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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TOPICS: Hardware
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  • 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)

  • Broken/chewed up screw remover

    I find that jobs get exponentially tougher when someone else has had a go at fixing something and in the process caused more problems.

    One problem I come across every so often are chewed up or broken screws. Usually they're as a result of someone being too enthusiastic with a poor tool, but other times they're because someone's taken a powertool to the screws.

    iFixit have two great tools to deal with such problems. The first is Neji-Saurus – the screw extracting dinosaur. It's a crazy name for a fantastic tool that can grip screw heads, bolts, or nuts allowing you to twist out even the most damaged fasteners. It might seem steep for $30, but it's a real lifesaver.

    If you need to tackle screws that have had their heads sheared off completely, the precision screw remover set is worth a look, and can help get you out of a jam.

    (Source: iFixit)

  • Tweezers/magnetic pick-up tools

    To paraphrase Vincent Gambini from the film My Cousin Vinnie, repairing a PC is a procedure; like rebuilding a carburetor has a procedure. You know, when you rebuild a carburetor, the first thing you do is you take the carburetor off the manifold. Suppose you skip the first step, and while you're replacing one of the jets, you accidentally drop the jet, it goes down the carburetor, rolls along the manifold, and goes into the head.

    You're then in a world of pain.

    While there's no head to drop screws into in a PC, they can end up in awkward, hard to reach places. And if you don't have the right tool you can end up having to up-end the entire PC to get it out.

    This is why I like to have tools to help out. First on the list are tweezers. While you can get plastic ones, I prefer ESD-safe metal ones because they are stronger. Whia has a good range spanning different shapes and sizes.  

    I also like to have a magnetic pickup too, not so much for working inside a PC (it's not the magnetism I'm worried about but more the way that the head can be drawn to wards a metallic object with enough force to cause damage) but for picking up screws that have fallen on the floor, rolled under a desk, or dropped into a dark crevice.

    (Source: Whia)

Topic: 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