I was born to be a teacher. I get this giddy feeling inside whenever I learn something cool—and I’ll stop at nothing to share my knowledge with anyone who will listen to me. Before I started working at iFixit, I studied mathematics for education and worked as a teaching assistant in public schools. All of my teacher friends ask if I miss being in the classroom. My answer? Nope! At iFixit, I get to teach the people around the world something new every single day.
If you’re familiar with iFixit, you already know that we tear down a lot of popular electronics—from Samsung and Apple gadgets, to Google products. But our teardown team can’t tackle every device. So what about all the other cool gadgets we love and use each day? Everything breaks, and tackling a repair can be daunting if you don’t know how the device goes together. Enter Gadget Guts. Each month, I’m going to open up household devices (roombas, speakers, toys, and tools)—just to show people how they tick. My hope is that when these things break, you’ll be confident enough to fix ‘em, and maybe you’ll learn something interesting about your gizmo in the process.
This month, we kicked off the Gadget Guts series with the Amazon Echo Dot—a voice-controlled, Alexa-powered home assistant. While it appears to be a talking hockey puck, the Echo Dot is actually a few layers of plastic and metal—held together by four screws and a ribbon cable. The Echo Dot is easy to open for access to internal components. But unless a component is visibly damaged, it’s hard to tell what needs fixing. That’s where I hope Gadget Guts will come in handy.
Imagine this: You’ve been keeping your Echo Dot in the bathroom for your shower karaoke routine—and one day Alexa refuses to connect to your bluetooth speakers and wifi. Maybe you’ve seen Gadget Guts. And maybe you remember there’s a chip on the motherboard responsible for bluetooth and wireless. Maybe watching Gadget Guts gives you the know-how to open up your Echo Dot. And just maybe you spot some corrosion on the board caused by steamy showers. Clean off the corrosion with isopropyl alcohol and, hopefully, you’re good to go!
Taking electronics apart is fun—but understanding what’s inside and how it works makes you better equipped to fix your stuff when it breaks. (PS, take your electronics out of the bathroom. That’s really not a good place for most of them.)
So now, the video studio is my new classroom: instead of teaching math to middle schoolers, I’m teaching the world about electronics. Hopefully, I can boost people’s technical chops and help save the planet from e-waste in the process. You can’t get that kind of reach in a traditional classroom.
If there’s a device out there you’d like to learn more about, check out the thousands of repair guides on iFixit.com. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, comment below! We might just feature it on our next video.