Small description of different tools for
maintaining and fixing Macintoshs, Powerbooks, ibooks,
(As usual, I won't be responsible of any troubles you
might encounter while following my instructions. You've been
The following explanations will be in two folds :
- What's inside the tools pouch
- Miscellaneous advices
Here's what's currently inside my tools pouch (May
The tools pouch lives inside another pouch with the
These are 6 sections wrenches with an handle. The 5mm one
is used to unscrew the modem card from a Ti VGA or to
withdraw the motherboard from an ibook palourde. I took them
from a Villeman boxed kit, witch seems to have been replaced
Three often used chemicals. From left to right : fine
oil, isopropyl alcohol, and some superglue.
6mm blades for one handle. It makes the whole package
lighter. I like that. The only usefull blades for a Mac are
the philips 1 and 2.
Sometime, the 0.8
flat sees some uses too. The others are too big.
Sizes are written on the blades.
Now, on the tools pouch :
Here is my most used tool: a 4mm handle with 6 blades and
12 differents heads:
- 4 torx from 5 to 8 (the torx 8 is used for the ibook
palourde and the Titanium)
- 4 flats from 1.5 to 4, not used for the Macs
- 4 philips from 000 to 1 (000/00/0/1). Except for the
000, they all find uses on Macs.
At the top: the torx 8, witch is the most used.
A 6 sections wrench of 1.3mm (a.k.a. Allen wrench), used
for keyboards. You can also find this kind of wrench without
an handle, but they are easier to locate and identify when
they have one.
A solder sucker and my gaz powered soldering iron.
Usefull only for heavy duty work, away from a power source.
Warning: this particular model evacuates hot air from a
latteral hole. Keep in mind you'll have to point to away
from your work.
A Used toothbrush and a brush, for cleaning duty. The top
toothbrush is mainly used because of its pointy end to
unlock and unclip misc connectors.
Some misc plastics and rubber with a punch. Very usefull
to make Titanium feet!
Mini hammer and matching misc heads. It will help to fix
small bumps on Titaniums, Alus and iPod. Now get this: it'll
even help you to briefly bring back to life an old hard
drive that doesn't kick start anymore. A small kick on the
side with the hammer might start it again and let you backup
the data in a hurry.
A precision knife with different blades and graphit leads
for marking spots. I mainly use it when making ethernet
cables and soldering wires.
Some heat shrinking sheaths, in assorted sizes, to
protect soldering on cables. Some cotton (the stuff used to
clean your ears) to clean lenses, optical drivers, keyboards
Its intended use is removing composants before soldering
them in a proper way. My use is unclipping connectors,
opening iPods, etc.
A mirror (like the one used by dentists, can be found in
pharmacies) allows me to see connectors at the back of
computers. At first, I used to use it to see SCSI ID's on
wallmounted hard drives arrays. Next are some plastic
screwdrivers. They allow me to fine tune microscrews, mainly
for CRT monitors.
These pliers are very helpfull to retrieve screws or
debris from a computer case. Also very good at maintaining
things while soldering. I found them in a trade. Their first
purpose is medical.
Two cutting pliers (one cuts from the sides, the other
from top to bottom). Mainly to cut weldings clean an
The think point of this device neatly replaces trombones
to force CD ejecting.
Several probes. They come from a Maxicraft package, but I
also got several from my dentist. When she breaks one end of
a medical probe, she keep it for me. I use them to push back
connectors in their beds, scratch oxidation, etc.
Here is a big screwdriver with small 6mm bits. It is
magnetized. Several years ago, I used to work in the
printing / photocopying business. This tool has proven its
utility during that time. I really appreciate its magnet's
strenght, preventing me from losing small items in computers
cases. It's quite long and doesn't fit in the pouch. It
stand by the pouch side in my backpack. On the other side of
the pouch, ones could find 2 soldering irons (15W &
Some unusual bits for the big screwdriver. It's the third
box of bits and is meant to be the last one : the bits are
long enough and covers the widest range of
«strange» formats I have encountered. For usual
formats in long blade, I use the 6mm blades we talked about
I had to go through several steps to obtain this
assortment of tools.
At first, I always buy cheap tools. Then, if it brokes or
doesn't do the job, I replace it with a better quality tool,
witch doesn't mean more expensive. I started with this cheap
package (5 euros):
Nicely done pouch with a good zipper, color coded
screwdrivers (red for flat, yellow for philips, green for
torx) and 4 pliers. Unfortunatly, the screwdrivers heads got
quickly torn or broken. The small diameters were damaged
during the unscrewing process. -> Not enough quality in
So I went for this package (20 euros):
A very complete box with a padded top. Blades : torx 6 to
10, philips 00 and 000, pozidriv 0 and 00, 6 sections
1.5/2/2.5, flat 2/2.5/3/4, spherical 6 sections 1.5/2/2.5
and hollow 6 sections 3.2/4/5/5.5/7. A well put and very
complete box with a practical twist: the top can be used to
rest the screws.
