So we all want a follow up right?
One of the first projects I was given was soldering old ram chips onto a PCB - the basic premise being "if it doesn't work, you've done something wrong. Go back, check it, fix it, try again. Eliminate each problem, and do it again"...we've been doing that!
I spent ages agonising over what I could have done wrong, looking at it under microscopes, checking connections, but it wasn't until I tried it late at night that I spotted the problem - there was a tiny arc happening occasionally between a couple of the pins on both consoles. After two days of repeated cleaning and drying I've managed to get one of the two consoles running, albeit with a flickering image and stuttering sound (inductance from a slightly offset but not contacting ribbon?). Doing a quick test I confirmed the problem was the strange brand of liquid flux that I purchased after I ran out of my other stuff - for whatever reason it wasn't cleaning up, or was somehow leaving a film that wasn't immediately visible (and I've made a cool little micro-sparky thing out of an old chip of ram).
That done, I guess this brings me to the next question which is: what's the hardiness of the N64 RCP? Is there a possibility that shorts like these have caused damage, or is it more that I keep cleaning hoping it'll come right? I'm not super-familiar with this part of the hardware, but in general have found the N64 to be a very flaky system.