iTronix Labs started as a business in the Kung Flu Pandemic Plague of 2020. It actually started (in a way) a long time ago, in a far away galaxy…. Let me ‘splain.
The year was 1983. I fell in love with a cool, expensive toy called the Apple ][. Jobs and Wozniak started it in a garage. The first ones were sold as a kit. Mine was fancy, I had a 5.25” floppy drive, and a green monitor.
There wasn’t much software back then. I think I had a game called Apple Trek which was written in Apple BASIC. I taught myself how to program in Apple BASIC so I could write some software… probably games.
I like to say I had an opportunity to join Apple back in the early days in Cupertino. I was invited to come out to California for an interview for a tech support position. But… I had a girlfriend, and didn’t really want to leave Texas, and that same summer I applied for the Amarillo Police academy.
I was hired, and began my police career that would span several decades. I continued to tinker with Apple products, and got heavily into the Macintosh luggable computers. The graphical interface, and the gadget they called a ‘mouse’ was really amazing.
The early macs had a serious design flaw with the power supply. Some of the capacitors in the power supply would blow when they got hot, and a lot of people were frustrated with dead Macintosh computers. I had a side job repairing those power supplies with some Chinese capacitors that were tougher and more heat resistant than the ones Apple was using.
I’m not sure when it happened…. but at some point, Apple sort of sold out to the Corporate mindset (probably around the time that the board of directors fired the founder Steve Jobs) and Apple’s attitude toward customers continued to spiral downhill. I left the Apple flock behind, bought a Windows computer, and never looked back. I didn’t abandon Apple… They stopped giving a shit about me.
Fast forward to 2019. I had just officially retired from law enforcement. I saw a story on FB that moved me. A woman went on her honeymoon in Europe, and during that time, took over a thousand pictures with her iPhone 6. These were precious memories of her honeymoon. For some reason (travel related maybe) the pictures were not being uploaded and backed up to the Apple “cloud”. On the last day of her honeymoon, she dropped her phone into a river. She was able to get the phone out of the water, but it was dead. Shorted out by the river water.
Taking the iphone to an Apple store, (actually several Apple stores I think) they told her that because of the water damage, she would have to purchase a new phone. That didn’t bother her, but what about the pictures in her phone? Her honeymoon pictures? Apple said… “so sorry…. but you’ll just have to buy a new phone. The images cannot be retrieved” She was mad. I was mad just reading the story.
She eventually found Jessa Jones on the internet. Jessa owns iPad Rehab, a repair company that repairs electronic devices at the board level. I watched the story on Youtube, and Jessa found the corroded chips on the iPhone’s mother board, replaced the damaged chips using micro soldering techniques (soldering under a microscope) and was able to power the phone up, and back up the lost images to a flash drive. Happy story.
On a side note, Apple did not like the negative publicity that this story, and many others like it, and have attempted to block and ban people like Jessa from getting this story out, and spreading the word that these Apple devices CAN be repaired.I wasn’t real happy being retired. I wanted a new challenge. I began to teach myself micro soldering techniques, and applying the diagnostic techniques I learned a long time ago on computer repair. Viola!… iTronix Labs.
FYI – There has been some confusion about WHERE iTronix Labs is located. I am working on a location for a retail store and service center. Currently, I am working out of my home in the Spring Branch / Bulverde area.
I don’t like niches. I don’t want to be known as the ‘Apple Repair Guy’… I like to challenge myself. I’ve repaired a diesel fuel injection board for Ford trucks, an amp for electric guitar, lots of car/key fobs, headphones, and lots of laptops. I tell people that “if it has a circuit board, I’ll take a look at it”. If I can’t fix it, you don’t owe me any money.
How much time will it take? That’s a good question. It depends on a few things. Some repairs will need parts. I carry some parts here at my shop, but sometimes I have to find the part and order it. In most cases I’ll receive the part in 3-4 days. If it comes from China it might take 3 weeks. For some devices I may need to find schematics in order to trace down a fault or a short circuit. Some companies (like Apple) don’t allow for people like me to get schematics… so they have to be obtained on the black market.
Hi There. My name is Richard Spears. I’m the owner, and the technician behind iTronix Labs. I’m retired law enforcement, I ride motorcycles, and I like fixing electronics.
I have a wife, Judi, my son Collin, and assorted dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and other critters.