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Oklahoma City man refurbishes old computers for charity

A career in computers led Dave Stewart, of Oklahoma City, to a computer-repair hobby.
BY CHRIS SCHUTZ Modified: November 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm •  Published: November 17, 2012

The nonprofit provides assistance through the year to clients who have been referred there by other agencies.

Christmas Connection staff and volunteers use the recycled computers to take application information about clients.

Some of the computers are later donated to families in need, said Shelley Dutton, executive director of Christmas Connection.

“We are the ultimate recyclers,” Dutton said.

Stewart said he prefers to work on Pentium 3 computers “or later.” Earlier versions of Pentium are too slow, so most people don't want them, Stewart said.

He gets to the crux of it: “You can't play games on them.”

He prefers to work with the Windows XP operating system because a lot of software works with it.

He does not work on Apple or Macintosh computers or on laptops because the parts are not interchangeable.

“You have to have exactly the right part,” he said.

With the move away from desktop computers, Stewart said, the supply of used computers seems to be dwindling.

There is little demand for refurbished computers with operating systems as old as Windows 95 or Windows 98, although they can be fixed up for email use, he said.

He can sometimes fix bulky, old CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors that have quit working.

“It depends what the problem is,” he said. He takes monitors that are beyond repair to a hazardous waste disposal site.

He has helped make a difference to families living below the poverty level who count on Christmas Connection, Dutton said.

“It's a tremendous service to us,” Dutton said. “It's just a blessing to the families.”