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Reese loves to help people learn how to fix things, tackle new projects they might not have otherwise, and save money in the process. He’s been a tinkerer since very little, always taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and putting them back together. Reese has a degree in Computer Engineering and tends to focus on more electrical/computer repairs, but he really loves to tinker with just about anything.
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We're live, hey everyone! Welcome to this week's podcast uh this we're going to try something different, we're going to do it live and then what you can do? Oh here we go, we can see ourselves there, we go uh and then what you can do is you can shoot your questions. If you have questions for me or my guests here, rhys uh, then we'll read them here and then we'll try to answer them and then, after we're done having our conversation, then we'll do a more q, a where you guys will shoot your questions. Then we'll look at them, then we'll try as best we can to answer them, but for right now welcome to rhys he's going to be this week's podcast uh guest reese. Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself? Well, first, thanks for having me.

Oh, thank you. It's a real pleasure to be out here in california. Come by hang out with you. It's you're, the first one that is here like the person.

No, actually, we had one way back in there, but it's been maybe eight months or something been a while. It's been almost a lot of zoom, so everything's on zoom yeah and it's it's nice to have the real person in front of us here, yeah. Well, it's uh, it's my pleasure. So thanks for having me it's been um, it's been fun hanging out a little bit over lunch and getting to know you so uh.

I live in pennsylvania, so down here for california for another event, but i'm glad it worked out to stop by and see you and uh. Let's see so what about myself? You have a youtube channel yeah. I have a youtube channel, so he's a fellow youtuber um. What's the name of your channel, it's called frugal repair, frugal repair, and so, where that came from was so ever since i was a little kid i like to take things apart and figure out how they worked most of the time it was unsuccessful.

It ended up as a pile of stuff that just went into the trash, because i couldn't figure it out and um and with with you know more information out there, like the internet's been so amazing, especially youtube. You can actually look up how to fix these things, and so you know over the last 10 plus years i've been able to learn how to actually fix it, not just throw it into the trash, because i took it apart thought it was interesting and didn't know What else to do with it and so um, so i got in this habit of like asking myself a question. What uh this is. This is broken, but could i fix it yeah? I think i can rather than saying i have no idea how to do this.

This is too scary. This is to be too much beyond my ability, uh and so getting that confidence here and there, and as i did, that i learned that well, when things break no matter what it is, there's usually only one thing that breaks right: that all the parts don't break At once, there's usually one thing that breaks and if you had the knowledge to figure out what that one thing was well, then you could essentially bring that thing back from the dead, yeah and use it again, whatever whatever it may be, and that that not only Is that great financially, but it gives you a great sense of of accomplishment personally yeah and so um, then i began to see wow. This is uh. This is a a common thing that there's one thing that breaks and you can fix it.

If you had the knowledge - and so that's where the frugal repair came from, is you don't have to spend a lot of money? Yeah, you don't have to buy a new one, yeah sure. Certainly, you have to buy a new one and the repair costs are actually pretty low, too yeah, and what kind of devices that you started doing well um so because everything breaks yeah everything breaks everything. I would say that when i started getting into my more modern era of myself, of repairing things, let's put it that way that um, i don't know it was 10. 12 years ago i was uh going to mentor a guy for a summer and uh.

He didn't really have a dad her dad wasn't around very much so i was like okay, let's do some dead type stuff and i was like what's what's something that's like out of my comfort zone and certainly out of his comfort zone. We could do it together, and so i watched a youtube video where this guy pulls a tv out of the dumpster and replaces a capacitor on it and gets it working again wow, and i was like that's it. I can do that all right. Well, this is what we're going to do, and so i'm uh, you know looking at dumpsters, diving yeah or did you find tvs in the dumpster, but i uh i actually went on craigslist, and so i was like okay.

You know you know when you have the bug for something: it's like you see it everywhere and you got ta jump on it like the first first opportunity you have yeah so broken tv shows up on craigslist. I got ta, have it that's right, yeah and so um i paid a hundred and dollars for this broken tv, so not quite out of the dumpster yeah and my wife thought i was crazy. She was like what are you doing? Why? Why are you doing broken? There's a reason - and i was like i can fix this trust me - i can do it. I think i can do it.

Okay and so um. What ended up being the other guy wasn't interested. The guy was going to mentor uh. So i was on my own on this one, okay, so so that whole plan didn't work out: okay, but um.

So i was like looking out. You were invested at this point yeah i had to do it. Oh yeah totally totally had to do it and so um. You know i didn't really know where to look.

I looked online and i found a little bit of clues. Only shocked myself a couple times and learn you know you don't touch those big. You know those big round ones, don't touch those and so um. I i realized okay.

What i can do here is, i know, the problems on this board, so i can buy another one and just replace it now at that point. For me, that was a big accomplishment right, unscrewing it and doing connectors. Now, that's not a big deal but uh for anybody else. That is a big deal right and that sense of accomplishment.

