I will be sharing my trusted method on how to clean RAM contacts. I’ve been using this method for over 20 years and has always worked beautifully.
Please follow each step carefully, and I will also point out the common mistakes I’ve found that people have made after teaching this technique to them.
The same technique can be applied to all other RAM and add-in cards, even right down to mini PCI express or M.2 modules.
Important: Never touch RAM contacts with your fingers or any other card’s contacts for that matter.
What you will need:
- Phillips screwdriver
- A good quality pencil eraser (Like Faber-Castell for example)
- A good cloth (Low lint as possible)
- Tin of compressed air or an air compressor
- Ground wrist strap (optional)
Steps on how to clean RAM module contacts
To outline the process, all we are going to do is clean the RAM module’s contacts and the RAM slots. I have found that this method has reduced the amount of RAM replacement by more than half.
It has taught me that RAM doesn’t go faulty nearly as often as most would think.
I do not recommend using any solvents or sprays when cleaning RAM. It’s always best to keep those things away from such delicate surfaces.
If your computer is dusty inside, go and blow out the case first, before pulling out any RAM modules. It will make the job of clean the RAM far easier.
1. Prepare a good enough workspace
Unplug your computer from power and everything else so you can move it to an uncluttered work area.
Before touching any internal components, make sure that you touch the case first, to help reduce any built-up electrostatic charge you may have accumulated.
Remove the case lid and remove the RAM from the RAM slots by gently releasing the clips on either end of the RAM slots. If one of them are fixed and cannot move, it’s perfectly normal as some motherboards are designed this way, it will simply mean that you need to be extra cautious when removing or installing RAM.
2. Clean the contacts with an eraser
Lay the RAM module down on a flat clean surface. Use the pencil eraser in short strokes all along all of the contacts back and forth until the eraser end is clean.
You will notice the first few strokes will most likely result in the eraser end becoming a bit dirty. Yes, that was on your copper contacts, no wonder you had problems!
Turn the RAM module over and repeat the process on the other side.
3. Clean off the eraser filings
After you have given the contacts a good clean with the eraser, take a cloth and keep wiping the contacts until it feels smooth or once you are convinced that there are no traces of eraser filings left.
This is a step that is very important to get right. You must make sure that all the eraser filings or any eraser deposits have been cleaned off properly.
Give the RAM a blow with compressed air to make sure there are no bits of debris or dust left on the contacts or under the heat spreaders.
Tip: I have also found an additional benefit to lightly tap the RAM modules against a clean flat surface along the bottom edge where the copper contacts are. This helps loosen any extra eraser filings that could be trapped under the heat spreaders. Do this before cleaning the eraser filings from the contacts.
4. Clean the RAM slots
Do not use anything else but some compressed air to clean out the RAM slots.
Keep blowing them out until there is no debris of any kind left inside them. Use a good light source, and make sure they are perfectly clean.
This is where I have noticed people making a mistake, by overlooking some small bit of dust or debris and ends up falling back into one or more of the RAM slots.
5. Reinstall the RAM
Before reinstalling the RAM modules, have one last check that both the RAM modules and the RAM slots are clear of any dust or debris.
Ensure that you have opened the clips on either end of the slots before attempting to reinsert the modules.
Check to make sure that you have them orientated the correct way round. You can tell by looking at the divider location in the slot and match it to the RAM module.
Press on the RAM module carefully but firmly and make sure they are seated correctly.
That was easy, right? I like this cleaning process so much that I even do it to new components.
Enjoy the excellent reliability you have provided for your computer simply by doing this. It is most certainly time well spent.