with free repair guides that we have posted on this site as well as ours, you tube, etc.

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I like your site it's a good source of information that will help a lot of people and the prices are competitive.. however, you are glorifying the cleaning process way above what is acceptable when people come to this site, they want a quick and easy way of getting their old games to work, thus opening it up and cleaning it with alcohol and a QTip. They dont want to spend $ on something they could do for cents.

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Here's a video to clean any cartridge with alcohol.

http://youtu.be/Ly4DvUmVkd0

Thank you

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Yeah it is the perfect cleaning solution for electronics.

Here a link that show it

http://youtu.be/Ly4DvUmVkd0

thanks

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How is this different from the answer above;)

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It's not recommend to use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts of the cartridge. The eraser is abrasive, meaning that if you continue doing this, you'll eventually rub off the gold coating the contacts, making the problem worse. You can use alcohol and a cotton swab to clean the contacts, but NEVER use a pencil eraser.

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NO. It is not safe to use alcohol on it. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubbing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, my friend at a retro game shop told me it, and it WORKS. if you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, that means it is dead, hoped that helped

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i always used window cleaner such as windex on a cotton swab

seems to work every time the first time

plus not only should the cartridge be cleaned but the console as well

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This is the way to clean games: The 1UPcard. Super easy, and designed for cleaning retro game cartridges. The kit comes with 99% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and a wide cleaning pad. Find it here:

www.1upcard.com

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NO. It is not safe to use alcohol on it. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubbing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, my friend at a retro game shop told me it, and it WORKS. if you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, that means it is dead, hoped that helped

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Carter Setlock, I would like some sources for your claim about alcohol not being safe. In the meantime I will submit the following: The usage of Isopropyl Alcohol (99%) is a perfectly valid solution to cleaning any kind of electronics.

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NO. It is not safe to use alcohol on it. It will rust the pins making it useless, use only a scrubbing pad, a soft one and clean them like that, do not blow on them since it will also rust, take apart the cartridge and use counter top cleaner, trust me, i works well, my friend at a retro game shop told me it, and it WORKS. if you tried everything, its just that the board is shorted out and will not work at all, that means it is dead, hoped that helped

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Stop providing misinformation please, what you are saying is complete fiction. I suggest you read up on oxidisation.

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A small amount of Windex OR Isoprophal Alcohol(you want the 91 or 97 % lower has to much water or other liquids mixed in and to high can damage contacts) on a q-tip or on a thing called a one up card(it comes with the alcohol if you buy them)will USUALLY clean them well enough to work. If you use Windex make sure it is BRAND NAME WINDEX or WINDOWLEAN in Canada. cheaper Glass cleaners will have to much water and rust your pins.

If they are extremely dirty you will have to Open the cart up and then using a Brass Polish is best though in a pinch you can use a Pencil eraser though I wouldn't suggest using that every time on the Pins being very careful to only get the polish on the Brass Pins.

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There are quite a load of opinions here. Some people will tell you that scrubbing is the best, others will say that rubbing/isopropyl alcohol makes the contacts rust.

I tend to VERY gently rub a pencil eraser on the contacts, as it removes the oxidized layer on the contacts. I then clean them using alcohol and a Q-tip. And for the eraser part, do it only if you have the special nintendo security screwdrivers to unscrew the cartridge, otherwise it is too much of a pain. And if you can unscrew it, alcohol is fine :). Get some 70% or 90% alcohol, or even some 50%. The most concentrated you can find, really.

For female cartridge connectors (the connectors inside the consoles), I usually take an old plastic gift card and I wrap up a piece of fabric around it (make sure the fabric that you choose won't leave any kind of string coming off of it into the connector). Then, I dip it into alcohol and I put it into the console connectors in an in-and-out movement. Be sure not to go diagonally, otherwise you may bend the pins.

As I said at the start, there aren't really any kind of "universal method". Try different methods and think with your head. For instance, never scrub the contacts with anything harsher than an eraser. And even then, I wouldn't use the eraser too often because if there are little dust particles on the eraser you will be scratching you contacts. A couple times is fine, but be reasonnable :).

Have a nice day into the wonderful world of retro gaming !

EDIT: Oh, yeah, and by reading other answers, research the products you are using. I wouldn't use a brass polish, but I haven't researched it. Really research stuff before you use them. And, for the love of god, please, don't you ever, EVER use sprays. They are imprecise and they could cause shorts. Dip your Q-tips into the alcohol or something.

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John will be eternally grateful.
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