Wow. Just wow.
I took a little break for a few hours this afternoon to go skiing for MLK holiday with my son and some friends. As I skidded to a stop at the lift and stared at the phone in my hand, I realized this was a new low---I had taken a work-related phone call and been talking on the phone during that entire run. Yes, while skiing down a mountain, I am planning ideas for space at the next Wireless Repair Expo to discuss board repair and microsoldering with the repair community.
My friend Judy shakes her head. I put the phone away.
A few hours later, in the parking lot, I am surprised to see that I have pages and pages of messages from my website. Probably some kind of spam I assume. I see lots of notifications from the iPad Rehab Facebook page. I click to the page, my phone jumps from the previous 438 likes, to show a new number-- 635 likes. What? How did THAT happen?
A few messages pop up from friends congratulating me on being featured in an iFixit blog article written by my favorite blogger Julia Bluff. I knew that blog had come out 10 days ago, so why all the fuss?
I glance through the emails and see an email from Julia: " Just wanted to let you know that we sent the profile we wrote on you to our mailing list of nearly 400K. So, there's a new influx of people reading it right now (and commenting)" And (it turns out) reposting the article on other tech blogs.
Board level repair of mobile devices is on a lot of people's minds. It is the natural extension of talent from general device repair. It is the next frontier in repair. Everyone wants to know---HOW do I learn how to do this? WHAT do I need to buy? WHERE do I start?
And I want to answer these questions. I LOVE that so many are inspired by my story--you're right--you CAN learn to do board-level repair. You can enhance your business and move into this space. If I can do it, you can do it too.
I have sat here at this computer for the last let's see, 4:11am minus 7pm..... answering emails. One after the other. I have responded to 150 individual emails tonight, and the list of incoming mail is still a mile long. It makes me feel defeated to recognize that I won't be able to personally answer all of them today. I appreciate that you took time to write to me, and I will get through them all. Just not tonight.
This response has been overwhelming. I am so excited to be a part of the changing face of the repair industry as we dive into board repair together to extend the lives of our mobile devices.
Most of the questions I have fielded today fall into a couple of categories, so I'd like to address them generally here.
1.) What equipment do I need? --I will answer this, but not right now. I believe the answer will be tailored for what you'd like to do. I would like to see if the equipment sellers have an interest in letting me demo some introductory systems and products so that I can make honest recommendations based on trying some systems out to help guide a newcomer to the field.
But, right now, I can tell you what I use:
My microscope is this Amscope. There are a number of good Amscopes that can be affordable. Mine does have a short working distance, and if you use a lot of hot air, you might not like it. I absolutely love it and use it, of course, every day.
My soldering station is a Hakko FM-203 with dual ports. I use the Hakko hot tweezers FM 2023, and the micropencil, Hakko FM 2032 as well as a standard Hakko iron. I use a variety of tips. I also have a Hakko FR 802 hot air station and a preheater.
My equipment was quite an investment, and it may not make sense for everyone.
In the meantime, I have asked my good friend and board repair colleague Louis Rossmann if he would write a guest blog post here to offer his personal opinion on equipment recommendations. He said absolutely, and then promptly fell asleep. You can certainly get a lot of great information on board-level repair of MacBooks from his YouTube channel
2.) How can I learn? "The internet can teach you anything" This is how I learned--join every forum, read posts constantly, buy dead boards and try to fix them. Develop an experience base one phone at a time, one problem at a time. I will try to help you. I am developing content for a cell phone and iPad board repair YouTube channel that will also address other common issues in the board repair community. Look for our first videos this week. I hope to also be able to start offering one on one training courses here in Western NY for those who are dedicated enough to make the trip.
3.) Can you fix this (insert problem here)? Maybe. If it is old water damage, then no. If it is tool damage, pry damage, missing components etc, then yes. If it is a very old device with a problem that will take hours of troubleshooting, then no. Please see our price list and mail in instructions tabs for guidance on what we do here, and how we can help.
I am very excited to see such an overwhelming response to Julia's profile, and I'm excited to have the chance to re-post some content from this blog on the iFixit site. Such great folks, I love working with those guys. I can't wait to see watch the future of board-level repair unfold!