We receive constant questions from people asking us what we use when we install Opus-Two control systems. Here is a collection of "Must have" tools and accessories. These are "affiliate links" so we get a small commission (very small) for recommending them. Are you an amazon prime member? If you aren't, you probably should be. Many accessories we use are available either same-day (in our area) or < 2 days in most areas.
One of our favorites, and if we have been out to work with you, we've probably given you one of these. The Haako flat cutters are cheap enough that if you cut a 6 gauge with it and damage it, you haven't ruined an expensive tool, but they're good enough that if you don't cut a 6 gauge wire with it, they last a really long time. These are "flush cutter" which means that the cutting edges will be at the very edge of the tool, not inside the tool. When cutting tails off pancon connectors, this means the tails will not stick out. When cutting zip ties, the cut will be flush with the head of the zip tie (if you hold the tool tight to the head), and there will be no sharp edges sticking out. Available in single or 5 packs.
Please stop buying solder at Home Depot! Good quality electronic solder is not that expensive. We have found countless problems caused by people using inexpensive solder that gives unreliable results (or worse, corrosive results). Unlike lead free solder, this solder (which does contain lead) the residues are non-corrode if not cleaned.
While it is true that you can get cable ties from Home Depot or mono price, they are worth what you pay for them. The cheap plastics break down very quickly (probably during your warranty for your work), and the cables are no longer held together. These ties are a little expensive, but are hands down the highest quality cable ties we have ever used.
Our favorite solder station - it is not the easiest to use, but it is the best performing. Thermal recovery is absolutely incredible, which means you don't need a high temperature to solder even tough jobs. Rise time to operating temperature is less than a minute, and cool down doesn't take forever. Not only should you be using these in your shop, but on the road as well.
These have been out for at least 20 years, and they are finally getting hard to find. The Elenco LCM-1950 multi meter is inexpensive, measure high current ( over 10 amps ), a large voltage range, inductance, capacitance, resistance, diode check, and more. User replaceable fuses and a max/hold feature make it my favorite multimeter for years running.
We're not big fans of switching power supplies (not at all). But if you are going to buy one, these are the best ones we have used yet. They are the most stable, they bounce the least, and they seem to last a long time.
A USB two channel 100 Meg oscilloscope with the added bonuses of logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer, waveform generator, data logging, and variable power supply outputs. Admittedly, I mostly use this to see what power supplies are doing under load or to see ZTronics data (it moves oh so slow), but you can do much more with these. Not everyone needs one of these, if you don't know how to use a regular oscilloscope, this probably isn't for you. If you do know how to use one, and you have thought to yourself "Gee if I only had a scope..." then you might consider one of these.