Device donations

We are currently accepting devices to refurbish and donate to people who don't have a device for online learning. If you have an old desktop, laptop, or other device, please feel free to donate it to us. It doesn't have to work--no matter the conditon, we will accept it and repair it. We always format the drive and reinstall the operating system, so none of your personal data is at risk.

Make sure to back up any important data that you have on your device. We will completely and irreversibly remove any personal data that remains on the device. We are not responsible for any loss of data.

Guides, tools, and parts

iFixit is a great electronics repair company the provides repair guides, replacement parts, and toolkits (which we use). If you want to try a simple repair yourself, try taking a look at their site.

Supported device repairs

Although we have years of experience and the vast majority of devices can be repaired, some devices are unfortunately not designed to be repaired or upgraded. As such, these devices will be partially or completely unserviceable. Below is a non-exhaustive list of most devices that apply:

Laptops

    • The Framework Laptop is one of the most repairable devices we've seen as of late, and they pull it off while being as thin and elegant as any other laptop out there. We will gladly service almost any part of the device, though you could actually do so yourself with its modular design. They even have guides on how to service certain components! We strongly recommend supporting them.

    • Apple Silicon-based Macbooks are only eligible for battery, display, and trackpad replacements. We also offer thermal paste reapplications for all models, and delidding services for M1 (non-Pro, non-Max) Macbooks.

    • Retina Macbooks, Macbook Pro 13" 2016 and later, and all Touch Bar-equipped Macbooks are not eligible for RAM or storage upgrades. We can replace the battery, but since it is glued down and very hard to replace, the process may take some time to complete, and the service fee may be raised simply due to the time and amount of consumables needed to remove the battery.

    • We cannot replace the Touch Bar on Macbooks without replacing the entire palmrest and keyboard (since Apple decided to weld them together as a single unit), incurring a significantly increased part cost and service fee.

    • All models of Macbook Air and 12" Macbooks are not eligible for RAM upgrades.

    • All models of M1 Macbooks are not eligible for RAM or storage upgrades.

    • Windows laptops: Upgradeability depends on the model. If you send us the model number of your device via the repair request form under "Repairs", we can assess it for you.

      • Generally, most thick pre-2014 laptops allow CPU upgrades.

      • Almost all devices allow RAM, battery, cooling, and storage upgrades and repairs. Newer thin-and-light laptops and two-in-ones may not have easily-upgradeable RAM, though, and some devices sacrifice more in order to achieve their form factor.

      • Surface Pros 1-4 allow storage and thermal upgrades. Subsequent Surface Pro models do not have any upgradeable components.

      • Surface Book laptops are eligible for storage and thermal upgrades.

      • The Surface Laptop 3 only allows storage upgrades. Surface Laptops 1 and 2 are welded together and cannot be opened (thanks a LOT, Microsoft).

Desktops

    • Any Windows desktop in the standard "brick" form factor is almost always completely repairable.

      • OEM desktops (built by Dell, HP, etc.) may use more expensive proprietary components, which may affect repair and upgrade costs. This is especially true on post-2017 consumer desktops.

    • NUCs usually do not allow CPU/GPU upgrades. Some higher-end models do permit these upgrades. However, you can increase your GPU power by using an external GPU enclosure, though this is a bulky solution.

    • Windows devices in the "iMac" all-in-one form factor are also usually serviceable, but we will need the model number to check this on a per-model basis.

      • The Surface Studio only allows storage and thermal upgrades. Some repairs will depend on availability of components.

    • Most Intel-based iMacs allow CPU, RAM and storage upgrades as well as thermal upgrades, except 21.5" Late 2014 and Late 2015 models. "Thick" iMacs may allow MXM GPU servicing depending on the model.

    • The M1 iMac does not feature any upgradeable components.

    • The M1 Mac mini does not support memory or storage upgrades.

    • The M1 Mac Studio theoretically supports storage upgrades, though it is locked down by software.

    • The iMac Pro is not eligible for storage upgrades, since the T2 chip encrypts all data and the SSDs are proprietary. GPU upgrades are not available since it is soldered down.

    • The 2019 cheese-grater Mac Pro allows CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage upgrades, along with many other repairs. However, many of these parts are quite expensive due to Apple's pricing and the Mac Pro's workstation-grade nature.

    • The 2013 Mac Pro doesn't allow GPU upgrades since the graphics cards used inside are proprietary.

Phones

  • Fairphones 2, 3, and 4 have modular components and are far easier to repair than many other phones on the market. For most service procedures, our service fee for Fairphones 2 and up is zero, since we do not need any consumables to open the phone.

  • Folding phones are more difficult to repair due to their complex design. Our team does not yet have experience with folding phones, and we are unable to repair them at this time.

