Right to Repair in Europe

“People want everything to be a lot more repairable than it is now.”

While there’s still a long way to go, advocates say, European thinking on the topic appears years ahead of that in the United States.
Specifically, Europe’s new regulations demand that manufacturers of washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and displays (including televisions) make spare parts and repair documentation available to professional third-party repairers.
In 2024, this scheme is slated to evolve into one that scores the overall durability of products, repairability being one component.

Europe Champions the Right to Repair
Are other regions next?
https://spectrum.ieee.org/right-to-repair-europe

21 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Älypuhelimille tulee energiamerkintä
    https://etn.fi/index.php/13-news/12511-alypuhelimille-tulee-energiamerkinta

    Älypuhelimille ja tableteille on suunnitteilla useita uusia vaatimuksia, jotka koskevat energiatehokkuuden lisäksi kiertotaloutta. Korjattavuus, purettavuus, kestävyys ja kierrätettävyys ovat vauhdilla tulossa uusina vaatimuksina mukaan kaikkiin ekosuunnitteluasetuksiin, sillä nämä ominaisuudet ovat avainasemassa tuotteiden kiertotalouden kehittämisessä, laitteiden käyttöiän pidentämisessä ja ympäristövaikutusten pienentämisessä.

    Energiaviraston mukaan myös laitteiden materiaalitehokkuus on jatkossa otettava huomioon. Tämä tarkoittaa esimerkiksi vaatimusta suunnitella helposti korjattavia ja tehokkaasti kierrätettäviä laitteita.

    Asetuksen tarkka sisältö ei ole vielä tiedossa, mutta esiselvityksen perusteella ehdotettiin esimerkiksi, että älypuhelimien akkujen tulisi olla helposti irrotettavissa korjattavuuden parantamiseksi. Korjaukseen tarvittavien tietojen ja varaosien tulisi olla saatavilla ainakin ammattikorjaajille. Yleisimmin korjaamista vaativien osien, kuten näyttöjen tai puhelimen takaosan tulisi olla helposti korjattavissa ja/tai vaihdettavissa. Lisäksi käyttöjärjestelmäpäivitysten tulisi olla saatavilla vähintään 5 vuotta, jotta kuluttajien ei tarvitse ostaa uutta laitetta vanhentuneen käyttöjärjestelmän vuoksi.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “discretws are qlso easier to fix and alst a lifetime. non discrete amps with chips and processors not.”

    If the amplifier is built using commonly available chips, those can be changed with suitable tools usually without problems. I have changed SMD chips and ICs with through the hole pins. No problem. The chips with BGA type cases are harder to change, they need some more special tools and knowledge – I have seen how it is done on video and on live demonstration. If device uses flip chip or silicon directly bonded to circuit board you are pretty much out of luck in trying to change them (those are pretty rare in audio devices).

    If they what breaks down is some exotic hard to find chip or manufacturer specific chip (like microcontroller with company secret firmware burned in or custom chip made for the company), then you are out of luck if the manufacturer does not supply spare parts.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Repairing broken traces on a circuit board
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ref9JHUf-uw

    Broken traces are quite common, especially on vintage computers where corrosion has set in. Here are a few helpful tips for providing strong, long-lasting repairs for broken traces.

    This is pretty common during R&D. If you are doing repair you should cover with soldermask or conformal coating after a good clean to stop the oxidation/corrosion getting worse. It’s often a good idea to re-tin traces showing corrosion.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How To Find a Transistor Replacement
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtcgoWtwK6E

    Sometimes you need to replace an old transistor with a modern equivalent. Let’s figure out exactly what transistor we need for the clock circuit in the Amstrad CPC 464 while learning some interesting things about transistors along the way.

    Chapters:
    00:00 Intro
    01:11 Transistors
    04:14 Clock circuit
    06:54 Simple circuit
    09:09 Faster!
    14:16 Real signal
    16:50 Testing in board
    19:30 Amstrad circuit
    20:47 Conclusion

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pin Broke off NEC Chip. Is this fixable. Benz Key Fob Repair
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qMMsLJfUuU

    Wow, THAT is a new level! I was sitting with my mouth open: “How in the world did this repair work?” Absolute top-notch repair, great job!

    Fantastic! On top of the brilliant repair successfully completed right before our eyes no cost for donor part, just a large amount of brains mixed with flux & solder as well as some more wear on the grinding bit. Big boss has now made a small profit to go towards purchasing more awesome equipment. Absolutely brilliant!

    congratulation, this is a hardcore repair. you deserve the designation as a professional.

    Nicely done. I work a lot with forensic data recovery from vehicle components and sometime, chips damaged by corrosion (flooded cars), fire or several mechanical damages exhibit this problem. I approach it in the same way, usually there’s plenty of connectors still buried in the epoxy. Things get a little more difficult with QFN or BGA packages.

