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Thread: Useful tools

  1. #36
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Fry's had the Hakko FX-650 15W pencil soldering iron on sale for $18 today so I went ahead and bought it specifically for working on tightly packed FX pedal pcb's. I was removing two small electrolytic caps earlier today and it was tricky desoldering the pads without bumping the barrel of the iron into the LED!





    https://www.hakko.com/english/products/hakko_dash.html

    These usually sell for around $35 including tax and at that price I would have passed on it.

    I already have the cheapie Weller WLC100 "soldering station" and the Hakko FX-650 could plug right into it, with a sponge and soldering iron holder...



    https://www.amazon.com/Weller-WLC100.../dp/B000AS28UC

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. Those are just my "toy" soldering devices. I have a Weller WP-60 iron, a Hakko 936 solder station and an 80W iron intended for stained glass but great for soldering to chassises.

  2. #37
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    One of the most useful tools I have is the 14 or 15 piece Craftsmen SAE/metric set of nutdrivers. Although the two standards are often interchangeable the metric drivers have a wider hollow opening in shaft to accommodate pot shafts, etc. (8mm, 10mm & 1/2" are the drivers I seem to use the most.)



    Craftsman.com

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. I have the set with the zippered case which I consider to be indispensable. I also have a larger metric driver - 12 or 13mm - that I use a lot.
    I have that set of nut drivers, and they are very handy.
    I have mine in a drawer of my craftsman tool chest, no zippered case.
    I used them a lot on the new amp I just built.
    I have a set of these cordless drill to socket adapters, and they are real handy.
    1/4, 3/8, 1/2 inch adapters.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=cord...tyOhYIMpI9M%3A
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    Technicians Run the World, but Bankers, Lawyers, and Accountants, Take All The Credit!
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  3. #38
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    A pair of reading glasses can be useful as well.
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  4. #39
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    A pair of reading glasses can be useful as well.
    I have real strong reading glasses that magnify, that has a short focal length, that I can see over.
    I keep a pair in each work area.
    Like a Magnifying glass, but hands free.
    I wear my regular glasses the rest of the time.
    T
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  5. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I have that set of nut drivers, and they are very handy.
    I have mine in a drawer of my craftsman tool chest, no zippered case.
    I used them a lot on the new amp I just built.
    I have a set of these cordless drill to socket adapters, and they are real handy.
    1/4, 3/8, 1/2 inch adapters.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=cord...tyOhYIMpI9M%3A
    T
    I bought a set of those cordless drill adapters for spinning lug nuts off and on.
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  6. #41
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    I already have the cheapie Weller WLC100 "soldering station" and the Hakko FX-650 could plug right into it, with a sponge and soldering iron holder...
    I have that same Weller, but for me it's my "good" soldering iron. It is a joy to use compared to my old $3 Radio Shack iron.

  7. #42
    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    A small pair of sharp point bent tweezers.

    A telescoping magnet.

    A Kill-O-Watt meter.

    And my favorite: a rag that is used to catch overspray of DeOxit. I use the rag to wipe connector pins.
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  8. #43
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    I've always used nut drivers for volume controls, jacks, power transformers and everywhere you can use one. They make life so much easier and you don't risk slipping with a pair of pliers.

    My favorite new tool is a 14mm tall socket with a bicycle handgrip pressed on it that I use for all of those Fender input jack nuts. It also works on the plastic jack nuts as well.
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  9. #44
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Bill View Post
    My favorite new tool is a 14mm tall socket with a bicycle handgrip pressed on it that I use for all of those Fender input jack nuts. It also works on the plastic jack nuts as well.
    Along those lines, my collection of spark plug sockets sometimes come in handy for plastic jack nuts & some of the larger metal nuts on switches & such. Plus the bigger ones make great guitar slides for instance Sears Craftsman 13/16, as mentioned by Lowell George.

  10. #45
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I use the Craftsman metric set of nut drivers, my set of SAE nut drivers is from Xcelite. I have the 9mm, 10mm, 11mm drivers in a peanut can, handles up next to me, those for metric pot nuts. My SAE 1/2" nut driver for basic 3/8" bushing US pots and Switchcraft jacks nuts. And an Xcelite 9/16" driver (HS-18) that fits the slightly larger nuts on toggle switches and stomp switches as well as those Fender jacks.

    I have a 15mm deep socket I use as a hand wrench for plastic Cliff style jack nuts.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  11. #46
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    755625030863.jpg
    invaluable for car work!
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  12. #47
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedmich View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	755625030863.jpg 
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    invaluable for car work!
    You forgot:

    home defense
    marital disputes
    frustrating amp chassis access
    sleep aid alternative

    Also works very well when your aim is off and your thumb was just too round anyway.
    "I've heard magic defined as "a technology you don't understand". By that aphorism, the folks in this forum are practicing wizards, able to summon AND control the lightning demon, and make charms to allow others to use the demon in certain ways." R.G.

