Exploring our repair data - what do you want to know?



Together we’ve seen over 9,500 devices at more than 700 repair events. Thanks to our collective effort logging all that data, we’ve built up a rich database of the repairs we’ve attempted and types of devices we’ve seen.

But what stories can we tell with all this data?

We’ve always talked about wanting to use this data in interesting ways to help us all run better events and strengthen our case for the right to repair. But as a small team, we’ve sometimes struggled to make the most of all the data, which feels like a missed opportunity.

So, we’d love your help to explore the database and we’ve been working on a way to grant folks easy access to the data and powerful query tools with a platform called Metabase.

The data can be filtered in various ways - so if you’ve ever had any burning questions specifically about your own group’s repair outcomes, we can drill-down to those too :mag:

We have three questions for you:

:male_detective: What questions would you ask?
:woman_technologist: Do you want to dive into the data itself?
:man_artist: How can we tell interesting, data-driven stories?

#OpenDataDay: let's explore data on computer repairs

To whet your appetite, here’s a taste of the kinds of data we can pull out:

Repair success rate by category

Category Percentage Repaired Devices Repaired Total Devices
Paper shredder 75.8 % 25 33
Lamp 71.2 % 334 469
Toy 68.7 % 123 179
Headphones 65.3 % 164 251
Musical instrument 61.6 % 45 73
Laptop large 60.3 % 38 63

Number of devices seen by category

Repair outcomes


What are the least repairable items, so we know what sections of the wiki need to be improved.


Re: stories. If we can tell stories using the data and connecting that to everyday life, that might make the stories more powerful for the reader. Something like ‘1,500 laptops were reported repaired that would otherwise likely have been thrown away. It saved £xxxx in the purchase of new equipment, enough emissions to run a train around the world x times, etc.’. I hope the point is coming across :thinking:


Love this! We can go deeper than what you suggest, like xx% of laptop repairs require spare parts. xx% of laptops were unrepairable by design, etc.

We have talented designer and dataviz friends who could help with this sort of thing. Would be amazing if volunteers themselves got stuck in, working through what equivalences might be appropriate/interesting, thinking about how they might be presented visually, etc.


Hi, I’d like to look at what factors affect success rate, eg is it mix of products or may be how we define fixed. What could we do to increase success rate? Yes I’d be interested to dive into the data but not sure how much time I’ll have available.


Knowing the %age repaired of each category could be turned into a powerful message when combined with the relative complexity of repair eg with paper shredders we’re really saying “Have a go, it’s usually a simple mechanical problem like a paper jam, there’s a good chance you can fix it yourself and our data supports that”. Ifixit provides a rating of complexity which could be used for this, or our own anecdotal evidence.


Hi everyone, as a next step, we’re planning an event on 2nd March to explore our data on computers we fixed and those we couldn’t fix - I hope some of you can make it, all details here:

pinned #9


I’d have thought businesses like Which might be increasingly interested in showing at least a nod to sustainability by melding the fixometer historical repairability stats into their ratings of items, as might other organisations, but as they make money from their reviews perhaps the reverse would be a better way: can we present highly-accessible repairability information that a) helps the public makes informed decisions while also letting manufacturers see this information and b) promotes the aims (and existence) of Restart?


Hi @Ian_Barnard,

Very good points, however it’s “complicated”. Historic data from the Fixometer or similar sources would mostly provide information on products no longer on sale (apart from second-hand) - while Which and others tend to review/recommend only products currently on the market.

From interactions we’ve had with Which so far, they don’t yet consider product repairability in their reviews - they concentrate on brand reliability based on surveying members about specific products/services.

Also, given the amount of data we’ve collected so far, we can talk about recurrent faults within specific product categories, while we would only have sufficient data for a limited number of specific models of devices which we have seen frequently.

This said, we’re hoping to find ways to collaborate with Which and other consumer rights organisations in the near future


Hi Ugo

Yes to complicated. And yes inevitably we have older data. It’s great work, though!

What we might have that is useful is the how manufacturer reliability and repairability is changing - I love those graphs from Cambridge showing the trends. But I imagine statistically speaking we need 10x to be able to remove the repairer skill from the underlying reliability and repairability trend of the product.

There seems to be a ramping up of the numbers of repair cafes operating in the UK - at least subjectively from what I see on FB. Is that on a graph somewhere? How many contribute to fixometer - is that increasing, and how are we helping it increase? I don’t yet contribute, but I will before my next event, honest - needs to be so so easy!




There is no group that actively coordinates activity here in the UK. The Repair Café Foundation does not serve this function, although they do maintain a map. It’s unclear what groups are active or inactive, and it doesn’t include groups with other names, like the Fixit Café in Newcastle, or Leicester Fixers. (In other countries, national or regional platforms have emerged independent of the Repair Café Foundation.)

That said, we have shareable data on number of Fixometer groups, events, and similar trends over time. The overall trend is up! :chart_with_upwards_trend: I will let @neil and @james explain/share these with you.

Lastly, we stepped in to host Fixfest UK in the autumn, and there is interest in some joint data collection, and advocacy for “right to repair” at a national level. We’ve used the Manchester Declaration as a way of creating a platform for this, and groups are signing on to become a part of this going forward. We plan on hosting Fixfest UK again in 2020, and using this forum to keep in touch until then.


There does seem to be a growing number of repair groups in the UK (and certainly in Devon!). Of course, we can only objectively measure the number registered on the platform. As Janet said, the number is rising:

Number of repair groups in the UK registered on Restarters/Fixometer in the last 2 years (cumulative)

Not all groups contribute data, although an increasing number do. One of the reasons we’re adding support for non-electricals (and other new developments) is to make the tool as useful as possible for individual groups and thereby encourage more to use it.

We’d welcome any suggestions for other things we can do or better ways the tool can be presented to groups that don’t use it yet!

What are the biggest barriers for you @Ian_Barnard?

split this topic #15

3 posts were split to a new topic: Improving the Restart Party Kit & making it easier to record data