Recording non-electrical/electronic items



:tshirt: :couch_and_lamp: :bike: :jeans: :handbag: :socks:

While Restart’s focus is on electrical and electronic devices, we know many of you – especially those involved in repair cafes – help people fix a really wide range of stuff.

A number of people have expressed an interest in being able to record non-electrical and non-electronic items seen at events, including: @Club_de_Reparadores, @Portsmouth_Repair_Ca, @Cerys_Jones, @catherine_causley, @Marie_Lefebvre, @Peter_Ramsey, @Inez_Louwagie, @Eva_van_Velzen, @James_Diamond & @Colin_Shaw

So, we’ve put together a quick survey to collect your thoughts and share our thinking about how to add this functionality to

If you’re interested in this (and/or need a distraction over the Christmas break :wink: ), please take a couple of minutes to answer the short questions below and help us get this done :+1:

:warning: This survey closed on Jan 7th, 2019. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

How to power up community repair with
How to power up community repair with
Fixometer: how to log repair data from your event
pinned globally #2


As you may detect from my answers, I’d strongly prefer the fixometer to address general repair, i.e. not just electrical/electronic repair.


at Reading Repair Cafe, the main non-electrical things are blade sharpening, Pete does everything from kitchen knives to garden shears. and Clothing we have a sewing machine bought from our donations and Gabrielle runs this section.
We also see things that while the thing is electrical the fix is mechanical.


Thanks for this Ian and Stuart and for the survey responses.

We’ve already had 10 responses to the survey from 9 different groups, which is great. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed so far! Your answers are already really informative :+1:


This survey has now closed. Thanks to the 11 people who responded :slight_smile:

We’ll be looking through your responses shortly and posting the results here soon afterwards.

If you missed this survey and would still like to contribute, please let me know ASAP!


It’s results time! :drum:
Let’s dive right in:

Survey Results: summary

11 of you completed the survey, representing 10 different groups that all repair non-electronic/electrical items. For 9 of out 10 groups, non-electrical items make up less than half of the items seen at repair events. And for 5 groups (50%), non-electronic items make up 25% or less.

Despite this, most respondents think it’s very important to be able to record non-electrical/electronic items in the Fixometer with 7 out of 11 people ranking this potential feature as 4 or 5 out of 5. Three main reasons were given for this:

  • convenience of recording everything in one place
  • useful for publicity & communication with volunteers (all repair skills matter)
  • could boost repair stats (number of items & environmental impact)

In the survey, we proposed adding a separate section to event pages for non-electrical/electronic items with the following 4 categories:

  • :couch_and_lamp: Furniture
  • :bike: Bicycle
  • :jeans: Clothes/textiles
  • :question: Misc (non-electrical/electronic item)

10 out of 11 respondents said that these categories would cover most of the non-electrical/electronic items they see at events. The following additional categories were suggested:
:teddy_bear: Toys, :hocho: Blade Sharpening, :ring: Jewellery and :hammer_and_wrench: Tools.

Finally, most respondents said it’s important for their group to be able to calculate the environmental impact of non-electrical/electronic repairs in the future even though we won’t be able to build this in the short term. However, it’s interesting to note that this was given less importance (2.9 of out 5 on average) than simply being able to record the raw data (3.8 of out 5 on average).

The full figures are below

Survey Results: the numbers

11 Responses from 10 different groups.

1. Does your group repair non-electric/electronic items at events?

11 out of 11 people answered this question

:white_check_mark: Yes: 100%

:negative_squared_cross_mark: No: 0%

2. Roughly what percentage of items seen at your repair events are non-electrical/electronic?

11 out of 11 people answered this question

Under 25% 54.5% 6 Responses representing 5 groups
25-50% 36.4% 4 Responses
50-75% 9.1% 1 Response
Over 75% 0% 0 Response

3. How important is it for your group to be able to record non-electrical/electronic items in the Fixometer?

11 out of 11 people answered this question

0 (not at all important) 0% 0 responses
1 9.1% 1 response
2 9.1% 1 response
3 18.2% 2 responses
4 27.3% 3 responses
5 (fundamentally important) 36.4% 4 responses