When i hit that power button and the logo came up. Ah, that just felt so amazing and so um. I i'd credit that moment to this is the sort of new attitude of wait. You cross the threshold, i always say: there's a threshold the time before you know you can make things and then the time after you can make things right like create things.

For me, it was like making things, but for you it was like fixing things. Yeah yeah yeah, and so it was uh. I think that yeah, that was it that was sort of the moment of like wow. I could do this again and i could do it again and i could do with other things um.

So in the tv realm i i called up a local place near our house and uh. They sell tvs and appliances and stuff, and i was like hey, you have any broken tvs and they're like yeah man. We just put them outside by the dumpster and i say: can i have them? They say, oh sure, so i go over there and you know pick out the ones i wanted. Is that because tvs traditionally are like non-repairable, i mean now they're, repairable back in the 50s, when you had back in tubes and whole thing, but then eventually there was a line that was crossed where, like now, it's cheaper to just buy a new one or something Right, like i i mean i don't know, i guess it depends on how you look at it, because you know pretty much pretty much.

Everything is repairable right. Why would they put them out in the back in the trash? Well see, that's the thing. I don't know why and now, and that was after their technicians had looked at it wow, so they've deemed not repairable by someone already yeah. Maybe they wanted to sell some more new ones, new ones.

I don't know, i don't know yeah, i don't maybe yeah. I don't know uh, i don't know their motivations, but okay, um uh, for whatever reason they were by the dumpster, okay, they they were largely repairable like if the screen's broken you can't that's the one part on tv you can't fix. So if that was the case, you'd have to replace it with a new one yeah, but you can't really even buy screens okay, so that's that's sort of a non-starter. So if you happen to have one of those, if your screen, if your screen is broken uh, what i recommend people do is part it out, sell the boards on ebay recoup a little bit of your cost, because someone else could need that.

Yeah, oh yeah! Oh yeah yeah, so that's where i was buying my parts from was from ebay, so people were parting out their tvs and bringing life to my tvs yeah. So somebody needs that obscure part that you know that you think who's ever going to buy this. Somebody needs that somebody somewhere and so then i and then i got hooked up with this guy who was buying uh returns from walmart and sam's club, and i said hey, would you be willing to sell me some of your broken tvs, and so he was willing To do that, and so then i learned, you know each one was a new issue because they were all like random random problems. Um.

So not one thing it's like because there were different brands, different models, so you always i see, and they were all fixable uh. Did you ever get to one where like now, this is not fixable like well, i could find it. I broke some that were fixable. Okay, so you broke them beyond the point where they were fixing yeah.

Well, i'm you know i'm playing with it and you know some shock and i see smoke go up and i thought oh yeah. I just smoked. I just i just killed my investment, okay um, but uh my favorite one was when i so i bought all these broken tvs. This is sort of maybe a tangent story, but it was kind of fun.

It was the most valuable tv i had in the the whole lot. Okay, so back, i don't know how many years ago goes. This was, but it was like it was like the primo tv yeah. Someone obviously had bought it at a box, store and returned it because it didn't work and uh.

I thought okay, i'm gon na work on this one near the front end because i like to do the best one first right, so i open it up and i just start laughing i'm like no way no way. There was one connector that i guess the robot just didn't connect it in oh, and so i just click it in, and that was it well and so for those watching this, like i have a tv tvs aren't cheap. Nowadays i mean you can get like a 80 inch or 70 inch for like 300 bucks or something right that wasn't always the case like 15 years ago 15 years ago, maybe 10 years ago, maybe 12 years ago, or something i bought a 6 000 tv. Well, because it was uh whatever 72 or 70s, i don't know what size 72 feet no inches, and so i had money at that point and it was a company.

It was my company, you know they we were going to do a trade show or whatever. So i was like, i need the best tv you know, so it was in my money. It was the company's money, that's why it spent. But now here's a weird thing: this exact same tv i have at home still okay and i'm still using it now.

The spec wise it's like that's a crappy tv because it doesn't even do 4k, but you know i guess maybe it was a good investment because it would last 10 12 years or something, but back in the day. Tvs were really really expensive. So this is a thing that it was worthwhile doing i mean i guess now: it's still worthwhile fixing things because we want to be. You know, uh responsible.

When it comes to you know, consuming products right. We don't just want to throw things away or whatever. So there's many reasons why you wouldn't want to do this, but at one point like you said that was probably a very expensive tv and all you had to do was connect one connector, yeah and you're ready to go. So it was uh yeah.

That was nice because that that helped pay for all the other broken ones, and so i knew that if i could get if i did, if i wasn't successful at fixing the other ones at least i hadn't lost out, but but i learned a lot, i learned A lot from that from fixing tvs and so from there i got into computers and particularly apple products, macbooks and iphones, and seemed like every friend that i had dropped their phone yeah every once a week right. They spaced them out. Yes, so that i could fix it for them or they spilled water on their computer and yeah, or something like that. We're always messing up our electronics, right, yeah, and so before this you didn't know how to do this.

