One challenge that keeps many people from repairing things is figuring out how to take things apart — and get them back together when done.
Disassembling things is an important part of repair whether you are performing toaster repair, motor repair, riding lawn mower repair, washer repair, iPhone repair, computer repair, car repair, and many other consumer repairs. You’ll want to be able to reassemble an item properly whether it’s done today, tomorrow, or once you’ve found some parts a month from now. Here’s how to take things apart:
1. Find a place where you can take things apart and leave everything out for an hour or a day, if you need to stop and get additional parts.
2. Make notes on disassembly and needed parts numbers.
3. For tougher repairs or when you know it will be awhile before you can get replacement parts, use your phone camera to take photos or record videos of the disassembly process.
4. If you know you will be reassembling everything within the next couple of hours, lay the parts in a line as they come off, left to right, and reassemble right to left.
5. Use empty frozen dinner dishes, clean plastic containers, or other containers to collect parts as they are removed.
If you want to teach yourself more about how to take things apart, find something that is obviously unrepairable and disassemble it for practice. You can sometimes find unrepairable items around the house, it could be any item, this is how you learn and you might be applying what you've learnt when you least expected.
STEPS TO TAKE THINGS APART
Don’t be intimidated by what you see when you open up a device you want to repair. Most things are made of components, more than one part. And each of these components is replaceable. It’s just a matter if figuring how the thing works, which parts or components don’t work, and replacing the problem part(s). You can visit the manual or online to photos or drawing that let you see what's inside the device. That way you'll know what you are getting into.
Most parts either twist on or plug in. For example, disassembling an appliance requires twisting (unscrewing) fasteners that hold the outside body together. Once inside, you may need to unscrew or unplug other parts. Many components are plugged together, especially electrical parts. For example, a couple of wires enter one side of a plastic plug and other wires run out the other side. To disconnect the part, find a tab on the connector and lift it or apply pressure to it and carefully pull the connector apart. Install the replacement component by plugging the two halves of the connector together. Most connectors go together only one way, so it’s relatively easy.
You’ll find that many consumer items are assembled using screws, clips, or other fasteners. In fact, if you don’t find a screw or clip, the manufacturer is probably telling you there’s nothing inside that the consumer can repair and requiring you to replace it.
Some parts may be hard to remove because they are friction-fit (fit snugly) to a shaft. Don’t force friction-fit parts; they may break. Instead, use a wide-bladed screwdriver under the coupling to carefully twist and lift the coupling upward. If that doesn’t work, try heating the coupling slightly (try a hair dryer) to expand the part enough to pull it from the shaft. Or slip a pair of thin wood wedges under the coupling. Then push the wedges toward each other and lift. If none of these succeeds in separating the friction-fit part from the shaft, you may have to take the appliance to a professional, and try to see how it's done by the professional if you can.
Some manufacturers use a pressure clip to hold a product’s case together. This is the preferred assembly method for many consumer electronics such as iPhones, tablet computers and laptop computers. If you plan to do many electronic repairs, consider an electronics toolkit available at any electronic supply stores.
To disassemble, look for a notch along the seam and insert the tip of a straight screwdriver to push and turn the clip, opening the case. Make sure you unclip all of the notches and remove all screws before disassembling the body or you could break one of the small clips.
You can take things apart and even, easily reassemble them after repair if you plan out the job and take it a step at a time.
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