Collectors Corner

Posted on Sep 7th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under My method for cleaning Retro Game controllers, Hidden Gems, Retro Gaming

When it comes to gaming a good controller can make or break the experience. This is especially true for Retro Gaming where split-second timing is required. Sourcing parts for controllers can also be difficult such as the button membranes for the NES Advantage so keeping controllers clean and in good shape is paramount. I have a standard procedure I follow for cleaning my controllers and wanted to share in the hope that we can bring some controllers back to life.

1. Open the controller and make sure to put the screws in a container so they don't get lost.

2. Take a picture so you'll know where everything goes when you reassemble the controller.

3. Start cleaning the shell and button using Isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush. Make sure to clean the shell thoroughly cleaning all the cracks and crevices.

4. Gently clean the contact points on the PCB using Isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips. Make sure to be very gentle here so you don't damage the contact points. Dry using Q-tips.

Make sure to be gentle when cleaning the contact points (black circles)

5. Boil water on the stove and gently place the rubber membranes into the boiling water. Let them sit for 45 seconds to 1:15. This will help them firm up and reduce that mushy feeling. Don't use a toothbrush and
Isopropyl alcohol on the rubber membranes as you could tear them.

Boiling the rubber membranes has done wonders for my NES Dpads

6. Once everything is dry start putting the controller back together and use the picture you took earlier as a guide.

7. Spray Pledge Electronics or Pledge Multi Surface on to a rag and gently wipe the controller. This will help the plastics regain their shine and protect against dust.

Pledge will help give your controller and consoles a nice shine without damaging them

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I've been waiting for this article, ever since you mentioned it. I just might have to pick up some Pledge Electronics this weekend and do a little controller work, especially since 2 of the 3 PC Engine pads I just received have some stiffness, and one of the D-pad's refuses to go left. I also have a couple SNES controllers that need some TLC, and one of my old Genesis 3-button pads needs help. This is a very cool, simple method. Thanks for sharing it with everyone, so we can all use these steps to help spruce up our controllers Smiley
Great article!  I worked at a Game Exchange in 99-2004 era and we cleaned many a controller like this.  i remember always enjoying the process.  You have inspired me to bring a shine to a few controllers including an old Duke!
I'm now going to strip my SNES pads, thanks for the helpful guide!
Great guide!  I think I'm going to do this.  Where do you get the Pledge from?
I forgot to add this into the article but make sure to use a soft bristle toothbrush.

@MetalFRO: Thanks! Go lightly on the contacts and you should have those pads working again in no time.

@kidego: Thanks! It's always a good feeling when you bring an old controller back to life.

@Linkd41: You're welcome!

@Shaggy. Thanks! I bought the Pledge from Walmart but Amazon has it and Target carries it as well.

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