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Old December 2nd, 2021, 08:25 AM   #1
hardaysknight
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What's your favorite obscure tools you have? (Software or Hardware)

What do you guys have in your bag of tricks?

For software, my favorite is definitely PDF-XChange editor. There's a free version which has by far the best PDF editor that I've ever used (and I have a full license for Adobe). I use to to basically color on Hydraulic drawings so it's easier to show which hydraulic line is pressure or tank. Makes it easier for our maintenance guys to read. (https://www.tracker-software.com/pro...xchange-editor)

Greenshot is what I use for basic screenshots. You can set it to the PRTSCRN key so it's used like the basic snipping tool on windows, but with way more features. (https://getgreenshot.org/)

Notepad++ for ABB rapid programming or any other coding. (Also the compare plugin is a MUST)
(https://notepad-plus-plus.org/downloads/)

Hardware wise, I have a set of WERA insulated screwdrivers that I keep on my belt (https://www.amazon.com/Wera-Insulate...%2C206&sr=8-11). I don't work on anything without it.


I also have a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. It's the best mouse I've ever used. (Horizontal scrolling ftw)

(https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Mast...07S395RWD?th=1)

Last edited by hardaysknight; December 2nd, 2021 at 08:28 AM.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:02 AM   #2
IanM8040
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Theres a lot of cool little tools that you wouldn't think you'd need, but come in handy where you normally would have a headache.

Turck sensor tester, can output 20vdc for any kind of testing needed, will show pnp or npn (not that you couldn't test with a meter, but if you need to flag a sensor and watch from a distance, you can easily see the lights activating). Also good for bench testing/programming sensors as well

https://www.alliedelec.com/product/t...cp80/70035749/

NWS right Angle needle nose, best needle nose i've ever used in a cabinet for grabbing and landing wires, surprisingly comfortable and they keep your plier hand out of the way

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PY77D6K...0Y80ZZYBSPJGBH



PLC tools SIM IPE, portable bootp/dhcp server. It's super quick and simple to use, just recently set 40+ kinetix drives and other devices in multiple cabinets up, less than a minute setup on each to set the IP and change it to static without ever opening a laptop.


https://plctools.com/products/plc-to...d-bootp-server
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:20 AM   #3
hardaysknight
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Oh yeah, I have all of those but the right angled pliers. Those look nice!
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:30 AM   #4
jstolaruk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardaysknight View Post
I also have a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. It's the best mouse I've ever used. (Horizontal scrolling ftw)

(https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Mast...07S395RWD?th=1)
That is some kind of mouse! Might need a week long training course on that one
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:41 AM   #5
kolyur
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Homemade version of sensor tester--very handy
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File Type: jpg IMG_1757.jpg (125.2 KB, 629 views)
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 10:55 AM   #6
geniusintraining
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Quote:
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Homemade version of sensor tester--very handy
Very nice.... I think I will looking into making these, is that a M8 and M12 connection?

Not that I am trying to push my products but this is one I use a lot https://www.plccable.com/new-updated...-10vdc-0-22ma/ simple 0-10vdc and 4-20 signal generator
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 11:42 AM   #7
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Very nice.... I think I will looking into making these, is that a M8 and M12 connection?
Yes, M12 and 3-pin M8; we hardly use any 4-pin M8. The PCB just has one LED and a resistor so it only lights up with PNP sensors (99% of what we use). With a bicolor LED it could be made to work with both PNP and NPN (my next revision). My goal was to make it as compact as possible because most of the purchased ones I've seen are rather bulky. Our electricians all carry them in their toolboxes.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 03:01 PM   #8
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789 Process Meter. All the functionality of a high quality multi-meter, with the added functionality of sourcing 0-20mA to a PLC input, etc. Maybe this isn't "obscure" tool, but I don't see many of them around. I use mine quite frequently for the 0-20mA sourcing function. I lend it out a LOT to our maintenance guys.



Knipex Universal stripping tool, Part# 16 95 01
Great for stripping off the insulation of cables. Note: It does not work well, or at all, for small diameter cables (< ~6mm diameter). But anything larger than that, it's a must have. Has added functionality for stripping wires, etc, but I use it exclusively for stripping insulation and/or disassembling of cables.

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Old December 6th, 2021, 04:30 PM   #9
TheWaterboy
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Genius... how long is battery life on that 4-20 generator
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Old December 7th, 2021, 07:11 AM   #10
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Genius... how long is battery life on that 4-20 generator
Just depends on how long you use it, if your trying to tune a valve or if your just testing inputs... I use mine a couple times a week or month and it last for easy a year but I know when I was tuning some Spirax pneumatic valves it would be on for hours at a time


Also another tool is all the stuff they have on this site, I do a lot of one off stuff and they have a lot of good tools also great pricing https://www.winford.com/
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Old February 1st, 2022, 08:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur View Post
Homemade version of sensor tester--very handy
Thanks for the idea... this is the kit that I am now selling https://www.plccable.com/sensor-test...d-m12-pnp-npn/
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:46 AM   #12
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For making/modifying quick graphics for use on HMIs there are 2 programs I go to. Both freeware.

Paint.NET
Inkscape

If you download, do it right from the pages specific to the software. There are a lot of 3rd party download sites that host them but I think they download other stuff with them.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:58 AM   #13
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+1 for Inkscape.

Inno Setup - freeware (https://jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php). Use to create software installation package for software you make and distribute yourself.

WinDirStat - freeware (https://windirstat.net/). Use it to find out what is gobbling up the disk space on a computer.

Teamviewer - licensed (https://www.teamviewer.com/). For general remote support and also as a VPN Router when all else fails.
There are plenty alternatives, also less expensive and free, but TV is the best IMO.

hand tools:

Siemens 6GK1901-1GA00 Profinet cable stripping tool. Worth every Ýre.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 11:52 AM   #14
kolyur
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Quote:
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Inno Setup - freeware (https://jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php). Use to create software installation package for software you make and distribute yourself.
+1 for Inno Setup. This is great if you have to send files to people and they have to be put in specific locations, particularly if the recipients aren't very computer savvy.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 02:25 PM   #15
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I don't know that I would consider these apps "Obscure", however I did a job for an OEM this year and they had Excel tools for just about anything. The 2 I used the most were a Hirschmann switch configuration tool and another Excel tool that would completely create a V. 32.02 program with HMI logic, conveyors, footprints (stations) all the data logic, tags, AOI's UDT's--everything. It was really cool. You just selected a processor from dropdowns, chassis size, conveyor, how many stations and I/O blocks and BOOM! you had a program. I was sitting messing with a traffic light program I wrote just to keep my navigation skills sharp.
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