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Restart Radio: Tech repair myths

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The greatest myth surrounding electronic repair – one that desperately needs busting – is that we can’t repair at all. Most items when they break are repairable. But there are several persistent myths about DIY quick fixes that can harm rather than help an ailing electronic item.

To kick off today’s episode, we briefly discuss two pieces of tech news that caught our attention this week. In the wake of the big release of the new iPhone release, there is speculation that the iPhone 7 may still be selling better than the newer model. And the recent resignation of Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon gets us thinking about why the story hasn’t been as ‘big’ in western news as we might expect.

The first tech repair myth to come under the magnifying glass is one that many people still recall in times of urgency, when a phone is dropped in a river, a loo, a bath, a bowl of soup… put it in rice. Lauren’s recent incident involving a Welsh river indicated that the newer Apple iPhones are surprisingly (and secretly) quite waterproof – at the price of being incredibly difficult to repair when they do break. The old ‘rice trick’ seems to be largely useless. The best thing to do is to take a phone apart and let its insides dry out completely – which is increasingly difficult to do. Most importantly, turn your phone off, and let it dry. Give it a full three days to recover. Inconvenient, maybe, but effective.

We also cover some more obscure home fixes – using ovens to reball circuit boards, or freezers to restart dead hard drives. A recurring pattern is that the technology changes, but myths persist: there was once a pretty solid logic behind the ‘Fonzarelli Fix’, or ‘percussive maintenance’ – the act of giving a gadget a good whack to get it going again. We’ve even found some audio from the Apollo 12 mission in which an Astronaut resolves his dilemma with a well-placed bang of his hammer. The trick, of course, is knowing where to hit.

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[Feature image by Flickr user Lisa Norwood]

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