You learn by trial and error. Just by doing watching watching youtube videos and trial and error yeah. Well, that's cool! I have an engineering background, so i know some of those concepts for sure and i know how to use a multimeter yeah but uh. I didn't really know, and - and the big thing is was fear - and this is something that i feel like was a big barrier for me and i think for a lot of people and that's part of what i want to do with my channels.

Help demystify a lot of this stuff and because the information is out there, a lot of the barrier is your own fear to try to try differently yeah, and so that's what it was for me and - and i did one then did another, then another and and And i got to the point where, if i were to say to myself internally, i'm too scared to try. I have no idea how to even begin to fix this thing. Yeah i've gotten to the point where i'm like, okay yeah. Now i want to try it.

You know, because how do you learn unless you try that's right and now you have this whole internet with all the world's information at your fingertips, yeah and so no matter how secure you can look up, someone that's doing the same thing somewhere, yeah, oh yeah, yeah, Yeah, so i'd love to encourage people to you know, try something and and uh you know try to tackle that fear. If something breaks you know, why don't you think about fixing it yourself? You know i understand if you don't have time or if it doesn't make sense for whatever reason, but maybe if you have the inclination you got the time, yeah hey try to take a step out. What's the worst that could happen, it's already broken yeah yeah yeah. Exactly at least take it apart, so you see what's inside and don't don't touch the big yeah, the capacitors.

You know those are those hold energy there for long. Sometimes i think now they have uh. They have like bleed resistors and a lot of this stuff right. So that they don't do that but uh i know traditionally you you didn't want to touch the casters so yeah.

I think you're right about that. Like i see in my videos and in my channel with my audience like the the problems that people go yes, but what if it doesn't work, that's how they approach a thing. They're, like i would try the thing that you're telling me to try, but what, if it doesn't work, and i'm like what, if it does like, why should you approach something with failure in the things like what, if it doesn't what, if you were able to get It working you know, then you gain something from it right and so people do have a wall that doesn't let them and, and maybe watching one of your videos would uh would change their mindset. Maybe i uh there was one time where um so so i bought a broken.

I think it was a macbook air, okay off of craigslist. Okay and again i thought i was crazy. Yes and the guy came. He actually came to my house to drop it off.

Okay, so he handed me the macbook air with a piece of paper. He said this was taken to the the repair, the official apple store, and here was their official response on the paper yeah. Okay, so diagnostics, yeah. You know what i said.

No, it said unrepairable, that's it well, i mean that that was the main point. Okay, it was an unrepairable laptop, but it had the reasons why or they had, what else did it? No, no, it didn't say why it just it just says on repair, unrepairable. Okay, so so i i took that as a challenge. Yeah, i'm like all right, okay, so the the the professionals deemed this unrepairable, yes uh.

So, let's see if you would hack like myself, yeah exactly that's how i thought of it. Yeah um and you know how how that turned out. It was a a 10 cent resistor i soldered off soldered on a new one good as new. That's it yeah okay.

So how did you find the battery sister? Oh man, well. They're youtube videos, process of diagnostics like okay. What's the problem here, what doesn't work first, you're like what does what system doesn't work because to have a computer? You have a basic set of systems right. You have.

You know the power supply if there's no power in the entire thing. It's like. Oh, it's a power supply, that's the first thing uh, but then they they branch out right now you have the graphics card and then you have the main cpu and you got all this stuff. So, knowing a little bit of how the thing works, that eliminates like whole systems, that you can yeah yeah and so any if you've done enough electronics, you have that paradigm in mind where you can start to diagnose things into categories and then focus in on that Category so like as i'm remembering here that particular one uh it had to do with the backlight.

Ah so uh, if you could, it was just the screen that was coming on yeah, so what they would say is they'd open. It up turn it on and be like there's no screen, there's no image yeah, and so, when i open it up, i hear the chime and i'm like no, no, no so pull out my phone turn on the flashlight. If you turn your flashlight on an angle against the screen, you can see the image, then you know it's a backlight problem yeah. Why are you okay? So are you saying that the apple geniuses are not that smart they're, not the genius yeah? I don't know i.

I don't know the background. I just know that it came back. You know as unrepairable. Why would that be so that was in the main board in the main mode, okay, so they're the the reason and probably because they're trained to just replace hole, yeah more properly, and so this is.

This is a machine that has one main board right and i i guess they do have a smaller sub boards around there, but basically the most expensive one is going to be the main board which, where has the badge yeah the watch and so they're like okay. It's a 1200 computer and the board is probably 900 it's just not worth it just buy another one just put on repairable and get it the you know try to convince the customer to buy another one and then that's the easier way to go yeah. That may be what they were uh. I don't know, i don't know their motivation, but i do know like for me to to to take it from unrepairable to working was just really satisfying.

That was that was a lot of fun. Yeah like track down. The problem find the problem change it yeah. Were you able to just buy that resistor anywhere, you just looked it up.

Well, uh the schematics were online, so i was able to find out the the values for it and that is bought at a you know. Online shop and then you and then this is these are tiny. So you need some kind of special yeah. You need well, you need some magnification magnification uh, but you know this was a while ago, but i don't remember exactly what magnification i had at the time.