Average: 3.8

4. Can you say more about this?

11 out of 11 people answered this question

The three main reasons given:

  • Convenience of recording everything in one place
  • Useful for publicity & communication (all repair skills matter)
  • Could boost repair stats (number of items & environmental impact)

5. Would the following categories cover most of the non-electrical/electronic items your see at your repair events?

  • :couch_and_lamp: Furniture
  • :bike: Bicycle
  • :jeans: Clothes/textiles
  • :question: Misc (non-electrical/electronic item)

Note: We’re thinking about adding a separate section on event pages for recording non-electrical/electronic items.
11 out of 11 people answered this question

:white_check_mark: Yes 90.9% 10 Responses
:negative_squared_cross_mark: No 9.1% 1 Response

6. Which other categories be useful for you group (if any)?

7 out of 11 people answered this question

:teddy_bear: Toys 3 responses
:hocho: Blade Sharpening 2 responses
:ring: Jewellery 2 responses
:hammer_and_wrench: Tools 2 responses

7. How important is it for your group to be able to calculate the environmental impact of non-electrical/electronic repairs in the future?

Note: We won’t be able to calculate the environmental impact of non-electrical/electronic items at first. This is because we don’t have any reference data to work with (e.g. the average weight and CO2 produced in the manufacture of a pair of jeans etc.)

11 out of 11 people answered this question

0 (not important at all) 0% 0 responses
1 18.2% 2 responses
2 9.1% 1 response
3 54.5% 6 responses
4 0% 0 responses
5 (fundamentally important) 18.2% 2 responses

Average: 2.9

Next steps

Given this is an important missing feature, we’ll now work on adding non-electrical/electronic categories to the Fixometer development schedule. We’ll need your continued help during this process, so thank you to all of you who said you’d be willing to answer more questions :wink:

While researching and adding reference data to calculate the environmental impact of non-electrical/electronic repairs will remain a low priority, we will keep this in mind as a potential feature when making technical decisions about the platform.

Thanks again to everyone who completed the survey. We’ll be in touch soon :+1:

CC: @Club_de_Reparadores, @Portsmouth_Repair_Ca, @Cerys_Jones, @catherine_causley, @Marie_Lefebvre, @Peter_Ramsey, @Inez_Louwagie, @Eva_van_Velzen, @James_Diamond, @Dave, @Colin_Shaw, @Ian_Barnard, @Alistair_Brown, @Stuart_Ward, @Repair_Cafe_Glasgow, @Chris_Moller


Exceedingly late, I want to put in a plug for recording non-electronics. Fixometer output is a powerful communications tool for the local public entities, e.g., Library System and City of Berkeley. Only electronic means much goes unrecorded, and the impact of the community repair events those entities are supporting is under-reported.

Count me in for future surveys and supporting this project.


Hi all - a quick update about this…

We’re about to start work on adding categories for non-electrical items! :tada:

Before we start coding however, we just wanted to share our plans to make sure we’re not missing anything obvious at this stage.

We’re planning to add a new tab on events pages for non-electrical items. This tab will look similar to the current list for electrical devices, allowing you to add individual items with the following fields:

  • category (drop down menu: Furniture, Bicycle, Clothes/textiles, Misc)
  • description of item, problem & solution (free text field)
  • repair status (drop down menu: fixed, repairable, end of life)

As we’re not experts on this, the hope is to use the free text description field to determine what kind of info people typically record for each category of item. In the future, we could analyse this data to refine these fields.

All being well, we should be starting to code this shortly!


Thinking aloud, really: do you imagine you can design the fields to facilitate a future where it will be possible to upload a single spreadsheet with a mixture of electrical and non-electrical items - i.e. the information we collect from an event - without having to create two uploads?


Good question Ian.

@neil will correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the main reason for adding non-electrical devices in a separate tab is to simplify implementation; it’s a little simpler than adding these new categories of device to the existing interface because they have different fields. But the plan is to add non-electrical items into the same table in the main database as electrical devices.

