You are invited to a party


#1

Hi everyone,

My name is David, I’m a retired engineer, and I’m looking for like-minded people to help me organise and run a Restart party.

This is a quote from the Restart website: https://therestartproject.org/RestartParty/

A Restart Party is a free community event where volunteers help people fix their own broken electricals and electronics, to save them from waste and change our relationship with electronics.

Any group can throw a Restart Party anywhere. To throw your own Restart Party, we ask that you stick to a couple of simple guidelines.

1. Offer free entry to the public, although a donation can be suggested

2. Promote a collaborative learning process

3. Fix other stuff like bikes if you like but you’ll need at least 3-4 electronics repairers.

4. Communicate your party to The Restart Project in advance and share the results

5. Be insured! The Restart Project is not liable for events we do not organise. If uninsured, please work in partnership with a group that is.

If you are interested, please let me know - the next step will probably be a meeting (in a pub?) to find out what skills we have between us, and to start thinking about where we could hold the event, and when.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

David

For those who were wondering, Mottle was the family cat, and I fed it.


#2

A pledge gets ~110 views in 14 days and this get 11 views in 7 days - not looking too promising, but I’m still hopeful.

David


#3

David,

I did take a look at your invitation and appreciate your intentions in trying to repair and reuse rather than discard. However as a working engineer I have found that attempting to fix most modern electrical and electronic appliances is not worth the effort and time. It is quicker and simpler to replace rather than repair.

Most of the consumer electrical products are not built to a high enough quality in the first place with substandard components which are difficult to source. The enclosures of the products are designed to be difficult to open and even more difficult to re-assemble. I would be very uncomfortable ensuring any repair I made on mains powered electrical products would last past a week and that it would be considered electrically safe. PAT and flash testing the kit before it went back to the customer would top of my list and there is no assurances that the broken device was electrically safe to begin with.

Electronic devices these days are generally made with surface mount component technology and with reflow soldered integrated circuits. Fault finding down to component level, removing the offending part and replacing it with a suitable replacement is incredibly skilled work and requires access to the schematics for the product and an understanding of the circuit function. Whilst this can be obtained relatively easily for a simple circuit, the more complex devices (of which there are many) would be almost impossible to fix in a sensible period of time.

Again sourcing obscure components and the rework required make this unpalatable. So without having access to high quality rework tools, components, schematic diagrams, PCB layouts and understanding of circuit function make repair of most electrical and electronic goods a non starter. The most critical factor in all of this is time…the time it takes to isolate and effect a repair is too great to make it worthwhile.

I suspect many of the membership of HACMan feel similarly to myself in this matter which is why uptake has been low. It does annoy me that the engineering practices used to develop and manufacture electrical and electronic products has made them difficult and costly to repair but that is where things are.

I do repair my own equipment but that is because I have access to all of the information and components required - If I designed it and if it breaks I can fix it. But when a circuit has 0201 or even 0402 components on a multilayer PCB and BGA soldered devices there is no point. An unknown multilayer PCB takes weeks if not months to trace out properly and the normally component IDs are scratched off the chips.

The very best of luck in your endeavours but I’m out. I hope by at least responding and commenting you understand my position.

Kind regards

Alex


#4

Hi Alex - thanks for taking the trouble to put your thoughts into words.

I agree it is cmpletely unrealistic to fault-diagnose down to component level, on a circuit for which you have no schematic, but just happen to have the required components to hand, so the unit can be fixed while the owner watches. But that is not what Restart is about.

Restart is about sitting down with the owner, showing them basic things they can do, and hopefully fixing the unit with them, and giving them the confidence to repeat the process if the problem reappears. It’s more about hard resets, cleaning battery contacts, etc.

I spent 25 years as a servicing volunteer for RNIB, working on talking books (a non-standard 8-track cassette player). The vast majority of faults were not electronic component failures, and it is that type of fault that Restart is targetting.

If you accept the 80:20 principle applies, we might be able to fix the 80% easy problems, and advise that the 20% electronic failures were beyonsd repair - that is still a sizeable quantity of gear that will not end up in land-fill.

In addition to fixers, we will also need organisers to get the event set up, and ‘meeters and greeters’ who can help the event run smoothly, so there are spaces for a broad range of skills.

I hope this helps

Regards

David


#5

19 days and only one comment - I think I’ll take that as a ‘no thanks’.

I appreciate that other people have other priorites, so I’m not going away all bitter and twisted - I have a couple of other places to check out, but I will not be monitoring this thread as of today.

Thanks

David


#6