Culture of Repair.

Jan Chipchase posted a nice article on the culture of repairing broken things (rather than just tossing them as garbage) in various Asian cities like Chengdu, Delhi, Ho Chi Minh and African ones like Kampala and Soweto:

What sets these locations apart from cities in more 'emerged' markets? Aside from the scale of what's on sale there is a thriving market for device repair services ranging from swapping out components to re-soldering circuit boards to reflashing phones in a language of your choice , naturally. Repairs are often carried out with little more than a screwdriver, a toothbrush (for cleaning contact points) the right knowledge and a flat surface to work on.

Repair manuals (which appear to be reverse engineered) are available, written in Hindi, English and Chinese and can even be subscribed to, but there is little evidence of them being actively used. Instead many of the repairers rely on informal social networks to share knowledge on common faults, and repair techniques. It's often easier to peer over the shoulder of a neighbour than open the manual itself. Delhi has the distinction of also offering a wide variety of mobile phone repair courses at training institutes such as Britco and Bridco turning out a steady flow of mobile phone repair engineers.

To round off the ecosystem wholesalers' offer all the tools required to set up and run a repair business from individual components and circuit board schematics to screwdrivers and software installers.

Link - via cityofsound

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heck, i'd love to repair things here too, if it didn't take three weeks, cost $300 and end in them telling you they can't fix it and you have to buy a new one anyway.

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I have long been an advocate of fixing something first before buying a new one. Cell phones and cameras are a big favorite of thing to have fixed as opposed to buying new ones. I understand that new innovation is driven by obsolescence of products but if a small part (like a pager motor) is all that's busted go and have it fixed. I'm glad we don't do that with cars...
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I have to agree with this. I'm by no means an environmentalist and I love the US, but it is quite disgusting how being a wealthy nation entitles US manufacturers to create non-user-servicable products. Too frequently, they'd rather you throw the whole thing away than sell you a replacement part.
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Very cool. It's hard to imagine how much stuff we waste here in the U.S. I try to be pretty good about it, but don't nearly push the kind of efficiency that seems to be required in some of the harsher social environments on this lil' rock.
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