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Repair Cafe: Don't throw that away

Original post made on Aug 12, 2013

If it ain't broke don't fix it. And if it is, well ... you should at least try to fix it.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 12, 2013, 11:02 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by Mary, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Yes! this repair shop meet is a great option for items no longer in use.

ANOTHER OPTION is the Santa Clara version of freecycle.com which is an exchange process for items (no sales allowed) "broken" or because you just don't use them anymore and want to pass them on to someone who can use the item or can fix it. Check it out online.

I've used freecycle for years and have gotten needed items for free and have passed on items I no longer wanted. It works. Everyone wins.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

It's actually www.freecycle.org
not .com

And everyone should use it.


Posted by Alex M, a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I usually try to repair stuff rather than throw it out, but at some point even working things need to be upgraded.

I have a nice Canon color inkject printer/scanner/copier that handles legal-size paper. The print head needs replacing; in spite of cleaning, it produces blank or faded spots and sometimes globs of ink unless you run it in high-quality mode. Also, it requires a parallel cable (remember those?), and there are no TWAIN drivers for the scanner after Windows XP, so we need to keep an old XP laptop on our network just to act as a printer server.

A new print head costs over $100 from Canon. But for $200 we can have a nice wireless networked multifunction printer/scanner/fax that works with all our computers, and convert that old laptop to a Linux server.

Yet, it's a nice printer and I hate to just throw it out, but it really isn't worth fixing.

Same goes for our early 2000-era Sony Trinitron 27" television. Not wide-screen or HD, works fine with a digital converter box, but it's big, bulky, and very heavy, and I doubt anyone would want it these days.

It would be nice to find a place willing to take these items and put them to good use rather than just recycle or dispose of them.


Posted by Alex M, a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Steve: How is freecycle.org any different from posting in the "free stuff" section on Craigslist? I'm looking at their site and can't really figure it out.

At least with Craigslist you can tell people "first come first served" which is discouraged by freecycle, and not have to face the situation of telling people the item is already claimed and then have the original claimant never show up.


Posted by Member, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm

There's an online community, iFixit.com, for repair manuals, tools and parts for your Apple products as well as other manufactures. There are reviews for repairability, too, through tear-downs.

Yes, you can fix your iPhone.

Users upload their repair victories.


Posted by Interested Observer, a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2013 at 3:39 am

There's an inherent flaw with FreeCycle. A friend in Reno NV recently mentioned it to me and I was curious so I looked into it. For her, it works great in Reno/Sparks because it's essentially one community with nothing else around it except for Carson City 36 miles away.

Examine this page for California FreeCycle locations Web Link

and you'll note there are 12 FreeCycle groups within about 12 miles of Mountain View. All 12 of those really should be just a single group named, perhaps, "SiliconValley" because having 12 groups so close together is a big flaw in FreeCycle's organization structure since the offers are not shared with the other immediately-local groups.


Posted by EBCinMV, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I think it's debatable whether having FreeCycle groups for smaller geographic areas is a flaw. Some people may be willing to drive 10 miles to pick something up, but others aren't. And some who use FreeCycle may be on a bike or using public transportation.


Posted by S. Austin, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

I was at the "Repair Cafe" at Hacker Dojo yesterday. I LOVED it! Those wonderful men and women who volunteered their time on Sunday, brought such joy to so many. A darling little boy, with a HUGE smile, left with his restitched stuffed animal. Another happy customer had his inside jean pocket repaired with "Thomas the Train" scrap fabric. Other customers that I saw, walked out with their repaired clocks, toasters, lamps, coffee makers, and mended rugs. Oh, yes, other kids got their their favorite toys repaired. The interactions between customers and volunteers were heartwarming. People brought baked goods, pizza, and drinks for the helpers. The "tip jar" was there for donations also. Hats off to Marv who repaired my inherited floor lamps that never worked properly!


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