OLPC Field Repair

466296547_46b55653ce.jpgAt last month’s incredible Teach Think Play Conference I was fortunate enough to borrow an OLPC laptop from a good friend. As usual, the tangible green machine was a Pop Star (though in this educator crowd, most were not familiar with the project), garnering interest and attention wherever it travels.

Sadly, the machine I had borrowed had some serious power issues, and I could not demo Sugar – the linux-based, free operating system developed specifically for the OLPC – to any of the attendees.

Since my employer CCNMTL is a participant in the OLPC developer program (thusfar we have only received a raw motherboard, not a complete laptop), I decided to attempt a field repair of the OLPC in the vain hope I might be able to swap boards and get the unit running again.

I discovered that the OLPC hardware (at least at this stage) is not quite as easy to disassemble as one would hope – you really need more of a clean room than a Third-World repair shop to work on this model. Still, a few iconic cues directing disassembly, like on a Thinkpad or Apple, would go a long way. Amazingly, there were no moving parts!

In any case, I visually documented the disassembly process, but I don’t think I am going to be able to put humpty dumpty back together again any time soon. I guess I owe my friend $100 (well, now $150), since that is the list price of the OLPC.

3 Responses to “OLPC Field Repair”

  1. April 20th, 2007 | 1:47 pm

    […] read full story […]

  2. May 17th, 2007 | 8:09 am

    Humpty Dumpty on a Million Unit Scale…

    Is OLPC XO easy to fix?
    While there is no official plan to provide OLPC XO post-sale spare parts or maintenance to participating countries announced by One Laptop Per Child, Nicholas Negroponte has often voiced his idea on how the Children’s Machine X…

  3. May 18th, 2007 | 8:50 am

    […] The jury is still out on whether the XO (nee OLPC) will improve on this trend. The folks at MIT have described field-repairability as a goal of their project, but some initial reports suggests that beta hardware is falling short of that. OlpcNews is reporting: The BTest-2 OLPC XO is not field-repairable by a competent techno-expert, which means that your average child in the developing world might be able to disassemble a production level X0 but would be hard pressed to repair or even reassemble a Children’s Machine. […]

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