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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (Core Hardware)
 9  Chapter 1100:  Troubleshooting

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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 pins, etc.

  • Wire cutters for cutting nylon ties, stripping wire, etc.

  • 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 Don’t 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.

[spacer]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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X  Cable Issues
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XII  Beep, Beep
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