  • Most iPhone repairs are quite trivial, despite proprietary screws. The IT Club has the specialized tools needed to service iPhones. We also offer free jailbreaking services for select models, and OS reinstallation for all models.

    • iPhones X and up have a proprietary software lock built in by Apple, preventing complete functionality of some features like Face ID.

    • The Essential Phone cannot be easily repaired because opening it is significantly harder than many other phones, and the process is often destructive.

    • Replacing the headphone jack and charging port is usually possible, but it may require replacing the entire motherboard on some models (where all the expensive parts and your data are located), which can increase repair costs. We'll figure it out for you if you send us model information.

    • Replacing the motherboard on phones is usually possible. Make sure to back up all your photos and other files before sending it to us. Otherwise, your data will be lost.

    • Replacing the screen is usually feasible but this also depends on the model. This may lead to software problems on more recent Apple devices due to their opposition to third-party repair.

Consoles

    • We can fix Joy-Con drift for all Nintendo Switch consoles and official accessories for free, including the joysticks on the Switch Lite. We can also replace the console battery as well as the Joy-Con batteries. Please have us fix your drifting Joy-Cons for free instead of throwing them away! We will save you $80 per pair of Joy-Cons!

    • CPU, RAM, and GPU upgrades cannot be done on any console, since these components are soldered down.

    • Thermal upgrades can be performed on Nintendo 64 and later, PlayStation 2 and later, and any Xbox model.

    • Storage upgrades can be done on all PS3/PS4/PS5 consoles, as well as the original Xbox and Xbox 360. The Xbox One and Series X|S consoles do not officially support storage upgrades, but they are possible in the Xbox One, and we are working on an upgrade path for the Xbox Series X|S. In the meantime, the Storage Expansion slot on the back of the console is your best bet.

    • Dust and other debris can be cleaned out of any console.

    • We do not recommend having us replace APU thermal paste on the PS5, since it comes factory-applied with a high-end liquid metal thermal solution. However, we can definitely increase the memory cooling capabilities to extend the lifespan of the device.

    • The KFConsole is eligible for CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage upgrades.

Terminology

CPU: Stands for Central Processing Unit, essentially the brains of a computer. It handles general-purpose operations like web browsing, Google Docs, etc. Some models come with an integrated graphics processor, although these are weaker compared to discrete GPUs. CPUs consist of a small number of large cores (little processing units) (2-16 usually, up to 64 and up for HEDT/workstation systems) clocked at a high frequency (up to, and exceeding 5 GHz).

GPU: Graphics Processing Unit, which handles 3D and compute workloads like gaming, compute, etc. Integrated GPUs (iGPUs) can be included in the CPU. These are fine for low-power workloads but they generally aren't very powerful. Discrete GPUs (dGPUs) consume far more power, but they can also be much faster than an iGPU. GPUs consist of many small cores that may number in the thousands, at a lower frequency (usually under 3 GHz).

RAM: Stands for Random-Access Memory, and is completely different from storage. This stores short-term data that can be accessed quickly. When you turn the computer off, the RAM contents also disappear. RAM can come soldered to the board, or upgradeable as SODIMMs (laptops) or DIMMs (desktops). Adding more RAM will allow the computer to handle more things at once (like opening more browser tabs). Notably, a higher RAM frequency will improve the performance of the CPU and any iGPU.

Storage: This is where all your important files are, including the OS (Windows, MacOS, etc.). It is much slower than RAM, but it is fine for its purpose. The two types of storage are HDD and SSD. SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs, while HDDs provide much more cost-efficient storage. However, SSDs can only be written to a finite amount of times since NAND flash tends to wear out as it's written to.

Thermal paste: An often-white or gray toothpaste-like substance that fills out surface imperfections between two surfaces to improve thermal transfer. Laptops and desktops will overheat without thermal paste! The default paste that comes out of the factory with the device is usually hard, dry, and much worse than aftermarket alternatives, like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, Noctua NT-H2, and Arctic MX-5. It is sold by the gram or milliliter, and even a small tube should be enough for most devices. Replacing the thermal paste can greatly improve temperatures and extend the lifespan of a device.

Overheating: Also referred to as "thermal throttling", this is when a chip lowers its frequency (and therefore its performance) to reduce its heat output when it reaches a critical temperature. For most processors, this occurs at 100 C or lower. Every 10 C reduction in processor temperatures doubles the lifespan. Frequent overheating can lead to the early failure of a component. (Looking at you, Apple.) Furthermore, overheating can make it that a laptop with faster parts on paper is outperformed by a non-overheating laptop with slower parts.

Heatsink: A piece of copper and aluminum that increases the surface area for heat dissipation. Without one, many components like the CPU and GPU would overheat.