Hi in this post I will be discussing what hand tools I carry around on a day to day basis.
These are the tools I simply cant be without, and use the most frequently, also I will try to advise on why I need these and the reasons I purchased them.
First & foremost you will need a good quality set of insulated screwdrivers, if you buy cheap I’m afraid you will only be disappointed farther down the road, I like most have in the past opted for cheap brands, but in reality these haven’t done me justice & not lasted, under performed and sometimes have caused me an injury or Two.
The brands I settled on are from CK & Wera, they are of exceptional quality, they can both be interchanged as they both share a common handle that as all the different ends locate and lock into. This saves carrying a multitude of differing drivers around with you, and you know you will never need the One you forgot.
Yes initially they cost a little more but I have had a set of these for nearly 15 years & they still provide the service they did the day I bought them, these I would recommend to anyone.
Every electrician will need some of these, these will be One of the tools you will use the most, from cutting the baring cable ends, side cutters will be never out of your hands.
For this reason again you need a quality, ergonomic, comfortable set of sides.
I have a good number of these some cheap & some not so cheap. The cheap Ones will & do cut most cables but when it comes to stripping insulation off you will then realize why the more expensive brands do the job so so much better.
The brands I favor are Knippex & CK, both I have had for the better part of 10 years & have been abused beyond belief, and yet still perform as they were new.
Some of the cheap supermarket offerings died years ago and are rusting away somewhere in a tool box.
As the name implies, these are mainly used for cutting larger diameter cables, these for me come in to play when the side cutters just arnt big enough. When cutting meter tails which are 25 mm in diameter is where these are really essential as they are larger & have the leverage and are designed for this purpose.
I have several sets of these & again you need to go for a quality made tool, these really do make life easier, and you get a nice clean precise cut.
The brands I settled on are from CK & NWS both are an excellent choice & again have lasted 10 years plus.
Cable Crimping Tool
Another frequently used tool is the cable crimping tool, this is used to join together Two conductors in an insulated fashion,.
There are many different types of “Crimps” as they are called & all have different applications, to successfully use crimps you will require a decent quality crimping tool.
This will apply the correct amount of pressure and apply in the correct area of the crimps barrel (the part where the cable is inserted). A crimped joint relies of a good pressure and in the correct area to ensure a safe and physically strong connection.
There are the cheap pressed metal options but these I would steer clear from using as they offer none of the above attributes. You end up with a messy unsecured joint which is everything you dont want when joining power cables together (Below example)
There are some modern non crimped solutions for cable jointing on the market and these work by pressure constantly being applied by a lever built into an insulated housing. They are very good for this purpose but are also bulky and should be placed in an enclosure or cable termination box.
The crimped joint can either be wrapped with an insulated tape or covered by a heat shrinking sleeve to offer additional protection and prevent the ingress of moisture.
Both the crimps & the jointing systems above come in a selection of current ratings and are indicated either by color or signage,
Both do an equally good job at joining cables effectively & safely. I am not a great lover of the older widely used terminal strips. They do join cables but the screws have a tendency to work loose, this causes arcing and a build up of heat which can create fire.
Additionally there are junction boxes that were Once common and are still widely used today, these for me are a lesser choice as the terminals in these also work loose & people often try to insert too many conductors under One terminal.
I prefer and favor the WAGO system & an insulated box
I hope this has shed some more light on Electricians hand tools & some methods of jointing cables together.
I shall be writing another post soon & hope to share some more advice with anyone wishing to improve their electrical knowledge.