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  1. #1

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    Default Installation Tools

    Since I've started my home theater install business, I'm looking to get a few more tools. I'd like suggestions for some things you have found useful. If you can, give me a brand/type, so I can find them. I've asked for a few suggestions, but there is always more than one opinion, so have at it.

    A couple of the things I need suggestions on for type and brand are:

    Coax crimpers-going to get these this week
    Fish tape
    Heat gun
    Good Soldering Iron

    As always, thanks for the help.

    Zach
    Tschüss
    Zach

  2. #2

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    Fish tape: The ones that wind into the plastic case are a bitch to work with & always jam... The open reel ones seem to work a lot better.

    Coax Crimpers: Basically all the same, if you don't need a lot of leverage. Find your supplier for the f-connectors, buy some & try out the crimpers on them.

    Coax Stripper: Here's where you want to pay some money- Ideal makes one that you can find at home depot- runs about $25, but it'll do the outer & inner strip on some coax perfectly every time.

    Heat gun: Been doin' mine over a gas stove... lemme know what you find.
    Gallo Ref 3.1 : Bryston 4b SST : Musical fidelity CD Pre : VPI HW-19
    Gallo Ref AV, Frankengallo Ref 3, LC60i : Bryston 9b SST : Meridian 565
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  3. #3

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    soldering iron=weller.
    My pop had a pair for 30+ years, been dropped, cracked, and otherwise abused. The only problem was he finally broke the trigger housing. Took 30 years to do that. :p
    Picking ones nose signifies a strong sense of self discovery :)

    System in the works: ;)
    PP 6V6 with 12ax7 pre ~ 20 watts
    15" Jensen MOD 8ohm ~ 97db SPL
    DiMarzio HS3 and/or Tone Zone S

  4. #4

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    if you still use a cordless drill/driver for driving screws and bolts, it's time to get a cordless impact driver.

    i use a 14.4 dewalt because i have alot of other dewalt 14.4 stuff and makita didn't make one that uses the size batteries that i already have in the truck. but if you're not trying to stay compatible with batteries you already have, you can get by with less powerful batteries with these than drill/drivers and you'll still have more driving power.

    if you don't have a self leveling laser line level, david white, stanley and, i think, berger all have similar self leveling palm sized cross laser levels for less than $100. they all look the same, they just have different color plastic outer shells to match the rest of their tool lines. i think the guts are the same in all of them. home depot/lowes carry them. i've been using the david white mark 2 lc version for well over a year and it's held up well. if you're serious about layout stuff like this, a pole to mount the level on is the best way to go for interior work. it pressure fits between the floor and ceiling rapidly and allows you to project your line at, almost, any height. i have laserjamb and it's great, but there are cheaper ones in home depot/lowes that will at least get you in the game.

    you can get by without these, but you'll kick yourself for not getting them sooner after you have them.

    )

  5. #5

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    unc2701,
    Do you happen to know how well these work?
    Fiberglass fish rods

    Also, there are a couple of types of coax crimpers that I've seen: 3 in 1
    and
    Ratcheting

    As far as strippers, someone pointed me towards these and said they work well: rotary strippers
    Is this about the same as the stripper you are referring to?

    My regular wire strippers are Craftsman, which I think are made by Klein: strippers


    hellohello, I'll look into those soldering irons.

    scottnbnj,
    I've got a Ridgid 14 volt power drill that I got from HD this summer on clearance. It was orig $170, and I got it for $100. They had a 12 volt drill & impact driver set for $130(most recently $100) as well, but I wanted a better drill. The only problem, or at least it may be, is that it is s side angle impact drill, instead of the traditional gun type.

    I'll check into the lasers as well.

    Thanks for the help so far guys.

    Zach
    Tschüss
    Zach

  6. #6

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    Coax Crimpers--Cable Pro or the like. The most popular connectors are digicon & it's many rip off brands. Use a one piece compression fitting, not a crimp. The crimp can damage the dialectric if not done properly.
    Fish Tape--check out http://www.lsdinc.com/cgi-local/sear...tput_number=20 they have all tyoes of fiberglass rods
    Heat Gun--Home Depot special has worked well for me
    Soldering Iron--Portasol also available at LSD works great & has many different tip options http://www.lsdinc.com/cgi-local/sear...tput_number=20

  7. #7

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    Fiberglass fish rods:

    I had to do some re-wiring after I finished my basement and got some of these rods at Home Depot....they did the job very well; they are flexible enough, but will definitely not handle corners....which you can do with the wire....

    I say for relatively straight applications, and in my case to wire in the space between studs and concrete wall in my basement, these rods are great.

    oh...and this was a "buy, use and return two days later" thing.. :o
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  8. #8

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    Yeah, I wasn't crazy about the fiberglass one I used & returned. It wasn't quite flexible enough & the wisk thing caught on a protruding nail in the wall- which could happen with a metal one, but not as likely. I've never had any trouble with the metal ones apart from curling them up for storage and I couldn't justify the cost. Oh, i should mention that I was pulling cat 5, not coax with the fiberglass.

    As pointed out, the compression terminations are better than the crimp, but the connectors cost about twice as much. If it was my house I'd use compression, but if you're going to make money... Regardless, decide which you're gonna use, then buy the appropriate tool.

