suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

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The desktops we have in office are HP Compaq dc7600 Convertible
Minitower or HP xw4600 Workstation and a Dell Optiplex 980. The laptops
are mainly Dell latitude 510, HP Compaq 2710p. Any suggestions for a
toolkit which can open parts of these machines? Would the ones at
http://tinyurl.com/2ctcx8m and http://tinyurl.com/2dslxc9 be OK?

The components which can be be plugged using the extension cord could be
a camcorder, projector, laptop or a desktop. Any ideas for a suitable
one, though I guess most shown at
(Amazon.com product link shortened) would fit our needs. We will
not be using the extension cord in a damp environment.

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

g wrote:

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See replies to your SAME post that you separately MULTI-posted in other
newsgroups.  Now you'll have to remember to which other newsgroups you
multi-posted and go check each of them for replies instead of
maintaining the discussion within a single cross-posted thread.

Learn to cross-post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossposting
http://www.blakjak.demon.co.uk/mul_crss.htm
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/usenet/xpost.html

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

On 11/5/2010 8:22 PM, VanguardLH wrote:
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You'll get them all to tow the line someday!

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

On 11/5/2010 9:22 PM, VanguardLH wrote:
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The 24hour helpdesk group was the only other group I posted to and that
also received only one useful reply. Rest were sneers.

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I get your point, know how to do that and will do that for future posts.
Just thought after posting here that posting to the helpdesk group might
be helpful, but it got only one useful response.

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

g wrote:

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While the topic for 24hoursupport.helpdesk might be assumed to be
something related to computers (due to the "helpdesk" in its name), as
had been discussed there many times that newsgroup has no real topic.
Anything and everything is on-topic over there.  There is a lot of noise
over there.  You'll find better focused responses in the computer-
specific newsgroups.

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I'd probably wait 3-5 days to accumulate responses to see if any were
helpful or not.  Usenet has a delay for responses as it equates to a
bulletin board or forum rather than an immediate chat venue.  If you
don't get any useful replies from your first choice of group(s) then
post in another group but you might want to mention nothing good
happened with your prior same-post thread in the other group(s) so your
same post isn't seen as a multi-post (since the date may not be noticed
by the respondents some of which only visit those newsgroups once per
week rather than every day).

I saw your same post over in the 24hour group but it wasn't sufficiently
detailed to note just what type of repairs you intended to perform.  I
carry a Leatherman "micra" multi-tool on a keychain (small size, folds
out into a scissors, lots of other fold-out tools) and a belt wallet
with a Gerber multi-tool with slide-out pliers and other fold-out tools
(which has the smooth side out with the pliers so you don't cut your
palm when squeezing the pliers).  These suffice for a major number of
repairs from computers, camping, household repairs, even working on my
car.  You don't need to carry around some pouch of mostly irrelevant
tools just to look important or a fancy nerd and then someday forget to
take the pouch with you, plus tools on your person are less likely to
suffer a 5-finger discount "wander" to have you lose them.

If a soldering iron is even being considered (assuming you actually have
good PCB soldering skills versus many techs that literally rape the
mobos with their oafish attempts and haven't a clue how solder flows)
then you are considering a different type of "repair" skills that you
didn't bother to describe.  Then you'll probably want one pouch for
doing soldering jobs (microtip and normal irons, solder sucker, solder
wick, heatsinks, solder, wirewrap tool and wire, heatshrink tubing,
electrical tape, cable ties), another pouch with specialty tools, like
torx drivers and cable pullers (for those that don't include them to
prevent yanking the pinched wires out of the connectors), another pouch
with decent electronics test gear (DVM, logic probe, continuity tester,
ammeter (beyond the typical 2A range of a DVM), jumper wires, various
devices cables (IDE, SATA, CD/DVD, power cables, extension cords, etc),
and so on.  Without you telling us just WHAT type of repairs you plan to
do (or even a list of what you have done in the past) then anyone
suggesting a specify tool pouch set will end up with you having a few
useful tools and a bunch of useless ones.  Many times it's just better
to buy a fat tool case (looks like a pregnant briefcase) that has
pouches and compartments for you to store the tools that you choose to
buy.  

I remember having a Platt hardcase for my tool collection.  It was
moving site to site and during travel.  Maybe you like soft nylon cases
because it's just be a "local" toolset at one location.  Since you don't
know just what you want for repair tools, buying a furnished toolset
with case means you waste a lot of money.  Buy the case or pouches and
start stocking over time with the tools that you actually use.  Besides
the multi-tools that I mentioned, I do have a small toolbox (hand size)
in which I have some soldering tools, side cutters, nippers, and others
that I've collected over time.  I didn't buy them ahead of time.  I got
and added them when I needed them.

If you're looking to impress someone at work, go buy a pre-filled tool
pouch (but only expect to impress the uninformed, like carrying around
pagers when they were popular was thought to import status when all I
saw was a peon at the beck-n-call of someone superior to them, just like
cell phones are a status symbol to many but usually they exhibit they're
wimps prattling little of value).  If you want a decent tool set, make
one that fits YOUR needs over time.  The multi-tools you can carry in
your pocket or on your belt are a good start without the bulk of
carrying a pouch or hardcase.

http://www.leatherman.com/category/multi-tools
http://www.gerbertools.com/Multi-Tools

Trying to use the screwdriver blades in these can be cumbersome (having
to rotate the entire multi-tool to use them), a multibit screwdriver
might be handy.  I just have never gotten to the point where I needed to
tote one around versus using a blade from a multitool.

