Tools of the trade

I wanted to cover tools you'll need to assemble your computer up front, so if your missing any needed tools, you can order them now, when you order your computer parts, instead of getting half way through the assembly, and finding out you wished you had that special left-handed wrench snatcher that you needed.

What tools do you need in your tool kit.   A Phillips screwdriver should do the trick.  Yep, that's it.   Seriously folks, you can assemble a modern day computer with just a Phillips screwdriver, although there are a couple other tools you might like to make your work go a little smoother.

First, I like several sizes of magnetic Phillips screwdrivers.  The tool I use most was given to me by a good friend, and I remember him to this day, God rest his soul.   That tool is a one handed ratchet screwdriver with interchangeable magnetic heads.  I can change directions of the rathet with the same hand I am using to apply pressure to the screw.   Why magnetic?  It makes retrieval of that errant screw that drops into the computer after you have all the wiring in place that is impossible to reach any other way.  Insert the screwdriver through the wiring and the screw jumps onto the end of the screwdriver for extraction.  Wahlah!  Nice.  I like the ratchet part, because some time those little rascals are a little too tight, and it's nice to have that little extra pressure.  This is a tough tool to find.   If you find one, and they are worth actively looking for, do not hesitate to get one.

I have occasionally used a nut driver that exactly fit over standard size case screws, because it's quick, and the nut driver just seemed to jump into my hand.  And a little forceps clamp to pull plugs.  These are available in one of those $10 computer tool kits.


The next thing I like is a long neck clamp with a locking clamping mechanism.  I'm thinking of a long neck hospital hemostat.   Some of those case wiring pins, or master/slave pins on DVD drives are a little tough to get to with my hands, and the  hemostat is an ideal finger/hand replacement for this job.


I also find a need for a power supply testing tool that you can plug your power supply cables into that lights up if voltage is present.  A voltage read out is also a plus.   Any time your not getting power to your components, you always wonder if its not the power supply.  Plug the end of the power supply cable into the tester, and if it lights up, your problem is not the power supply.  A quick and easy way to check your power.

Static electricity can damage your motherboard, your hard drive, and your memory with just a little static spark.   You can prevent this by keeping grounded to your computer case with a wrist grounding strap whenever you are assembling your computer.  There's a reason these parts come wrapped in static proof bags folks.


I like a little plastic box with compartments.  I use this to drop loose screws into when assembling and disassembling a computer.  This way you don't loose screws in the carpet, you keep track of which screws go where, and you won't  jump high in the air, followed by an expletive, the next time you step on a errant carpet screw with your bare feet.

Finally, a high intensity flash light.  It's some times tough to see in the case for plug labeling, and where the pins on the plugs are. One of those clamp on the book reading lights will work as long as the light is bright.  One that will clamp on to the case and keep your hands free is ideal.


That's not a lot folks, you can still do it with a Phillips screwdriver, but life's a lot less frustrating with some of the other tools I mentioned above.

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