But you know i have a headset magnification and that can do most things um. That can help you out in a lot if you're just getting started. That's what i started with, and so i would recommend is one of those but um. You can link that in your video description, yeah magnificent, i mean i don't even have that and i should get some of those look to tell the truth, i'm one of those persons that i'm, like i'm afraid to try new things.

You know, even though i shouldn't - because i am doing things all the time right, but i guess we all draw the line somewhere right and i'm like okay, like component level yeah. Maybe i don't have the time for that, because i'm dealing so much time with this. Other thing or whatever you know, uh i'm doing things that are outside my comfort zone all the time, but i just never gone there. You know like how to repair the thing to that level to the component level right um, but i don't i mean, maybe in the future.

I i'm game for that right because why not like you know what i mean like? I know the basics of computers and you know electronic devices and stuff, but when it comes to coding and when it comes to that sort of stuff yeah, i'm i'm not that great at it. Well, i think the key that you touched on there was you're trying something new yeah you're willing to take that risk, and so i don't think it has to be in board level repair, yeah right, uh, the stuff that you were showing me back back in your Shop, that's pretty! I don't know how to do that. Stuff yeah, you know, take gears and make make a whole new thing connect to this other thing and yeah and by the way i don't know how to do that. I'm venturing into that like i might just make a thing that doesn't work or it breaks every.

You know yeah, but you're trying it, but i'm gon na try it yeah yeah. It's not gon na stop me, like the fear, is not gon na. Stop me from doing the thing, so i think maybe just the reason why i don't try. That is because my interests lie yeah in so many other senses.

So i'm like yeah that yeah that's cool, but i'm more interested in this one thing i'm gon na do so and i think that's the thing that we're trying to get across at least me right, like that's what i try to get across on my videos is Like you should try to do to hack your way into into life, like you don't just you know, you don't just take it. How people say like that, like someone's gon na tell you? No, that's, not repairable right. So what was the was that a lie, or was that or was that not a lie, but it just means that they are not willing to do the thing. Oh, i think it's me they're unwilling to do it too um.

They don't offer that type of repair. Yeah - and so i think you know, most people just have to accept it. Okay! Well, i need to buy another computer. It takes someone like you that says no, i'm gon na i'm gon na do this.

I'm gon na figure it out yeah or in that case a lot of independent repair shops can do that kind of work. Yeah. Do you watch like lewis rosman right, because he does quite a bit of those things and it's interesting to see, and he has this whole thing where the right to repair he's fighting that battle right or whatever yeah? I get a lot of my my subscribers trying to get me on board with him and fight that fight right and i'm like yeah. I believe in that fight i'm just like.

I don't know if i have anything to add to that right, but i do yeah. I'm like, i think we should have the right to repair our own stuff right, because that's the trend, that's happening, um, oh yeah, when it breaks and uh your only recourse is to buy a new one and there there is the possibility to take it. Apart find, the thing that's broken in, you know some small little thing in there and that black box, whatever it is yeah, and so if your only option is to throw it away and buy a new one. That's a good example why write to repair is important.

Yes, so it's not stealing the content, you know the person who made the thing still gets to retain all their rights, but now it doesn't end up in the trash, because now you and me and everybody else can figure out. Oh, we can fix it now. Now that we have this information to learn how to fix it, yeah secondary markets right like they should exist. I know that you know companies, they don't make money.

If i sell you a thing that i repaired or whatever it's their product, but they're no longer making money and so they're like yeah, you know, did you see veritasium's video on that why it was called why we don't have nice things? Oh no, i'm yeah! You should have not seen it is that a new one uh in the last couple of months, i think, oh maybe i haven't seen it. What was the gist of the oh just like how he he talked about a story of how there's a there's a light bulb, that's been on for like 100 years, yes, and then he talked, he talked about that whole consortium of people. That kind of, maybe just okay, i did watch it okay, yeah, where they were saying like listen. If we, if our light bulbs last forever, we can't keep selling like them.

So how about we make them? It lasts a little bit less, which was a crazy thing right. It's like conspiracy, theory stuff. You know you're the crazy if you're talking about the stuff, but there are clear examples in the world that it happens. I mean you just have to realize that corporations will try to make money.

You know and create ways of of of creating revenues that are like constant are not just one like you give you sell you the that phone right there and that's it. You never come back because you and i have a cell phone if they can make one where you can keep coming back to get a new one or maybe to add more functionality to it or whatever. Then that's a much better. It has this like time bomb in it, so that it goes off right as soon as your warranty runs out yes, plan obsolescence is a real thing right and i think uh i mean, i think, there's plenty of evidence now plenty of uh players and companies, and That are putting that into their products.

I mean this is the reason i'm in business. You know it's not all bad like, for example, it's like it's bad for the consumer, but it's great for people. Someone like me, like i'm, dealing with like trash, essentially like someone else's batteries that are no longer able to work in their own or their original devices, for whatever reason and there's a bunch of different reasons. But plant obsolescence is one of them and if you didn't process these these uh these batteries, what would happen to them? They would go into the trash or i mean a lot of them.