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

On 11/6/2010 7:27 PM, VanguardLH wrote:

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Ok, got it, though my experience is if you don't receive a response in
first two days, it unlikely you will receive anything after that. Also,
these groups don't have the facility of email subscription(to avoid
spammers I understand) like lot of forums have where you are notified if
someone responds to your question even after 15 days.

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Things like replacing RAM, hard drive, LCD inverters, bulbs, on the
desktop/laptop models or opening them and clearing the dust and so on.

I
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No, I will not be doing any soldering.

Then you'll probably want one pouch for
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Thanks for the advice. That is useful.

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

g wrote:
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Collecting tools is an art. It takes time. You'd start by eyeballing
the equipment, and noting whether slot, Philips, Robertson, Hex, Torx
or the like is used on the equipment.

In some cases, the perfectly good item you bought, still isn't sufficient.
For example, if a screw is recessed inside a deep hole, you may need a
different style of tool, to get the necessary reach to get to the screw.
I have a nice kit, with replaceable tips on it, which can cover a good
many requirements, but it has no ability to reach a recessed screw.
And that's when the number of tiny kits starts to multiply. For
deeply recessed screws, you need a regular long screwdriver with
fixed end piece.

So you won't necessarily get the tool purchase right the first time.

If anything, if you're in a corporate environment, the first thing you
buy is a tool box and lock. That prevents tools from "evaporating".
One guy we worked with, became so pissed off at the theft, on the
company tab, he *filled* a deep desk drawer to the top, with screwdrivers,
so that no matter how many were stolen, he'd have tools to work with.
So a tool box with a lock on it, is a good start, before even acquiring
your first kit of screwdrivers or the like. In fact, at one time,
new employees were given a toolbox and lock on their first day at
work, as a means of instilling in them, how high a "vapor pressure"
tools had :-) And yes, some of the tool boxes had crow bar marks on
them, where the lock had been tested... Having that dent in your
tool box, was a mark of pride. Someone tried to get in, and failed.

*******

If you've never shopped for an extension cord before, it helps
to visit a hardware store, and see how "extreme" some of them are.

18/3 means 18 gauge wire with three conductors. The third conductor
is safety ground. Computers dump a small amount of current down
the safety ground, so you would want the third conductor to be
present. That prevents users from getting a shock from the
metal chassis or connectors. 18/2 wouldn't be a good choice
for a computer. You want that safety ground, even in a dry
working environment.

Gauge numbers work in the reverse of what you'd expect. 12 gauge
is thicker than 18 gauge. An 18 gauge extension cord is good
for lighting perhaps, but not much else. A 14/3 or 12/3 is
the kind of thing, at the 100 foot reach, that you might use
for an electric lawn mower. The reason for that, is Black and
Decker used to blame consumers for damaging the brushes on
their power tools, if the consumer used too thin a cord. If
the voltage was allowed to drop (resistive drop in the cord),
the appliance might draw more current to compensate, and that
might burn the brush assembly. (Or, at least, that was their
excuse why so many of their whipper/snippers broke.)

Now, once you get up to about 12/3, you start to see
"contractor cord" in the description. That is a cord,
where the vinyl jacket is made thicker, to help protect
the cord in a rough industrial environment. If you go
to a store, and feel the weight of the cord, you might
discover it isn't that convenient to bend, to coil up
later, to lift around, and so on. Nobody will want to
use it, if it's too heavy. And that's where shopping
in person is a good idea, to draw the line at cords
that are just too heavy.

Of the electrical loads you describe, the projector comes
out as the most heavy load. The 14/3 is probably good
enough for that. The cord will get used for other things,
so you should be prepared for those other things. Just
carrying some cheap 18 gauge for everyone to use, won't
cut it.

(Cords suitable for power tools... If you don't need
  the length, it makes a slight difference.)

http://www.askthebuilder.com/B174_Extension_Cord_Size_Chart.shtml

    "16 Gauge Cords

     Any 16 gauge cord between 0 and 100 feet long will adequately
     handle tool loads up to 10 amps.

     14 Gauge Cords

     Any 14 gauge cord between 0 and 50 feet long will adequately
     handle loads between 10 and 15 amps.

     12 Gauge Cords

     If your tool load is between 10 and 15 amps and the length of
     the cord is 50 to 100 feet, you need a 12 gauge cord to safely
     power any tool."

You can see here, that the folks at Black and Decker like their
cords pretty thick. This link should give you a copy of their
"Extension Cord Recommendations.doc" (single page) wire gauge table.
They're going a little heavier than the askthebuilder site, as
they don't want you using a 100 foot cord with 12 to 16 amp power
tool loads. Since you're not using 12-16 amps, you can back off
a bit on the thickness. (Check the label on the projector,
for amps or watts numbers.)

http://support.blackanddecker.com/ci/fattach/get/35437 /

It really depends how picky your audience is, as to
how well your cord choice works out. There are
lots of complainers in the world. I can imagine
the comments you'd get, if you got a contractor cord.

HTH,
    Paul

Re: suggestions for getting a PC toolkit and extension cord

On 11/5/2010 6:44 PM, Paul wrote:
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Thanks a lot for the detailed explanation. That is very helpful.

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