The table lamp, with its fizzling lightbulbs, was built like a tank and was about as attractive. Its base was so heavy that not even the cats could knock it over — and therein lay its beauty.
Reason enough for Molly Ross of Edina to set it before a group of people who know how to fix fizzling lamps and recalcitrant toasters and unpredictable boomboxes.
They’re the volunteers for a Fix-It Clinic, an effort begun last year by Hennepin County. Clinics have a three-pronged approach: One, a repaired gadget is one less gadget tossed in the trash. Two, you can learn to do your own troubleshooting and repair work. Three, you get to meet some really smart and generous people, and that’s not a wasted Saturday, even if your toaster never works again.
The effort is itself part of an international movement that began about four years ago in the Netherlands. A similar group called the Fixers Collective started in the New York borough of Brooklyn.
Here’s how they work: Bring in small appliances, electronics, mobile devices, even clothing that needs mending. Volunteers guide you through the repair process, helping you figure out where the problem may lie and the possible solutions.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.