There's the other thing. I think that americans don't realize is that a lot of electronics do end up in the landfills like like, like, if you put like. Let's say you have this phone and you didn't want it, you broke it or you know, got water in there. Whatever you could throw this in your regular trash can and it would go into the dumpster and that truck will get it.

Not every single processing plant. For trash is, has a a system to grab this and take it. So there's a high likelihood that this thing will end up in just your local um landfill yeah, and it would be there forever, and this thing has a lot of good stuff. I mean it's got uh gold right from in the uh, all the electronics in here it's the battery has copper.

It's got nickel, it's got, but you've got you've got several years even before you get started. Thinking about that right because there's somebody else who could use a phone: oh yeah, yeah, it's even just a few years old, so mazel it's and it's cheaper to fix it yeah well yeah. But i think what i'm saying is like people. Don't realize that if you don't save this, if you don't make a secondary market right and we all just start throwing away our electronics like like a lot of us do then they end up like in the worst place ever, which is the landfill right.

It's like. That's the worst place because they're, just there forever they're gon na, be there for a hundred thousand years nobody's gon na. Do it, although i think maybe they'll start taking stuff. I think that i saw a documentary where people saying that it's actually economically feasible to dig up all that trash and then go through it again and get like metals and get like.

Oh, what are they like a plasma reactor or something that they dump it into? And i boil it down to it: no, i think it's much less complex than that. I think that what they were saying is that there's enough metals like i guess, we didn't value metals for a long time or something we were just throwing away. So they they are, there are these companies that are buying landfills that have been there. You know like 20 years ago, there was a landfill and then they covered up after it gets to a certain point right and then these companies are going and buying them, and then they're, mining, okay and they're mining.

For all these, like rare earth like metals and components and raw materials, and and some of them make a lot of money, some of them they lose. You know it's like, depending on where they are the region or whatever. So it's kind of a gamble at this point, but i think, generally speaking, there's enough value in the trash and so that that tells us that we're just throwing a lot of useful, valuable stuff in the trash and we're putting it there. So we don't create these markets or, like you know you that are showing people how to repair them me that i'm actually like getting some of this stuff buying it and then showing people how to use them and then selling them to them.

Yeah, this stuff will end up uh in the trash or seminar overseas, which is not that great either, because then we're sending a bunch of value then to china. We kind of need that here right, like i know, we're one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but we can't afford to just be sending a bunch of you know valuable stuff all over the place. Well, i mean and you're providing a service that people that really is beneficial to a lot of people, yeah yeah yeah, because you don't have to buy new things for everything, um yeah and that's a good point too yeah. The diy thing.

Do you think so? How long have you been doing this doing diy yeah diy, like at least on your channel? How long has your channel been around uh at least five years five years? Maybe maybe a little longer? Do you think the diy scene is growing uh? Well, i i think so i mean everything's growing, at least on youtube and well no for a long time, the diy thing was declining because we remember like back in the 50s, when you buy a tv, you, oh you mean like take it in like a century, Not just youtube, no, no! Just generally like as a society, oh society, oh yeah, yeah yeah, it's diy growing movement because it wasn't right in the 50s there you would you wouldn't throw away your tv just because it stopped working. You would take it to the repair shop yeah, you would think repair first yeah and you would get books and they would tell you how to there was these testers for have you ever played with vacuum tubes? No, i haven't so there's these testers, where they had all these little sockets and you would get different tubes and then you would read the numbers and you know, click a few things that then you put in there and it would light it up and it'll. Tell you like different things and you're like oh, this tube's still good, and you put it back on your tv. That's how you would okay.

So that was that's how you would fix, but there was a movement that you, the owner, could could maintenance your device. Your tv and then, if that didn't work, then then you could take it to the you know more expert yeah that had more uh knowledge and how to fix things, maybe how to change caps, how to change it. But that went away. I think for the i like in the 80s 70s started in the 70s and 80s.

Now you just throw stuff away. You know like just get a new one yeah that, unfortunately that happens, but i'm i'm hopeful that with the the the messaging right that we're we're saying of overcoming fear and the addition of all this extra knowledge, that's being put out there, that that will create more Momentum behind the repair at first or i could do this first mentality, yeah um, rather than that's for the experts. I just got to buy a new thing. I could never.

I could never. You know, dot, dot, yeah and so um. You know. I do really hope that that changes, i've heard of um repair clinics or repair cafes - i haven't been a part of one, but i've heard about them like all over the country and some other places around the world where uh.

The idea is that you get some people who know how to fix things, pull them together, and then you bring people in from the community, you advertise it and they come in with their broken. You know crockpot or whatever toaster. I don't know whatever they bring something in and then you work with them to fix it. I see so they and they like guiding yeah uh-huh a guided service yeah to fix the thing.

I think that would be very valuable because, like you said yeah, it's it's the unknown. It's the! If you someone, if you someone, could demystify the repair process, then all of a sudden you're like oh, that's it that's what you guys are doing. Okay, yeah right! It's the magic is when you don't know how people have approached a problem. You know it's like that's when you're like how yeah i don't even know how to start yeah and and it's it's it.

