Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Fixit Clinic featured in today's Boston Globe

Fixit Clinic featured in today's Boston Globe: ..."The more I’ve thought about it since, the more I think that confidence is what unites people who fix things. They have faith that there is a way that doesn’t involve the garbage heap."

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

New Battery in Macbook Air

Does this Macbook Air need a new battery? Well, yes: especially when you see swollen Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) pouches like the ones to the right in the photo. Another symptom of a swelling Macbook battery is that the trackpad no longer clicks: the battery is swelling up against the trackpad from underneath.

When I installed the new battery and tightened down the screws on the underside once the new battery fully charged it swelled slightly and the trackpad wouldn't click. I had to loosen the screws slightly to get it to work. I ended up returning that replacement battery as defective, the new, new battery doesn't seem to have the same issue.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Fixit Clinic article in the Harvard Gazette

What better way to teach Design for Manufacturing (DFM) than to interrogate the way things are currently made?

We hold Fixit Clinics in partnership with Colleges and Universities so future practitioners -- engineers and designers -- see how Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is currently practiced and to encourage “Design for Durability” (DFD), i.e. incorporate durability, maintainability, serviceability for the future sustainable circular economy; repair is a cornerstone of our environmental and economic future.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Fixit Clinic mentioned in today’s Washington Post

Fixit Clinic is mentioned in today’s Washington Post: TECH IN YOUR LIFE How to find trustworthy repair help for your busted iPhone or TV set:

Saturday, March 25, 2023

As Featured on Pat Benincasa’s Fill To Capacity! Podcast

 Fixit Clinic founder Peter Mui is this week’s interviewee on Pat Benincasa’s Fill To Capacity! podcast:

It’s on all the major podcast streaming services or listen online at

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Let's Keep Our Chomebooks

Chromebooks have become popular computing devices with school systems and libraries: school system adoption and purchase of Chromebooks rapidly accelerated during the pandemic as school systems needed to support distance learning. However: all Chromebooks have an “Automatic Update Expiry” (AUE) date after which they no longer receive Chrome OS updates. For individual consumers this means that their Chromebook gets less and less useful and less secure over time. However: for organizations with lots of Chromebooks enrolled in Google’s Enterprise Enrollment (e.g. schools and school systems) they have to stop using them immediately.

Message that appears on Chromebooks when they reach their AUE date

Even though they are recent computer hardware (typically under three to five years old) and mechanically and electronically functional they are of little value to computer refurbishers because they have no domestic resale value. My understanding of what is happening at the moment is that computer refurbishers sell Chromebooks to recyclers that send them on to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam where they are being harvested for the one or two computer chips with residual value: the rest is e-wasted locally.  So, sadly, we are exporting our e-waste overseas again from the U.S. Doubly sadly: we are creating e-waste out of items that potentially have lots of useful life remaining.

A school system’s Chromebooks waiting to be e-wasted at a computer refurbisher

It is possible to convert Chromebooks that have reached their AUE date into general purpose computers: usually by removing a “write protect” screw, sometimes simply by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. However, that requires some physical disassembly and modification that computer refurbishers are unwilling to undertake: they can’t justify the labor cost.

Fixit Clinic will assist schools, libraries, and other agencies in keeping Chromebooks in service in our communities – to keep in our schools, to give to students, to give to the local Library, to give to the economically disadvantaged in our communities. We will do this by teaching students, youth, and residents how to convert Chromebooks into general purpose computers, ideally for use by themselves.

Fixit Clinic is partnering with the Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) Engineering Club (San Ramon, California, USA) and seeking donations to help divert and convert expired Chromebooks. We hope that by working together, we can reduce e-waste and help bridge the digital divide in California. Together, let's keep our technology out of landfills and put it to good use in our communities! To learn more about our mission and get involved, please take a moment to fill out this form:

Our team will reach out to you with further information and next steps.

