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Thread: Must have tools and software

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Must have tools and software

    I've been kinda out of the loop for a while. I have some tools and I'm still trying to gather all the useful tools, hardware and software tools, that I'll need. I know the list will expand as I learn more, but I'd like to get some advice from some seasoned pros on here.

    BTW, I'm pretty sure this subject has come up before. I just figured that something new may have come up.

    Here are some things that I already have.

    ESD strap - Of course a must have. I have to admit though, I have discharged myself on the power supply a few times.

    Set up screw drivers - I have a prettty good collection of non magnetic screw drivers that I use. Being an electrician, I have pretty much every screw driver you would possibly need.

    Compressed Air - I don't have very much left, but gotta keep my PC nice and clean.

    Punch down tool - Always handy if you have to lay CAT 5 through your walls.

    Crimping Tool - CAT 5 seems to always go bad. Even if it doesn't, it's also a lot cheaper and more efficent to make your own Straight Through or Cross Over Cables.

    Fluke Meter - I use this all the time. Continuity is extremely important.

    Well, those were off the top of my head.

    If you all can help me put together a kit, that would be great.


  2. #2
    Frustrated Mad Scientist
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    In addition to what you've got.


    Stanley knife
    PVC tape (white not black so you can write on it)
    Torch (spare battery)
    Cable ties
    Extendable magnet thing (I've got a screwdriver with a magnet on an extendable ariel good for picking up lost screws).
    Small notepad
    Perminant marker (small nib)
    Non-perminant marker (small nib)
    Spare powerleads
    Spare IDE leads
    Spare floppy leads
    Spare SATA leads
    USB extension
    USB key with spyware tools/ free AV/firewall etc.
    Cat5 Patch leads
    Cat5 Crossover cables
    Blank CDR/CDRW
    Mobile phone and charger
    Dog treats (especially if you are going to homes rather than businesses)
    Small containers for holding screws.
    Spare screws
    Food - mars bars/coke
    4 Gang power extension (surge protected).
    Spare jumpers
    Pliers - large and small - normal, needle nosed, cutters

    All MS operating systems (you can have the disks without keys if you don't own the licence)
    Service packs for above.
    Common patches (not so easy to download now)
    Knoppix STD
    CD with spyware tools, free AV/firewall anything else you can think of.
    CD with common drivers (Nvidia detonator, Via chipsets, Intel chipsets etc)

    External floppy drive usb/parallel
    External CDRom usb/parallel
    External HD usb
    Cordless drill and bits
    Plasterboard (sheetrock?) saw
    Small Spirit level
    Hot melt glue gun (not much you can't fix with a hammer, mole grips and a glue gun)
    Drum of Cat5
    Fibre patch leads
    Small KVM

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Thanks man. I have a few of the things you mentioned; like the chordless drill. I have a 12 volt Ridig.

    You don't bring along floppies? Boot disks?

  4. #4
    Frustrated Mad Scientist
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    You forget one frikin thing and....

    Only joking, yup, boot disks are good and spare floppies.

    You're just trying to cover all possible circumstances which is impossible but you've got to do your best.


    Spare keyboard
    Spare mouse USB/Serial/PS2
    Spare network card.

    you could add to that a spare monitor.
    DVI to VGA adapter

    All depends how much you plan to do on site and at what point you say you need to take the machine away.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    haha, sorry man. Wasn't trying to be a wise ass. There are so many computers that don't come with floppy drives anymore, that's all.

    Thanks man,


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    I always carry a 3x or 4x magnifying glass, as I sometimes have trouble reading the writing on motherboards. My kit also includes a soldering iron (I have one of the Cold Heat ones, which actually DO work as advertised, although the tips are extremely fragile. You can touch the tip not half a second after soldering, and they heat up almost instantly), .75mm slolder (came in handy a few times when case fan wires were too short), a few small brushes (so I use less compressed air), thermal paste just in case, a mini flashlight and spare batteries.

    The flashlight comes in real handy when you get "Hey, can you make that USB port on the front work for me while you're at it?"

    Two things I've been meaning to add are a loopback plug to test ethernet cards with and a crossover adapter (rather than carrying an entire cable). ThinkGeek has them for sale.

    Carry one or two audio cables too, the ones used for connecting the CD drive directly to the sound card. People love it when the CD drive that never played audio CD's suddenly does. Very little work on your part, makes for a happy customer, and makes you look that much more professional, knowledgabe, and thorough.

    It's also a good idea to carry a roll of twist ties. You can buy them in about 200 foot rolls in garden supply centres. Just snip off what you need with sidecutters, and you have a custom length twist tie. The ones I use have a plastic or PVC wrap, which is far better then the food-grade paper wraps, so the wire itself is not likely to bedome exposed. They work great, esecially for tying up all those extra cables you have lying around, and are reusable as well, unlike zip strips (cable ties) (a.k.a. Chinese handcuffs). I buy them at a Canadian home improvement chain as my brother manages the garden centre there so I get massive discounts; I imagine The Home Depot would sell them as well.
    Government is like fire - a handy servant, but a dangerous master - George Washington
    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force. - George Washington.

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