Creating a Repair Guide
Which guides? ¶
The number of possible repair guides you create will vary substantially depending on the complexity of the device. For example, the iPod Nano 3rd Generation has only four guides for the entire device. In contrast, the MacBook Core Duo has more than 30 repair guides. To come up with a preliminary list of repair guides, try to determine the discrete components that exist within your device. You may be able to find a manufacturer's part list or exploded view, but if not, this may require taking your device apart.
An example list of all components inside an imaginary laptop:
- Hard Drive
- Optical Drive
- Heat Sink
- Battery Connector
- Left Speaker
- Right Speaker
- Display Assembly
In choosing from this list, look for components that people want to upgrade, or components that break and need to be replaced. For example, on the above list, the RAM, hard drive, and optical drive are potential upgrades. The battery, keyboard, and display assembly are components that potentially wear out or break. Using this insight, we can narrow the list of components down to a shorter list that includes the most useful guides:
- Hard Drive
- Optical Drive
- Display Assembly
Each guide should be a completely independent step-by-step tutorial. What? That sounds like a lot of duplicated work? You're right. That's why you can build on your existing guides by using prerequisites.
Prerequisites let you add the steps from existing guides to the beginning of your guide, so that they show up before the steps that you write. For example, in most devices you'll want to remove the battery early in the repair process. Instead of having to include a step explaining how to remove the battery at the beginning of every guide, you can write the battery removal guide once, and then select the battery guide as a prerequisite in future guides. Here's a guide for removing a MacBook battery. The battery removal guide is a prerequisite for the MacBook RAM guide. You can see that the first two steps of the MacBook RAM guide are actually the steps for removing the battery.
Click to enlarge image! Compare it to the MacBook Core Duo guides on our site.
Effective use of prerequisites can be a huge time saver, but there are potential pitfalls. You can only use prerequisites for portions of the disassembly that are sequential. Let's consider our imaginary laptop again. After researching the design of the device, we've concluded that the components can be removed in the following order:
4. Hard Drive
4. Optical Drive
4. Display Assembly
Notice that the hard drive, optical drive, and display assembly all share the same number. This means that once you've removed the first three components, you can choose to remove any of the next three. The hard drive is not a prerequisite for the optical drive because you do not have to remove the hard drive to take out the optical drive. This can get tricky to keep track of in your head, so drawing a tree diagram showing the order components are removed from your device may be helpful.
Another thing to watch out for when using prerequisites is to make sure the prerequisite guide remains generic enough to be included in several different guides. For example, a given part can often be both removed and replaced. Removal is getting the part out of the device, while replacement includes swapping it with a new part. After removal, the component might still include attached screws, cables, or brackets. If the guide is used as a prerequisite, the guide should only include the removal of the component.
If you're completely confused now, you're not alone. Perhaps a concrete example will help. On the MacBook, the optical drive guide shows how to remove the drive, along with its attached cable and brackets, from the computer. If you wanted to replace your optical drive, the optical drive replacement guide includes the details for removing the cable and brackets. You wouldn't want to use the optical drive replacement guide as a prerequisite, since there's no need to remove the cable and brackets from the drive unless you're replacing it. Prerequisites simply explain how to remove a component to enable access to other components (e.g. removing the optical drive is a prerequisite to replacing the lower case).
Creating a Guide ¶
Go here or here to start a new guide. Bookmark it for future reference, as most likely you will be creating more than one guide. You can also go to the Contribute area of our website and click the "Create a new repair guide" link at the top right corner of the page. Anytime after you create your device page, there will be a link below your device picture that says "Create a Guide for this Device," which you can use to start a new repair guide.
The Intro Page ¶
- The top of the page will ask you to Choose a guide type. Select the verb that best describes it. If you're not sure, choose 'Installing'."
- If it is not already filled in, put the name of your device in the Name your device field. Make sure your spelling and capitalization are correct. If your device page exists, then your device should show up in a drop-down menu.
- Type in the hardware component that you are replacing in this guide in the next field.
- More than 90% of repair guides will not need a custom title. Leave this box unchecked, unless the auto-generated title doesn't convey what the guide is doing. Remember, even though you are removing parts, the end goal is usually to install new ones.
- Include a short summary for your repair guide. You can even be funny if you want. A perfectly acceptable summary, for instance, would be "Replace your dying battery to bring the power back to your iPod."
- Write a short introductory paragraph for the repair that you are performing in the Introduction field. This section does not show up when you first create a guide; you must go back later and fill it in.
- At the bottom of the edit page, there will be a list of flags. Leave the auto-generated "In Progress," "User-Contributed," and "Student" flags. When your final guides are submitted, administrators and users can flag your guides for content.
- The last item before save is a box with the word "Publish" above it. Do not publish your guides. Our staff will publish each of your guides after they have been reviewed and graded.
- Once you click "Save," you will be taken to the edit page for the first step of your repair guide.
The Details Page ¶
On our guides you will see a lot of information that doesn't yet appear on your repair guide. Some of these include prerequisite guides, difficulty level, and tools. At the top right corner of the blue box on the edit page, there is a tab that says "Details." Clicking this will bring you to a new page with many important fields.
- Keep track of how long each of your repairs take. This should be the time from when you crack the device open until the last component is removed.
- Tell users how difficult your repair was. When you open the drop-down menu, there will be text to the right that gives an explanation of what each difficulty level includes. Most PC laptops, for example, would have a "Very Easy" guide to remove the battery, whereas replacing the battery in an iPod Touch would be "Very Difficult."
- We talked ad-nauseum about prerequisites in the above sections. Here is the place to list those. Simply start typing the name of the part that is being replaced in a guide you have already made that you want to use as a prerequisite. As long as your guides are for the same device, it should appear in the drop-down menu.
- Most repairs are impossible without tools. List any tool that you used in the process of making that guide. Even if a tool is only used once to remove the battery, it must be listed for all guides that use the battery guide as a prerequisite. If the tool you're using doesn't already exist in the database, see How to add create new items.
- Unless you are repairing a device that we carry replacement parts for, there is no need to fill out any parts information. For more instruction in adding parts, see How to create new items.
- Most guides can be concluded with a "To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order" message. If this is not the case (which is a rare occurrence, but it happens), then explain any additional details necessary to reassemble the device.
The Step Page ¶
Keyboard shortcuts available while editing a Guide step:
- All shortcuts can use 'ctrl' or 'alt' interchangeably
- escape: render current
- ctrl+n: render current, move to next
- ctrl+p: render current, move to previous
- ctrl+shift+n: render current, insert and move to new line below
- ctrl+shift+p: render current, insert and move to new line above
- tab: indent current
- shift + tab: dedent current
- ctrl+d: delete current
- hit 'enter' to move to the next line, or create a new line if you're at the bottom.
- if you hit enter while on an unmodified, fresh line, it'll be removed.
- So, if you're on the last line, you can hit enter twice to stop editing.
- shift-enter will behave like enter, but in reverse (going up the list of lines).