Dec 31

How hard is it to learn to repair computers and make money that way? It kinda seems like a cool thing to do, but I don't know much about it.

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Dude it DOES kind of seem like a cool thing to do. I would love to work in one of those dusty computer shops in a strip mall.

@seansg or even just buying and selling online as a side project. Is that practical?

@BenjaminIkuta How deep are you wanting to go, here? There’s “please add some RAM” and then there’s all KINDS of cursed shit.

@JohnSmithb9be Tell me more

@BenjaminIkuta So I would describe myself as professional relative to a layman but possibly with less broad exposure than a real IT tech. Some of the more cursed I’ve experienced troubleshooting:

Program X gets updated and stops working for mysterious reasons, but only on my Windows machine and my Windows emulation. Linux lets it run but poorly.

Motherboard was shit from the factory and wouldn’t work, and I didn’t have a spare motherboard to test it out. A true case of RMA and pray.

“Hey, John, you’re a tech guy, right? Can you help me set up my stream?”

Any problem where the customer is the real problem: one example from work is a guy who insists on over clocking his system and damaging it.

When building a computer, having to anxiously check PCPartpicker to confirm you’re working with compatible parts.

PCPartpicker being wrong, and worrying about the possibility.

And last but not least, one of the best tests is replace an X with an otherwise identical model of X and see if the replacement works. If it does, leave the replacement in. Why is this a problem? You probably don’t own any replacement X.

@JohnSmithb9be how about just like, buying a laptop with a broken screen, replacing the screen, and selling it?

@BenjaminIkuta If that’s all that’s wrong with it, easy peasy. If it got a nasty virus and someone threw it across the room and broke the screen, well.

Think of it like a car: it won’t start, so you change the battery. But the battery won’t charge because the trickle charger is busted. Then you drive it and find out the brakes screech. Then etc etc until you’re done fixing it, it becomes uneconomical to fix, or it grows beyond your skill level.

It’s a little easier with computers because eventually you can just say “fuck it, I’ll just part it out” and cannibalizing a computer is easier than cannibalizing a car.

@JohnSmithb9be hm, I was wondering about that. How big is the risk that you're not able to economically fix it and you end up losing money?

@BenjaminIkuta Probably pretty low, broken computers are relatively cheap. I would be more concerned about being able to sell the stuff you fix up. My understanding is that you’ll be more likely to make money fixing preexisting computers people bring to you, but maybe I’m wrong.

@JohnSmithb9be Also if you wind up reinstalling Windows, you might need to pony up for a license. Or just install Linux, but most people don’t want that.

Turn them off and turn them back on. That’s a solid 60% of the problems fixed.