Thursday, June 30, 2016

PowerCLI Error Updating Shortcut

I was trying to make the text bigger in the VMware PowerCLI shell. When I tried to apply the changes, an "Error Updating Shortcut" message. After clicking OK, the changes would apply, but wouldn't persist after closing re-opening.

This was happening because the program didn't have access to the shortcut, so it couldn't to modify it. To get around this error, simply run the console elevated (aka "as administrator"). The error should go away and the changes should persist.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bringing NES Game Cartridges Back to Life

Not long ago, I discovered my old NES in a shed at my parents' house. I quickly ordered a new 72 pin connector (iFixit has a good write-up on installing this if you're interested), and a "simulated stereo" AV cable. With the new connector installed, I had an NES that, for all intents and purposes, worked as well as it did when it was new.

The console was squared away, but the games were a different story. Some games worked perfectly, others were hit or miss. There was even one game that wouldn't work at all.

In this post, I'm going to go over the method that I used to clean the cartridges in order to get them working reliably. Some cartridges will be completely worn out and no amount of cleaning can save them - some of them are over 30 years old, after all. However, all the cartridges that I've personally cleaned this way have worked afterwards.

While I use an NES cartridge in this example, the same method can be used on game cartridges for pretty much any system. Most other systems use a 4.5mm security bit rather than a 3.8mm.

What you'll need:
  • 3.8mm security bit driver - These are usually sold in sets that include both 3.8mm and 4.5mm drivers
  • Pencil eraser - The large pink erasers are best, but the eraser on the end of a pencil will work if you're only doing one or two games.
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol

Disassemble the Cartridge

Remove the screws from the cartridge shell and separate the two halves, exposing the circuit board.

Clean the Contacts

Rub the pencil eraser over the contacts until they are clean and shiny. If the eraser gets gummed up, rub it on a sheet of paper to clean it. Once the contacts are clean, use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to clean off any eraser residue.

Re-Assemble the Cartridge

Re-assemble the cartridge by placing the circuit board into the front half of the cartridge shell. It will only go in one way (the side with the chips goes towards the label).  Be careful not to over-tighten the screws since they are just threaded into plastic. In most cases, the game will play perfectly.