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I'm afraid I'll get ripped if I get the generic kit from Tigerdirect or whatever. For clarity this is not software I am after but physical tools. It should include something for occassional soldering of electronics, crimper, other things I cannot remember. Hoping for ideas or product links (yes I am searching also). Thank you.

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4 Answers

Never used them before but here is something you might want to check out:

Electronics Toolbox

You can build your own tool kit here

Here is a post listing some tools to include

My personal opinion though: I've accumulated most of my tools over time from a small starter kit, with basic tools such as those you can find at any electronic store that contain a screwdriver interchangeable bit set, strap, needle noses, dykes, tweezers, etc. Everything else I bought over time and added it to my arsenal. You normally won't find a complete set from what I've seen.

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I have got so many tools kits here, some expensive, some cheap and in the end I only use the same tools over and over again (in order of usefulness!) -

An electric screwdriver (just a cheap one - no need for some Bosch power drill!)- £5

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A good quality solid Phillips screwdriver that does not break/weaken - sometimes the head goes funny and wears away / becomes useless. Around £4-5 (Just seen the below picture - haven't seen a Stanley in ages, if you find one - get it! they are cumphy and have good grip!)... You may prefer a ratchet one though.

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A expandable magnet tool - It doesn't matter how careful you are, there are so many times when I drop a screw somewhere... This is a lifesaver! £1.50

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Loads of mini cable ties - usually about 20p or less for a pack of 100

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RJ45 cable tester - £7

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A good set of Torx tools (mainly for mobile phones, whilst they work for hard drives, you don't really want to have to do that job... but comes in handy!) £4

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RJ45 cable crimper - However, this is last as I haven't crimped a cable in ages - it is much cheaper to buy pre made cable in bulk...- £7-8

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If you do go for a crimper, you need ends and if feeling good, boots! around 6-10p each.

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You should be able to get the prices I say above from any half descent hardware shop or even eBay (where I got most of my stuff). If you go cheap with the screwdriver and buy a £1 or less, They are usually horrible and not very comfortable and will probably need replacing every few months when it wears away. I paid for a descent one that feels good and it has lasted 4 years so far with no signs of wear and tear.

Whilst many kits come with soldering irons, I have never had to use one - nor would I like to, but you can always pick up a standard cheap one for less than <£4... if you soldier more than once a month, get yourself a good quality one and ends.

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Amazing, comprehensive and informative –  Guy Thomas Nov 10 '09 at 23:29
    
"A good quality solid Phillips screwdriver that does not break/weaken" - look for Phillip tips that are hardened, characterized by a dull dark-grey finish. Also consider an extra-long 10" shaft #2 Phillips screwdriver. You won't find one among automotive or building tools; it's an electronics trade tool. The long shaft is really handy in special cases, like last week with 5"-deep recessed screws on a UPS. –  sawdust Sep 13 '11 at 5:43
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Buy a good quality set of small screw drivers, small wire cutter, small pliers. I also like to use a small screw driver type socket set. One tool I would not be without is a hemostat (a small locking set of clamps used by surgeons). They are great for holding small items. As my eyes are not as young as they used to be I also like a magnifier to read the small print on many chips and sockets. A battery powered screw driver saves your wrist. I have not had to solder in a while. I never liked the simple soldering pencils. If you are going to do a lot of soldering invest in a good unit with a temp control. You will really need it with the new lead free solders. For field use I once had a butane fueled soldering iron that worked well, but this was before 9-11 and I don't know if I would want to try to carry one today.

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Jensen Tools - do a search - they got bought by Stanley Tools. They've been one of the major players for professional tool kits/bags for years, but they are somewhat expensive. What is you job role going to be? There are some specialized "tools" for certain tasks - for example, ball chain, or fish sticks, gopher poles for when you are running wire through walls...

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