There is much more to tools for electronic repairs than just screwdrivers and tweezers. While most of the common tools can be found at a local hardware or home improvement store, many are unique to the electronics industry.
In the mobile repair industry, heating equipment such as a heating plate, heater pad, hot air gun, low heat air gun, etc. is always needed. Depending on the job you may need them all! You may find a lot of great heating devices from China, but are they safe? Are they UL approved? CE approved? Equipment such as those blue heater mats are great, but they are not UL or CE approved, which means you can put your shop and employees at risk of electrical shock, fire, or death. These are things to think about when setting up the equipment in your facility.
About ESD Safe Materials
For every screw type, there is a screwdriver. When disassembling phones, you may need some odd screwdriver types such as a set of miniature and specialty ESD safe screwdrivers. Watch out for the quality of the metal when purchasing these screwdrivers since they can be easily ruined if used incorrectly.
What Does ESD mean?
Another important thing to look for is driver sets that are ESD Safe. ESD, or electrostatic discharge, is the transfer of an electric charge that takes place when two objects, each charged with different electric potentials, come in contact with one another. What makes tools ESD safe?
- The unit is grounded and the resistance between tip and ground is less than 2 ohms.
- The tip to ground potential does not exceed 2 millivolts.
- ESD safe materials are used in the construction of the unit which has a surface resistivity of less than 1011 ohms/square and/or passes a static decay test as defined in MIL-STD-3010A TM-4046.
The components of the unit that are subject to ESD requirements are the cases (covers and chassis), housings, handles, connection cords, and connection hoses. Exempt from ESD requirements are power supply cords, power switches, power receptacles, fuses, potentiometers, and other similar components of the product that are required to be insulative for electrical safety. (Font: hakkousa)
Now that you understand what ESD Safe Materials are and their purpose, we put together a list of the basic and the must-have materials you should have at your shop in order to make quality repairs at a safe environment for you and your employees:
- Opening Tools: iSclack or iSesamo, iPlastix or iFlex
- Tweezers: straight and curved – they are great for holding small parts or removing very small screws
- ESD safe Phillips, tri-wing and slotted screwdrivers
- Magnetic mat for organizing all the screws and plates once they are removed
- Good lighting
- Magnification (magnifying glass or eye loupe)
- Plastic pry tools such as 3M spudgers
Proper ESD safety equipment
- ESD mat
- ESD strap connected to a truly grounded outlet
Right tools for the right job!
Unfortunately, some equipment such as vacuum refurb machine and back replacement machines are not UL or CE approved for the most part, but they are a necessity of the business. In these cases, you have to decide how best to manage the risks: search and pay more for safety equipment, or choose something more affordable at the risk of potential danger.
Don’t forget: personal safety should always be a concern! Using proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety goggles should be mandatory for you and your technicians when repairing iPads or any other tablets that use glass, for example. Save yourself from unnecessary risk and a potential lawsuit.