R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

One of the awesome engineers I know is Dave Jones, the Australian guy who runs the EEVBlog. He started it a little over ten years ago with EEVBlog #1, and just passed EEVBlog #1275 last week….

Ten years, or 3650 / 1275 = one video blog every 2.86 days! Talk about a consistent effort!

Dave started this after a friend of his commented on the fact that there were no video blogs for electronics engineers out there. So he looked around, found that his friend was right, and started on this fantastic voyage that includes reviews of electronics, dumpster finds, debunking of really bad quality devices, the weekly mailbag where his followers send all kinds of great gimmicks and gadgets, and the occasional rant…

Of course Dave isn’t the only guy with a passion for tech. This is what happens when an 18 year old buys an IBM mainframe for 237 dollars:

We definitely need more of these guys and girls! But we don’t all need to be famous because of doing extreme stuff. I work with a bunch of mostly unknown men and women, who all have a monthly Repair CafĂ© session every second Tuesday evening to do relatively simple repairs on people’s things like vacuum cleaners, audio and or video stuff, clothing, and even older mechanical devices.

It is not of course about the love of money, but about the love of technology. The Tektronix 503 oscilloscope I claimed for a friend yesterday just landed me the remark that he had already had someone offer him a nice amount for the thing, simply because there are not many left that still function. We talked about it, and even though I’d have sold it for that amount in a heartbeat, I declined his offer to take it back. Once given remains given, and I simply know that more stuff like this will show up when you most need it. So I’ll just stick to my niche of building a resource of reusable parts that will enable me and other engineers with heart for their hobby to repair more electronic devices, and thus do their part to lessen the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills…

It’s ALIVE!!!

the Tektronix 503 oscilloscope

Yesterday, I received a 1960 Tektronix 503 oscilloscope which the owner claimed he’d seen working when he put it in his attic many years ago. He turned out to be right, but only after some minor repairs…

First of all, the power cord was so degraded, the outer mantle fell off in pieces the very moment I unwound it from its hooks. Other than that is was a matter of twiddling the knobs and switches until a nice green line could be seen on the vacuum tube.

Despite it being entirely designed around vacuum tubes, the design itself is very rugged, and built to last. So yeah, it may have cost almost 600 dollars in 1960, but other than the power cord it still functions properly in 2020, which means it survived for SIXTY years already!

IT’S ALIVE!!!

I claimed it for a friend who loves this kind of vintage stuff, but couldn’t resist the urge to pop the hood and make you a few photos. The last one being proof that after replacing the power cord, the ancient technology came alive!

So, I think we can add to the mandate of this site: electronics tools are also very welcome, even if it means that we need to repair them in order to extend our possibilities to repair other devices and thus shrink the mountains of E-Waste.

The best ever dumpster find is probably the 300.000 dollar digital scope the guy running the EEVBlog pulled out of a dumpster in this video. It only had a faulty connector in the power supply, and was loaded with expensive apps to analyse all kinds of technical signals!

Ready to Roll…

With this second posting, the weblog at https://repairit.moorelife.nl is officially ready to be used. Once this post is published, the link will be added to the relevant Facebook page, and from there can be visited:

Yup, that is the main theme of this site: an ongoing effort to support the right to repair, where anyone can repair their own technology, or select someone independent of what brand of equipment they own. Sure, everyone is free to choose, and some may choose to seek assistance from the manufacturer or their dedicated repair center, but why should this be the ONLY choice available?

RepairIt.Moorelife.nl will over time become a resource for freely shared information about repairs, service manuals, spare parts rescued from recycled technology, and other things relevant to repairing one’s own property. We will connect tech-savvy hobbyists, that love the idea of making things work again, and diligently taking apart what has been discarded by its owners in order to rescue those parts that are still useful.

The label is the start.

Let’s take an example of a piece of technology I have standing in my workshop right now: an LG 42LD551 LED television, just ten years old. I diagnosed it and found it had a defective HDMI input circuit, which was an “It’s NOT working” condition for its owner. I downloaded the service manual from elektrotanya.com in order to be able to come to that conclusion, and further examination revealed that the TV had no power problems, no receiver problems, and still working SCART and VGA inputs. Solution would have been a new main board, but searching for it on the Web revealed only one or two sources, both asking about 50 euros for the part. The owner ended up donating the device for parts rescue, and so it is still in my workshop.

So now the most effective way to keep this device in use, is not to shell out 50 euros for the part needed, but instead finding it a new owner who just happens NOT to need the failed HDMI inputs. Plenty of people still use SCART or VGA, so that is still a relevant way to repurpose.

Another way is to leave the device in one piece, until you either come across a new main board cheap, or until a working part from the device can be used to repair another similar type television. Simply counting whole modules, a television like that usually has about five to ten still working modules that may be swapped to other sets. The trick is to keep testing and diagnosing, and to accurately inventory what you have available.

Anyway, since we rescue the parts from donated devices, the price at which they can be passed on can be very low compared to the original manufacturers parts. So if I would have a part that is needed by anyone else, I could mail it to another repair buddy via regular mail, and thus help another device come back to full function again.

So no, just like time has been proven to be not linear but cyclical (delve into modern science) lifetime is also more a matter of cycles than a linear progression from manufacturing, consumption, second or third hand sale, until discarding: the moment we can shorten the path of any subpart back into a working device, we in fact create ‘organ transplants’ in technology. And that is way more doable in technology, since rejection symptoms are less frequent…

See the analogy?

“Why?”, you ask: because modularisation has made modern technology so powerful, and once cooperative behavior among manufacturers is no longer hampered by competitive traits, this will only improve.

And why the “Let’s NOT E-Waste!” movement? See the image on the right: similar to humans, devices are also much more likely to need a “organ” than those organs are donated. So let’s create an “organ transplant network” that will increase the chance of finding that module we need cheaply and easily!

Welcome to the Repair Zone!

In Triple xXx, Vin Diesel in the role of Xander Cage welcomed an asshole of a senator to “the Xander Zone”. Right before that he told him that computer games “Are the only education kids have”. Well, initiatives like Repair Kids are trying to give kids another education outside the normal school system. But that is just a little cog in the far grander machine of circular economy, ecology and technology.

The iFixIt Repair Manifesto

In today’s world, repairing your own stuff seems to have been outlawed by society. Or at least by government, politics and the business world. But society is US!

When I worked a weekend job in my youth in a local radio store, I was the apprentice of a very nice elderly gentleman from Belgium, who taught me a thing or two about repairing electronics, including that service manuals could always be ordered from the manufacturer. OK, you paid for the paper they were printed on of course, but the information was available!

Today the information for older devices can still be found on the Internet, but the sites who distribute it for free are few and far between. Elektrotanya.com appears to have quite a few, and even though the site is mostly Hungarian, the manual are often in English. Other sites like manualslib.com may give them for free, but watermark the documents in order to draw more visitors to their site. To each his own I guess, but I prefer my information to be free, since information gathering and freedom of expression are universal human rights.

Anyway, this site will be entirely free, and will point at information rather than copying it. You are of course totally free to follow such links, and store the information found there…