A technician needs to be able to properly use each tool in the toolkit. This page covers many of the various hand tools used when repairing computers.
Match each screw with the proper screwdriver. Place the tip of the screwdriver on the head of the screw. Turn the screwdriver clockwise to tighten the screw and counterclockwise to loosen the screw, as shown in Figure 1.
Screws can become stripped if you over-tighten them with a screwdriver. A stripped screw, as shown in Figure 2, may get stuck in the screw hole, or it may not tighten firmly. Discard stripped screws.
Flat Head Screwdriver
As shown in Figure 3, use a flat head screwdriver when you are working with a slotted screw. Do not use a flat head screwdriver to remove a Phillips head screw. Never use a screwdriver as a pry bar. If you cannot remove a component, check to see if there is a clip or latch that is securing the component in place.
CAUTION: If excessive force is needed to remove or add a component, something is probably wrong. Take a second look to make sure that you have not missed a screw or a locking clip that is holding the component in place. Refer to the device manual or diagram for additional information.
Phillips Head Screwdriver
As shown in Figure 4, use a Phillips head screwdriver with crosshead screws. Do not use this type of screwdriver to puncture anything. This will damage the head of the screwdriver.
As shown in Figure 5, use a hex driver to loosen and tighten bolts that have a hexagonal (six-sided) head. Hex bolts should not be over-tightened because the threads of the bolts can be stripped. Do not use a hex driver that is too large for the bolt that you are using.
CAUTION: Some tools are magnetized. When working around electronic devices, be sure that the tools you are using have not been magnetized. Magnetic fields can be harmful to data stored on magnetic media. Test your tool by touching the tool with a screw. If the screw is attracted to the tool, do not use the tool.
Component Retrieving Tools
As shown in Figure 6, needle-nose pliers and tweezers can be used to place and retrieve parts that may be hard to reach with your fingers. There are also tools called part retrievers that are specifically designed for this task. Do not scratch or hit any components when using these tools.
CAUTION: Pencils should not be used inside the computer to change the setting of switches or to pry off jumpers. The pencil lead can act as a conductor and may damage the computer components.
A computer technician needs proper tools to work safely and prevent damage to the computer equipment. A technician uses many tools to diagnose and repair computer problems:
- Straight-head screwdriver, large and small
- Phillips-head screwdriver, large and small
- Tweezers or part retriever
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Wire cutters
- Chip extractor
- Hex wrench set
- Torx screwdriver
- Nut driver, large and small
- Three-claw component holder
- Wire Stripper
- Punch Down Tool
- Digital multimeter
- Wrap plugs
- Small mirror
- Small dust brush
- Soft, lint-free cloth
- Cable ties
- Small flashlight
- Electrical tape
- Pencil or pen
- Compressed air
Various specialty tools, such as Torx bits, antistatic bags and gloves, and integrated circuit pullers, can be used to repair and maintain computers. Always avoid magnetized tools, such as screwdrivers with magnetic heads, or tools that use extension magnets to retrieve small metal objects that are out of reach. Using magnetic tools can cause loss of data on hard drives and floppy disks. Magnetic tools can also induce current, which can damage internal computer components. Additionally, there are specialized testing devices used to diagnose computer and cable problems:
- Multimeter - A device that measures AC/DC voltage, electric current, and other cable and electrical characteristics, as shown in Figure 7.
- Power supply tester - A device that checks whether the computer power supply is working properly. A simple power supply tester might just have indicator lights, while more advanced versions show the amount of voltage and amperage.
- Cable tester - A device that checks for wiring shorts or faults, such as wires connected to the wrong pin.
- Loopback plug - A device that connects to a computer, hub, switch, or router port to perform a diagnostic procedure called a loopback test. In a loopback test, a signal is transmitted through a circuit and then returned to the sending device to test the integrity of the data transmission.