IFixit Licenses Manuals Under Creative Commons

Yesterday, iFixit.com announced that they are releasing all of their manuals under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. The site has long been an abundant source of tear-down photos for hardware and has been gaining momentum as the go-to source for Apple hardware repair information. With the move to Creative Commons, the gates are open to distribute and improve upon the site’s content. There are even plans in the works to host user-submitted improvements (something akin to a wiki?) to the guides but there are not yet any details. The news also includes mention of forthcoming support for translated guides around the end of 2010.

The Hackaday crowd would rather fix things than throw them away. As iFixit moves past Apple products to a wider range of repair manuals and starts working collaboratively with users, we hope to see an explosion of detailed tips, tricks, and guides to keep our stuff working better, longer.

The ROG Ally with the second screen mod installed

Dual-Screen Mod For The ROG Ally Handheld

In our continuing coverage of the ROG Ally modding community, we would be amiss to not mention a seriously impressive mod — a dual screen project for the x86 gaming handheld by [YesItsKira]! Single screen devices can feel cramped, and this mod is a prime example of a dedicated hacker taking things into her own hands. In particular, the mechanics of this mod are done wonderfully, thanks to a custom-designed 3D printed Ally back cover.

The second screen connects through a USB-C port, held above the main screen by a sturdy printed hinge at whatever angle you want it. As a pleasant surprise, it’s also touch-enabled! The mod is fully open source and well documented — everything you need to print is published on Thingiverse, a detailed assembly guide with pictures is on GitHub, and the BOM is at the bottom of the guide.

Apart from printed parts, you only need a few things off Amazon, it’s that easy to source. Electronics-wise, this mod uses a Raspberry Pi-suited HDMI screen, wiring it up through an integrated USB-C dock; which means you can still charge your handheld while using the dual-screen solution!

Interested in modifications for your ROG Ally, but not quite ready to bolt on a second display? Check out this phenomenally documented battery upgrade from an iFixit staffer that we recently covered.

Supercon 2023: Jose Angel Torres On Building A Junkyard Secure Phone

If you ever wondered just what it takes to build a modern device like a phone, you should have come to last year’s Supercon and talked with [Jose Angel Torres]. He’s an engineer whose passion into investigating what makes modern devices tick is undeniable, and he tells us all about where his forays have led so far – discovering marvels that a Western hacker might not be aware of.

Six years ago, he has moved to China, having previously been responsible for making sure that their Chinese subcontractors would manufacture things in the right ways. Turns out, doing that while being separated by an ocean set up more than just the timezone barriers – they were communicating between different worlds.

[Jose] tells us of having learned Chinese on the spot, purely from communicating with people around him, and it’s no wonder he’s had the motivation! What he’s experienced is being at the heart of cycle of hardware life, where devices are manufactured, taken apart and rebuilt anew. Here’s how he tapped into that cycle, and where he’s heading now.

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How Wireless Charging Works And Why It’s Terrible

Wireless charging is pretty convenient, as long as the transmitter and receiver speak the same protocol. Just put the device you want to charge on the wireless charger without worrying about plugging in a cable. Yet as it turns out, the disadvantages of wireless charging may be more severe than you think, at least according to tests by iFixIt’s [Shahram Mokhtari] and colleagues. In the article the basics of wireless charging are covered, as well as why wireless charging wastes a lot more power even when not charging, and why it may damage your device’s battery faster than wired charging.

The inefficiency comes mostly from the extra steps needed to create the alternating current (AC) with wireless coupling between the coils, and the conversion back to DC. Yet it is compounded by the issue of misaligned coils, which further introduce inefficiencies. Though various protocols seek to fix this (Qi2 and Apple’s MagSafe) using alignment magnets, these manage to lose 59% of the power drawn from the mains due to these inefficiencies. Wireless chargers also are forced to stay active, polling for a new device to charge, which keeps a MagSafe charger sucking up 0.2 W in standby.

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The mod as installed into the handheld, complete with the custom 3D-printed back, with a screwdriver being used to install one of the screws

A ROG Ally Battery Mod You Ought To Try

Today’s hack is an unexpected but appreciated contribution from members of the iFixit crew, published by [Shahram Mokhtari]. This is an ROG Ally Asus-produced handheld gaming console mod that has you upgrade the battery to an aftermarket battery from an Asus laptop to double your battery life (40 Wh to 88 Wh).

There are two main things you need to do: replace the back cover with a 3D printed version that accommodates the new battery, and move the battery wires into the shell of an old connector. No soldering or crimping needed — just take the wires out of the old connector, one by one, and put them into a new connector. Once that is done and you reassemble your handheld, everything just works; the battery is recognized by the OS, can be charged, runs the handheld wonderfully all the same, and the only downside is that your ROG Ally becomes a bit thicker.

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How Do You Make A Repairable E-Reader

Mobile devices have become notorious for their unrepairability, with glued-together parts and impossible-to-reach connectors. So it’s refreshing to see something new in that field from the e-book reader brand Kobo in the form of a partnership with iFixit to ensure that their new reader line can be fixed.

Naturally, we welcome any such move, not least because it disproves the notion that portable devices are impossible to make with repairability in mind. However, the linked article is especially interesting because it includes a picture of a reader, and its cover has been removed. We’re unsure whether or not this is one of the new ones, but it’s still worth looking at it with reparability eyes. Just what have they done to make it easier to repair?

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You Should Be Allowed To Fix McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines, Say Federal Regulators

Editors Note: According to our infallible record keeping, this is the 50,000th post published on Hackaday! We weren’t sure this was the kind of milestone that required any drawn out navel-gazing on our part, but it does seem significant enough to point out. We didn’t pick any specific post to go out in this slot, but the fact that it ended up being a story about the right to repair ice cream machines seems suitably hacky for the occasion.

The McDonald’s ice cream machine is one of the great marvels of the modern world. It’s a key part of our heavily-mechanized industrial economy, and it’s also known for breaking down as often as an old Italian automobile. It’s apparently illegal to repair the machines unless you’re doing so with the authority of Taylor, the manufacturer. However, as reported by The Verge, The FTC and DOJ may soon have something to say about that.

Things are coming to a head as the Copyright Office contemplates whether to carve out new exemptions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The legislation is widely reviled by many for making it illegal to circumvent copy protection, an act that is often required to maintain or repair certain equipment. As a result customers are often locked into paying the original manufacturer to fix things for them.

Both the FTC and DOJ have have filed a comment with the Copyright Office on the matter. The language will warm the cockles of your heart if you’re backing the right-to-repair movement.

Changes in technology and the more prevalent use of software have created fresh opportunities for manufacturers to limit Americans’ ability to repair their own products. Manufacturers of software-enabled devices and vehicles frequently use a range of restrictive practices to cut off the ability to do a “DIY” or third-party repair, such as limiting the availability of parts and tools, imposing software “locks,” such as TPMs, on equipment that prevent thirdparty repairers from accessing the product, imposing restrictions on warranties, and using product designs that make independent repairs less available.

The agencies want new exceptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA to allow repair of “industrial and commercial equipment.” That would make it legal to tinker with McDonald’s ice cream machines, whoever you are. The hope is this would occur along with a renewal of exceptions for “computer programs that control devices designed primarily for use by consumers and computer programs that control motorized land vehicles, marine vessels, and mechanized agricultural vehicles.”

Brush up on the finer details of icecreamgate in our previous coverage. This could be a grand time for change. Enough is enough— McDonald’s ice cream machines have been down for too long! Video after the break.

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