Recently, I have been doing research on how to best clean the contacts of super nintendo cartridges and I have across many solutions, however each one has a counter argument. Here is what I found:
1) Isopropyl alcohol (90%-100%) alone
2) Isopropyl alcohol mixed with water (half and half)
3) Ammonia (windex)
Now, I have heard people say that Isopropyl alcohol will cause the contacts to rust and Ammonia causes the metal to turn to salt (base + copper).
Are they're any truth to these claims? The only method I have really tried is the third (windex), and while it does seem to clean the contacts, it stains the upper portion of the pcb right where the pins protrude from the plastic encasing. Are those stains something to worry about? Or do I only have to worry about the moisture and the subsequent rust it may introduce? Also does anyone know a better, and perhaps, safer way to clean cartridge based games?
Kind of worried because I have cleaned several of my games using windex, and have never really thought about it's effect on the game until now
Welcome to the forum!
I'd recommend not cleaning anything but windows and floors with ammonia/Windex. Ammonia is known to interact with plastics, so that's not a good idea in general. It's also more poisonous to humans than the alternatives.
My top recommendation is to use plain Isopropyl rubbing alcohol -- the kind you buy in the bottle at a drug store. It already has a certain percentage of water, say, 30%, but that seems to be fine.
Dip cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and rub them along the contacts. Make sure it doesn't leak further back into the case, and allow the contacts to air dry. The alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves little trace behind. The water will evaporate too and should not cause any rust or corrosion. If the contacts are truly dirty during this process, you should see dirt on the cotton swab. Keep repeating with new swabs and dips in alcohol until you see no more dirt on the swab.
For really hard to clean contacts, I use a regular clean pencil eraser. It's very abrasive, so it will gentry scrape off caked up dirt on contacts. After the eraser, it's a good idea to clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol to get any eraser residue off. Note that many times I need to take a cartridge apart to be able to apply the eraser to the contacts correctly. Otherwise you might have eraser dust get all up in the cartridge case.
That regimen works for me.