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Hugh Jeffreys: What’s In Your Toolbox?

This is What’s In Your Toolbox?, an occasional post series where we showcase tools and tips from our favorite fixers. Today’s post features Hugh Jeffreys, who fixes all manner of things on his YouTube channel. He’s a steadfast Right to Repair advocate, and wants to spread the impact of repair in reducing waste in all his fixes. He’s also eager to fix things beyond electronics, such as a 1935 Dodge. Disclosure: iFixit has partnered with Jeffreys on his content before.

First off, explain to our community who you are and what you do.

Hugh Jeffreys working on a MacBook

My name is Hugh Jeffreys. I am an 18 year old Australian who creates YouTube videos. I am a huge Right to Repair advocate. I restore unwanted e-waste like broken phones, tablets, computers and other electronics. I also customize and modify various devices to improve functionality or create unique products

Most people know me for my phone repairs, but I attempt to fix anything that is broken or in need of repair. From household appliances, home maintenance, to vintage cars. Waste is a massive issue damaging our environment. My aim is to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill and to educate people on the topic of DIY repair.

How did you get started fixing and working on phones, laptops, and other devices?

I was always interested in how things worked at a young age, so I would pull apart broken electronics I was given by my family to find out what’s on the inside. In fact, that’s how I started my YouTube channel. A lot of my very early videos show me pulling apart old computers and explaining the components inside. 

What’s in your toolbox?

Shot of Hugh Jeffreys' repair bench

I don’t really have a toolbox but rather a tool shelf, it contains:

How do you organize your tools?

I lay my tools on a shelf for easy access. I don’t want to be looking around to find a specific tool while I am working. However I am looking for a better method of organization, as my tools quickly get messed up.

What are your most-used tools?

Galaxy Note10+ with its screen removed, iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit behind it.

My most-used tool is my iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. It houses most of the tools I need for my repairs. I am always reaching for the screw drivers, spudgers, and picks.

A lot of newer smartphones are glued together and to assist with this I repurposed a cheap SMD hot air station to act as a temperature-controlled heat gun. 

I also use a JC reprogrammer to reprogram components for the devices I am working on. This helps retain full functionality after repair, which is a common issue faced with Apple phones.

A helpful product I also use is Isopropyl alcohol. It is a fantastic cleaner and can be used to remove fingerprints, adhesive residue, and dust inside and out of electronic devices. I couldn’t do without it.

Is there a certain tool you use often, but seems unorthodox for your particular field?

A toothbrush. This is my ultimate grime scrubber.

Every fixer has a gruesome injury story (or fire, explosion, spill, etc.). What’s yours?

Fortunately I haven’t had anything go catastrophically wrong, apart from getting a few shards of glass in my fingers from tablet and phone screen repairs.

Collection of devices awaiting repair at Hugh Jeffreys' shop.

What’s your advice for people who want to start fixing and working on devices (or just anything in general)?

If repair is completely new to you, the best way to learn is by practicing on something that is of less value and you care less about, before stepping up and repairing your main devices.

Having the proper good-quality tools for the job are a must. I remember one of my first repairs on an iPhone 5. While replacing the back housing, I was using cheap screwdrivers, [the kind] that come with [cheap] replacement phone parts. I spent at least 20 minutes trying to remove the standoff screws holding the logic board in place with a flathead before I was successful.

[I realized] later I could have stripped the screws and ruined the job by using cheap and incorrect screwdrivers. No matter what you are repairing, always use the right tools for the job. 

Anything else you want our community of fixers to know? Feel free to pitch any new projects or content you’re working on or have recently published!

Repair is a life skill that never goes to WASTE.

If more people decided to repair, and refused to buy devices that are designed not to be repaired, we could decrease the amount of landfill significantly. 

Some of the 26 kilograms of Apple devices Hugh Jeffreys bought to fix.

With my recent purchase of 26KG of Apple laptops in varying states of disrepair, I am really looking forward to repairing many of them. If you want to see broken devices restored to new condition, you can tune in to my YouTube channel.