Repair methodologies without experience nor expertise

Continuing the discussion from Repairers needed for London Restart Parties:

I raised this issue that instead of looking for an experienced or expert repairer, we need to familiaries with methods to find information ourselves or together in groups. Here is a #coffeepasta (copy-paste) of the information I posted in the London Restart Parties discussion:

Unfortunately the information is still not presented in a way that encourages people to repair things on their own or with friends. And often we don’t even know what to search for or what to ask.

So how about developing explorative methodologies and groupwork to ideate and figure out repair problems together without requiring experience nor expertise.

Some topics to develop methodologies:

  • how to identify a repair problem
  • how to formulate a repair question
  • names of parts
  • names of repair materials and equipment, e.g. adhesives, tools and techniques
  • finding resources online
  • putting together a list of go-to pages, sites and forums

Hi Janna!
I enjoyed reading the art of troubleshooting - I think it’s what everyone, no matter how experienced\qualified either does or should do:

One practical future I reckon is to grow software robots that use machine learning to accompany a repairer on the journey, making suggestions.
I think it’s practical to do this now and the very nature of AI means that it can only get better as it absorbs more data. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is already going on, just haven’t been able to locate it yet. Good maybe for the research to accompany our efforts here.

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A friend of mine searches Youtube for information on how to track down methods of diagnosing a fault.
It took me 40 years to gain experience, on how to plan how to fix a device and I am still learning.
There used to be night school classes at local colleges to learn this sort of thing.
Maybe its time to bring it back?

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Nice to know of someone else a long time in the tech world :slight_smile:
I spent a good while trying to move an industry towards a profession, partly so that I could truly call myself a professional; a designation with legal force in some countries.
Pretty much all my life however the emphasis has been on competence not qualifications in tech and I guess that will continue.
I suppose we’re one of the few groups that can help ‘professionalise’. When industry groups try, they can’t see the wood for the trees and tend to make steps that engender lock-in IMO. IOW they act entirely in their own commercial interests.
That’s why I think it’s important we do things like a ‘repair directory’ even though it’s fraught with difficulties. Help ‘the professionals’ differentiate themselves - it’s all about trust, really I think.
I trust this guy implicitly and there are a whole bunch of people like him on Youtube - enough to keep everyone inspired and absorbed learning by doing for a lifetime - who needs a school?
I think Youtube is the return of the night school, and repair cafés are the socialising that keeps it real and binds people together.

Thanks! I can work with this to begin to formulate learning loops. It helps to have an iterative process that is adaptive and responsive, while also being easy to entrain and internalise. Long lists can be overwhelming, but helpful when mapping out problems.

I don’t think I understand what you mean by

Unfortunately the information is still not presented in a way that encourages people to repair

What information? Whose? Where? Are you referring to anything in particular or is this a comment on the state of things on planet earth?

As others indicate, repair is a skill learned over time, with accumulated knowledge mostly gained by hands-on experience. Hence the reason we run events where people share knowledge and skills. This is the best way to learn, in a social setting.

In our Wiki, for those who do want to read, we have the following pages for beginners. Anybody is welcome to contribute.

  • How to search - Tips on how to search for useful material.
  • Resources - Good sites for fixit or disassemble guides, service manuals etc.
  • Diagnosing faults - Common processes for troubleshooting.
  • Spare parts - How to source and salvage spare parts.
  • Case Studies - Our favourite Famous Fixes in which we learned something new, or which nicely demonstrated a diagnostic or fixing principle.

We also have a Glossary - explanations of all the technical terms used in this wiki (and some more). And we have lists of Tools as well as a comprehensive page on adhesives.

Our section on Techniques, Skills and Tools covers all of the basics. And Understanding How Stuff Works (Or Doesn’t) is intended to help beginners understand some of the basic theory.

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