If you have any questions on the donation process and would like to discuss in detail, please reach out to Varun Vaidya (DVHS Engineering Club president):

Monday, March 6, 2023

March 18 2023: Upstream Solutions to Downstream Pollution

 Zero Waste Youth USA is having their annual Convergence March 18: Peter Mui is speaking in Track 2 “Upstream Solutions to Downstream Pollution” at 10:55AM PDT; anyone anywhere in the world can register to attend via Zoom at

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Five Cities Repair Café at iFixit World HQ Oct 23/24 USA-CA-San Luis Obispo

Fixit Clinic is honored to participate in a very special world-wide hybrid in-person/online Community Repair event Oct. 23/24:

**An in-person Five Cities Repair Café from iFixit World HQ in San Luis Obispo, California USA

**Simultaneously: an online Intergalactic Zoom Fixit Clinic (IZFC) and Global Fixers gather-in on Discord; more details to follow we might have:
- A video tour of iFixit
- Zoom ins to in-person repairs in progress, online repairing in parallel
- Q&A with iFixit Co-Founder Kyle Wiens and special guests
- Topic-specific and language-specific Zoom breakout rooms and/or Discord channels
WHAT: Five Cities Repair Café / Intergalactic Zoom Fixit Clinic (IZFC) from iFixit World HQ USA-CA-San Luis Obispo
WHEN: Sun Oct 23, 2022 1PM PDT (=20:00 UTC,08:00+1 NZST,06:00+1 AEST,05:00+1 JST,22:00 CEST,21:00 BST,20:00 GMT,17:00 ART,16:00 EDT,15:00 CDT,14:00 MDT,13:00 PDT)
WHERE: Both Online and at iFixit’s Global HQ at 1330 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
HOW: To participate IN-PERSON as a Participant:, or just show up at iFixit’s Global HQ at 1330 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 1PM PDT
To participate IN-PERSON as a Repairer:
To participate ONLINE: to get the Zoom link the day before: we’ll also send detailed instructions on joining the Global Fixers Server on Discord.
WHO: An all-ages family-friendly event: children are heartily invited!
WHY: To bring the world even closer with repair: to meet and make global friends, learn and teach how to fix things, and have fun!
All in all, it’s going to be a great day: don’t miss this rare world-wide online in-person hybrid event!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Fixit Clinic Founder Peter Mui at WIRED RE:WIRED Green Climate Action Conference

Fixit Clinic Founder Peter Mui presented on Fixit Clinic's efforts towards circular, sustainable consumption at WIRED's RE:WIRED Green Climate Action Conference Wednesday Sept. 28:

Here's the recording of his presentation:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Two National Features This Week

 Fixit Clinic was featured on two (US) national media outlets this week:

-Voice of America News (2 minute video):

-The Pulse (podcast): The stories of the people and places at the heart of health and science from WHYY (PBS affiliate in Philadelphia PA USA)

18:17 Segment start

30:54 Segment end

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fixed is Better Than New

At today's Zoom Fixit Clinic we saw Kim from USA-CA-Oakland: "Battery Operated Pencil Sharpener Panasonic KP-2a I had left batteries in it a few years ago, and it no longer works, even with new batteries I have looked for youtube videos. I managed to take it apart AND I think I have it put back together correctly. I tried cleaning the battery contacts but not sure what else to try. It is a fabulous pencil sharpener when it's working. I've returned 2 new ones in the last 2 weeks, junk."

Kim's repair was not complete by the end of the Zoom but later in the day she emailed the photo below: "Well, after 2 hours in the breakout room and another hour after, the battery pencil sharpener is fixed. After we figured out that the motor worked, I finally realized that one of the copper strips in a switch that connected when the pencil was inserted was out of place and needed to go into a little hole, which helped the other strips connect. My thanks to the fixers in the breakout room who were so patient and offered many suggestions even as I wrestled with my funky webcam. Not sure I got everyone, but D [P?] Ramoutar, Olivia in Berkeley, Tony, and Des, you rock! Connecting via phone cam might have made it easier for me to show a closeup. I'd show the strips and how they fit but now that all is together and working, I'll leave it be!"

