Apropos of my article about how manufacturers don’t want you to repair complicated electronics, it’s worth noting that doesn’t stop a lot of aftermarket repair vendors. Today on my Facebook, a Baen barfly posted a link to a rather impressive 28-minute video how-to going into detail on how to open up a Kindle Fire and replace the micro-USB port, which seems to have an unfortunate tendency to detach from the circuit board with protracted use.
The video comes courtesy of, and with a link in the video description to, aftermarket repair service iRepairFast, who charges $65 for the parts and labor necessary to do the work themselves. The repair page claims there’s a do-it-yourself parts kit you can order if you want to do the repair, but the kit is no longer in evidence there.
I contacted them via their chat box, and their representative explained:
Unfortunately that repair is very complicated, so we only offer the repair itself. We do not offer the “do-it-yourself” kit. We did at one time offer the kits. However, more often than not there were complications with people attempting the repair themselves and causing additional issues with the device.
With a 30-minute video involving lots of soldering, I would believe it. And to be fair, if you’re a good enough electrician to be able to follow through, you can probably figure out for yourself what parts you would need and how to get them. (Ironically, you can even get a Kindle Fire replacement USB port housing on Amazon itself for less than $6.) Why should the repair service make their own job harder?
This does serve to show the other side of things from that article I wrote. Given how complex and complicated some of these devices are, there is a potential for damaging products by attempting to repair them—if you’re even capable of doing it at all.
And if you’re not a good enough electrician to make those repairs, what can you do? Even when aftermarket repairs are possible, the cost of the repair can be a significant fraction of the cost of a brand new device. My Facebook friend who posted the video decided that rather than spend $65 and wait however long it took for his Kindle Fire to come back, it was more convenient and economical simply to spend $99 to buy a brand new one.
Clearly, even being able to repair products ourselves isn’t always a good solution.