Fixing Cartridge Read Issues

Cartridge read issues are quite common, but can often be resolved easily. These issues are typically caused by either a dirty or cartridge slot, or by a dirty or damaged cartridge. Follow the guide below to resolve your cartridge read issues.

 

Clean and Inspect the Cartridge

1. Never blow into a cartridge with your mouth. The air you exhale contains moisture and possible contaminants, which will end up on the pins that you want clean. Long-term exposure to moisture can cause corrosion, which can lead to complete failure of a cartridge.

2. Dip a q-tip in isopropyl alcohol and use it to clean the cartridge pins. Using a fair amount of pressure, rub back and forth vigorously across the contacts on both sides of the cartridge to remove debris or oily residue. Wipe debris away with clean q-tip. Isopropyl alcohol works well because it is mild and evaporates quickly without leaving a residue. Be sure not to touch the contacts, as oils left behind may cause the game to not work.
3. Disassemble the cartridge for a more thorough cleaning. Disassemble the cartridge using the appropriate tools (gamebit, phillips, etc). Clean the copper pins with isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip. Ensure not to clean above the pins with isopropyl alcohol. Gently rub the pins and bottom of the cartridge (the point that makes contact with the console) with a rubber eraser. Clean one last time with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip.

If the cartridge appears to be in good condition, and you are still experiencing cartridge read issues, see below.

 

Clean or Replace the Cartridge Slot

1. Ensure that the console is unplugged before cleaning or disassembling a console. Also, never blow into a cartridge slot with your mouth. The air you exhale contains moisture and possible contaminants, which will end up on the slot that you want clean. Long-term exposure to moisture can cause corrosion, which can lead to complete failure of a cartridge slot.
2. Blow out dust/debris from the cartridge slot. Using compressed air, blow into the cartridge slot to remove loose contaminants. 
3. Manually remove debris from the cartridge slot. Using a dental pic or similar tool, remove any debris that can be seen in the cartridge slot. Follow-up by blowing out the cartridge slot with compressed air. Repeat as needed.
4. Thoroughly clean the cartridge slot pins with firm card, cloth and isopropyl alcohol. Using a firm card, such as a credit card, cover with a thin cloth, such as a t-shirt and add isopropyl alcohol. Using makeshift tool, vigorously clean the cartridge slot pins using and in/out motion. Repeat steps with new cloth until cloth comes out clean. Blow cartridge slot with compressed air. 

 

If the cartridge is known to work on other systems, and you are still experiencing cartrisge read issues, you will likely need to replace the cartridge slot.

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