When a telephone technician comes to your home, he'll probably be carrying a
belt full of specialty telecom tools much like the one pictured at the left.
However, some of the most used tools on the belt are also found in the average
home tool kit such as shown on the right.
You can do most of your home phone wiring work with a very limited tool kit.
But, some specialty tools become necessary when you encounter problems or use
special wiring components.
Minimum Tool Requirements:
If you have a home tool kit such as the one shown above, you'll probably find
that it includes all of the following.
Generally, if your wiring work is going to require purchase of a lot of basic
hand tools that you don't have, I would recommend.
- Screwdriver, slotted 3/16"
- Screwdriver, Phillips #1
- Screwdriver, Phillips #2
I normally carry one 6-in-1 reversible screwdriver that includes all these tip
They're very handy and normally fairly inexpensive.
If you don't have one, I recommend visiting your hardware store and purchasing
one (or two) immediately.
Pliers, long nose with cutter (6")
- Knife, electrician's (or a good pocket knife)
I also normally carry a "multi-tool".
They're a fold up pocket tool that includes a long nose plier and an assortment
of knife and utility blades.
My tool of choice is the Paladin PT-525, built by SOG.
It includes fold-out 66 and 110 punch blades, a 1/4" hex drive, and other blades
chosen to to make it ideal for both telephone installation work and general
If you're going to purchase such a multi-tool, spend enough to get one of the
good ones such as the PT-525.
Good quality multi-tools are a little more expensive, but the cheap imitations
tend to fail when you get down to some real work.
- Other tools such as a tape measure, level, and hammer may be required if our wiring requirements involve more
than rewiring or replacing your phone jacks.
Specialty Tools and Test Equipment:
Sometimes specialty tools and test equipment are indispensable.
But, they are specialty items, so they're not exactly inexpensive.
Purchase of some specialty tools to work with a 66 or 110 block wiring hub is
However, if you find that your work will require a lot of other specialty tools
or test equipment, I would recommend you either rent them or consider seeking
The cost of buying some specialty items significantly exceeds what you'll pay to
have the job done by a professional.
- If you plan to use a 66 or 110 block for your wiring hub or to install some
of the special modularized IDC (insulation displacement connection) jacks,
you'll find that you need a "punchdown tool".
The Paladin SurePunch series and similar tools are a good choice for for
professional or do-it-yourself use, but other (less expensive) models that might
meet your requirements.
"Impact" punchdown tools (like the SurePucnch 3571 pictured at left) are spring
driven and ensure wires are properly seated and cleanly cut.
"Non-impact" punchdown tools depend purely on force applied by the user and are
most suitable for limited use terminating jacks and installation of the
occasional cross-connect jumper.
Special multi-pair 110 punch down tools are extremely useful when installing 110
- If you have trouble determining the routing of your cables or have
continuity problems, you would find it very useful to have a tone
When a tone generator is connected to a cable pair, the probe will detect the
tone when placed near any point on a cable that has continuity to the generator.
If you own an ohm meter (and know how to use it), you could use it to test pair
continuity, but I will not be including the procedures on these advice pages.
Probably the single most distinctive item of specialty equipment used by a phone
tech is the "Telephone Test Set" (which everyone in the industry refers to as a
"butt set" - obviously due to its standard carry position).
Properly it is a "butt-in" set, because it is used to "butt-in" on a line.
A test set is simply a very specialized telephone.
It is highly ruggedized and allows a technician to test a line at any location.
You can use a standard phone set to meet your limited test requirements.
A Harris (Fluke) TS-22A is my choice of test set (and I couldn't resist the
temptation to include the picture of one above this section of the page).
But, it's probably too expensive to consider buying for personal use.
If you can't bear to work on your wiring without having a test set, there are
several less expensive sets available from several different manufactures (such
as the Harris (Fluke) TS
19 shown at right).
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