It gets tough when the device, or whatever thing you're going to work on, is made in such a way that it's kind of unrepairable, where you have to kind of break it open to get to it or they have. You know tons of different multi different security screws yeah, nobody has those in their house, you know they've got phillips head and that's it, and so there's some thwarting going on of two of people who go to do it but they're like oh. I can't even i don't even know what that looks like that pattern on that screw head so um and the mentality is from the corporations that you're too dumb. This is for your own safety right.

I think that's usually how it's approached like you guys. No, no! You guys are don't know how to fix this. This has to be done by a professional. Only a professional could touch this.

This is the rules. This is how they were designed someone you know, i don't know who set those rules up but but like i didn't, i didn't go to regular school when i was growing up, so those rules kind of didn't make sense to me, i'm like what do you mean, Like i don't have the right like what are you talking about? Anything can be learned like and, and i think it's like it's a thing that regular people don't have, or at least a lot of people don't have that's like no. These are only you know, fixed by the mechanic your car couldn't only mechanic could fix your car because, if not it's dangerous and it's like yes, there's danger in all the things that we're doing, but no nothing is too dangerous to not to try. I mean maybe we're you know messing around with you know: yeah.

There are plans and things that are too dangerous, but yeah that, generally speaking, it's it's um. I think it's a misnomer that it's it's just too dangerous, so i won't even take the next step into figuring. I think we've been trained for too long to think i mean think just think about driving on the street. That's dangerous! It's dangerous! That's one of the best things everybody does it right.

I always like to say eating. Tacos is the most dangerous things you do. I mean they're like how many people like in america die from obesity and oh burgers and tacos you're gon na say like they choke on the tacos. No, it's uh, you know burgers, you know it's like too many burgers will kill you eventually, it's just it's wait.

Is that because we're in california, because it's tacos, tacos yeah taco's the burger here no they're, usually just unhealthy, you know they're, greasy and they're like whatever. Just like you know, you have too many, they they're good. Have you ever seen? Tacos? No, no! Oh! We'll have to we'll have to remedy that. Yes you're in california, there's good tacos here um and that that's a problem that there's they're good for you.

I mean they're good, they taste good. So we do dangerous things like eat, tacos and drive on the car driving the car, so yeah anything else that anyone else does is dangerous right, but it's never too dangerous for someone to attempt it. All you have to do is be smart and take precautions. Well, yeah and the thing that i tell people is to use common sense and and and to go, don't go faster than you're uncomfortable with yeah and and generally speaking, you'll be fine, yeah and so uh don't try to rush things, and especially if there is maybe Some potential danger there yeah use common sense.

You can always stop. You can always ask someone for help yeah. You can take your time, but but you'll learn in the process as you go along and you do it and maybe you'll make it worse and you'll learn for the next time, but you'll still learn the best lessons you can learn. Yes, yeah yeah you'll.

Never forget that yeah uh yeah. Well, that's that's. You know you do something simple, very similar to what i'm doing and that's why i was like. Oh when you were coming, i'm like yeah.

I want to talk to you. I didn't know much about you. I've seen a couple of videos. You uh reviewed one of these units, uh the battery boxes that are coming out like the blue, eddy or the igor phone ecoflow zika flow yeah um.

What did you think about the ecoflow um? As i remember you put it through spaces right like on that video, you showed how to run it and how to run different things. Did you try differently, yeah? Well, i uh i i liked um, i mean i liked the unit i was really impressed by it, but the the in terms of making the youtube video i wanted to make it sort of as real as possible. You know for what you can do right in a youtube, video, but um, and so i had a lot of fun, just kind of pretending, hey. We got a power outage for a whole day.

What would we do and it was fun to be able to run some solar panels out? There run a big wire up to our kitchen and you know, run our deep freezer, which is downstairs, and our fridge upstairs have to cook meals for our family of seven, and you know see how the how the sun will recharge the battery. While it's running and powering those other things and then also the the downfalls to that when it got cloudy and rainy yeah, i was like oh well - maybe i won't make it well. I did make it. I made my goal and um, and so that was a lot of fun to to test that out and um, and i think it's it was a.

It was a great unit yeah. I think they're very useful and i think uh what people don't get is that we depend so much on electricity right now. Right, like you work from home right, so the power is out. What do you do? You need it yeah, you're, you're kind of stuck right.

If your kids are learning at home, you know another class requires them to be on zoom or to be looking at some website or whatever yeah. What's today's date, oh yeah uh, my if my wife was watching this, you know yeah. I told her. Oh here's, where our battery is oh okay, because there may be some scheduled power outage in our neighborhood yeah, so want to make sure that yeah, yes, so yeah it's becoming kind of common, and so that's why batteries, i think, are very that's why i'm i'm doing You know well because the batteries like i don't know like a few years ago, you didn't think much about the batteries like whatever some batteries are better.

