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So you have blown you have huffed and puffed but still to no avail that favourite game just wont load

As an electronics tech I have written this guide to help out with the age old problem of the correct way to clean game cartridges

Over time and due to several factors including atmospheric conditions dust dirt and general surface transfer from game play the brass metallic contacts within your game cartridge become oxidised, causing them not to make contact correctly giving you the blue/grey screens the game freezes and flashing screen at start up. The Original NES system is more prone to this than other systems due to the contact bar design (which also wears out, but more about that later).

So how do you clean a cartridge the correct way?

Firstly never blow into a game cart the moisture from your breath will add to your problems.

Get an old toothbrush cut the bristles down so you can fit the head of the toothbrush into the slot where the contacts are.

(I find by bending the head back see picture below gives you better control and pressure on the brush)

  • Then using Contact Cleaner (which is meant for the job) and available from Dick Smith Stores, spray some onto the toothbrush, and rub vigorously across the cartridge contacts,
  • Repeat this until you are satisfied (2 or 3 times) then using a clean rag wipe the residue from the contacts.
  • Allow to dry for about 5 minutes before testing.
  • Never spray contact cleaner or any other substance directly into your cartridges!


There are also Special Cleaning Kits Available (which we also stock) that contain Cleaning Fluid and Gamebit tool which are also Very Good, to dismantle and clean your games thoroughly.

If this process doesn’t work there are 2 other scenarios possible

Your cartridge is so dirty it will need to be dismantled for thorough cleaning for which you will need to get a 3.8mm Gamebit security tool or in the case of the NES system your 72 pin connector has either had so much dirt transferred to it from your dirty games, or has lost its tension, that it will not make proper contact with the game cartridge in which case Replace your 72 pin connector.

After you have cleaned a few games you will get the hang of it

One last tip store your game cartridges in a Zip Lok bag when not in use this will keep them clean and free from dust build up and cover your console also, leaving it under the telly is just not a good thing to do ;-)

NB. Yes alcohol e.g. ISOPRO, is cheaper than Contact Cleaner but Does Not contain the same solvents and treating agents as contact cleaner, and will not remove the oxidation and grime build up nearly as well.


                               Toothbrush for the job                                                                         Toothbrush fits in cartridge



                                    Dirty Contacts                                                                                         Clean Contacts



Thanks for taking the time to read my guide. I welcome any information to add to this review which may help others

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