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· Registered
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Guys, I thought it would be nice to have a thread for tools we use while working. I made this post over on the OI forum as well. I'll modify the post as we get more suggestions and thoughts.

Here's a list of the tools I use pretty much every day, or at least on every EV project I do.

1. True RMS Multimeter - Fluke 289
(Amazon is just the easiest to search and link, better prices can be found elsewhere.)

I use the 289 nearly every day with a good portion of it being using data logging. It's an expensive meter, but is worth every penny. Back when I got it, there weren't really any more affordable options for the functionality. These days, meters like the FC3000 with wireless capability can log to you phone and can be far cheaper than the 289. I bought mine used and saved a good chunk.

2. AC/DC current clamp

I pair this with the 289 for logging, as well. I decided that measuring current within a few percent was fine for my use. This has served me well, though the case is not as robust as a Fluke or other professional product.

TECPEL CA-600 AC/DC current clamp transmitter probe 600A - -

3. Isolated O-Scope/Differential Probes

I'm not an electronics expert in the slightest. I use a scope for very basic measurements and wanted something that was somewhat more portable and robust than your average desktop unit. This thing is old as hell and the battery sucks, but it's easy to use in the shop.

THS720 - TekWiki

4. Bench Power Supply

Looking for suggestions here! I don't have one and have been shopping. What voltage and current for general EV use? Buy new cheapo, or used ebay?

5. Solder Station

As is the theme here, most of my tools are old. My preferred solder station is a 130W Weller MT1500 with the MT1501 pencil, but those haven't been made in a long, long while and tips are difficult to find.

There are so many suggestions for good, less expensive stations these days, but I haven't used any of them.

6. Vacuum Desolder Station

I've only ever used one, and it's an Amazon cheapy. Other than cleaning, I've not had any issues with it. It's been a godsend for desoldering and then resoldering connectors and through-hole transistors. Mine is a ZD985, but very similar to this dude:

7. Cable Shears - Small/Medium

I'm convinced that nothing beats these guys for everyday use on medium-size cable. I've done up to 2/0 with them (despite the 1/0 rating). They are a fantastic tool. They are also made in a 1000V insulated version.

8. Cable Shears - Medium/Large

I typically grab these for any larger cable. They are cheap and work well, from a reputable brand. No complaints.

9. Cable Crimpers - Medium/Large

There are so many different schools of thought on this one. Hex hydraulic vs. hammer lug vs. dieless mechanical...I'm personally not sure it matters much. I've had good success with all of them. I personally own all three, but use the hex hydraulic more than any other. No complaints on any of these. I do much prefer the 11 ton hydraulic over the 5 ton.

10. Heat Gun

I use a Harbor Freight cheapy. I bought it years ago and hoped it would die so I could get something nicer, but it's still going. 2 position heat control kinda sucks. I wouldn't recommend it unless you just can't spend the extra $30 on something better. Avoid cordless heat guns like the plague, corded only. ... 56434.html

11. Screwdrivers - Insulated

I'm VERY happy with this set. Wiha is fantastic stuff and like the 289, worth every penny. They have smaller sets in the same series if you don't need all the pieces.

12. Screwdrivers - Non-Insulated

Wiha again. If you need screwdrivers, these are some of the best of the best. The grip is fantastic and the hammer head is super useful.

13. Sockets and Ratchets - Non-Insulated

I can't bring myself to spend Snap-On/Matco/whatever levels of cash for ratchets and sockets. I use Harbor Freight composite ratchets almost exclusively. The fine tooth count is nice, and I've never personally had one slip. I have busted HF sockets before, but it was extreme use. Overall, I like them and really like the price.

14. Sockets and Ratchets - Insulated

I don't have any suggestions here...Anyone have a set they like?

15. Connector/Wire Crimpers

There are soooo many options here. I use generic crimpers for insulated terminals and splices like you'd see in automotive applications, then like to use connector-specific crimpers for everything else. I do have the kit below, as recommended from some motorsports wiring guys I know, and it is fine for generic use.

For stuff like Molex Mini Fit or JST, I buy used stuff.

What other parts/tools do you guys recommend?

· Registered
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They seem a little pricey for a hobbyist so does anyone have alternative recommendations?
My experience with Molex is that there aren't really any good china options for many of their products. I ended up buying minifit jr crimpers on ebay.

You might have some luck with generic open barrel crimpers like the Tool Aids?
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