New Products: Computer Tool Kits
Some of our latest products, 30+ to be precise, are all about computers and computer-related devices. This is a cable management business after all, and where there are cables there’s electricity and all the appliances it powers. The products discussed today will be a compilation of sorts of our newly available tool kits. They range from computer networks and services, to electricians and technicians, to multimedia applications.
Computer Networks and Services
Now, when I say “services”, I don’t mean the services offered, but the act of servicing ala repairs and maintenance. You’ll see more of that later down the line. For now, it’s mainly network installation and performance improvement. I.e. the type of maintenance one does to a computer to make it run faster, better, etc. So let’s take a look at what we have here.
Most of the kits discussed here are from Quest Manufacturing and carry some of the basic tools: crimper, stripper, cutter, and a screwdriver. However, they all differ from one another even if they are made for generally the same purpose. The Network Installer Kit is the most simple of the five; Modular crimp tool, UTP stripper, Punchdown tool with blades, modular connectors of course, and a network tester. That’s all there is to it and that’s all that’s really needed to set-up an Ethernet connection, aside from RJ45 cables. Strip a cable, slip the wires into a mod plug, crimp it, make the connection and test it – easy.
The Deluxe Computer Service Tool Kit is a little larger by 85 pieces in total. All of it is carried in a briefcase with an assortment of straps and pockets to secure tools and spare pieces. Built to service a computer, you can find everything from the basics to specialized hand tools, a soldering iron, and even a telescopic mirror to get a good look at what you’re tinkering with. All that’s missing are those goggles with multiple magnifying glasses on them. With this large collection of devices, you could put together a CPU, a server, or just do a thorough inspection of your own computer.
Next up is an 81-piece Network/Coaxial Installer kit. This shares the same goal of the Net Kit above, but seems to have a more permanent solution to installing a network connection. There’s the usual stuff, plus a few ratchet drivers, a wrench, and a soldering iron to make those connectors really stick. Spare pieces like star bits are included for screwing parts together; a star bit, for those that don’t know, are a type of screw with a head designed to prevent cam-out, or to stop the screwdriver from slipping out. This design ensures that the screw will be tightened and neither the screw nor the driver will be damaged due to cam-outs.
This next tool kit is definitely for maintenance. It’s all about taking machines a part and fixing them up; sort of makes me think of a mechanic, although this is called a “22-piece Computer Technician Deluxe Tool Kit.” Almost all the same tools, though clearly about a quarter of the last two sets. This kit is for inserting and extracting tiny, delicate parts like circuit chips, assembling disk drives, really anything that involves small objects, tight spaces, and a steady hand. It’s something like this that I really wish I had when my Xbox 360 died on me and flashed the horrid red ring of death. A technician’s tool kit would take a part and replace that heat sink in no time. Or at least…I think it’s the heat sink.
Last on our list for Computer Network and Services kits is the Paladin Tools Ultimate DataReady Pro Kit. Jeez, what a mouthful that is. This kit has everything you need to put together Category 3, Cat5e, or Cat 6 voice or data cables. Most of the time, when someone hears Cat3 or Cat6, they think RJ11, RJ45, and Ethernet cables. Cat3 and RJ11 cables are used for voice, or telephone cables to be precise. Cat5 and higher is all about data transmission, i.e. connecting to the internet and uploading and/or downloading data. Think back to our blogs in May; now take a look at this DataReady Pro Kit. Almost seems like a perfect match, doesn’t it? In fact, you could probably do all of the how-to’s of May with the kits discussed thus far.
There’s 11 tool sets in this category to cover, but I’m not going to go as in-depth as the above. Mainly because although the same story applies, “Same purpose, different tools,” literally a few of these are the same thing, just a smaller version or specific specializations. For instance, the first four on the line up are all by Klein Tools, known as Journeyman or Electrician Tool Sets. At first glance, the only difference is would you like a 14-piece, 18-piece, 28-piece, or 41-piece tool kit?
All four tool kits are definitely designed for handy work. One look at any of those pages, and you’re confronted with wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and the like. A lot of this stuff you’d expect to come with a plumber or, of course, an electrician. The 14 and 28-piece tool sets are flat-out for electric work. There’s no punch-down tool for installing and terminating wires, no crimp tools for modular connectors, just tools for performing regular maintenance and repair on electrical appliances. The 18 and 41-piece have some of the same tools as the others, but they’re largely situated around home improvement and professional work—especially the latter.
A new name you’ll see pop up a lot is “BlackBox.” Nearly the remainder of these tool sets is big on technical work and Black Box is happy to supply the goods. They have a Technician’s Tool kit, a Professional Technician’s kit, a General Purpose Tool Kit, and a few “PowerPlay” Tools. Two of these are designed for maintenance and the like, whereas the other two deal with telecom and data applications. The PowerPlay Tools are a real set of gems, and we’ll get to those, but now, let’s get the normal stuff out of the way first.
BlackBox Technician’s Tool Kit and General Purpose Tool Kit are both sets of tools that an average guy would probably have lying in his garage. Heck, you probably have most of these and don’t even know it. Growing up, my father was always a handyman; he fixed sinks, lamps, fans, electrical boxes, stuff you’d find around the home that needed some work. That’s exactly what these two kits are made for. Wrenches, clamps, screwdrivers, electrical tape, and surprisingly some soldering and crimping tools are included in these Black Box sets. Both are good for fix-ups, but the Technician’s Tool Kit has a little wider of an array of applications.