    Actually you can leave the chip in place on the PCB, and grind away the plastic until it exposes the lead-wire stub. Solder a small 4-6mm long solid copper wire to the PCB trace, and then bend&trim the other end of the wire onto the chips’ stub, and solder that. And Voila: All pins are now reconnected. (I only recommend leaded solder for making this easy repair)

    It makes sense that you can’t read the data on the chip. I assume it works the same way as the encryption key device for my banking. It can store keys, delete keys, encrypt the data you give it using a stored key, but there is no instruction you can give it to make it output the stored key. That’s what makes it a security device.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Novel rosin vapour short circuit finder
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbC6pdp3PKQ

    At first I thought this was just a gimmick to sell naughty devices on eBay, disguised as being an electronic tool. But in reality, it works really well for the suggested application.

    The idea is that a heater in a ceramic cup evaporates solid rosin, as used in solder flux, and allows you to deposit a layer of condensed droplets onto a faulty circuit board. This creates a white layer over the surface that re-melts when heated by a faulty component.

    The white powdery coating is actually a layer of tiny rosin spheres that act a bit like reflective paint to create the white colour. When it melts with heat it converts back to liquid and exposes the hot component.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Umar Shakir / The Verge:
    Samsung partners with iFixit to launch a self-repair program, offering parts, tools, and guides, coming this summer for the Galaxy S20, S21, and Tab S7 Plus — Coming this summer for the Galaxy S20, S21, and Tab S7 Plus — Today, Samsung announced a new self-repair program …

    Samsung is working on a Galaxy self-repair program with iFixit
    Coming this summer for the Galaxy S20, S21, and Tab S7 Plus
    https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/31/23004309/samsung-self-repair-service-program-ifixit-right-to-repair-galaxy?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4

    Today, Samsung announced a new self-repair program that will give Galaxy customers access to parts, tools, and guides to repair their own devices. The program is in collaboration with popular repair guides and parts website iFixit, which has worked with manufacturers such as Motorola and Steam on similar ventures. The Galaxy S20 and S21 series phones and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus are first in line for the spare parts — but not Samsung’s latest S22 family of phones.

    “We are working with Samsung to improve their repair guide and DIY parts offerings,” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens tells The Verge. The new program follows Apple’s recent change of heart in announcing a self-service program and Microsoft’s work with iFixit to manufacture Surface tools. “It is clear that manufacturers are recognizing that they need to embrace repair,” Wiens says.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Replaceable Batteries Are Coming Back To Phones If The EU Gets Its Way
    https://hackaday.com/2022/03/30/replaceable-batteries-are-coming-back-to-phones-if-the-eu-gets-its-way/

    Back in the day, just about everything that used a battery had a hatch or a hutch that you could open to pull it out and replace it if need be. Whether it was a radio, a cordless phone, or a cellphone, it was a cinch to swap out a battery.

    These days, many devices hide their batteries, deep beneath tamper-proof stickers and warnings that state there are “no user serviceable components inside.” The EU wants to change all that, though, and has voted to mandate that everything from cellphones to e-bikes must have easily replaceable batteries, with the legislation coming into effect as soon as 2024.

    Many devices, like this Philips Norelco 9700 shaver, feature in-built batteries. The company specifically advisers customers not to attempt “to open the product to
    remove or replace the built-in rechargeable
    battery.”

    Many of our appliances, and particularly our phones, rely on rechargeable lithium batteries. Since they’re rechargeable, manufacturers decided we no longer needed to replace them, and started sealing them away inside devices where they were free from the meddling fingers of the unwashed masses.

    Many reasons are commonly cited for this change in design ethos, which hit the market slowly and then all at once as smartphone manufacturers moved to premium sealed-up designs with more exotic materials. Some claim it’s to provide the customer with a cleaner, fuss-free user experience, while others cite the packaging and miniaturization benefits of a device with a permanently-installed battery. It also makes it easier to waterproof a product, a feature that has been a particularly difficult design challenge on the smartphone market.

    However, such designs come with the drawback that if the battery does fail, the device becomes useless, and is often thrown away. While one can perform surgery on modern smartphones and other devices with dead batteries, it’s a process fraught with danger for the inexperienced and can lead to damage or destruction of the device itself. And just as importantly, how do you recycle the battery if you can’t remove it?

    As part of the EU’s new battery regulations, all this is set to change. The text of these regulations is one that mandates that batteries be easily removable, replaceable, and recyclable in a wide range of devices. This includes smartphones and other typical consumer appliances, as well as batteries for “light means of transport” such as e-bikes and e-scooters.

    By January 1, 2024, these devices must be designed such that batteries can be safely removed and replaced using “basic and commonly available tools” and “without causing damage to the appliance or batteries.” Manufacturers must also provide documentation for the removal and replacement procedure. This documentation must also be provided online for the duration of a product’s expected lifetime.

    It’s a measure that could drastically change the design of all manner of technology for the EU market.

    All kinds of appliances use integrated, hidden batteries these days – everything from top-tier smartphones to action cameras and electric shavers. All of these products would have to be redesigned to allow batteries to be removed and replaced easily.