We believe that older items that are fixed (or well maintained) are more and more often of higher quality and durability than items that you can purchase new that perform the same function: Do you agree?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Box Fan: Bad Thermal Fuse

Sunday afternoon's project was a Lasko box fan: not working at all. It was easy enough to disassemble. The problem turned out to be a blown thermal fuse which was nestled deep in the motor near the motor windings.

The thermal fuse is rated 115° C, I had that value on hand and replaced it, the fan works again. It's a fairly straightforward repair but care needs to be taken working around the delicate motor winding wires.

We see thermal fuses nestled next to motor windings in all sorts of appliances: coffee grinders, food processors, blenders, etc. It's a common part to fail, it's often a mystery why it goes bad.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Vacuum Clogs: Check Carefully for the Root Cause

Saturday morning's project was a Dyson Ball Multi Floor vacuum with two nasty clogs: one in the hose from the brush head, one in the wand.

The wand had a Canadian Quarter wedged deep inside, I was able to yank it out with a wire coat hanger modified with a hook

The brush head vacuumed up a needle that stuck in the soft flexible plastic hose between the head and the main body of the vacuum, I was able to fish that out with a pliers.

Neither item was immediately evident as a root cause for the clogs and poor suction: there was a lot of fluff that had accumulated around both items. After the fluff was cleared both the brush head and the wand immediately had good suction and one might've been tempted to declare victory at that point. However: without further inspection to find and remove the quarter and the needle the clogs would have re-occurred.

From a maintenance perspective this vacuum was designed for relatively easy access to and inspection of the places where a clog might develop. This video was helpful too:

We see vacuums with poor suction all the time and the root cause is almost always a rigid or semi-rigid item wedged in a hose that accumulates fluff around it until it clogs the hose.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Joining Zoom Fixit Clinics or the Global Fixers Discord Server

 Fixit Clinic has gone virtual and global with two offerings:

- Zoom Fixit Clinics open to everyone and hosted from around the world

- A Global Fixers Discord Server that's open around-the-clock around-the-world

To join either or both:

Got something broken you want to try to fix? Participant registration:

Want to help fix or just observe? Fixer/observer sign-in:

Friday, October 9, 2020

Welcome Guardian Readers!

Welcome Guardian Readers*: Want to try fixing something from home like Anya above**? Here’s how it works: show your item to the global assembly of community repairers and get suggestions for things to try; then we move items/participants and repairers to Zoom breakout rooms to implement the suggestions and, hopefully, fix the items.

We also have the Global Fixers Discord Server for synchronous/asynchronous around-the-clock around-the-world repair.

Sign up with things to fix at to get scheduled for an upcoming Intergalactic Fixit Clinic (or to set up repair via Discord); and please encourage your family, friends and neighbors around the globe to sign up too. (And remember: we can look at large things like dishwashers, TVs and furniture now.)

Hope to see you at an upcoming Fixit Clinic (virtually, that is!)

*Fixit Clinic was mentioned in today’s Guardian: scroll down towards the bottom of the article:
...Finally, after reading our hugely popular (but quite ancient) repair cafe story, Anya Hart Dyke in Scotland had a further tip.

“Given current restrictions, it would be good to mention the amazing Fixit Clinic team who help with repairs via Zoom. I did a session with them for my hand-held blender last weekend and they were amazing. It’s all free, of course.”

We’ll be expecting great things from that blender, Anya. Whisk like the wind.
**(Here's Anya presenting her stick blender:

Monday, September 28, 2020

Around-the-Clock Around-the-World Repair


We've added a Global Fixers Discord Server to facilitate 'round-the-clock 'round-the-world repair collaboration.

Unfamiliar with Discord? It is a communication and collaboration platform that is popular with gamers. It supports chat, voice, and video, file and image upload, etc.

Any current local community repair volunteer or aspiring repairer -- anywhere in the world -- is welcome to join: sign up at, select the “ONGOING: Repair via Global Fixers Discord Server” option.

Looking forward to seeing you online: either in the Virtual Fixit Clinic Zooms, in the Global Fixers Discord Server, or both!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Remote Rapid Response Repair

2020-10-09 Update: Remote Rapid Response Repair has been folded into the Global Fixers Discord Server (see

Calling all Fixit Coaches (and other Community Repairers): can we stand ready to fix shared public property and community-held property during this pandemic?

