Best Friend of an Old Game Cartridge

game cartridge connectors cleaning spray

You might recognise this issue. You have a game cartridge and it seems it doesn’t work. It probably is from some console that’s older than your PlayStation. It might be even produced for Nintendo 64. The graphics are usually blurry or the game doesn’t load at all. Hold on. I have a perfect fix for you.

Let’s talk a bit about basic practical electronics. You might know a metal called copper. Do you know how it works in electronic devices and why it is used a lot? Let me try to explain this. I promise it won’t be boring. I am actually very interested in things like how copper works in these devices we use every day.

Copper conducts electricity very nicely. There are also some other metals, like gold and silver, that also conduct electricity very fluently but of course, they are so much more expensive that copper is better to be used. Copper also conducts nicely heat. There are also heat sinks made out of copper for this reason.

So the connectors in your game cartridge are made out of copper. This material has also a tendency to wear out a bit. There is also a phenomenom called oxidation. This happens when over a long period of time you have some copper, like in those connectors, that reacts with oxygen in air. This makes the connection of all of the interfaces to get weaker which produces these issues.

Do you need a electrician to get your physical copies of your games to work? No you don’t. I first encountered this issue when one of these Mega Drive game cartridges wasn’t working. It might not be easy to detect if the copper in the connectors is oxidised. I then purchased this small spray can that is called “PRF 6-68”. It was recommended for cleaning electronic connectors. It didn’t cost so much.

You have to be a bit careful when using this stuff for cleaning electrical connectors. It evaporates quickly. You just basically spray it to your target and then you have to have some kind of cloth, maybe a soft one, that you can try to rub the copper so that the oxidised part wears off. It’s not a good idea to breath in a lot of this stuff. So try to avoid this and also be careful with this. It’s not something you could let small kids to handle.

Using this spray to clean the connectors of a game cartridge has saved many of these retro games that I have bought and that first seemed not to work. Just remember to be careful. It doesn’t hurt for you get some deeper information about this product. And if you are interested in physics or chemistry behind this be free to search from your favorite search engine. I have given you some of my knowledge here but while this is not a science blog I am leaving this a bit open for you to find out.

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