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XI Tools of the Trade
While it is certainly possible to
spend literally thousands of dollars on tools and the cases to carry
them, 90% of the tools are used 10% of the time. Items you should throw
in a bag include:
- A good 8 in 1 screwdriver. Make sure you have
Torx heads for some systems such as Compaq.
- Needle nose pliers for jumpers, straightening
- Wire cutters for cutting nylon ties, stripping
- A small flashlight because PC cases don't come
with 'dome lights'.
- Canned "Air". Dust is an incredible insulator
to both heat and electricity
- A lint-free cloth for wiping down monitors, etc.
- A sharp knife for opening boxes, or whatever.
- A ground strap for you and an anti-static pad
for the equipment.
- Anti-Static Bags Dont use anti-static bags
for parts that are energized. Part of how anti-static bags work is by
conducting the static away from the part.
- Slot covers. When you remove a blank metal plate
to expose an expansion slot, keep it. Users won't keep them, and you
won't have one when you need it.
- Electrical Tape and a tube of silicone. The electrical
tape, beyond the obvious, is wonderful for keeping a part from shorting
out against another part. The silicon can be used for everything from
a small drop keeping a floppy drive cable attached to a floppy drive
to making parts.
- Spare parts. A working keyboard, mouse and floppy
drive, and cables can save a ton of time.
Silicone - The Wonder Substance
You may feel like laughing about the tube of silicone. Go ahead and laugh, many have. And it has saved me much grief. For example, using a tube of silicone, some plastic food wrap and a little bit of oil, I was able to make system board standoffs that were glued to the case, and fit the holes in the motherboard when the case mounts didn't match the ones drilled in the system board. (I used the expansion cards to hold everything in place while the silicone set). Before you say go get a different case, remember not every computer or its user lives in a metropolitan area. I take the chiding about some of my silicone stories well, as it was a solution to an otherwise no-win situation.
With these tools in your batman utility
belt, you have the hardware to be a super hero. From here, it is time
to look at what to do with your ultimate tool, your brain.
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