At Pacific Lutheran University, a student-run help desk will service “anything with a current.” David Domask has trained 17 student techs, many of whom arrive with no prior repair experience—and together, they keep the university whirring, buzzing, and ticking.
When Jessa’s kids flushed her iPhone down the toilet, she decided she was going fix it herself. After all, the only thing wrong was a tiny charging coil on the motherboard. Such a little thing. But that process—picking one micro-component off the board and replacing it—requires micro soldering, a skill not widely practiced in the US. So Jessa taught herself to do it. Now, she is now a micro soldering expert, and a proprietress of a thriving board-level repair business: iPad Rehab.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Fixing things yourself saves you money. But how much money? We heard recently from six fixers who got quotes from repair professionals before deciding to crack open their devices themselves. And together, these six DIY repair folks saved over $4000.
What do you do when your laptop has persistent heat issues and all the usual fixes fail? iFixit programmer Sterling describes how he fixed his MacBook Pro with a drill and the oven: he reflowed the solder and increased circulation through the case.
Sometimes, repairing electronics requires more than just swapping out the offending parts. Sometimes batteries are soldered to the motherboard. Other times, the connectors themselves need to be replaced. And that means you’re gonna need to be break out the soldering workstation. Fear not, intrepid repairer! We get it: Waving a molten lava wand over your prized possessions can be intimidating, but soldering is actually pretty easy. And it’s an essential skill to have in your repair toolkit.
My husband and I have a set of two classic iPods, and they’ve come along on grueling runs, incredible hikes, and long road trips for almost six years. But when both headphone jacks broke, the soundtrack to my life suddenly went mute. Since then, our iPods have been sitting in a drawer, collecting dust. The hundreds of songs on each were left trapped inside their digital prison, dying a peaceful death—never to be thought of again. Then I figured out how to fix them.
Driving through the Baja California desert in 1966 in a $50 Chevy Corvair, Ron Mullisen and a friend started having engine trouble—and dealt with it, on the spot. Ron Mullisen is the author of Ronnie’s Roadside Repairs, a memoir full of stories of road trips and the (inevitable) breakdowns along the way. Ron’s book illustrates something iFixit believes in: the power of resourcefulness, self-reliance, and mechanical know-how. Get the book in iFixit’s Store now, and get out there on the road!
If my phone were a person, it would be the Bionic Woman. Its body has been broken and rebuilt more times than I can count. Its brain has been modified, tinkered with, and improved. It is the phone that will not die—at least not if I have anything to say about it.
A group of young female students sit around a table, laughing and talking. But they’re not discussing school, boys, or music. Instead, they’re talking how to replace a dead hard drive, how to install a case fan, and how to salvage a water-damaged motherboard. This isn’t a new topic of conversation for the young women of St. Joseph’s Academy. These young women are computer repair experts—and they’ll run IT circles right around you.
The other day, I came home, walked through the door, and found my cat sleeping on my couch. He yawned and sat up—and underneath him I spotted a vinyl record. And not just any vinyl. My Fleetwood Mac Rumors album. The album that I listened to over and over again as a teen. The album that sang me through countless hours of physics homework and hopeless teen love. My cat’s butt warped my favorite album. But I’m a fixer in spirit—so I learned how to repair it, and I’m teaching you how, too.
Outside a grocery store in Zurich, Roland Roos is fixing a broken sign. The cracked sign that once said “Denner” now reads just “Denne.” Roland gets up on a ladder and replaces the cracked plate with a fixed one. An employee steps out of the store and nods approvingly: “Oh, finally there’s someone here to repair it! It’s about time.” But Roland doesn’t work for Denner. He isn’t a repairman, just an artist. He isn’t getting paid. He hasn’t even asked for permission to fix the sign—he just did it.
When something breaks, most people run through the usual gamut of emotions—disappointment, frustration, a feeling of helplessness. But over at the Fixers Collective in Brooklyn, they’re teaching people to approach broken stuff a little differently: with curiosity. For the master techs that make up the Fixers Collective, repair is the new Rubik’s Cube. It’s a puzzle that must be teased out by trial and error—a Sherlockian game of wits that pits man against machine. Can you outsmart entropy?