14 votes

Let's get Right to Repair passed!


  1. [2]

    My name is Louis Rossmann; I run a laptop repair store, advocate for Right to Repair, and teach component level electronics repair. I have started a 501c4 nonprofit called Repair Preservation Group Action Fund which seeks to get Right to Repair legislation passed, through a direct ballot initiative. Direct ballot initiatives allow citizens to vote on legislation. This way, people - NOT politicians, decide on whether something becomes a law.

    Right to Repair is the concept that you should be able to choose who repairs the device you own. We believe you should not be stuck going back to the manufacturer or dealer because parts, chips, manuals or tools are restricted by the manufacturer. Right now, manufacturers collude with a number of companies on a regular basis to keep repair shops & end users from being able to buy parts to fix their devices, going so far as to restrict access to a battery charging IC - one of the most common chips to fail in modern consumer electronics!

    2 votes
    1. Amarok
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I shared an article about this a couple days ago. What's interesting about that article is that it's on a very conservative news outlet. It rather proves Louis' point I think - this issue is...

      I shared an article about this a couple days ago. What's interesting about that article is that it's on a very conservative news outlet. It rather proves Louis' point I think - this issue is bipartisan. I've been following him on youtube for a while, actually found him through his angry new yorker rant videos which crack me up.

      My first job was repairing laptops, around '97-'01. We never had any problems getting replacement parts for the Epson NB3/Compaq Lite-20 era, and we did warranty for Dell, HP, and Toshiba too. We had what we called bench units used for diagnosing faulty parts because back then, they were a lot easier to work on. These bench units were fully functional laptops we could have taken home (and did, when the shop closed up or the model aged out) - but they had no serial number because we built them from the spare/leftover parts.

      I was never lacking for a single part to a single laptop that ever came through that place, and they weren't being harvested from some chinese landfill because the manufacturer wouldn't sell. We were being paid directly for warranty repair by the companies, who had their own little certs for each laptop.

      The Lite-20 was like a lego toy built with six screws, the best/simplest design I've ever seen in a laptop (it was only a 386, but still). Panasonic's Toughbooks are built like this today, with all the modular bits - I love that. I want more Lego in my laptops.

      The worst mess of a laptop I ever got back in the mail was in a large ziplock bag with the note ' fell off ship onto pier '. The NB3s were a bit explode-y when hit with a sharp impact, but this one must have gone off like a grenade. Not one piece larger than my thumb was left of it. I bet that was some ship.

      I had a quota of 40 repairs a week and was usually done with them by Tuesday afternoon. We didn't go into soldering repairs very often because it just wasn't necessary - we could order the boards directly if we wanted, so we just narrowed the problem down to the part that had the failure and swapped it out.

      The bad boards all went to a chop-shop we also ordered parts from, and they'd handle the electrical repairs with their own special equipment, even send the repaired boards back to us. I just checked and that company does appear to still be in business.

      We did eventually get into retail when the older units started phasing out and that company took its repair business elsewhere. We'd pass the savings from those board repairs on to the customers. That was about the time I jumped from hardware into sysadmin at another company. I did in-house laptop repairs for that company - just because I knew how and it'd save them some scratch. I wouldn't have a second's hesitation reducing a laptop I've never even opened before into a pile of parts even today.

      My hands did thank me for stopping 40 repairs a week. It does take a toll. I think I've escaped any kind of permanent arthritis, but if I work on turning screws for a couple of hours I definitely start to feel it grinding on me.

      Just don't ask me to solder. I'll wind up in the burn unit with flux in my hair. The parts back then were huuuge compared to modern circuits, far easier to work on without a microscope even being necessary. I feel like I'd be knocking those sand-grain sized chips off modern boards every time I twitch. :P

      5 votes