In this page, we list some of the websites that we in the Restart community have found most useful in helping us towards a repair.
- The Art of Trouble Shooting book combines theory and practice, you’ll gain insight into the principles that underlie the diagnosis and repair of all machines.
- Awesome software running on old hardware is an online, collaborative list of projects that attempt to compile or install “recent” software on old hardware, thus extending the life span of theses products.
- Battery University is a free educational website that offers both theoretical and practical battery information to engineers, educators, media, students and battery users alike, including advice on maximising rechargeable battery life and safe charging and use.
- Electroboom! makes safety fun(ny) – definitely DO NOT try this at home.
- BigCliveDotCom has a YouTube channel in which he tears down and explains the working of numerous different electrical and electronic devices.
- EEVblog is another highly instructive YouTube channel, perhaps a little more technical, often discussing unusual devices.
- Raising the dead: Can a regular person repair a damaged hard drive? is a very interesting article, debunking some of the myths on repairing hard drives. Also check the comments streams on this on Slashdot article. (Note: hard drives are sealed against dust for a good reason - assume that one that has been opened may fail at any time.)
- Oldversion.com is very useful when new softwares or their upgrades are too heavy or don’t work at all on an old pc (or implement new features you don’t like).
Disassembly and Repair
The quickest way to find disassembly information for a device is often to feed the device make and model into your favourite search engine, appended with "disassembly". But the results will be of variable quality and usefulness. The following sites will often figure in the search results and may give some of the higher quality information.
- The espares Advice Centre contains hundreds of simple diagnostic and repair guides and videos, as well a large collection of manuals, focused on domestic, kitchen and garden tools and appliances. There's a search box in which you can type "What's wrong with your appliance", or you can select the type of your appliance from a drop-down list and browse the avalable resources.
- Bad Caps Forum is a place to get help for suspected bad electrolytic capacitors.
- Camera Repair Flickr Pool is a pool on Flickr with photos of camera designs, including digital cameras.
- Electronics Repair presents tips and guides by Jestine Yong (and his friends around the world) to repair load of electronics products. Super useful.
- Fixit Club consists of simple instructions and tips on troubleshooting and repairing household things that break by best-selling “How Does it Work?” author Dan Ramsey.
- FixYa is building a crowdsourced database of help queries and personalised answers.
- iFixit makes it easy to fix things with online step-by-step repair guides, troubleshooting tips, and a thriving community of repair technicians who want to help.
- Lowend Mac proposes we use “Apple gear as long as it helps you remain productive and meets your needs, upgrading only as necessary” and helps maintain and use older kit for longer.
- Powerbook Medic is an online library of repair videos mostly of Apple products.
- Reddit’s Computer Technicians is for people who are repair professionals or aspire to be. “End users” are encouraged to use /r/techsupport
- Repairs Universe video library has a growing number of videos of smartphone and tablet repairs and teardowns.
- sci.electronics.repair FAQ is a comprehensive historical archive of tips and guides on repairing many kinds of consumer electronics.
Manuals and Reference Info
As with Disassembly and Repair, your favourite search engine will often give you the quickest results, using the search terms "service manual" or "schematic" according to your need. Some sites list huge numbers of device model numbers, in some cases perhaps to optimise search rankings, but the the more technical service manuals may be lacking.
- manualslib.com contains a large repository of manuals for various types of device.
- Future proof: Tim’s laptop service manuals is a collection of professional, official documents published by the various laptop makers, either for their own technicians or for the use of the general public.
- The Manual Library at the Internet Archive has archived over 2 million manuals of various sorts. A separate page describes How to submit a manual to the Internet Archive.
In order to understand how a device works or to find a spare part you may need to identify an IC. Usually a small black package with 3 or more (often many more) pins, it should be marked with a part number and a manufacturing date code. The smallest devices just have an abreviated part number of just 3 letters and/or digits. If you can recognise the manufacturer's name or symbol the manufacturer's website will generally give the most reliable information. Alternatively, you can look up the part code with your favourite search engine or consult a datasheet archive such as below.
- alldatasheet.com has a wide selection of semiconductor datasheets though the results it gives often need to be read very selectively. Often a device has a marking that is only part of the full part number due to space limitations. You can use the pull down next to the search box and select "marking" then enter the marking you see on the semiconductor, then search. Hopefully, this will find the part you are looking for.
(Search resuts at datasheet archives often need to be read very selectively as they may give large numbers of similar part numbers, often for very different and irrelevant types of device.)