    Rotary strippers work ok, but I really like the Ideal one- just search for it on the Home depot website. If you're gonna go rotary/ crimp this is looks like a good deal (no affil):
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Video-Coaxial-Cr...QQcmdZViewItem

    Oh, and make sure you always have a corded power drill, too. there's nothing worse than being halfway through a job when the batteries go out.
    Last edited by unc2701; 11-15-2005 at 03:48 PM.
    Gallo Ref 3.1 : Bryston 4b SST : Musical fidelity CD Pre : VPI HW-19
    Gallo Ref AV, Frankengallo Ref 3, LC60i : Bryston 9b SST : Meridian 565
    Jordan JX92s : MF X-T100 : Xray v8
    Backburner:Krell KAV-300i

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701
    Oh, and make sure you always have a corded power drill, too. there's nothing worse than being halfway through a job when the batteries go out.
    yeah, can't live without backup batteries and a wide assortment of drills. it often makes sense to just set up several drills with different bits rather than swap bits in and out too.

    i'm starting find more and more though, that i pull out the impact driver for lots of jobs that used to be reserved for even heavier corded drills. i really can't say enough about how impressed i've been with it. these things are a step forward similar to when serious duty cordless drills were introduced.

    )

  10. #10

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    I've got a simple Dewalt corded drill as a backup. The Ridgid has two batteries, and a 20 minute charger. I bought the Ridgid because of the lifetime service agreement on everything, even batteries. If HD still has some of the combo sets for $100, I might get it just for a business expense.

    Would the compression wrench I linked from PE work okay?
    Tschüss
    Zach

  11. #11

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    wow, 20 minute charger and lifetime batteries. that's pretty cool. i think my makita batteries are, like over $70 and the dewalt's, over $50. i killed one dewalt battery when it was nearly brand new by either charging in cold weather or trying to torque something too hard, maybe a combination of the two. either way, it's nearly cheaper to buy new tools to replace batteries than buy batteries outright.

    )

  12. #12

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    Here is the lifetime service agreement offered by Ridgid and here is the right angle impact driver that was in the kit. When I first bought the drill, I checked ebay for a 14 volt ID, so I could use my same batteries, but haven't checked in a while.

    After seeing the service plan on home depot's site, I went to the store ready to buy the 14 volt at the full price. When I saw them marked down to $100, I searched and searched the rack for any left.....sold out. So I asked a department salesman if they had any left at the other stores. The store 15 minutes away had 5 left, so I raced down and picked up two. My brother has the other one now.

    I was in the process of moving, so I didn't have enough $$$ to buy several to resell. I checked ebay later and they were only going for $20-$30 over what I paid, so it wouldn't have been worth my time anyway.
    Tschüss
    Zach

  13. #13

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    i've been close to biting on a couple ridgid tools. if i had seen that warranty offer, it might have made the difference. i'll keep an eye out for them renewing the offer. thanks for the heads-up.

    )

  14. #14

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    Is this the coax stripper you are referring to: http://www.hometech.com/tools/coax.html#ID-45165

    Also, I think I'm going to go with the 3 in 1: http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=360-047

    Or should I just get the tool itself and buy the connectors separately($34 instead of $90). The only ones I probably won't use are the BNC connectors.
    Tschüss
    Zach

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    That one looks a little different from mine, but seems to operate the same way... As a plus, it looks like it'll work on several sizes- mine only does RG-6.
    Gallo Ref 3.1 : Bryston 4b SST : Musical fidelity CD Pre : VPI HW-19
    Gallo Ref AV, Frankengallo Ref 3, LC60i : Bryston 9b SST : Meridian 565
    Jordan JX92s : MF X-T100 : Xray v8
    Backburner:Krell KAV-300i

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by okiepolkie
    Since I've started my home theater install business, I'm looking to get a few more tools. I'd like suggestions for some things you have found useful. If you can, give me a brand/type, so I can find them. I've asked for a few suggestions, but there is always more than one opinion, so have at it.

    A couple of the things I need suggestions on for type and brand are:

    Coax crimpers-going to get these this week
    Fish tape
    Heat gun
    Good Soldering Iron

    As always, thanks for the help.

    Zach
    Hi Zach,

    I don't know the full scope of your planned services for your home theater installation business, but here's a few key tools that I found essential when building my home theater.
    1. pneumatic stapler/nailer with compressor.
    2. Table saw with router table.
    3. Quality electric scissors.
    4. Dremel tool with flexible extension and drywall router attachment.

    To stay on my wife's good side by not being the "bottleneck" in the completion of our new home, ;) I elected to have the builder's electrical contractor prewire my home theater to my design and specifications. As a result I didn't have to buy a lot of specialized wiring type tools. Perhaps that's the area that you are most interested in.

    However, as you no doubt are aware, there is more to home theater installation that pulling wires. Most of my home theater construction activities centered on installing the acoustic treatments and various carpentry projects, hence the list above.

    If you plan on installing custom acoustic treatments, it involves cutting an endless amount of furring strips, making long staight cuts of fabric, and stretching and stapling the fabric over insulation and to the furring strips. Doing that without the first three tools (plus a cordless drill and level) is really not feasible even for a single project, let alone a business specializing in home theaters.

    The last tool was essential for me to install Polk performance enclosures for In-Wall speakers. Here's a description of the gory ordeal of the installation. You might find this tool invaluable to cut drywall in tight corners where you can't get a hand saw. It also comes in handy to make precision depth cuts in drywall so as to avoid nicking the cables you have struggled to snake into the walls, or to avoid hitting existing electrical cables or phone lines that your studfinder didn't find.

    Good luck on your home theater installation business.

    Larry

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