On the bad sides: short blades, I don't use pozidriv, the
spherical 6 sections wrenches are the same sizes as the
others and... I happened to open several times the box when
it was upside down. I had to crawl on my knees for a few
minutes to catch everything back ;-)
I've also received, for my birthday, the same box from
quality is slightly better. And I can easily identify the
top from the bottom on this one ;-)
That kind of boxes is pretty common from several well
know brands (Velleman,
Thanks to Raphaël Yharrassarry for the following
Variables lenght blades are quite usefull -> that's
why I use an handle with several long 4mm blades. I have a
second set in my waist pack, inside an aspirin tube ->
easy to pack. And if it fall on the ground, I can easily
find it back.
The facom set and it's «copy» are usefull when
working on a bench or table, with space to spare since it's
not a good idea to move things around while out of the box.
makes some similar packages.
you'll find what is, IMHO, the best bang for the buck. An
handle with 6 blades for 8.5 euros. The only missing things
are 6 sections wrenches.
I've also searched for a good 6mm bits system. I started
with this one:
On the first line, you'll find resistorx (torx that
should be hollow in the middle, not always the case as you
can see here). The second line is for the hollow six
sections bits (A.K.A. Security six sections bits).
Some «I don't know how it's called» on the third
line. On the last line, you'll find Tri-Wing and some
Torq-set. Don't be afraid, they are not yet used on our
This set has been replaced by another one, witch costs 3
times the price. It has better quality and longer
-> After theses advices on how to buy, let's see how
to use. It is very important to use the right tool for the
right job. I had the «opportunity» to handle some
six sections screws that had been unscrewed with torx ->
it was a complete mess :-(!
Here is a good sample: at the bottom, a good and clean
torx print. At the top, the same screw after an encounter
with a six sections wrench.
Two nice torx print from a Titanium hinge.
An hexagonal print (6 sections) from a ibook screw.
Another one, still from an ibook. Sometime, it's
difficult to see clearly. You might need several tools, like
a mirror or a digital camera with a good macro (nikon
coolpix are quite good at this job).
-> the adequate screwdriver fits perfectly in the
print, down to the bottom of it.
If it doesn't fit perfectly, you might slaughter the
print and be in troubles. Try another tool.
While assembling back the computer, you might realize
that you should have drawn a small picture to help you to
put back the screws at the right place. It's also a good
idea to group together the screws that goes in the same
place. It's even better to stick the screws on the drawing
you've made, so they don't move ! Take pictures with you
digital camera, it's invaluable sometime.
On my belt, there's always my Leatherman Supertool200. In
my waist pack, a Leatherman wave (I bought it second hand
Why having both ?
First, I like tools and that should be enough :-). Then, 2
wrenches come very handy: on to hold the nut, the other to
turn the screw. Etc.
I use mainly the wrenches, but theses tools have good
blades too. Two cutting blades, a saw, a file, 3 flat
I also carry in my pouch some items that help me to see
more accuratly what I'm doing.
A Linen Tester is handy for checking weldings, electronic
circuits. What so neat about this tool: there is a clearance
space below the magnifier. t allows to work without hitting
the supporting area you are working on (exemple
2). Unfortunatly, it is quite cumbersome and not sturdy
enough to be always in the pack. It lives in a drawer. In my
waist pack lives it's little brother:
A folding «Linen Tester». Folded and unfolded
on this picture, thanks to Photoshop. You can clearly see
that It'll be harder to work with because of the foot
Also in my waist pack, this head lamp (2 white L.E.D.).
Light and good runtime.
The «famous» spectacles in their box. There's
room for other glasses for more magnyfiyng. More
informations can be found HERE,
Olivier was surprised not to see my jointed cast iron
stand, with built in magnifier. It has been replaced by
Way more lightweight and its teeth don't damage objects.
Of course, I carry several in my backpack.
I also carry zip ties.To carry them like me, pay
attention to the introduction side.
I also carry in my packpack a box full of weldings,
screws, something to clean my soldering iron, RJ-45
connectors, some jumpers for hard drives and nylon
Some people were surprised not to see an antistatic wand.
I don't use one. I have short air (Remember, I worhship my
stepbrother who happens to have short hair too.) I don't
wear silk (even if I look gay) and I touch heating sink
before any manipulation. But that kind of wand can be
Verges made me notice that I forgot to talk about my
lastest addition and the hero of my last article:
A very nice painter knife. I don't always carry it in my
This mini-file stops here for now. It'll get bigger and
better with time and improvement. Any question or comment is
welcome, just drop me an email.
Do you find this article helpfull?