This is What’s In Your Toolbox?, an occasional post series where we showcase tools and tips from our favorite fixers. Today we’re featuring Krazy Ken from Computer Clan, a YouTube channel for exploring new, retro, scam, and knock-off tech.
iFixit is partnering with and sponsoring Computer Clan videos for Fixit February. All this month, post a photo of something you’ve repaired, tag it #fixitfeb on Twitter or Instagram, and you’ll be eligible for one Pro Tech Toolkit that we give away each week in February.
iFixit: First off, explain to our community who you are and what you do!
My name is (Krazy) Ken, and I have been running the Computer Clan YouTube channel since September 2007. I aim to bring some of the best tech videos to the internet: rare and retro tech, new tech, and scam tech!
Whether you’re a tech whiz, or a beginner, it doesn’t matter because I love both! My team will bring the knowledge, entertainment, and a healthy dose of shenanigans; all you need to bring is your curiosity. You’re in for a fun time!
How did you get started fixing and building things?
I began taking things apart when I was five years old, and I started using computers when I was 2-3. At that age, I had no inhibitions or motive behind doing things—I just did things! Since those two hobbies were baked into my brain at an early age, they never left, and now I’ve turned those hobbies into a business and YouTube channel.
What’s in your toolbox (or workshop)?
My toolbox certainly isn’t that big, but I do have the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit with all the bits, spudgers, the jimmy, tweezers, etc. Recently, I added iFixit’s Heavy-Duty Suction Cups to my toolbox because I needed to open a rare late 2009 iMac, and to do that, you need to pull off the magnetically-attached display glass. I also have an unusually long, unbranded piece of metal in my toolbox, but I’ll talk about that later.
Also, isopropyl alcohol is always handy for cleaning!
By the way, if you’re curious about the rare iMac, I made an episode about it here. This iMac’s serial number does not appear in Apple’s lookup tools, and it has loads of rare internal software on it. Interesting …
How do you organize your tools/devices?
Frankly, I don’t really organize them. I have them on a shelf in my studio so I can easily access them while filming, and I’m cool with admitting that, because I know other YouTube buddies do the same! My lesser-used tools sit in a box in my garage.
What are some of your most-used tools?
My most-used tool is the driver inside my Pro Tech Toolkit because it has 64 bits, and I can use it to open almost anything. Plus, the kit’s lid doubles as a screw organizer, so that’s handy, too.
Is there a certain tool or material you use often, but seems unorthodox for your field?
I have this long T15 driver that’s just loose in my toolbox; my father gave it to me when I was in high school. It’s currently not part of a kit, it doesn’t have a logo on it, it’s just there, but it’s incredibly useful. I work with retro compact Macintoshes, and to open them, you need a narrow and long T15 driver, and this thing does the trick every time. I call it my “Unofficial Macintosh Opening Tool”.
Every fixer/DIYer/device-opener has a brutal tool injury or failure story. What’s yours?
Oh man, my biggest failure story involves a Power Mac G5 that was donated to me. In the typical Krazy Ken spirit, I wanted to capture all of my first-time reactions raw on camera. Little did I know, this was a liquid-cooled system! I plugged in the system, and POP! Something blew up on the inside, and yes, it’s all on camera here!
What’s your advice for people who want to start fixing, modding, or building things?
One of the biggest tips I can give someone is to surround yourself with people who are better than you, and always be willing to be a student—no matter how much experience you have. I collaborate with other YouTube creators on projects I’m not skilled in, and I’m willing to watch them and learn from them.
Anything else you want our community of fixers to know? Feel free to pitch any new projects or content you’re working on or recently published!
My recently published episode is about this rare iMac which may have departed an Apple facility prematurely. Its serial number does not show up in Apple’s lookup tools, and it has special internal software on it! To make things more interesting, the computer spontaneously stopped working while I was testing it, so now I have to fix it, too! Here is the episode on my YouTube channel.
I’m also working on a repair/first-impressions episode about a SEALED Apple Newton. It’s been in a box for 28 years, so you can only imagine what might have happened (or leaked) on the inside.
If you want to see more rare and retro tech, new tech, and scam tech, feel free to subscribe to my Computer Clan YouTube channel. I post a new episode every Thursday.