New Smithsonian Article about the increasing number of Unrepairable items that fill our lives.
Once upon a time when people needed an item they made it themselves or traded something they had made or produced to someone else locally who could make the item. Everyone knew a local blacksmith who made metal item or a carpenter who made items out of wood or a seamstress who made thread and cloth and clothes.
With the advent of industrialization it became easier and eventually even more cost effective to buy a mass produced item. Industrialization and mass production has undoubtedly improved the quality of life for almost everyone in the world by making items easily available to almost anyone which were once unobtainable except by the very rich.
Cars were once a luxury item that only the rich enjoyed. Now virtually everyone has a car.
And over the decades people learned to repair and maintain what they had. Even now those able to repair their own cars are envied by those who can’t. But those days are rapidly coming to and end. Cars are becoming increasingly difficult to repair without expensive specialized equipment, computers systems and special knowledge that can’t be built by “tinkering.”
The increasing difficulty of repairing items is not simply due to their increasing complexity but also to manufacturers intentional design efforts to make them unrepairable by the consumer.
How does that relate to preparedness and survival in the long term?
Look carefully at the equipment you stockpile and store away for emergencies. If it breaks can you repair it? Would a more expensive version be repairable or would it be better to buy multiple cheaper versions just in case?
Case in point I have a couple emergency wind up type radios in my emergency supplies. But each one of them internally is a circuit board with chips on it. It is breaks there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
I also happen to have an old Zenith Transoceanic tucked away which works perfectly. Any electronic hobbyist who looks inside would recognize all of the discrete components in it; resistors, capacitors, rheostats, diodes, etc. It can be repaired with some wires, some discrete components and a soldering iron. While it is heavy and would make a commendable “blunt object” weapon it is is also in many ways much more valuable than all of the fancy emergency radios that are available since it can be repaired and repaired and kept running long after the less expensive and more capable radios have died and been discarded.
The article is well worth reading and the iFixit.com website is a good source of repair manuals to add to your collection.