Philly Fixers Guild Will Teach You How To Fish

One crisp Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, the Philly Fixers Guild held its second Repair Fair. Not second annual, mind you; the first fair was held in September. People came from miles around, hauling with them basement and attic treasures that needed, well, fixing. [Fran] is one of the Guild’s volunteer fixers, and she shot some video of the event which is waiting for you after the break.

The Philly Fixers Guild aims to promote sustainability in the surrounding community by teaching interested parties to repair their possessions that might otherwise end up in a landfill. The fairs are not meant to be a drop-off repair site—attendees are expected to stay and learn about what’s wrong with their item and how it can or can’t be fixed.

The Guild is open to volunteers who are interested in teaching people how to fish, as it were. Expertise is not limited to electronics repair; guild members are just as interested in teaching people how to sew a replacement button on their winter coat or building that thing they bought at IKEA.

Nowhere near Pennsylvania? Several groups like the Philly Fixers Guild have already been established in a few larger US cities. If you’re not near any of those either (and we can sympathize), you could do worse than to start your own. If you’re part of a ‘space, creating such a guild would be a good way to spread the word about it and the gospel of DIY.

In the video, [Fran] discusses an Atari 2600’s control problem with its owner. She re-seats the 6532 RIOT chip and explains that this may or may not have solved the problem. If not, [Fran] is confident that new old stock chips are available out there on the hinterwebs. There might still be some landfill carts on ebay if the owner gets it up and running. [Fran] also fixes the controls on a Peavey amp and gets some Pink Floyd to issue forth from a previously non-functioning Zenith portable AM/FM radio that’s old enough to have a snap cover.

16 thoughts on “Philly Fixers Guild Will Teach You How To Fish

  1. People need to be taught how to sew a button? Maybe this is why some get paid more than others.

    (I agree that engineers should be paid a lot, businessmen/investors…not so much)

    1. I don’t. Most engineers that I have the “pleasure” of dealing with are not worth the paper that their degree is printed on. The technician is most times more useful.

      Plus if I hear “well, the model and my training say that it will work and fit” one more time, I am going to start punching engineers in the face categorically. Reality and the model are two different things.

      1. I totally agree ! specially in the USA their degree means sh**. See all the cornell stuff on youtube or here?! those guys get engineer degree doing stuff any 15 year old “geek” kid does..

  2. Pretty interesting idea. I’ve been amazed over the years at how completely incompetent many people are at simple repairs. There are a staggering number of things that can be fixed with very little knowledge. So instruction which is trivial to some can be very valuable to others.

    1. I find Instructibles and Wkihow are great for that kinda stuff. Between those there’s not much that pretty much anyone willing to focus for an hour or so couldn’t fix, usually with pretty standard tools.

    1. Fat chance. Only nice people appreciate niceness.

      I’m not sure if I’m alone in feeling this way, but I try to be one of these people every time I’m asked to fix anything and nobody ever listens to me. People are usually so excited about their thing working again that I guess even 10 seconds of explanation is like having to listen to Charlie Brown’s teacher. It’s usually very depressing to see the thing broken again; even more so when you’re accused of a poor repair by the same stubborn person.

      1. That is the nature of folks today. Most have their heads up their asses. I regularly repair things for the community as well. I know folks are hard up so no bench fees, just me and the multimeter, components, and the broke asshole with his 2,000 dollar Onkyo wanting 300 bux worth of time and components free. The donation bin always has 3 dollars and change in it. I do it because I like figuring things out, despite the assholes, and this way I get to mess with gear I could not afford. Oh you will get the occasional anus that feels it necessary to have a pissing contest with you while you are fixing the gear, so you turn up the heat and release some of those leads from the board ;) Another lady that thought she would get the ghetto deal by berating me got her router back that simply sent everything to meatspin. You have to take pleasure where you can find it sometimes. Humans are pretty disgusting when money and free things are involved. The kids often just run around and break things while their folks gear is getting fixed. I ended up finding that setting up a specific repair day: laptop, lamps, keyboards, stereo, cd/dvd player will make it more manageable. Now to find a shadetree auto mechanic that does the same thing….

      2. This.

        You know I’m smart/skilled/inventive/etc… enough to bring your crap to me to have it repaired, but you don’t have two craps to give about the 20 seconds it will take for me to *tell you how to make sure the failure doesn’t happen again*. You assume I possess near-magical powers, but you don’t care enough to *let me help you help yourself*. People like that shouldn’t be allowed to buy nice things in the first place. Just give your money to a charity in a 3rd world country instead of flushing it down the drain on stuff most of us can’t afford which you then just abuse or neglect.

        I’ve got to raise my rates. It ain’t worth it.

  3. We engineers tend to think fixing stuff is impossible for ‘normal people’. In most cases maybe people can’t be bothered, but I was immensly proud when a friend of mine took my advice: ‘check the plug, look for loose wires, see if anything looks burnt and if so try to replace it…’. This dude was a musician who bever really liked physics or anything, but he went out, bought a soldering iron, replaced a capacitor and ended up with a new 72 inch flatscreen for nothing. The grin on his face and his elation at having fixed something was great to see, and just like that we gained another hacker. Props to PFG for showing people how it’s done :) now let’s all go teach people how awesome what we do actually is!

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