iFixit: Welcome to Repair 2.0

>>Electronics recycling is rarely done the
way you or I would expect. [dramatic music plays]
[voices heard in background]>>Discarded computers are often shipped to
developing countries, where they mine them for raw materials. [music continues]
[fire crackles]>>There are hundreds of scrap yards just
like this one… all over the world. [dramatic music continues]
[sound of mallet hitting e-waste; metals and platics]
[fire crackling sound] [man breathing hard] [dramatic music continues] [voices shouting in background] [dramatic music continues] [music changes to soft piano]
>>I shot the footage you just saw and I’ve seen first-hand the devastation
caused by our throw-away culture. Kyle contines:
The life span of electronics is getting shorter and shorter
causing incredible growth in e-waste shipments to the developing world.
Electronic waste is actually toxic. Computer boards have arsenic, mercury, lead,
and environmentally devastating polybrominated flame retardants.
The people I met who I met burn these computers to extract the copper
don’t know they are breathing in these toxic chemicals.
They’re burning our waste and it’s our responsibility.
We need to come together and find the solution to this toxic problem.
We can’t continue to manufacture hundreds of millions of electronic devices every year,
rapidly consuming them and then tossing them away.
Fortunately this is a solvable problem. We can dramatically reduce the number of devices
that end up in landfills by just making them work longer.
we need to, no we must make it possible, even easy,
for people to fix their own electronics. If we could double the useful life of the
devices we consume, we could cut the amount of e-waste in half.
Imagine if everyone in the world had free access to repair information.
How many more things would people fix? How long could we make things last?
[music changes from piano to upbeat orchestrated piece]
We are writing a free step by step repair manual for every device.
This is a monumental Wikipedia-scale task. We are manufacturing new kinds of devices
at an unprecedented pace and if we don’t act now we will lose the
opportunity to fix these devices while they still have economic value.
But like many big, hard problems, this is also something that we must do.
Something that we can do. We need help from people all over the world.
I need your help to show people how to fix everything.
ifixit has already empowered hundreds of thousands of people to fix things themselves.
Try it out yourself. Take something apart that doesn’t work,
understand the problem enough that you can fix it
and then put it back together. It is the greatest feeling in the world when
it turns on and you know that you fixed it.
It’s so exciting to know that you can have control of your own hardware.
That you can fix it if something happens and that you can be self reliant
and reduce your environmental footprint. We need your help to make things last longer.
I don’t know how to fix everything, but I know how to fix some things
and I’m eager to share what I know. I can imagine a world where people have free
access to a repair manual for everything. I can imagine a time when people fix things
when they break and where parents teach their children to value the things that they own.
I can imagine a culture built around the joy of making and repairing things,
rather than just using things up and tossing them away.
I can imagine people starting small repair businesses all over the world using freely
available service manuals. I can imagine a future where technology is
a sustainable part of our lives, empowering us all to work together to make
the world a better place. [music fades]

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60 thoughts on “iFixit: Welcome to Repair 2.0

  1. This is truly wonderful. The goal here is to bring back power to people. Things don't control people. People control things. It seems over the course of the personal computer revolution, we've lost touch with how all these gadgets work. But stuff like this is what started the PC revolution in the first place. Power to the people!

  2. It's simple: fix stuff yourself, feel better, learn a thing or two about how things work, save money, help the environment, increase the value of your stuff… live long and prosper.

  3. Yeah, nice idea, but take Edison's original lightbulb, that didn't actually stop working that long ago. Lightbulbs were engineered to burn out so that they would regularly need replacing which provided sales to the lightbulb companies. Unfortunately thats the way of the world, things are engineered to cost specifications and lets face it, good long-lasting components aren't cheap. Whilst i do really like what you plan to do and love your website, i don't see many people conforming.

  4. Excellent idea! Time to make the highest quality items that last vs. planned obsolescence. Great step towards a world like the Venus Project has been promoting for 30+ years.