The other two tool kits are very compact. Specifically designed for telephony communication systems, the BlackBox Professional Took Kit comes with a punch-down tool, cable cutters and strippers, and utility scissors. It all comes in a PVC pouch, molded into a holster with pockets for each specific item, and can latch onto a belt. When working with telephony systems, especially telephone poles, a technician is pretty high up there and they’ll need their tools on hand at all times. They can’t be lugging around a bunch of things at once. That’s why this kit comes in handy, but what’s even more interesting are the PowerPlay Tools.
Each one is a mutli-function tool, almost like a swiss army knife, with anywhere from 18-30 tools hidden inside. Really, check it out for yourself. Each one encases pliers, scissors, punch-down tools, cable cutters and strippers, and screwdrivers. I still can’t wrap my head around it. Ironically, the 18-in-1 PowerPlay tool looks like a really fancy bottle opener, and if that’s the case, then these gadgets have a lot more use than just datacom/telecom work.
Two more tool sets are by Milwaukke manufacturing and are literally a kit of power tools. The Milwaukee M18 4-tool combo kit is basically two saws, one circular and the other a Recip saw, and a hammer drill. That just screams wood shop. A little easier going would probably be the Milwaukee M12 Screwdriver and Hacksaw combo kit, made for plumbing, electrical work, and remodeling. Nothing really fancy with these kits, but they’re strong tools for tough work.
Ideal Industries makes an appearance at the end with its S-Class Fiberglass Fish Tape Field Application Repair Kit. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? This is the first time I’ve seen a tool kit dedicated strictly to feeding wire. It has everything, a crimper and die set, replacement eyelets, replacement leaders, and the adhesive to make it all stick together. Using fish-tape is very handy when running cables through walls and confined spaces, and if it were to break I can see how infuriating it can get. That’s why Ideal has this tool kit, where you can repair the fish tape and get back to work in a jiffy.
Wire Installation and Termination
Here we go, 18 sophisticated and complex tool kits for installing networks, modular plugs, Ethernet connections, and terminating all of it. I’m going to go ahead and save us both a heap of trouble by giving a brief summary of what the majority of these things do, because really, how many ways can I talk about voice and data, Ethernet connections, cable networks, and wire crimping? At the end of the summary, you can find a list of all the products, their primary function, and a link to their product page.
Cumulatively, all of these tool kits cover cable networks such as LANS and Ethernet, working with RJ45 and RJ11 modular connectors, installing them, and voice/data applications. Almost every set has a crimping tool and cable stripper, and a lot of them come with a collection of mod plugs to give you an all inclusive product. The two that stand out the most is the BlackBox Fiber Installation Kit and the Greenlee Fiber Optic Hand Tool Set. I have yet to come across tool kits made for fiber optics, and they both have everything you need to get the job done; the BlackBox kit even comes with a portable workspace due to the delicate nature of working with fiber optics and how just a little dust can really cause problems.
Going into detail about each one will take a long time, and I don’t want to bore you to death. I know just looking at this blog has probably scared you off, it’s huge! I digress, there is a lot of information to cover here and instead of regurgitating everything you can find on the product pages, as I said above, here’s a list of every product left with a short description of what they do. You can find all the information you like by following their link.
Black Box Voice/Data Tool Kit – A complete tool set for network installation and computer maintenance.
Ideal Pro Installer Kit – Tool kit for installing a home theater.
Fluke Networks Pro-Tool Kits – Three all-in-one kits for network installation.
Ideal Technician’s Basic Service Kit – Tool kit designed for technicians.
Ideal Compression Connector Installation Kit – Three tools for technical and electrical work.
Ideal RJ11 and RJ45 Telemaster Kit – A multipurpose tool kit that’s great for installing cable networks.
Ideal Economy Mod Plug Kit – A modular plug kit with a crimper and 20 plugs.
Ideal RJ11/RJ45 Telemaster Kit – Crimping kit with the Telemaster and 30 mod plugs.
Ideal Expanded Data and Video Kit – Comprehensive Kit for Data and Video systems.
Ideal Economy 10Base-T Telemaster Kit – A simple kit with all you need to set up a 10Base-T Ethernet network.
Black Box Fiber Installation Kits – Fiber optics installation kit.
GEM EZ-ON Tool Kit – A crimp tool and modular connectors for wire terminations.
Black Box VoIP Tool Kit – All of the tools necessary for setting up VoIP.
Ideal 10Base-T Crimpmaster RJ45 Kit – An all-included kit for 10Base-T cable installations.
Ideal Deluxe Crimpmaster Coax Kit – A kit with all the tools and dies for Ethernet, BNC, and Thinwire crimping jobs.
BlackBox CAT5e & CAT6 Modular Plug Kit – This kit has everything you need to terminate and maintain data cables.
Black Box CAT5e Installation Kit – Comprehensive tool set for terminating and managing CAT5e network cables.
Greenlee Fiber Optic Hand Tools Kit – Common tools used on fiber optics.