M19 Initiative - Skilling for Repair

Building resilience is a long haul strategy and skilling of local communities will play a vital role in it.

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The M19 Initiative aims to scale its ‘find, fix and up-skill” efforts across India and which can be easily replicated in other regions across Asia & Africa countries facing rapidly rising medical needs as a result of the pandemic. The project is focussed on up-skilling and building the local decentralised repair ecosystem for medical grade equipment by creating a technical backend to map repair requests in semi urban and rural areas and overlaying that with a open program that helps up-skill not only bio medical engineers but also local communities. The approach will include hosting virtual and physical repair camps, training for makers, engineers via academic university partnerships in these regions and also open sourcing this documentation for maximum nation wide reach. In addition to this, the work will create framework for quality checks be established when repairing locally.

Preliminary Insights & Research

In March 2020, when the world was hit by COVID19 - Maker’s Asylum started the M19 Initiative to support the front line workers with medical grade equipment. The project started with making faceshields inside a makerspace and slowly grew into a large movement of distributed manufacturing when the team open sourced their designs in order to activate over 42 cities, towns and villages in India to make faceshields locally for their local hospitals. Then they went on to work on various other medical grade devices and during the second wave in April 2021 they worked on Oxygen Concentrators and activated over 150 organisations to make them locally in India via the same principles of open sourcing the design and decentralised manufacturing. During this time India was importing large amounts of oxygen concentrators from other countries including China, USA and France. In Goa, the Rotary Club of Margao had procured oxygen concentrators as part of their CSR to donate to hospitals and a few hundred of them had stopped working. In June 2021, the team at the Rotary Club reached out to Maker's Asylum to understand if they could help them fix these broken oxygen concentrators. That’s when they started working on understanding if there are many more such cases in India and floated a small request sheet to procure data from a few hospitals in different parts of the country. 

Following were the initial requests of repair received by the Maker’s Asylum team : 


Broken Oxygen Concentrators (#)

Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh


Pune, Maharashtra


Margao, Goa


New Delhi, New Delhi


Hyderabad, Telangana


Colva, Goa


Jamtara, Jharkhand 


Dar es salaam,Tanzania




This data led to the realization that it is a possibility that there were many more oxygen concentrators that did not work inside hospitals and if there could be a way to help local communities learn about repair and help fix these.

Results from Repair Cafe : 

As part of the next steps, 3 repair cafes were hosted. 2 physically at a makerspace or a fablab and 1 virtually over an online meeting with individuals, makerspaces, and organisations from different parts of the world. 

1. Repair Cafe in Goa 


19th & 20th October 2021


Maker’s Asylum, Moira, Goa (Makerspace)

Broken Oxygen Concentrators Received


Concentrators Fixed


Number of participants 


Subject Matter Experts


General Issues 

Incorrect design of compressor mounting. It was not designed to handle transportation damages hence needed to be mounted properly for the oxygen concentrator to function

Cause for not able to fix the 2 oxygen concentrators

The compressors were completely broken and needed replacement. Hospital was informed to call for new compressors. 

2. Repair Cafe in Pune


30th & 31st October 2021


DIY Lab at Vigyan Ashram, Pune (Makerspace)

Broken Oxygen Concentrators Received


Concentrators Fixed


Number of participants 


Subject Matter Experts


General Issues 

Poor Material Used in Design - Zeolite Sieves End Caps were made out of plastic and were breaking because of stress and causing oxygen leakage in the concentrators. 

Cause for not able to fix the 18 oxygen concentrators

Needed redesigning with metal parts for the Zeolite end caps to not break. 

3. Virtual Repair Cafe


10th of December 2021




To share insights and knowhow on how to fix an oxygen concentrator

Number of participants 


Designed for 

Makerspaces, Fablabs which can act as conduits to the Right to Repair movement in different parts of the world and can also skill communities to help repair and reuse

Participant Profiles

Testimonials by participants

Anindya Mukherjee - DIVE Instructor, Goa Aquatics 

I do a lot of servicing of compressors, regulators, and all related equipment to Scuba Diving. So what Makers are doing is very similar to me, we use molecular sieves, compressors...

Read more »

M19O2 - Instruction Manual (1).pdf

Instruction Manual for making M19O2 - Open Source Oxygen Concentrator

Adobe Portable Document Format - 4.92 MB - 06/02/2022 at 05:57


  • 1


    While repairing O2 concentrators is not a highly complex activity, it does need some minimum level of understanding, skill and tools.