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

  13. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedmich View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    invaluable for car work!
    That reminds me of this commercial.


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  14. #49
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Tough Love
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  15. #50
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Bill View Post
    I've always used nut drivers for volume controls, jacks, power transformers and everywhere you can use one. They make life so much easier and you don't risk slipping with a pair of pliers.
    I think that we all do. My point was that the metric nutdrivers (at least the Craftsman ones) have a wider opening in the middle of the shaft than the SAE ones. So they are good to have around even if you don't need them for metric nuts and bolts.
    BTW when I was starting out as a home appliance repair tech 30+ years ago I color-coded my sockets with the same colors that Craftsman used on their nutdrivers... still have a few of those sockets around!


    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I have real strong reading glasses that magnify, that has a short focal length, that I can see over.
    Me, too! The skinny ones are like the bottom half of bifocals- you can look over the top for normal vision. StewMac and Dan Erlewine really push the OptiVisor but their price is too high: $57 for just the visor with a single lensplate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    A small pair of sharp point bent tweezers.


    A telescoping magnet.


    A Kill-O-Watt meter.


    And my favorite: a rag that is used to catch overspray of DeOxit. I use the rag to wipe connector pins.

    Great suggestions! Have you seen the new telescoping magnets with neos? I think that they are rated at 8 lbs! $3 at my local auto supply house... the type with one long counter with the clerks working behind it. (Lots of impulse buy items on the customer side of the counter!)


    I have yet to get a Kill-o-Watt meter but I do have the Amprobe line adaptor for use with a clamp-on ammeter. Here's a knockoff for $15...


    LCD Power Meter Energy Monitor Plug in kWh Watt Volt Amp Electricity Calculator | eBay


    %=%=%=%=%=%=%


    Thanks for all of your great suggestions!


    Steve Ahola

  16. #51
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I have a magnifier app on my phone for the real hard to read tiny part numbers. The nice thing about the app is that you can also snap a picture if you need to inquire about part numbers. Like many of us, I don't see as good as I used to.
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  17. #52
    g1
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    I use a 'max detail clip' on my reading glasses. It's easy to flip up out of the way, and has a working distance of 16 inches. It uses the Galilean telescopic system.
    Not cheap though. My optometrist wanted over $300 but I found one on ebay for around $100.

    Product Detail
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  18. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    I use a 'max detail clip' on my reading glasses. It's easy to flip up out of the way, and has a working distance of 16 inches. It uses the Galilean telescopic system.
    Not cheap though. My optometrist wanted over $300 but I found one on ebay for around $100.

    Product Detail
    I'm not that blind yet!
    T
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  19. #54
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    The mounting is dangerously similar to the Opti-Grab©. I wonder if Steve Martin gets a cut.

    bdvtsincqaa6nb9.jpg
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    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

  20. #55
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    jeweler's loupe
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  21. #56
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    cheap headgear. probably worth trying:

    http://www.amazon.com/LEMONBEST-Magn.../dp/B010FOSA0W
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  22. #57
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    Ha Ha its looking like one of the common denominators here is our eyesite... was mom right that we'd go blind!

  23. #58
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubedood View Post
    Ha Ha its looking like one of the common denominators here is our eyesite... was mom right that we'd go blind!
    Though not for the reasons she gave at the time.

    And Dude, that's the guy version of a "change purse" as an age indicator

    I don't have any specific vision issues. Just the hard, inflexible corneas that cause farsightedness. And that absolutely IS a consequence of age. When you're young your cornea actually flexes and changes the shape of the lensing like an auto focus. Age disables the auto focus feature. An awful lot of people seem to be going the laser surgery route to correct for it. I just don't see (no pun intended) how that could work very well. I mean, the surgery can cut your cornea for better near focus, but because the cornea isn't very flexible anymore I wonder how it affects vision at other distances. Because of my OCD I'm sure I'd find some reason to be sour about the results so I just use readers. Like most of you here I suppose. But...

    I'm going to tell a short story about my own circumstance anyway (thought I wouldn't )

    My vision started going a little early at 36. I was waist deep in a little trout stream with a fly rod. Having arrived, as planned at my favorite pool just in time for an evening rise in the dim light. Trout started feeding on top here and there. It wouldn't be long before they were rising all around me. So I cut off the wet fly I'd been fishing most of the day so that I could tie on a dry fly. In the dim light I couldn't quite see to thread the fine tippet through the small hook eye. I thought "Hmmm... Well I'll just move the whole arrangement closer to my face and I'll be able to see it better." Nope! It became blurrier!!! I tried and tried but never managed to get that fly tied on while a beautiful evening rise of trout came and went. When I got home I borrowed some readers from my wife. Miniature types with a fairly strong 2.5 power. I've been carrying them in the same fly vest pocket I put them in that night.
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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

  24. #59
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubedood View Post
    Ha Ha its looking like one of the common denominators here is our eyesite... was mom right that we'd go blind!
    Yeah, Mom told me that too, so I figured I'd just do it until I needed glasses.
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

  25. #60
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubedood View Post
    Ha Ha its looking like one of the common denominators here is our eyesite... was mom right that we'd go blind!
    Reading glasses take care of that just fine but shaving my palms every day gets to be a real drag!

