Computer refurbishment resources

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This is a resource page for rebuilding and upgrading computers. It will start as a link farm, and get built out to include instructions and howtos for refurbishing and breathing life into old equipment.

Why old computer equipment?

Old equipment is cheap, frequently free. Some of it will be too old, but other bits will be perfectly serviceable for lower computational-intensive tasks. By gather resources here, our goal is to make it easier for you to get started on practical projects of service to you and your community.

Computer reuse rules of thumb

  1. If it's more than 15 years old, replacement and upgrade parts are hard to find. Send it to recycling.
  2. If it's less than 10 years old, it can be repurposed and the life extended for another 3 - 5 years.
  3. If it has moving parts (printers, specialty manufacturing items) inspect for wear and tear before reworking the control systems. It needs to function once you've upgraded the firmware or software
  4. Once you've converted old hardware to an open source OS or firmware, you still need to maintain the thing. If adapting for infrastructure (production) use, leave documentation for the next person.

Open source OSs

Open source operating systems (OSs) can replace Windows or Mac OSs. Your options will depend on the computational power available on the computer.


<to come>


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Tablet and notepad equivalents

  • Chromium OS for users that mostly use online resources.

Routers and Wifi

  • DD-WRT] open source firmware for routers and wifi