  5. @wardbert Not true, I fixed my iPod touch screen using parts from iFixit, and it was way cheaper than buying a new one

  6. @IILaryII : There are better ways of surviving. There wasn't always a landfill there. Planned obsolescence is NOT a good thing, because big business is essentially given license to build cheap crap. Their trick is to be proprietary about the key components, thus thwarting any attempts at repair. Fortunately, poor folks have gotten good at reverse engineering.

  7. @dhoyt7141 : Knock, knock – somebody home? They ment it that way – in meaning of All THINGs to pinpoint it.. you wise ass..;-)

  8. Congratulations on your inspiring message and the future that you imagine, ifixit. I will help make it happen too.

  9. I'm with you 100%. We must also learn and teach how to make new things from the stuff we can't repair, and also make trustworthy recycling solutions.

  10. @louiswu2 Yep, these big companies took over their home. Before, they would hunt animals, and pick fruit. IILaryII: you don't need money to survive in Africa.

  11. @bodypainter99 ROFL! Apple has instructions on how to open the computer and repair tons of things right in the manual not to mention their official website. Name an Apple product that is hard to open.

  12. Excellent! I will provide you with complete disassembly and repair instructions for many different cctv cameras. Many of the electronic devices sold today are of the highest quality and yet are tossed out because most people don't know how simple it is to repair or modify them to work better.

    Many of these devices can be repaired or modified to enable them to have longer and productive lives without throwing them away.

  13. @AGeekForever
    Early macs were about as difficult to open as most similar products; a few screws and it was open. Later tower computers became even easier: the G4 tower could be opened with a simple latch, for example.

    But Apple's consumer products are explicitly designed to make opening less than obvious — even difficult. The Mac Mini isn't too difficult once you know the trick and have the correct tools, but is *far* from obvious. But the latest ipods and ipads? Definitely "hard to open".

  14. Why don't we just quit improving technology while we're at it? Maybe if they stopped making newer, better video cards, processors, cell phones, mp3 players and computers every couple of months or years. I wouldn't want to buy a new one.

  15. Great Idea. I hope you can earn enough money to pay for all of the bandwidth without raising your prices for parts.

  16. @SFRWood Yep, you need to have a credit card, to slide it around the edges. Gosh, where do they expect you to come up with these type of tools?

  17. @AGeekForever

    Page 68 of the MDD manual is headed "Opening the Computer". No such instructions are included in the Mini's manual, or on "the official website".

    The point is that the techniques aren't obvious. There are other ways of hiding access, such as recessing screws and then cover them with stickers or rubberized feet. None of these are particularly challenging once you know which trick is being used, but neither are they evident to a beginner.

    Apple doesn't want consumers to tinker.

  18. Here's two:
    Powerbook G4, Macbook Pro Aluminum
    I have opened both, the PBG4 to the chassis, and Apple was no help at all in the process. Without iFix, it would have been a doorstop. It is still going strong.

    Thank you, Kyle!

  19. @AGeekForever : That's not the point. The point is access — is the repair process presented clearly by the manufacturer, or is it obscured by language like "fixing simple things violates the warranty" and by sleek design with hidden fasteners.

  20. @SFRWood I really disagree with that. Besides the Mac Mini, every other product has directions on how to open it, and it is REALLY easy. On the iMac, you remove 4 screws from the bottom and take off the back…

  21. @AGeekForever
    I'd definitely agree that visible screws make things pretty easy. So why aren't there visible screws on the Mac Mini? The Apple TV? The Macbook Air? Or the iPhone/iPod/iPad?

    Gently discouraging folks from opening their machines reduces the number of newbs getting in over their heads, and reduces customer support costs for mass-market devices. That make sense from Apple's perspective.

    But those of us that *want* to tinker inside these devices need to look elsewhere for guidance.

  22. Nice work – I see the world the way you do. I'm no genius but with your help manuals have fixed two laptop screens on machines that are still providing value.

    A fixit wikipedia combined with responsible recycling is the way to solve these 3rd world salvage dumps.

  23. @envigopcrepairs I'm confused. iFixit is trying to reduce E-Waste by telling people to repair their gadgets instead of throw them away. They traveled to Africa to get first hand footage of how e-waste is handled and why it is bad. They are trying to educate people about simple repairs they can do to save their electronics. A brief look on their forums shows that they have helped thousands of non-repair-tech people fix their gadgets instead of throwing them away. How is this wrong?

