Cleaning Troubleshooting Dirty RAM Electronic Gold Contacts with clean clothe and Rubbing Alcohol

by Johnson Yip on July 27, 2010

Memory RAM and Slot Diagram

I thought my Memory for my Laptop went bad, so I Unplugged my laptop and removed the battery before I removed the memory module from my laptop’s motherboard.  But, first I made sure I was grounded by wearing an antistatic wrist strap and using an antistatic mat to place my laptop on.

I used a small philips cross head screwdriver to open my laptop’s computer case door to access the memory slots.

I also held the memory by the edges and tried my best to avoid touching the memory chips or electronic components on the memory.

I tried carefully re-seating the memory by taking it out and re- aligning the notches on the RAM slot  with the memory modules notch which did not work at making the memory work again once I turned on the laptop.  All it did was not get passed the start up logo, but the fans, and lights were on.

If your computer randomly reboots, you most likely have broken memory, and cleaning the RAM contacts won’t help, but it is worth a try.

Before I began to clean my memory module contacts, I made sure I was properly grounded to avoid zapping my memory with static electricity.

I decided to remove the memory again, but this time I gently cleaned the gold contacts on the end of the memory module with a clean lint-free micro fiber clothe (a cotton Q-tip will also work) slightly soaked in 100% pure rubbing Alcohol which you can get from a pharmacy to clean both sides of the memory’s gold contacts. I waited a few seconds for the rubbing alcohol to dry. “You should never blow on your RAM with your mouth since your mouth contains moisture which will rust your RAM contacts and other parts.” If your RAM module is very dusty, you can use a can of compress air, and use gentle burst of air to blow off the dust.  

After thoroughly, but gently cleaning my memory stick modules, I carefully reseated the memory in my laptops memory slot by aligning the notch on the bottom of the gold contacts on the memory module with the notch on the memory module slot on the motherboard, and made sure the memory clips held the memory module in place firmly.

Cleaning RAM gold contacts will remove dirt, dust, etc which can prevent RAM from communicating with the rest of your PC from the contacts. This should improve conductivity with your RAM and motherboard’s CPU.

I turned on my laptop, and my computer booted into Windows Vista. I also ran Memtest86+ for about 10 hours and it did not detect any memory errors on any of my memory modules.  I also have not experience any crashes in Windows Vista for a week while using my laptop since cleaning my memory, so the problem was having dirty memory contacts on the end of the memory modules which prevented the RAM from properly communicating with the CPU, and not corrupt memory chips or wires on the module.

TheAussieBloke has a good video on Youtube on Troubleshooting Memory and Video problems on a PC

DefconComputers of Youtube recommends using an Eraser to clean Memory contacts for Computers and Electronics.

The same instructions for cleaning memory contacts on RAM/Memory can also be applied to cleaning your Super Nintendo cartridges, PCI, AGP, PCI-Express Expansion cards like video cards, sound cards, wireless cards, and more.

I recommend you use Memtest which is free if you think your RAM is going bad or needs cleaning. All you have to do is burn the Memtest ISO to a CD with a CD burning program which can burn CD ISOs images or make a bootable flash drive for memtest, and boot your CD from the Memtest ISO or Flash drive.

memtest.org/ is the website you can download Memtest.

If you notice your Memory is breaking very often, it could mean you have a bad motherboard, or power supply which is causing your RAM to fail because of power problems.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Fallon December 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I have one DDR Ram which is dusty and malfunctions very often. How can it be cleaned to get proper working condition?

Johnson Yip December 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

You need to take it out, and use 99% pure rubbing alcohol on the gold contacts to clean it like I mention in the article. Also make sure to be wearing an anti-static wrist strap connected/clipped to something metal since RAM can be easily damage by static electricity.

You can also use some canned air to blow of the dust first if the Ram chips are very dusty.

Your RAM might be defective, and cleaning it will not help. You should run a memory testing program like memtest for a day to see if your RAM makes any errors when memtest is running.

will April 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Can’t find a anti-static wrist strap. can’t i just sit on the floor to make sure that i am grounded?

Johnson Yip April 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm

You can use yout hand to touch a metal part inside your computer case when your computer power plug and all other external cables like monitor, usb,mic, keyboard, mouse, speaker, and network cables on the outside of your computer are unplugged from your computer’s back.

Grounded means you are at the same electronic potential also called voltage as your computer case and parts, so you won’t zap your computer with stronger voltage from static electricity.

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