So, in theory, I expect this would make it possible to eventually allow for a single upload combining both electrical and non-electrical items. Again, Neil may be able to clarify further.


Short version: it shouldn’t require two uploads, it possibly might require two tabs in a spreadsheet.

Also @Ian_Barnard would be really useful to know what information you currently collect on non-EEE items? Is it usually the same structure/information for furniture/clothing/bikes/toys/jewellery/knifesharpening etc? (I’ve got a feeling you may have covered this somewhere in another thread?)

Long version:

There’s a few parts to it that we need to mull over - the data capture interfaces, the display UI throughout the system related to devices, the underlying DB structure, and the statistical reporting calculations.

All of those are currently geared towards electronic/electrical devices. We have two possible approaches to incorporating non-EEE:

  • try to make unified interfaces, calculations, and DB structure across all categories of product
  • keep non-EEE separated out, at least to begin with

There’s pros and cons of both. On the surface of it the first would seem much better. But I think until we know the nuances of data collection and statistical calculations (and LCAs) for all the non-EEEs, we might spend more time creating a dynamically adapting interface (that we might then discover isn’t really fit for purpose) than if we keep the two separate to begin with and iterate on it over time. The downside of the 2nd approach is we possibly end up duplicating interfaces and data structures.

We’re keen to facilitate entering non-EEEs and just concerned that trying to get the two unified together from the beginning will delay it happening. That said it’s not set in stone yet and we might be overthinking it so discussion appreciated! It honestly feels like one of those that we won’t know the best approach until we start doing it.


@neil Well I didn’t collect much before waking up to what I needed for the foxometer (and as I haven’t yet done any data entry I may find I need more fields on the form next time). I use the same form for everything, so itemtype (e.g. radio, coat - free text field), category (electrical/furniture/mech…), brand, model, age,problem (free text ‘it doesn’t work’…), result- those sorts of things - for non-electricals these usually end up as just the itemtype, category, problem and result. I also have some other housekeeping fields but those wouldn’t be part of an upload.

I type this up into a single sheet of a spreadsheet after each event, and of course every row has the same columns empty or not - that’s why even splitting into two sheets would be more work as I want to keep my primary records on one sheet for reporting across all the items easily. Oh well, it’s only every couple of months.


Having been looking at spreadsheet upload which involves mapping the item name (‘radio’,‘coat’,‘food mixer’) to fixometer category, I don’t think you should use a single category Misc to encompass both electricals and non-electricals, i.e. make the terms different ‘Misc Electrical/electronic’ and M’isc non-electrical/electronic’.


Hi Ian, agreed! The plan is to have separate ‘Misc’ categories for electrical/electronic devices and non-electrical/electronic items :+1:


Dag Neil,

Super dat jullie bezig zijn om ook niet-electro toe te voegen aan de fixometer. :heart_eyes: :+1:Dit zal de site zeker relevanter en interessanter maken voor Repair Cafés, waar doorgaans ook fietsen, kledij en meubels gerepareerd worden.
Ik begrijp jullie overweging om de electro en andere items apart te houden in het begin.
Werken met tabbladen lijkt me ook het meest overzichtelijk.
Maar het zou wel goed zijn als je geïntegreerde statistieken kunt krijgen van je event, met de totale CO2-impact van je event (electro en non-electro). Dat is makkelijker om te delen dat verschillende statistieken. Dus als dat mogelijk is: graag!!


Hi Rosalie,

It’s great to hear you’re keen to record non-electronic/electronic items! We’ll be looking for people to help us test this when it’s ready, so we’ll keep you in mind :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback about combining impact statistics for all items. We certainly want the data to be as useful as possible for everyone, so it’s useful to hear what would work best for you.

At first, we won’t be able to add environmental impact stats for non-electronic data (CO2 etc.):

But as long as groups can record data for non-electronic items, this functionality could be added in the future and applied retroactively (or the data could be exported to another tool that does this).

Hope that makes sense!