  26. #61
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    cheap headgear.* probably worth trying:

    http://www.amazon.com/LEMONBEST-Magn.../dp/B010FOSA0W
    Man are those things scary looking!



    The magnification is much higher than readers or the OptiVisor - I think that they are intended for jewelers and hobbyists. @@@

    4 Pairs of replaceable lens included, with different magnifications (10X, 15X, 20X, 25X), can be interchanged quickly; Too high magnification can not to reading books...

    short focal distance from lens to product is 0.2-2in (0.5-5cm), just like the principle of microscope
    Steve Ahola

    @@@ EDIT: I meant to type ... and not hobbyists. My bad!
    Last edited by Steve A.; 07-19-2016 at 09:39 PM.

  27. #62
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    I see fine most of the time.
    About the only time I use the souped up readers, is when I'm soldering 43 and 44 gauge pickup magnet wire.
    The rest of the time I get by fine with the everyday trifocals.
    I'm trying not to get anymore gadgets, or more clutter!
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  28. #63
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    When I got my reading glasses I got the strongest ones I could see through. Unless the light is really good I normally can't focus closer than 18" or so. With the glasses, I can't focus farther than a foot. The gap is annoying but I can put them on and watch movies on my phone.

  29. #64
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    I think that they are intended for jewelers and hobbyists.
    Steve, we are hobbyists.

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt
    - attrib. Stuart Smalley

  30. #65
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I take a very simple approach to using reading glasses as magnifiers -- if what I'm wearing doesn't magnify enough, then I just stack-on a second pair of reading glasses to get more magnification.

    I buy readers in the 3-packs when they're on sale. I normally use a rectangular pair of 2.50 for looking at PCB, and if I need higher mangification than that, I have an old set of round frame 3.50 whose temples have broken off. I just drop the round specs onto my nose, sitting inside of the 2.50, and the result is 6x magnification. The only problem is that if I lean too far over sometimes the extra set will fall off. To get around that, I've worn two complete sets of 2.50 readers at the same time to get 5x. It looks stupid, but it works, and most of us that have "cheaters" probably have more than one pair.
    Last edited by bob p; 07-19-2016 at 08:45 PM.
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  31. #66
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    When I got my reading glasses I got the strongest ones I could see through. Unless the light is really good I normally can't focus closer than 18" or so. With the glasses, I can't focus farther than a foot. The gap is annoying but I can put them on and watch movies on my phone.
    Have you tried the different strength readers? The higher the magnification the closer the focal point...

    Steve

  32. #67
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    I think that they are intended for jewelers and hobbyists.
    Steve, we are hobbyists.
    Yikes! I meant to type and not hobbyists... My bad!

    Steve Ahola

  33. #68
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    Yeah, I'm sure a lower magnification would extend the viewing range, I just haven't got them yet. The magnification is nice.

  34. #69
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I first discovered I needed glasses in 4th grade, about age 9. We found my vision was something awful like 20/700 in my good eye and 20/750 in the other. Most of us get more farsighted with age, and I was no exception. By somewhere in the 50-60 years old range i no longer needed any correction in my good eye for nearsightedness. And just a little in the other. I was 20/20 and 20/40. Unfortunately I still had astigmatism and need correction for that, but really for driving or watching TV, I just take glasses off.

    But as CHuck says, we lose the ability to accommodate close up. SO while I can see pretty well without glasses, I can't read anything without them. So I need bifocals.

    I tried the progressive lenses and hated them. My doctor tried hard to get me onto contacts. Didn;t like them either. One issue was reading. he told me that the contacts were for everyday vision, and when I needed to read or do other close up, I could just put on cheaters over the contacts. Well, that would mean I am wearing cheaters my entire work day, plus any reading time at home. So if I am already wearing cheater glasses all day, what is the point of contacts?

    Steve, I get the point that the metric nut drivers have bigger hollows, but my Xcelite SAE drivers all fit over shafts in the pot nut and switch nut sizes.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    An awful lot of people seem to be going the laser surgery route to correct for it. I just don't see (no pun intended) how that could work very well. I mean, the surgery can cut your cornea for better near focus, but because the cornea isn't very flexible anymore I wonder how it affects vision at other distances.
    As I got older I lost my ability to focus close up and had to use readers but I could still see distance fine so I didn't 'see' the point of surgery. What could it do? If they fixed my near vision then I wouldn't be able to see distance. As I got older still I lost my ability to focus at distance too and needed bifocals. Now I'm thinking surgery is an option because they could restore my distance vision and I could go out riding my bike without glasses. I'd still need readers but not bifocals. But it's a moot point as I'm too much of a wimp to have surgery.
    Chuck H likes this.

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