    • Patience and aptitude
    • Basic “handy-man” skills - ability to use mechanical, electrical and electronics hand tools
    • Meticulous note keeping - keeping paper notes or photos/videos of the disassembly so it helps you while doing the reassembly.


    • Set of Allen Keys for hex socket head fasteners
    • Set of screwdrivers for slotted and phillips head fasteners
    • Set of spanners
    • Some pliers of various types - flat, nose etc.
    • Teflon Tape, Electrical insulation tape
    • Plastic container or magnet base metal bowl for holding all removed fasteners
    • Multimeter
  • 2


    • The compressor is a critical part of the concentrator. 
    • It MUST be of “oil free” design - meaning there is no need to lubricate the pistons with oil. This ensures hydrocarbon emissions from the compressor do not mix with the oxygen output from the concentrator. Also, from flammability and fire safety issues, it is best to avoid having any oil, oil residues or hydrocarbon products present within the concentrator.
    • Oxygen comprises about 21% of ambient air. To get a specific amount of flow rate (litres per minute aka LPM), the compressor must be capable of pumping 5 times the desired output LPM. So, if the machine is designed for 10 LPM, the compressor must be able to produce a flow rate of at least 50 LPM. Considering additional in-efficiencies of the process/system, it is recommended to double that figure. So, the compressor must be rated for 10 times the desired output oxygen LPM.
    • Pay attention to Compressor datasheets where you can get the output pressure v/s flow rate graph. As working pressure increases, the compressor flow rate decreases. Compressor rating must be selected based on this “de-rating“ curve to get the desired output LPM.
    • To reduce noise and vibration, most compressors are mounted on flexible spring mounts. While this is useful during normal operation, it can cause severe problems during transit/transportation if not taken care of. Shocks and impacts during transport can cause compressors to get jammed, or worse, broken. So, it is important to have a system of “lock bolts” to securely hold the compressor during transit, which are then removed prior to installation.
    • Keeping the compressor cool by using forced air cooling is also important, especially in hot, tropical regions. Many low end machines do not have adequate cooling, which causes the compressors to seize or burnout due to over temperature. Compressors with builtin thermal cutouts can mitigate such problems. 


    • Since ambient air contains a lot of moisture, especially in tropical regions, it needs to be removed before it reaches the molecular sieves. This is necessary since the zeolite has an equal, or sometimes even greater, affinity for capturing moisture compared to nitrogen. Also, compressed air becomes quite hot, and must be cooled in order to condense the moisture from vapor to water for later extraction. The cooling coil system in the PSA process helps cool down the hot air, making it easier for the next water separation stage to work.
    • Moisture removal after the cooling coils is done using Moisture separators. The separator is attached to an automatic drain system that allows it to periodically empty out the collected water and discharge it from the machine. Many commercially available machines use a minimal cooling coil, and do not have a moisture separation stage. This often results in the zeolite getting saturated with water vapor, and the machine can no longer trap nitrogen in the molecular sieves.


    • PSA Oxygen concentrators rely on Zeolites to perform their work. Commonly used Zeolites are either Sodium 13X or Lithium X. Sodium 13X is cheaper, but not very efficient. Lithium X is much more expensive, but is also three times more efficient compared to Sodium 13X. Many cheap low end machines, which produce >90% O2 only at 1-2 LPM, and <80% O2 at 4-5 LPM, may likely have Sodium 13X molecular sieves. Replacing with LithiumX may improve performance, but it may also require some tweaking of the PSA timing cycles or adjusting parts such as the orifices.


    • Usually, this is the most tricky problem to solve, since each machine will have its own custom controller board whose documentation is not publicly available.
    • Look for blown fuses, disconnected wiring, tripped thermal cutouts or thermal fuses and other obvious signs of failures.
    • It may be possible for a skilled technician to identify electronics/electrical faults. And if spare parts can be obtained, then such faults can be easily fixed.
    • Other failures, such as a microcontroller or custom part fault can only be solved by replacing the PCB completely
  • 3
    Maintaining a job card for each oxygen concentrator can help you keep track of the specific issues faced.

    Example of a job card - 

View all 3 instructions

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