It's like a thing that always runs out and do you think that who, who has made that more ubiquitous you think it's tesla powerwall well or is it jehu garcia? Hey? I don't know it's right: it's chicken or the egg, no uh! No. I think i think tesla's done a great thing, marketing that right, it's the most famous it's the least uh popular battery and somehow it's the most famous battery for the longest time that nobody could get one. It was just an idea. It was like a nice wall box that they made, but they couldn't even make it because they didn't have enough battery cells to put in their cars, but they have such good marketing and such good design that they made it where it's uh it's very attractive.

Right and i made a video one of my most viewed videos, it's like a diy tesla power wall. You know, and i just went and covered up some batteries together and soldered them together and put it up in a wall, and you know that project was kind of a proof of concept like i never really finished it and installed it and used it. You know i i ended up doing much more smaller, simpler systems. You know, um, you didn't end up using it, i mean no, it was.

It was like i never plugged in like a like a solar panels on top and then like an inverter and stuff. I just show people how to make the battery okay, you know, and then you can connect this to your inverter and use it, but i never used it like that. Uh and part of the problem with me has been that i don't own my own home, so i can't really show you like a full install at home, because i i can't do that at home right. I have to respect the owner of the house and you know it's like not my place right.

Also, the other big thing is like there is uh certain types of uh regulations, so if you're tying to the grid right, you have to get permits and you have to do all this other stuff and so there's always like a gray area. If you're going like doing an off-grid system, then you can you don't need permits. You can just build your own thing, but you've gone through that right, because you've installed a full solar system in your house. How was the permitting process uh? Well, i had to learn how to do it, so that was something that i had dreamed of doing was putting in solar in my house, and you know so i combine this crazy idea with this attitude of like i can do it right.

It seems so scary. It seems so like impossible. I don't know anybody, that's done this yeah, but you know, let's give it a try and my wife very forbearing and said yes, you can try this, so we um uh, you know, did the research and i said hey how about this plan and she was good With it and i bought the stuff - and i guess along the way i had to do the permitting and the um uh, i would say that it wasn't too hard, but the making of the plan set. Yes, like the architectural drawings kind of that was hard.

So so the city wants you to design the system and then submit those design uh whatever they be like the plans right and then they approve it or they say. Oh no, you need to work more on this. You have to put more strap in here or thicker wire here, or do this other stuff right. Yeah so basically has to be evaluated by a city official and then give the okay or the no okay.

So how did you know how to how to meet all the requirements for the uh? Well, okay, okay, so that was. This was a lot of work because the main thing the problem was understanding: the national electric code, okay, because most jurisdictions operate on the under the national electric code. Oh so there's a national one, there's one that i could general on, because i i think well, there's a national electric code and then your jurisdiction, and maybe it adopts what what version of of uh code they want. Yes, because i've seen youtubers make a video and they're like.

Oh, this is how i'm gon na strap the thing right here and then you see in the comments and then oh that wouldn't fly where i'm at it's like. You have to use this type of connector and this wire nut is like you're using the red ones. No, you need the purple ones. You know that sort of stuff - and it's almost like you got ta - interpret the code, some of it.

Some of it is jurisdiction. Code for you know what it works in your area and some of it's just preference, okay, um and that's not a code issue, right, red, strap or blue strapper. You know whatever yeah so um but yeah i had to. I had to figure that out.

So it was, it was a challenge, a lot of internet searching and reading and actually emailing and calling the electrical inspector like hey what about this? If i do it this way, will this work so i did pester the electrical inspector, a lot wow? Okay, he was a great guy. He was a great guy to work with um and he helped me understand. Like hey, you know that that'll work, you know this you're right mostly i'd. Do the research and then ask him if i had understood it correctly and then he was like yes, okay or no.

You need this yeah. So so that's before you, you form the the final document that you're going to submit right yeah. But i i pretty much had an idea what i was going to do because you have to you have to know sort of the sizes and some of the general concepts. So then you can make the plans.

I did some tweaks right before i submitted it. Did you start with a template or you had to start from scratch, because these are like actual drawings right? These are like well, there's online programs: okay, there's several out there, you can just google them um. It's like a starting guide and it's sort of well see. There's not much for people who want to diy, ah, okay, so what i had to do was i had to sign up as like a solar installer for one of these places.

Wait so there's quite a bit of hacking that you have to do basically and it is done, and so you know, but anybody could do it. Yeah yeah, i didn't have to prove anything. It's just. I just sign up pay the money, but that's who their software is geared towards uh, okay, so anybody could do it.

So i had to do that and then i had to learn how to do that. Software, which was a little bit. You know clunky, but got it to work uh and if you saw the video, but i i couldn't even figure out how to make one of their diagrams work out, so i just said: forget it i'm trying this so hard. I don't think it matters.

