Six clicks: Essential PC, smartphone and tablet repair tools

Six clicks: Essential PC, smartphone and tablet repair tools

Summary: If you're in the business of repairing PCs, smartphones, or tablets, then these tools will help you get the job done in a fast, efficient, and safe way.

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  • iOpener

    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
    • Spudger
    • 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.

    Price: $19.95.

    (Source: iFixit)

  • 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

    Price: $99.95.

    (Source: ArmyTek)

  • PSU tester

    Sure, you can spend big money on a PSU tester, but for confirming a dead PSU I find a cheap tester is handy. Also, if you have a few hard drives handy, you can add some load to the PSU by connecting them up before you test. My go-to device is the FrozenCPU tester. It's cheap but reliable and does what is says on the tin and not bad value for a little over $20.

    If you want to take power troubleshooting to the next level then you can get your hands on a decent multimeter. If it's something you're going to use occasionally then a cheap one will do fine, but if you want something that will last you years then I'd go with the Fluke brand.

    (Source: FrozenCPU)

Topics: Tapping M2M: The Internet of Things, Hardware

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14 comments
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  • Re: Essential PC repair tool....

    Suction Cup puller great for replacing the front glass on an iMac
    5735guy
  • Really Useful Article

    Regardless of the extant of theory and knowledge, having the proper/precise tool on hand is worth every penny and effort. I'll Bookmark this.
    I made an exception to my refuse the antiquated, inefficient Gallery Mode, as this subject is so compelling to me. But exception it is.
    PreachJohn
  • The three essential tools for repairing your iPad or Surface:

    Envelope, a bunch of stamps, address for Apple or Microsoft repair center.

    Seriously, they've made these devices nearly impossible to repair these days, with surface mounted and glued components and cases that require a hear gun to open. It's ridiculous. Even changing the battery is a job for the repair facility.

    It's pretty evil, because it doesn't have to be that way.
    dsf3g
    • last resort

      When all else fails, just go for the chisel and hammer, very carefully though.
      virgilnet
    • Nearly impossible?

      WTH are you talking about? The iPad is not that big of deal. iPad 1 and 2 just involve a spudger and a #00 phillips. iPad 3-Air involve heat gun or iOpener and a few guitar picks or plastic cards. Takes all of a few minutes. The Surface just involves removal of 17 T5 Torx screws (10 under the kickstand and 7 under the camera bezel). The Surface Pro and 2, similar to the later iPads, require little more than heat gun/iOpener, plastic picks, and once again the T5 Torx screws.

      (Now, if I could just hear from that MS apologist from last year who insisted that Torx screws were either a) proprietary or b) nonstandard fasteners, insisting that Apple's use of them was tantamount to working for the devil.)
      .DeusExMachina.
  • sad fact is...

    toady's experts, passed a 5 minute "expert" exam using Test King and have no idea of fixing physical PC problems.
    tonye56
  • Eyes and lungs and ears! Oh, my.

    The first lab somebody gave me was complete with a Ledu fluorescent magnifying clamp-on lamp. This always seems to be the most used tool in my arsenal. I find it an essential.

    I would also (now that I am wiser) recommend some kind of fume extraction if you melt a lot of lead in your world. Something as simple as a bathroom fan with dryer duct extending to your lamp base (near the work) is a heck of a lot better than not one. (I would also now wear exam gloves if I hand held solder - which is what we all seem to end up doing regardless of the handling equipment.)

    Oh and something to play music/sports/news in real time. Radio I think they call it...

    R.
    ramjetwiebe
  • Whatever

    If you are trying to repair stuff like this you are at the bottom rung of the technical ladder. Get a new hobby or job.
    butter44
    • Tools

      Speaking of tools.. what rung are you on?
      JimboSlice
    • Um, since when are people who can do circuit level repair at the "bottom rung"?!?
      .DeusExMachina.
  • There's one you missed

    How do I fix the Slide Show, half of the pictures don't seem to want to be seen. Oh, I know, I'll use the self-propelled Whine to get it fixed. We'll see how that goes.

    Aloha
    HawaiiBound
  • here's a fix...

    Go into the browser address bar and change the address.

    example
    zdnet.com/six-clicks-essential-pc-smartphone-and-tablet-repair-tools_p7-7000026569/#photo

    The part you want to change immidiately follws the "p" which follows the title of the slideshow. It works for this slideshow, but it mat not necessarily work for all their slideshows.

    I have found over years of surfing that sometimes using direct access rather than clickable buttons is a better way of doing things. Sometimes it's faster; sometimes it gets you to more information, and sometimes it can't be done at all because the place you want to get to uses non-sequential naming procedures designed to prevent this direct access.
    bart001fr
  • slide show broken

    Yes, broken for me in California at 7:30 am as well
    grouchylibrarian
  • Slideshow?

    What a shame.
    From the comments, it appears to be an interesting "article".
    I refuse to "read" slideshows.
    radu.m