  24. Screw the planet, this is about common sense, home economy and prudence. Wastefulness isn't bad because it hurts the planet or 3rdWorld nations, it's bad because it's a sin, period. I am ROTFL that this self-repair philosophy has to be taught so soon again only twenty years after the last generation forgot it, as if it's something the tree-huggers have only just discovered for the rest of us. Sounds like a Brian Aldiss story.

  25. This is fantastic!! I've always believed in trying to fix things. We have to stop our throw-away society, empowering people with the ability to fix, and even the ability to fix other peoples stuff (because most people couldn't be bothered) is truly inspiring.

  26. This is fantastic!! I've always believed in trying to fix things. We have to stop our throw-away society, empowering people with the ability to fix, and even the ability to fix other peoples stuff (because most people couldn't be bothered) is truly inspiring.

  27. @niacom8 …whatever your motives, glad you're on board. just try not to be divisive when there's no reason. it hurts you too.

  28. The overly dramatic music is totally unnecessary.
    Other thing is, that all this being all noble, proper and right, its hard to make it work in our consumerist society, on other hand – technology is moving waaay to fast.
    It is funny how a complex synchronous amplifier comes with a hefty manual and full schematics, whilst washing machine contains none…
    If only engineers managed the managers…

  29. One big problem is they just don't make things to be able to be easily repaired anymore.
    If you ever taken apart an old Zenith tv from the 70s you'll find a schematic inside the case that will show you how it works and everything is modular.
    But electronics now days they'll often put security screws in them to try and discourage disassembly.

  30. @SFRWood
    Apple products started going down hill after the end of the G4 era.
    Before they were actually pretty easy to fix.
    I kept a beige G3 in service for years by upgrading it but the latest iMacs are a terrible piece of engineering with few upgradeable parts.

  31. @toadabc
    One thing I think that needs to be law is any device that cost more then $50 should have user serviceable batteries.
    There is zero excuse for a phone and laptop to have a non replaceable battery and anyone who says otherwise is outright lying as even toys have user replaceable batteries.

  32. Kyle, I know you did this 18 months ago. I'm wondering if you are finding something different and would be interested in updating this. Or in updating me, if I'm wrong.
    The latest report shows that 85% of exports to Ghana ARE in fact repaired and reused, and in fact, that's the basis of the trade. The stuff at the landfill is quite aged and doesn't look at all what comes out of the containers at port.

  33. [dramatic music continues]
    [music changes to soft piano]

    if u're ever bored, go to this video and read the closed captions

  34. "100 million tons of discarded electronics are illegally imported into Africa every year".

    In containers, right? How exactly is that financed, why and by who?

  35. So you want to deny these poor people a chance to make some money. It's literally a gold mine to them. They probably think we are fools for throwing all this valuable stuff away. Sure it's bad for their health, but so is starvation.

  36. Kyle,
    I know that since I first commented on this 2 years ago, that you took my observations to heart, and have begun production of "The Fixers". However, as we wait for this, it's important that you update this with findings from the 2011 UNEP Reports, which found that the material you've filmed at Agbogbloshie was, for the most part, generated by Africans (Accra and Lagos have had Television since I lived there in the 1980s), and that 85% of the imports are working or repaired. Please..!

  37. Well, Youtube doesn't let us update videos once they're out. But it's certainly true that a lot of this material is domestically consumed. The problem is the same no matter where the material comes from—we need to increase repair and reuse across the board.

  38. Yes, but the report found 85% of the imports were for the very reason IFIXIT exists… They are not imported to "mine them for materials". UN found that the 85% reuse and repair created $106M in value in Ghana alone, employed 30,000, and that the imports were something different from what you filmed. Africans are good at repair. The importers are neither victims nor criminals. Please post your Fixers trailer, it addresses this better than your 2010 film.

  39. So do they really combat planned obsolescence? Like show us how to reset the counter chip in a printer??

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