Bringing Old Technology Back To Life Over A Coffee

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Written By Mostafa Moradi

If you are fed up with paying out increasing amounts of cash for new gadgets and technology, there is a cheaper option.

Repair Cafes are a worldwide phenomenon where experts and users can meet up to upgrade and repair their out-dated technology.

The cafes help breathe new life into old gadgets and appliances.

Although replacing old technology with bright, new devices seems attractive, often older models will work perfectly well with a minor repair.

The added benefit is a quick fix is generally a lot cheaper than buying a new one.

In Britain alone, around 2 million tonnes of electrical gadgets are thrown out.

Fixing broken gadgets

The Repair Café was founded with the intention of reducing the waste by rejuvenating worn-out technology.

This can range from fixing mobile phones or computers to changing the wiring or fuses on table lamps and kitchen gadgets.

The Repair Café concept started in the Netherlands in 2010 and has spread worldwide, including Britain, the USA, Ireland and Australia. At the last count, more than 1,200 cafes hold regular meetings.

“The cafes are a place where anyone can take their broken gadgets to be fixed,” said a café spokesman.

“We try to match people needing help with repairs to someone experienced with technology. If something is beyond repair, we encourage them to offer the item for spare parts.”

Often, serviceable technology comes back to life with a simple fix – like replacing a fuse, resetting from a hidden button or changing some basic parts, such as the battery.

Chance to learn

Popular technology brought to cafes for repair include games consoles, mobile phones and laptops.

Besides Repair Café, other not-for-profit groups also offer a similar free service.

They include the Restart Project in London

“From toasters to mobiles, too many appliances and gadgets break and remain unfixed,” said founder Ugo Vallauri.

“But they offer a learning opportunity, a way for their owners to learn something about troubleshooting, maintenance and being smarter at the next purchase.”

One of the aims is to show people that fixing broken gadgets is not as difficult as they believe.

“Participants go through a transformation when they realise that many repairs are accessible to them. They lose their fear and begin to feel empowered to fix,” added Vallauri.