3 of 7Image
The mainstay of PC repair has to be the #2 size Phillips screwdriver. Using this you can get inside and take apart most PCs. While I've stripped and rebuilt countless PCs using the screwdriver fitted onto a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman multitool, I recommend getting your hands on a good screwdriver.
My personal screwdrivers of choice are Wiha slimline insulated range, Not only are these 10,000 Volt tested and have a 1000 Volt certification (which is a feature that can save your life), but they have been designed specifically to be able to access screws that other insulated screwdrivers can't.
Prices start at around $13.
While Wiha makes a whole range of screwdrivers, if you want to get inside something like the new MacBook Pro or iPhone you'll need special tools to help you defeat the proprietary screws. For these I recommend that you head over to iFixit which has a fantastic range of tools to help you get inside pretty much everything.
With more and more smartphones and tablets about then ever, there's a good chance that you will need to get inside one of these at some point. But the problem is, most post-PC devices are put together with such tight tolerances — not to mention copious amounts of adhesive — that opening them up without doing more damage is nearly impossible unless you have the right tools. Don't think you can just stick a knife blade into the gap between a screen and the body of the device to lever it apart — you'll end up breaking the screen, the blade, or more than likely, both!
What you need is iFixit's iOpener. This is a kit containing all the tools you need to open even the most tightly put together devices such as Apple's iPad, Microsoft's Surface, or the Motorola Moto X.
This kit contains:
- iOpener – An ingenious pad which you heat in a microwave oven and use to melt the adhesive
- Plastic Opening Tools
- iFixit Opening Picks set of 6
- Small Suction Cup
- Plastic Cards
- Phillips #000, Phillips #00, Phillips #0, Torx T5, Sim Eject, and Magnetic Pickup screwdriver bits and driver
This is an absolutely indispensable kit for anyone wanting to repair smartphones and tablets.
Neutral color LED headlamp
I generally find that unless I'm building a new PC from scratch, I'm having to work in less than ideal conditions. No matter whether I'm repairing a PC, fixing a network cable, or diagnosing some other random problem I'm always struggling to get light on what I'm doing.
For a few years now I've been relying on LED flashlights and headlamps. They offer a powerful light and last a very long time. But they have one drawback — the light the LEDs give off has a blue cast and this can make it hard to identify colors. This isn't a problem when dealing with screws and such, but when I'm dealing with cabling or wiring, it can sometimes be challenging to tell some colors apart.
This is why I've made the switch to the ArmyTek Wizard Pro XM-L2 Warm. This ticks all the boxes for me:
- Very variable light output — From a firefly more to one that feels like "Superman's laser beam melt your face off" mode
- Choice of batteries — I can either use two disposable CR123A lithium cells or one 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable cell
- It's hard anodized to take bumps and knocks
- The LED color output is a neutral 4000K which means colors look far more normal
- It features an impact-resistant glass lens with sapphire with anti-reflection coating
- The supplied headband is comfortable