A battle for the right to reparation is waged in the courts. The results of it we might not see for another decade. The Caps Wiki is a project that tackles our fixability problem from the other end – by making it easy to share information with anyone who wants to fix something. Starts with [Shelby]he is strongly inspired by his experience of vintage technical repairs that he has been sharing for years on the [Tech Tangents] Youtube channel.
When repairing a device, there are many unknowns. How to disassemble it? What are the safety precautions? What spare parts should you get? A sporadic assortment of YouTube videos, iFixit pages, and forum posts can help here, but you have to dig them up and, often, meticulously search for the specific information you’re missing.
The Caps Wiki talks a lot about capacitor replacement repairs – but that’s not all. Any appliance, however modern, deserves a place on the Caps Wiki, named so only because capacitor repairs are an essential part of vintage appliance repair. You can take a few notes about something you’re fixing and have them serve as help and guidelines for newcomers. In time, this will not only become a valuable resource for quick repairs and the revival of old technology, but also a treasure trove of data points, allowing us to do research like “which brands or models of capacitors tend to disappear prematurely”. Moreover, he also talks about topics such as repair safety of mains-powered devices Where capacitor shades!
For example, this page on repairing a Toshiba T1600 discusses known issues, removal instructions, and replacement capacitors (along with other parts). So anyone with a broken T1600 now knows how to take it apart and what parts to order! Other pages may have less extensive documentation – it’s a volunteer-driven system, after all. That said, the “which capacitors needed to be replaced” documentation notes tend to be exceptionally helpful.
Crowdsourcing such a database is a gigantic goal. With thousands of devices, an ambitious project like this takes a lot of effort before it becomes part of our repair journeys – as it should. Would you be interested in helping this come true? Here’s what we think you should do.
Whenever you repair a device, whether it’s recap or fixing some other fault that others might encounter, take some notes and pictures of what you’re doing. Then visit the Caps Wiki and try their device documentation processstreamlined by [Shelby] to make it easy and painless. There’s even an eight-minute video showing you how to quickly create a page and outlining things to keep in mind!
After walking through the process, see how you can incorporate it into your repair workflow. If you have any comments on the project, the Caps.Wiki forum and the discord server are two good places to visit.
We covered Tech Tangents exploits before, for example, fixing this IBM PCjr with an ATX power supply, then designing a PCB adapter so any of us could do the same, or repurposing a specific power bank to Macbook charger for use with generic AC PSU. It’s nice to see them apply their experience to a project as important as this!
We thank [Chaos] to share this with us!