Introduction: How to Clean Video Game Cartridges

Picture of How to Clean Video Game Cartridges

There are a few good tutorials already on instructables discussing how to clean video games. I wanted to make my own to showcase a 3d printed video game cleaner that I've been working on for a few years. I have been collecting video games for over 20 years and I wanted to share what I've found to be a great solution to keeping cartridges in tip top shape.

It is well worth visiting the other cleaning instructables I have cataloged in this collection. Make sure you read the comments, some of the best ideas are in there.

If you are interested in how to make a cartridge cleaner, please visit my thingiverse page for the cartridge cleaner.

Step 1: Get Your Tools

Picture of Get Your Tools

This tutorial only requires to things, Isopropyl alcohol and a Replay Game Labs Cartridge Cleaner (or two).

I use a small squeeze bottle with a twist on top to apply the Isopropyl alcohol.

Step 2: Dry Rub the PCB Connector

Picture of Dry Rub the PCB Connector

Using a dry Cartridge Cleaner, in a quick motion go back and forth 5-10 times on the PCB connector with a dry cartridge cleaner. This will remove any loose dirt or cobwebs or other that has found it's way onto the video game.

Step 3: Wet Clean the PCB

Picture of Wet Clean the PCB

Add a few drops of Isopropyl alcohol (the higher percentage the better) to a cartridge cleaner. In a quick motion go back and forth 5-10 times on the PCB connector with now wet (with alcohol) cartridge cleaner. This should remove anything that is keeping the cartridge connectors from making clean contact with your video game system.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2: Dry Rub the PCB Connector.

Using a dry Cartridge Cleaner, in a quick motion go back and forth 5-10 times on the PCB connector with a dry cartridge cleaner. This will remove any loose dirt or cobwebs or other that has found it's way onto the video game.

Comments

The Knex Inventor (author)2017-01-18

You ought to enter this in the Instructables 3D Printing contest! I think it has a good chance of winning something! :)

w3ace (author)The Knex Inventor2017-01-19

Thanks, I entered the contest. I'll be curious to see what wins.

The Knex Inventor (author)w3ace2017-01-19

No problem! Good luck! :)

The Knex Inventor (author)2017-01-18

Very nice guide! I own an Atari gaming system, along with over 100 games and two joysticks, and I often find that they start to get dusty.

4DIYers (author)2017-01-09

Does this ever bring back memories lol.

Jobar007 (author)2017-01-06

I had something similar to this for my original Nintendo when I was a kid. It helped to make unplayable games useable again.

Just a quick question though, why Isopropyl Alcohol? Why not Methanol or Ethanol? Why not water? Why not other solvents? Just thoughts that I'm having now that I'm thinking about it.

w3ace (author)Jobar0072017-01-06

Isopropyl is recommended because the water in it is distilled so you don't introduce any minerals or other things that could cause corrosion. Straight water might increase the humidity on the board where the rapid drying alcohol keeps that from causing any oxidation. I would be cautious with any solvent that could erode the contacts. Isopropyl has worked for me for many years and seems to be the consensus amongst video game collectors.

Thanks for the Question.

Cheers, Craig