ROM Cartridges. Lifespan, and other tidbits

Geoffrey Oltmans oltmansg at
Tue Apr 19 16:47:15 CDT 2016

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 11:41 AM, Swift Griggs <swiftgriggs at>

> On Tue, 19 Apr 2016, ethan at wrote:
> > > Why does blowing on them help? (mosture? cleaning action?)
> > The moisure makes the connection work better or something, so that is
> > where it comes from.  Cleaning the contacts is best, and if it's a NES
> you
> > can replace the "finger module" or the slots on other systems.
> It seems like both sides can get worn out.  I've seen carts that'd have
> problems wherever you took them, even on nearly new NES units.  On the
> other
> hand I've seen well-worn NES systems that could barely play a brand-new
> cart.  I'm guessing that's where replacing the finger module would really
> give you a new lease on life for your NES.
I bought an NES back in the day brand-new ( I guess that would have been
about 1988) and as an anally-retentive pre-teen I never had problems with
any of the cartridges that I spent my hard-earned lawn mowing money on for
couple of years worth of solid play... that is until I lent them out to
friends that would invariably use the "blow in the cartridge" trick. It
does work, and I suspect that the moisture from your breath is the correct
culprit. Some carts had gold fingers, some tinned, and as I later went on
to work at a local video game swapping business as a teenager I noted that
quite a few of the tin plated edge connector carts were really really
corroded... from people blowing on the carts no doubt.

Nevertheless, later model systems without the ZIF connector never seemed to
have the same issues with carts that the NES had. :)

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