Tools and Equipment

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You won’t need many tools to assemble your computer, in fact the only one you must have is the screwdriver, but if you can get most of the following together, you’ll find things go a little easier.

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Basic Tools
Before you begin building or refitting a computer, you should have some basic tools:

  1. #2 Phillips-head (cross-shaped) screwdriver
  2. Needle-nose pliers
  3. Anti-static Wrist Strap
  4. A large level working space
An anti-static wrist strap with a crocodile clip will help prevent static shock.
Optional Tools

Some other tools and equipment can come in handy as well, such as:

  1. Spring action parts grabber.
  2. Electrical tape
  3. Wire or nylon ties
  4. Flashlight, preferably hands-free
  5. A second, working computer to swap parts, look for tips, ask for help on-line, download drivers and patches, etc. – very useful
  6. A can of compressed air – useful when working with older parts that have collected dust. A better alternative but also more costly, is a vacuum cleaner designed for cleaning electronics.
  7. Magnetic screwdriver
  8. Zip ties or velcro ties for cable management

Proper preparation is the key to a successful build. Before you begin, make sure you have all the tools you will need, secure a clear, well-lit workspace, gather all the components you’ll be using and unpack them one at a time, verifying that everything that is supposed to be there is actually present. At this point you should leave the parts themselves in their protective anti-static bags, and assemble all the accompanying manuals. Now I know you want to get started, but trust me, read the manuals, check the diagrams, make sure you understand where each part goes and how it attaches. If there is anything you don’t understand, now is the time to do a little extra Internet research or call the manufacturer with your questions.

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Find a dry, well-ventilated place to do your work. You should have plenty of light and if possible, you should choose an area without carpet on the floor, as carpet tends to generate a lot of static. An unfurnished basement is a good work location.

Earn a free Certificate of Completion for completing this course. Pass a 50-question test on this course with a score of 70 or higher and receive a certificate of completion. Visit our Computer Repair and Assembly Certificate of Completion page for more information.

The text for this course is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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