Homesteaders know that replacing a broken or worn out piece of gear isn’t always cost-effective – or even possible. While it’s fairly easy to identify how to replace an axe handle or weld a trailer, it’s tougher to figure out how to open up a laptop or smartphone – let alone how to replace a defective part. And a “shop manual” for a laptop may cost fifty bucks for something you may only use once. Enter our friends at iFixit – they’ve organized thousands and thousands of repair manual: most with photographed step-by-step directions.iFixit has been the gold standard for do-it-yourself electronics repairs. Starting out in 2003 as a source for fixing computers, the site has since branched out to fixing appliances, smartphones, cameras, musical instruments – even cars and trucks! The lowercase “i” at the beginning of the name is a holdover from their Apple Macintosh focus and the owners of the site continue to favor Apple equipment. They recently flew a team to Australia so that they could disassemble the newest iPhone before it was released to the rest of the planet.
For folks who want their equipment to last, iFixit’s fixability rating is the most valuable part of the site. They teardown new hardware and rate how easily it will be repairable down the road. Machines with simple screws built to be opened get high ratings, gear that’s glued or epoxied together gets a lower rating. For those who want gear that they’ll be able to fix in a remote setting (or in a situation where warranty or manufacturer support is unavailable) this can be an important factor in deciding what to purchase.
iFixit’s repair guides are totally free, and the site is supported by sales of unique tools and replacement parts like smartphone displays and replacement batteries. I’ve used their multi-bit tool kit – it’s well made with a lifetime warranty and 54 of the most useful bits, including hard-to-find ones like pentalobe and Torx security shapes.