cleaning NES controllers

Thread in 'Hardware' started by wasmachstdugern, 18 Aug 2013.

  1. i have a bout a half dozen NES controllers in various working order, with two i use daily. they began to 'rogue flip" as i call it (flip a piece twice instead of once when i push a button), or stick when releasing the d-pad which is began to mess up my games. i looked online on how to clean them and followed the simple instructions found there. i used dish soap, as suggested, to clean the plastic components but never found anything to clean the electric connectors.

    anyone know anything that will clean them but won't corrode or damage them? i can't find an answer online- instead if find companies trying to sell me cleaner products. is there anything i can use that doesn't need to be special ordered?

    also, how do you know when a controller is dirty vs. when it is actually malfunctioning irreparably?

  2. Muf


    As far as I know, you need contact cleaner spray. Should be available at any DIY warehouse.
  3. I usually just use a damp rag to clean the PCBs, or sometimes contact cleaner. I've never run into a controller, where I couldn't get the contact pads on the PCB to work, but I suppose its possible that they could be worn down over time (but I'm not sure what the best way to repair that might be).

    A lot of the times, "broken" controllers just need to have the rubber components replaced. You can replace them with these, but the rubber pads for the A/B buttons don't work as well as the originals, so if you have extra working A/B button parts, keep those around as backups.

    NES controllers are incredibly simple devices. The only IC / component inside of them is a 4021B 8-bit parallel to serial shift register. If that fails, it's incredibly cheap and easy to replace. Aside from completely destroying the PCB, there really isn't much damage / wear that cannot be fixed.
  4. Muf


  5. thank you guys. took (most of) you advice and took my controllers apart and cleaned them. there were two components that were totally worn out and torn apart (the rubber components in the d pad in both cases) so i took some older controllers' parts and replaced them. they haven't had any issues now. it was actually fun to see how simple the controllers are compared to modern stuff.
  6. The pads in the Ebay sale I linked to are flat :)

    The D-Pads work pretty well, and I haven't had any problems with them. The A/B buttons aren't that great, though. The original NES A/B pads have a lot more material around them. The ones in that auction don't have that, so sometimes when you're pressing a button it will warp at a weird angle and not trigger... Because of that, you have to make sure you press down hard on them. I haven't found replacement pads that have both a good D-Pad and A/B buttons, yet.

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