Post Engineers Physical Tools

Being a Post Engineer who could be looking at anything from a software issue to a wiring install, I have been thinking about my rather sparse tool-kit and just exactly what I need and perhaps what any support engineer should have in the boot of the car or rather in their bag.

Basic Tools

  • Screwdriver - never underestimate the use of screwdrivers! From removing cards from servers to screwing kit into 19" racks, or just getting into a cardboard box, make sure you have a selection to choose from. I'd love to say I have a beautiful selection I take with me but to be honest, I tend to have a small multi ended (tweeker-esk) device in my bag along with a mid sized flat and posi-drive. These tend to get me out of most situations. Never use rounded drivers as they will ruin screw heads and make your life even hearder.
  • Snips - small snips are always useful for getting wiring out of looms and then neatening up the cable ties you have put back in.
  • Allen Keys - I have a small selection which again are in common use on kit I deal with. These are the smaller sizes 1,2,3,4 and 5 mm
  • Cable Ties - Short and long which are invaluable.
  • Meter - simple cheap unit for me from Maplins. Measure DC and AC voltage and the much relied upon resistance for tracing cable faults... if needed! 
  • Network Cables - I tend to have a small selection of 1m 2m 5m and 10m Cat5e cables for obvious reasons. I also keep a carefully marked cross over unit as well. There's also a Serial to RJ45 in there as they are becoming more and more common.
  • Network Tester - Simple cable tester (RJ45 and RJ11) which I got from Screw Fix for a tenner!
  • Anti-Static Wrist Strap - Yes there's one in my bag, how old school!
I have various other tricks out in the car such as DVI and VGA cables and also also a good selection of IEC to IEC units as well as a few 'kettle' leads. There's also a Brother labeller in there too, but its usually out of labels, or the 6 AA batteries needed to power the damn thing are flat!

In the boot there used to be a 50w soldering iron with stand, solder, solder sucker and mobile clamp, but as I have not done much soldering in the last 7 or 8 years this now tends to sit in the garage and is only broken out for home projects.



    Hugh & I did a podcast on just this topic - good collection of tools for your rucksack. For the engineer on the hoof.


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