IFIXIT is an online resource that provides information and access to parts the allow for non-expert repairs to a multitude of products. Originally focussed around the proliferation of electronic devices that suffer from battery degradation, damaged screens, broken buttons etc., it has grown to provide advice and instructions on how to repair all kinds of things.
The site is interesting in that it is has an open ‘community’ approach as stated:
iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix almost anything. Anyone can create a repair manual for a device, and anyone can also edit the existing set of manuals to improve them. Our site empowers individuals to share their technical knowledge with the rest of the world.
So what are you waiting for?
There is also a forum where users can discuss issues and ask for advice.
Below is an example of a user generated guide. The team at IFIXIT produce comprehensive guides to the most common repairs with mass market products. They also encourage the general public to contribute to the site and to produce repair guides themselves. There is comprehensive advice and instruction on how to create a good guide on the site and in interesting section that allows the community to ‘upgrade’ the quality of these user developed repair guides.
This is an incredible resource that is free at point of use as a repair guide, but also supports an organisation that aims to change the way in which companies design their products to make them repairable by the owners. Their manifesto can be accessed here.
This site is exciting in that it offers an alternative to the ‘no user serviceable parts’ attitude of many mass produced electronic/electrical products. The site is well structured, contains excellent instructional material and makes use of a crowd sourcing to help cover the almost infinite number of products.
The guides on the site are developed using open source software called omanual, the name is derived from the term ‘open format manual’, allowing for rich media content and non-linear linking of sections. They claim that this is great resource for creating any form of manual, not just for repair and may be worth exploring further.
This approach to sharing knowledge and advice, especially the crowd sourcing/community contributor model is potentially a very powerful concept. It may be that this approach could extend to caring and maintenance as a means of sharing good practice, tips and advice. Perhaps an alternative version called ILOOKAFTERIT could be a viable proposition. Whether the motivation to maintain a product in peak condition is as strong as of that repair a damaged one is yet to be discovered.