PC Hardware

Recommended Hardware

A computer professional does not need a large toolbox; only a few basic hand tools, a handful of floppy disks are required to solve most computer problems. Most PCs can be opened and most parts removed and replaced with a pair of screwdrivers. Be careful when working on a proprietary machine, however-special tools are often required. A small canvas bag or a briefcase will generally be sufficient to carry everything you need.

The following table lists and describes the hand tools that will meet most needs.

Tool Description
Screwdrivers Two of each (one large and one small) flathead (regular) and Phillips (sometimes called a cross) screwdrivers are usually sufficient. Avoid magnetic screwdrivers: although they are convenient for picking up lost screws, their magnetism can cause problems.
Torx driver Used to remove the odd star-shaped screws found on some proprietary computers. Sizes T-10 and T-15 should meet the needs of most computers.
Tweezers Very convenient for picking up small parts (for instance,screws). You might consider the long plastic variety; these don't conduct electricity and hence won't create any short circuits.
Needlenose pliers Can be used to pick up dropped items and to hold or loosen screws, nuts, and bolts.
Chip removers Although optional, these are very useful when changing video RAM or other (older) RAM chips that are pushed into a socket.
Tube for small parts A short plastic tube (with caps on both ends) will keep loose screws and small parts from wandering.
Compressed air A can of compressed air is helpful to remove dust.
ESD tools An antistatic wristband is a must. Antistatic mats and antistatic bags are also helpful.
Multimeter A small, digital meter that is capable of measuring volts (AC and DC) and ohms (resistance or continuity) is all that is needed.
Flashlight A small (bright) light for illuminating those hard-to-get-at places.
Nut driver set Sizes 3/16-inch, 7/32-inch, and 1/4-inch.
Hemostats Good for picking up and holding small parts. Straight hemostats will work most of the time. However, curved ones will get into those small places that the straight ones can't reach.
POST Card A POST card can be used to see what the error messages during system start are being sent when no data is being sent to the display.