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.

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