Maintaining Your Games & Consoles

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by LockOnTommy11, May 7, 2022.

  1. LockOnTommy11

    LockOnTommy11

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    I’d like this to be a thread about ways to keep your consoles and games clean and running, how to solve issues that might crop up, and just general knowledge on how things work.
    There’s a lot of junk advice out there about how to do certain things which would surely do more harm than good to your retro collections, such as cleaning the cartridge slot with sandpaper.

    I’ve often thought about creating a topic on this, as Retro is one of the more sensible gaming communities and, of course, has a lot of members with retro SEGA hardware which requires upkeep to ensure they continue running 20+ years later.


    I guess I’ll start as I’ve got a few questions about the (copper?) cartridge and game contact pins.

    I keep my collection in good condition and clean the game contacts maybe a couple times a year with earbuds and pure isopropanol. I recently started regularly cleaning the cartridge slot pins of my Mega Drive I to see if that made a difference to the amount I’d have to clean the games. I’m finding a lot of black residue on both which I presume is oxide from the contacts, but even after multiple cleans a few weeks apart there’s a lot coming off.

    I recently bought a few brand new cartridges (EverDrive, Aladdin’s rerelease, Mega Turrican DX) and after a few uses I found the residue on those too.

    So I guess my question is; is this frequency normal, and is there anything I can or should be doing to minimise it?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2022
  2. For all my cartridges I wipe them down with a Q-tip lightly soaked in isopropyl alcohol. I only clean them if they won't boot, or if they genuinely look gross. I learned this from some retro game shop, from which nearly half of all carts purchased required a thorough cleaning.

    I use the same method for the consoles themselves. For the NES I had to tape the q-tip to a pencil to get in there, but it worked! For discs, I have no idea. I have a disc cleaner you apply some fluid to and spin the disc in, but it really wasn't effective much of the time.
     
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  3. Pexs

    Pexs

    Otherwise known as Spex Member
    This seems like a good thread to ask, actually - does anyone have any tips on troubleshooting an original model (AUX, volume slider, and power switch) SEGA Genesis simply not booting any more?

    The secondhand Genesis I have suddenly stopped turning on whenever I slid the switch around 3 or 4 years ago and I never got back into trying to figure out why it broke.
     
  4. LockOnTommy11

    LockOnTommy11

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    Do you find a lot of residue when you do clean the cartridges? How bad does it get?

    To get into the cartridge slot of the MD itself I bought this a few years ago and I get a lot of stuff out of the console whenever I use it:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073JKZK45?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

    Basically it’s a plastic card with some sort of (also) plastic film at the end, and the film rubs off all of the grime. You then clean the film ready to run again the next time, and it comes with the cleaning solution for the film and wipes too.

    Regarding CD’s I also use alcohol on them and it seems to work well too. A decade or so of using alcohol and my PS1 games look and work perfectly still.

    @Pexs I’m afraid I have no idea but here are people here who would probably know more.
     
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  5. I've had very few carts that were seriously gunked up, mostly Genesis and NES, but they never required a second q-tip. More often they're just a bit dusty from having sat on a store shelf for however long. I've rarely had to re clean carts from my collection, but I also make sure to keep them in their box or else wrapped in bubble wrap if possible. For other loose Genesis carts I use ziploc bags and double or triple up, while my GB/A and GG games are stored in these soft zippered bags that airlines used to hand out.

    Cool to know alcohol can be effective for discs. I'll have to try that on some of my wonky PSX games. That looks like a nifty cleaning kit too, I may have to test it out for curiosity's sake.
     
  6. biggestsonicfan

    biggestsonicfan

    Model2wannaB Tech Member
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    ALWAYS Sonic the Fighters
    They get shoved in a box only to be seen again if I look for something and I pray the little goblins which destroy stuff in my boxes haven't gotten to them yet...
     
  7. LockOnTommy11

    LockOnTommy11

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    I have actually searched for another topic, but again can’t find one.

    I recently bought a copy of Sonic & Knuckles unboxed, and it didn’t work when I first bought it. I opened it up, gave it a real cleaning, the board wasn’t bad but a little greasy and the pins were a state.

    After fully cleaning the cartridge the game now works, but I’m getting a few odd graphical glitches, and always in the same places. For example, part of the foreground in Mushroom Hill ends up as a slice of graphics in the background layer, and moves along with the background scrolling as tiles.

    I’m not sure if there’s anything else I can do to fix this, or if this is related to the pins or something else on the board?
     
  8. SpiderInStockings

    SpiderInStockings

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    So when I was a kid my family used to have this really cool CD scratch repair kit where you cranked a handle and it sprayed all around and buffed out all the scratches and it worked miracles. None of us have any idea what happened to it but it goes to show how scratched CDs/DVDs can be saved.
    My friend has a copy of Shadow the Hedgehog for PS2 that I borrowed only for us to find out it was totally scuffed. FMVs wouldn’t work at all, and the one you get upon starting a new game is totally unskippable. I found this stuff called NOVUS 7100 and it’s a god send. It has three different bottles for different levels of damage and it works on pretty much everything including CDs and DVDs. I felt like an ER nurse bringing a man back to life; all of a sudden the game was working perfectly. Of course this doesn’t fix the ungodly amount of slowdown the PlayStation version has but the point stands. Highly recommend.

    I’m by no means an expert on cartridge maintenance but if all the internal components seem alright it may be an issue with the pins. Be sure they’re all straight and that the contacts are clean. If you can, test it on another Genesis/Mega Drive and see if results differ, especially another model if possible as to my knowledge the contacts are a bit different between them.
     
  9. LockOnTommy11

    LockOnTommy11

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    Thanks for the response! It’s the same on both my MDI and MDII, with glitches in the exact same places. I can only think that the pins are too worn; they show a lot of scrapes where the game was inserted and removed over the years.
    I bought another copy of the game which doesn’t have the issues, but I was hoping to try and save the first one as well as I don’t really like the thought of throwing out old games and materials that can’t be reproduced nowadays.

    Those CD cleaners are a godsend, but in their place I find that eye glasses wipes (the ones you get with your glasses) with pure alcohol work just as well. I’ve managed to get many old PS1 games working again that show major signs of wear.
     
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  10. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

    Wiki Contributor Member


    I don't own any sandpaper, but the cheese grater technique has been working great.