Is there a way you can keep your electronics lasting longer, give you something fun to do (while helping you learn something new), and save you a ton of money? I think there is – fixing your own electronics.
Getting Back to Repairing Things
Back in my high school and college days, I learned how to assembly a desktop and handle basic repairs not because I was particularly savvy with technology, but because I was broke.
After I graduated and was working full-time, I found myself too tired (aka lazy) to do all those projects I had to do. Basically it was more complicated then popping the case and inserting a battery or chip, I passed on fixing it.
One reason is definitely laziness and the other reason was I was afraid of breaking it. Some devices (looking at your iPod!) are pretty much designed not to be opened by users.
As we’ve been tackling projects around the house, I’ve gain some confidence and I’ve started to do some more repairs and upgrades. I’ve helped some friends get some more life out of their laptops. It feels great and as an added bonus it saves money.
The Joys of Fixing Your Own Electronics
If you’re on the fence about getting into repairing your electronics, I want to just point out a few big benefits.
- Saves you money. Since this is a personal finance site, I’m going to start it off with the financial benefits.
- Learn a skill. With every repair, you can new skills and appreciation for how things aren’t built.
- Help the environment. The better you maintain what you buy, the less you have to consume.
- Makes you money. As you get more skilled, you may find yourself with a nice relatively easy way to earn some extra money by fixing your friend’s and neighbors’ electronics.
You also don’t have to jump into the complicated repairs and upgrades, like finances, starting with the small stuff tasks can encourage you to move to the bigger projects.
Learning to Fix Your Own Electronics
Maybe you’re excited to learn and have the perfect project to take on, but you don’t know where to start. I got that covered ! I have some suggestions on which sites can help you learn some handy new skills.
- IFixIt: I first heard about them on a CBS Sunday Morning piece. It is fantastically handy site with some of the best guides I’ve seen on some common repairs on popular devices including Apple products. It’s community based, so some guides are made by regular people like you and me.
- YouTube: This is my next stop as there is usually some video tutorial created. The quality varies, but most of the time, those who post try to get clear shots of how to preform the fixes. There was a good video on replacing the broken lens on our old flip cam.
- WikiHow: You can sometimes find some tutorials on fixing electronics, but the quality varies greatly and for some, pictures aren’t enough. Still, it can be a useful resource.
And of course, when you’re in doubt you can always google it. One note, some sites that offer the free guides make their money selling the replacement parts which is fine by me, provided the prices are competitive. So take a little bit of time to make sure you’re getting a good deal on the parts.
Most times, I’ve found really good deals and saved quite a bit since I don’t have to buy a new computer, just a new part.
Thoughts on Getting Handy with Gadgets
I’m curious – do any of you repair your own gadgets? What hobbies to you enjoy that also saves or makes you a bit of money? Where did you pick up that skill? What hobby do you wish to pick up?
Photo Credit: Janitors