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iFixit is building a repair database for medical equipment, and it needs your help

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A call for service manuals

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Image: iFixit

Repair specialist iFixit is building a database filled with repair information for the world’s hospital equipment in anticipation of the increased demand caused by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In particular, it’s calling for repair manuals for ventilators and BiPAP machines that can be used as ventilators. iFixit’s database can be found here, and the company is calling for people to create new device pages and upload photographs and manuals.

The reasoning behind creating the database is simple: as the novel coronavirus spreads, the experience of Italian and Chinese hospitals suggests that the world’s supply of ventilators is going to be placed under huge stress, making it essential that these can be repaired quickly if and when they break down. This equipment will be an essential part of treating anyone who develops respiratory problems as a result of COVID-19.

There are currently few sources for repair manuals online. iFixit notes that resources like Frank’s Hospital Workshop exist, but these are relatively small operations. Some manufacturers provide easy access to repair manuals on their websites, but others make them harder to find.

There are a few different parts to iFixit’s campaign beyond assembling a collection of manuals. Once it’s got a manual, the company wants to format its information to make it as easy to understand as possible. It plans to break the manuals down into guides for individual repairs, to reformat them to make them more SEO-friendly, and to translate them into other languages.

iFixit also wants to put together preventive maintenance guides so technicians can work to keep their equipment in good working order before it reaches the point of breaking down.

As well as looking for people with access to repair information, iFixit is also asking for the medical community to provide information about which ventilators are currently in use as well as which parts are most likely to break.

It’s an important and timely initiative from a company that’s usually associated with helping people fix their personal consumer electronics. If you’ve got access to any manuals that you think might be helpful for the initiative, you can upload them to iFixit directly or email the company if you’ve got a batch of manuals that would be too time-consuming to upload manually.