Life in the Repair Team

Life in the Repair Team

When you turn your laptop on in the morning you expect certain things to happen - lights to glow, fans to hum, the screen to spring to action.

But anyone who's worked with computers knows that's not always the case.

If you don't see any signs of life from your laptop you're bound to get questions racing through your head. What's gone wrong? What can I do? What's happened to my data? Will I have to buy a new computer?

Natural Enthusiasm

At Stone, we have a dedicated team of repair and maintenance experts who work tirelessly to answer those questions, get machines back from the brink and get people back to work - without any panic or anxiety.

Mike Wain is an ITAD (IT Asset Disposal) Operations Supervisor at Stone and has been with the company for over ten years, and Joseph Brotherhood is an ITAD Supervisor. The ITAD team handle every aspect of our recycling and refurbishment operations, including reviving unwanted devices for sale on our Stone Refurb website.

Wain has always been passionate about computers, learning and problem-solving. Even as a painter and decorator, he'd spend plenty of free time tinkering at home and watching YouTube videos about computers. A move to Stone made sense, and he shares our belief that the "right to repair" should always be an option when people encounter IT problems.

Brotherhood studied computing at university and brings those skills to Stone. And he's not content with solving IT problems at work: he builds gaming computers using refurbished parts and is keen to live a "zero to landfill" life - just like we do at Stone.

What can go wrong?

"There's a standing joke that we ask 'have you plugged it in yet?' when a computer isn't working, said Brotherhood. "But that sometimes really is the case."

It's great when a fix is easy, but sometimes a power failure needs more than a reboot. "We often find issues where devices aren't getting power to their sockets due to faulty charging cables, and we need to rule this out early before we start additional investigations."

The repair team at Stone has a wide range of replacement parts at its disposal - so whether it's a faulty charging cable or anything else, the team can simply replace broken parts. Refurbishing a unit to get it working smoothly is always our first choice of outcome.

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Computers often suffer from overheating issues, but Stone colleagues like Wain and Brotherhood are well-placed to solve those problems - "we replace fans and sometimes install water-cooling units to ensure your machine works at its optimum levels."

That's particularly important when we repair PCs and laptops designed for high-intensity workloads that generate more heat, like CAD workstations and esports desktops.

Wain has tips for anyone who wants to prevent their devices from overheating and becoming unstable. "We recommend turning devices off rather than using standby modes, and it's a good idea to vacuum vents to remove the dust and debris that can contribute to overheating issues." 

Reliability is Key

Both Wain and Brotherhood know how the refurbishment process works at Stone, so they're positive about buying refurbished equipment themselves.

At Stone, our devices have their data erased securely with Blancco's ISO-certified erasure products, they're graded for quality, and refurbished to Microsoft-authorised standards. We'll configure them to your requirements with memory, storage, operating system and software upgrades, and devices are subjected to rigorous safety and functionality testing before leaving for their second lease of life.

"Machines are comprehensively assessed, including CPU temperature and PSU capacity tests," said Brotherhood. "It gives customers confidence and a significant saving compared to buying a new product. And it's environmentally friendly because you extend the life of a device."

Stone has had no shortage of customers for its refurbished devices, either. We collected and refurbished hundreds of laptops for a housing association called Home Group, who said that "Stone cleaned up the machines to a very high standard" and that "colleagues and customers were grateful to receive what they saw as a brand-new laptop". 

We've helped Chesterfield College Group replace hundreds of aging PCs. The organisation's Head of IT said, "having experienced the quality of Stone ApprovedĀ® kit I doubt we will ever buy new general PCs again".

Private sector customers love our refurbished devices, too - and EVO's Desktop Service Manager said that he's got "every confidence in the quality of refurbished machines" and that "working with Stone is a positive experience and I have no hesitation in recommending them to other companies."

Stone's refurbishment teams are Microsoft-certified and Stone is listed on the KCS framework for buying refurbished IT products, so public sector and education organisations can buy with confidence. And no matter who purchases from Stone Refurb, devices are protected with no-quibble warranties.

Refurbishment Rivalries

Stone's ITAD teams have experience with a wide variety of devices. "We work with almost every well-known manufacturer, including Dell, HP, Lenovo and Apple, alongside our own devices," said Brotherhood.

Wain and Brotherhood don't have favourites, but they are keenly interested in "the development of engineering" and the refurbishment team "see it as a challenge" to get devices working properly. "There's plenty of healthy competition in the department," confirmed Brotherhood.

Taking Care of Hardware

That's not to say that Wain and Brotherhood want to see an uptick in machines that need refurbishment and repair.

The colleagues agree that "you need to look after your laptop's battery, and the best way is to ensure it doesn't completely run out and doesn't always run with a full charge." They recommend keeping your battery capacity between 10% and 90% as often as possible.

"Also ensure that you properly shut down your laptop if you won't be using it for a while and put it in sleep or hibernation mode if you're going to be back working soon," says Wain.

Another tip - get the vacuum cleaner out. "Hoover vents and you'll clear any dust or debris that can gather. Too much dust causes the processor to overheat and can shorten a PC's lifespan."

Their final tip concerns displays rather than laptops and PCs. "Turn off monitors when not in use. If you don't they can develop a ghost image that remains on the screen forever - and leaving them on uses more energy."

Save the planet - and your pocket

Mikey and Joe bring Stone's circular ethos of reducing consumption and reusing equipment to their everyday lives and encourage their colleagues to do the same.

"If you're tempted to buy a new device when something goes wrong, think again," says Brotherhood. "Looking after laptops can extend their lifespan and buying a high-quality refurbished product can save you money and reduce how much e-waste you or your organisation generates."

It's an ethos that clearly resonates beyond Stone - customers have used our Stone 360 app to send 1.2 million pieces of unwanted IT to Stone, and most of those have been refurbished.

If you'd like to reduce costs and improve your environmental performance, get in touch - our education, public sector and private sector specialists are eager to help you improve your environmental impact with top-class refurbished devices.