I think it just matters that you they see what you're going to do so i drew it with a pencil and paper and it worked, and this was because there's different sections right like there's like the mechanical, like constraints, like the reason why they want to know, Like your your roof layout, and your thing is because these panels can they weigh a lot once you put 40 or 50 of them, so they need to know that your roof structurally is going to be able to withstand that extra weight that you're putting in yeah They're, not the ones that uh certify it. You have to go, get that certified by somebody else by an engineer. Oh so yeah and then you hand that that approval by the the certification from the engineer to the jurisdiction, ah, okay and then, though, then there that other section or people they care about the electrical soundness of your of your system. Right yeah.

They want they care about the the weight, so they need to have the engineer sign off. They care about the electrical that it meets: uh, the national electric code uh or whatever their version of the the um. What have they adopted for their jurisdiction? I should say so, for example, i get a lot of comments on my video that i made about that that people say well, you you did it illegally, because you didn't have the fire setbacks and that's a very common um. What's the fire setback, so the fire setback, so i imagine they would have that around here.

So you have to have. Was it 24 inches or 30 inches around the perimeter of of your roof? So you can't so like in mind. I had my solar panels. Go almost up to the edge okay and in uh in our jurisdiction they didn't adopt that part of the code.

Okay, so mine was totally legal, it's legal in your area, but it would be legal in many places. Yeah. You may not be able to come right up to the edge yeah okay, but there are. There are built into the code, there's some exceptions, so you could explore those exceptions.

Ah, okay, yeah so see. That's just part of the reason why people are always asking me like: why don't you just build a finished battery thing that we could just buy from you and i'm like? Well, because a lot of this stuff requires the you know for it to be installed by an electrician and the codes are different everywhere. You know this might be illegal where you live, but might be legal in other places right, so i'm not an electrician. I don't know where, like how legal the thing is, that's for you to find out.

So that's the diy part has to it's. It's part of the thing like there. You go get in there and figure it out yeah and that's hard to tell someone, because nobody wants to hear that right. But it's reality.

You know it's like you're gon na do that you're gon na install solar in your roof, you're gon na, have to do some diy you're gon na have to do some research and talk to the local well like if you ikea, probably trained us all that you Buy the furniture you have to put it together yourself. Yes, you've just followed this. You know it doesn't even have words. It's just picture pictures yeah.

You follow these things and i'm trying to do that. But i'm trying to do it up to the line and it's hard right, because you do it up to the line where i'm gon na help you the most that i can but then there's still some extra that you're gon na have to do. As the finished thing - and so that's that's the constant battle that i that i get with my thing, um, and so this is a very helpful because yeah that's what people have to do with the diy solar system, installation and it's it's it's it's. I would say that i mean, obviously i think it's doable.

I think that, depending on your level of comfortableness getting on your roof and your level of comfortness running a drill - and you know connecting wires together that it's it's definitely very doable for most people willing to do that, those other things yeah and uh. The knowledge is out there it's out there to to help you, you know, get it done. Yeah and i'll. Tell you what the satisfaction that comes from getting that that project and when that was it's different than you know, fixing a device.

How big of a system do you? I mean it's a pretty sizable system: yeah, it's uh, 15.6, kilowatts! Okay, that's that's pretty big! So 48, solar panels, 48 solar pounds and so um. You know pulling in the driveway and looking up and thinking wow like i actually did that that's pretty crazy um and it's providing for all of our electricity. Our whole family's electricity year-round and it's it even actually genera generates something so you're net zero right now, uh yearly uh yeah yeah you're net zero. That means he's producing more electricity than he's using an entire year um.

So, even though you still use some from the from the grid at night, for example, right the surplus during the day makes up for it and so right, and so you look at you - have to look at it from an annual perspective, yeah and uh, which, which Makes sense because we have net metering in pennsylvania, i'm not sure what it is in in california. That's the other thing is that every area is different and like yeah, if you're going to get solar, you have to know how the credits work, how your electricity uh works, because some places like in pennsylvania they give you a one for one. So if i make a kilowatt i get that one. Okay, i think that's rare, i don't think that's from what i understand is not everywhere.

I think a lot of utilities are like giving you just a fraction yeah, they might give you half or something even less than that right and so in some of those places. That's where batteries start to make a whole lot more sense or i'm sure you have time of use rates here. Yes, and so that's another case where batteries - yes, we don't have those right. What's your kilowatt uh, what's your about 10 or 11 cents? Okay, that's off super off peak here.

I think it's 12 cents off peak and it's up to 50 cents yeah. You guys have pretty high electricity here right now. I think: what time is it? How much did we spend electricity on this whole thing about a thousand? You know, so it's about a thousand dollars a month in electricity that i'm paying here, because we have three of these units. Oh okay, yeah, and i meant like our little oh yeah right now.


4 thoughts on “Live Hangout With Reese of FrugalRepair.com”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars R P says:

    I wonder if you could use mirrors to increase the output of solar or extend effective daylight hours.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars R P says:

    I want a 1 or 2 size-fits-all semi DIY solar plan for a high demand area like LA county, instead of engineering a system for each application

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gregarious Antithesis says:

    Been doing this my whole life with about everything. I almost never pay anyone to fix anything. Most things are repairable.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Lovett says:

    Great discussion

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