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I recently acquired a 1985 NES which, prior to cleaning, either had a blinking red light or outputted a white screen seemingly at random. Moving the NES or removing the cartridge and placing it back in seemed to change the result. After cleaning, it worked after a few tries, but only once and with visual artifacts.

Cursory searches seem to suggest this behavior is most likely attributable to a faulty 72-pin connector, but given the inconsistency of the behavior and the fact that the connector was cleaned and looked fine I am curious if it may be anything else.

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    It's rarely dirt that does in those connectors, usually it's bent pins - cleaning might've put them in a slightly better position, but the connector should still probably be replaced. The inconsistency is expected - depending on which exact pins are lost you can get a blinking red light (10NES pins), crashes to white/black (PRG ROM) or visual artifacts (CHR ROM). Commented Apr 11 at 7:02
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    Second this comment. It's not always the 72 pin connector, but that's usually the first place to start, especially if this behavior is seen across all game cartridges tested. I've had success in replacing mine and games being more consistent in successful startup afterwards.
    – king14nyr
    Commented Apr 11 at 11:27

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