For example, critical medical equipment, laboratory equipment or emergency service equipment might break with manufacturers' service unavailable. Or it might be as mundane as the toaster in the hospital break room or the local animal shelter's floor polisher (pictured below.)

If you're willing to be "on call" to respond to a community repair request please sign up at, indicate where you're located in the "Anything special about your participation?" field.

We'll try to combine this with the newly minted Virtual Fixit Clinics, hopefully we can effect repair remotely or do some sort of online triage to set up ideal conditions for a successful in-person repair visit.

Virtual Fixit Clinics

"Mythbusters meets Antiques Road Show, Top Gear meets Car Talk"

2020-04-01 Update: We're joining iFixit's Fix At Home Challenge here's your chance to show us that big thing you can't carry in to a Fixit Clinic(!)
2020-03-23 Update: As COVID-19 unfolds we're extending the vision of "virtual" Fixit Clinics to offer “rapid response repair” for medical equipment and laboratory research and/or diagnostic equipment. It doesn't have to be critical care equipment: it might be as mundane as the toaster oven in the hospital staff break room or the hospital’s floor polisher.

No community repair event near you? Repair event cancelled due to Coronavirus? Can't get your Fixit Clinic fix?

Well we can certainly fix that!

Announcing Virtual Fixit Clinics: the world's greatest troubleshooting talent converging to address whatever's presented; we'll leverage the wonderful magic that is the global internet to hold "virtual" Fixit Clinics using teleconferencing software.

Fixit Coaches: Any community repairers (or wannabe repairers, "fixing families," etc.) in the world are heartily welcome (e.g.: Fixit Clinic, Restart Party, Repair Café, Anstiftung Foundation, etc.). You don't have to participate you can just stay on mute. You're also welcome to present things from your local community or your own broken stuff.
Register at and we'll send details on joining the teleconferences.

Have Something Broken? Answer these questions:
- Do you have a computer and internet connection that will support video teleconferencing?
- Can you show and describe the problem / recreate the problem in under five minutes?
- (Optional: Can you have some rudimentary disassembly tools at the ready?)
- Can you fill out afterwards?
If yes, register at (select the "Virtual Fixit Clinic") and we'll reach out about scheduling you for an upcoming Virtual Fixit Clinic.

Looking forward to meeting in cyberspace!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

New Fixit Clinic Video

Heartfelt thanks to San Mateo County Office of Sustainability for producing this wonderful video on Fixit Clinic:

Friday, January 10, 2020

Four Recent Articles

Is repair going mainstream? Here are four recent articles:

1) The New York Times on how our military can't repair its own stuff:
We've been framing Right to Repair as a sustainability and resiliency issue for communities and individuals; this op-ed in the New York Times frames it as a military readiness and national security issue.
In reality: any community — domestic, military, etc.— that moves away from understanding the things it uses and relies on is at systemic risk. And you have to wonder what it takes for the military to go public with an issue like this. This isn't a rogue captain posting an op ed in the NY Times. It's clearly sanctioned.

2) The Wall Street Journal encouraging buying long-lived and repairable goods:
Good to have this article in the conservative mainstream press. Our variation on this message is: once you learn to repair something you own you essentially bestow it with a lifetime warranty.

3) The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes old non-computerized tractors are now a hot commodity:
John Deere has long been an opponent of Right-to-Repair, they've gone as far as arguing in court that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows them to assert that when you buy a modern tractor from them you're no longer purchasing a tractor, you're only purchasing a license to operate the tractor. (Interestingly: Canadian farmers are not subject to the DMCA and are still allowed to repair their own John Deere farm equipment.)

4) Forbes on how subsidized phones for low-income people are infected with malware:
We've seen these symptoms at Fixit Clinic but weren't sure it was built-in malware, it's reassuring to get independent verification. As software and hardware merge we're seeing more issues around digital inclusion, digital literacy, digital equity. Should low-income people have to accept less privacy?