    New rules on batteries: MEPs want more environmental and social ambition
    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220304IPR24805/new-rules-on-batteries-meps-want-more-environmental-and-social-ambition

    Batteries to be more sustainable and easier to replace, including on smartphones
    Due diligence standards across the entire value chain
    More ambitious targets for waste management

    Parliament is ready to negotiate with EU governments on the final shape of the new rules governing the entire battery product life cycle, from design to end-of-life.

    During the debate on Wednesday, MEPs underlined the crucial role that batteries have in the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy and for the EU’s competitiveness and strategic autonomy. The draft legislation was adopted on Thursday with 584 votes in favour, 67 against and 40 abstentions.

    MEPs are in favour of overhauling the current legislation to take into account technological developments.

    They propose stronger requirements on sustainability, performance and labelling, including the introduction of a new category of “batteries for ‘light means of transport’ (LMT)”, such as electric scooters and bikes, and rules on a carbon footprint declaration and label. By 2024, portable batteries in appliances, such as smartphones, and batteries for LMT must be designed so that consumers and independent operators can easily and safely remove them themselves, MEPs say.

    According to the adopted position, industry should ensure that the battery value chain complies fully with human rights and due diligence obligations, thus addressing risks around the sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials, which are often concentrated in one or a few countries.

    The report also sets minimum levels of recovered cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel from waste for reuse in new batteries and more stringent collection targets for portable batteries.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    William Gallagher / AppleInsider:
    The European Parliament votes to adopt a Right to Repair proposal, adding a requirement to increase warranty periods, and make it a key EU initiative for 2022

    EU votes to back Right to Repair proposals
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/22/04/08/eu-votes-to-back-right-to-repair-proposals

    The European Union has taken a further step toward implementing Right to Repair laws, with the latest vote backing proposals regarding repairability, and adding a requirement that manufacturers increase the warranty periods.

    Proposals for Right to Repair legislation have been working through the EU’s political process since 2020, but a major element has now passed a plenary vote.

    According to Public Affairs Brussels, the European Parliament voted 509 in favor, with three against, and 13 abstentions, to adopt the European Commission’s proposal and make it an EU key initiative for 2022.

    The full proposal presented to Parliament, 79% of EU citizens think manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair devices, or replace individual parts. Some 77% would rather repair their devices than replace them.

    The proposed laws include a requirement for companies regarding “an extension of the legal guarantee beyond two years for some product categories.”

    “We believe that longer guarantee periods will provide an incentive to choose repair over replace,” Marcel Kolaja, Member of both the European Parliament and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection told press.

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2014_2019/plmrep/COMMITTEES/IMCO/DV/2022/03-16/MfR_RighttoRepair_EN.pdf

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jon Porter / The Verge:
    Google partners with iFixit to sell spare parts for devices going back to 2017′s Pixel 2, in Australia, Canada, the US, and European countries “later this year”

    Google joins Samsung in working with iFixit on a self-repair program
    https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/8/23016233/google-pixel-smartphones-ifixit-repair-program?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4

    Spare parts going back to the Pixel 2 will be available

    Google has become the latest manufacturer to partner with DIY repair specialists iFixit to offer spare parts for its devices, the search giant announced today. It’s a deal that should make it far easier for the average customer to get parts to repair their own Pixel smartphone if it breaks. Parts like batteries, displays, and cameras will be available to purchase in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and other European countries where the phones are sold. Parts will be available to purchase “later this year,” Google says.

    Spare parts will be available for an impressive range of Pixel phones, including the latest Pixel 6 devices and going all the way back to 2017’s Pixel 2. That means parts should be available for the kinds of aging phones people might actually want to repair this year

    . In contrast, Samsung’s equivalent partnership with iFixit will, at launch, only cover select devices dating back to the 2020 Galaxy S20 (though it says it plans to expand the program over time).

    Coming soon: More ways to repair your Pixel phone
    https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/sustainability/pixel-phone-repairs/

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Samsung is working on a Galaxy self-repair program with iFixit
    https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/31/23004309/samsung-self-repair-service-program-ifixit-right-to-repair-galaxy

    Coming this summer for the Galaxy S20, S21, and Tab S7 Plus

    Today, Samsung announced a new self-repair program that will give Galaxy customers access to parts, tools, and guides to repair their own devices. The program is in collaboration with popular repair guides and parts website iFixit, which has worked with manufacturers such as Motorola and Steam on similar ventures. The Galaxy S20 and S21 series phones and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus are first in line for the spare parts — but not Samsung’s latest S22 family of phones.

    “We are working with Samsung to improve their repair guide and DIY parts offerings,” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens tells The Verge. The new program follows Apple’s recent change of heart in announcing a self-service program and Microsoft’s work with iFixit to manufacture Surface tools. “It is clear that manufacturers are recognizing that they need to embrace repair,” Wiens says.

    Reply

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