The following laptop repair tools will be very helpful if you decide to start a laptop repair business or just repair your own computer. I will talk about tools I am using myself and make some recommendation.
Don’t be cheap with tools because you will be using them on a daily basis. A good quality tool will make the whole repair process much easier and more enjoyable.
A set of good quality precision screwdrivers is must have tools for any laptop repair technician. I found that Wiha makes one of the best screwdrivers available on the market today. Wihas through hardened for best wear resistance and they are made in Germany. I’ve been using the same Wiha set almost every day for over 10 years and they are still like new.
1. Phillips screwdrivers
A good Phillips screwdriver will be your main tool. For laptop repairs you will need three sizes: #1, #0, #00.
You will not be using slotted screwdrivers a lot but you’ll need them once in a while. I would recommend to take a look at Wiha 26197 Slotted and Phillips magnetic screwdriver set.
2. Torx screwdrivers
The second set of screwdrivers you’ll be using very often is Torx. Take a look at Wiha 26793 PicoFinish Torx magnetic screwdriver set which has most common driver sizes T1-T8 needed for PC or Mac computer repairs.
For laptops you’ll be using mostly T3, T4, T5 and T6 drivers.
3. Precision screwdriver set
If you prefer to have all most common screwdrivers in one box, you should consider a precision screwdriver set. Wiha 75971 Master Tech micro bit set is a great options. This set comes with a travel case, ESD safe handle and 68 bits hardened for extreme durability.
4. Apple MacBook Pro/Air screwdrivers
For Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air computers, in addition to Phillips and Torx mentioned earlier, you will need Pentalobe P5 and Try-Wing screwdrivers. Take a look at these screwdriver sets for Apple computers.
5. Screwdriver magnetizer
Wiha 40010 Magnetizer/Demagnetizer is an optional but very useful tool in your toolbox. A properly magnetized screwdriver will make it much easier to remove tiny laptop screws found in PCs and Macs. Apple is notorious for using very small screws in their laptops.
Miscellaneous laptop repair tools
1. Case opening tools
When you disassemble a laptop, very often you have to separate plastic parts or open small connectors.
For example, when you replace the LCD screen, you have to separate the screen bezel from the display cover. When you disassemble the laptop base you have to separate the bottom case from top cover.
Never separate plastic parts with a screwdriver, you can and most likely will damage/scratch the plastic. Using right case opening tools should be a standard procedure.
I would suggest using cell phone case open pry tools. These tools are made of plastic and will not damage your computer case.
A good case opening set will have a few nylon pry tools, few different metal spudgers and set of tweezers.
I would like to mention the importance of good, strong needle nose tweezers. You will use them very often and they are very convenient for opening small motherboard cable connectors and fitting small cables into the connectors. Wiha 44501 ESD safe tweezers will be the excellent choice. They made of non-rusting special alloyed stainless steel and designed for all current electronics applications. These tweezers and very strong, very sharp and will last you for a long time.
3. Screw container and organizer
Being organized is very important while working with laptops. While taking apart an average laptop, it might be necessary to remove 20-30 different screws. Be organized, keep track of screws, make notes. It will make your life much easier during the reassembly process.
A good clear plastic container will be very useful. If you plan to work on multiple projects you will need a few of them. I always have at least 10 empty containers under my bench.
Electronic measuring instruments
1. Digital Multimeter
A good digital multimeter will help you test AC adapters, troubleshoot failed DC power jack, etc.. Using a multimeter you can test a circuit board or wire for continuity.
I found that Fluke makes one of the most accurate and reliable multimeters available on the market today. A good quality multimeter is not cheap but it will last you a lifetime.
Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter would be a great multimeter for most laptop repairs.
2. Multimeter probes and adapters
For component level logic board repairs and troubleshooting you will need extended fine point tip adapter set for your Fluke multimeter. This set will fit on the original factory Fluke probes that came with your multimeter. They will help you to take measurements even on smallest logic board components.
If you don’t like long fine point adapters, I recommend using these ultra-sharp multimeter tester needle point probes. They replace factory Fluke probes. I like the built quality, the length of the cables, and most importantly, the needle nose probe points.
If you would like to do a simple failed DC jack repair or dive into more complicated component level logic board repair, you must have a good soldering station. It has to be powerful enough to melt solder without damaging the circuit board.
1. Soldering station
I’ve tried many different soldering irons but found that Hakko FX-951-66 soldering station does the job very well. It heats up quickly and very powerful. Works very well on logic boards with lead-free solder. This station is made in Japan which is very rare these days.
You will need a good soldering tip for this station. After hundreds hours of soldering I found one tip that fits all my needs and works well for DC jack repairs or component level logic board repairs.
I installed Hakko T15-JS02 Conical Bent Tip a long time ago and never removed it since then.
Kester 63/37 .015 DIA. solder is all I use for my repairs. Rosin core solder is designed for electronic and electrical work. This spool is 1lb and will last you for a very long time.
3. Desoldering hand pump
A desoldering pump is another useful tool you must have for soldering/desoldering jobs, for example for DC jack removals. It will help you to remove large amounts of solder quickly and efficiently.
Edsyn SOLDAPULLT desoldering tool hand pump DS017 is a very good one.
4. Desoldering wick braid
For removing small amounts of solder I use desoldering wick braid. It works very well for cleaning thermal pads during logic board component level repairs. Goot Wick desoldering braid is one of the best. Usually I use 2.5mm or 3.5mm braid, either one will work just fine.
5. Solder flux
In my opinion, AMTECH Solder Flux NC-559-V2-TF is the best flux on the US market. It will make any soldering job easy and flawless. With AMTECH flux your soldering job will look professional. Make sure to buy genuine product made in the USA by Inventec Performance Chemicals.There are many fakes out there.
6. Bench top smoke absorber
If you don’t solder very often, a bench top smoke absorber like Hakko FA400-04 will be sufficient to protect you from soldering fumes. The FA-400 removes soldering smoke and fumes quickly, safely and efficiently.
7. Stationary fume extractor system
For everyday soldering jobs, you will need something more efficient. This Hakko FA430 smoke absorber station will do the job very well. The Hakko FA-430 fume extraction unit is designed expressly for use at soldering stations, extracting the contaminated air directly at the source. This powerful fume extractor is compact, relatively quiet and easy to maintain.
8. Hot air soldering station
A good quality hot air soldering station is an expensive but a very useful tool for many soldering applications. It saves you tons of time while replacing built-in DC power jacks. The hot air station makes it a breeze soldering and desoldering surface-mounted components. If you want to learn how to repair motherboards on component level, this tool is a must. I would love to have a JBC hot air station but currently have a Hakko FR-810B and it works great for me.
9. Kapton tape
A roll of high temperature Kaptop tape is a must have item in your laptop repair toolbox. It’s made from a polyimide film with high temperature resistant silicone adhesive. This tape is very useful for securing loose cables, covering internal connectors and masking heat sensitive internal components during soldering process. There are many different sizes available on the market. I use mostly 1/2″ (12mm) or 3/4″ (19mm) tape.
You cannot do microsoldering without a good microscope. You don’t need anything fancy, a basic AmScope SE400-Z binocular stereo microscope will be sufficient for most repairs you encounter.
Here’s an example of one USB board repairs I did recently. I wouldn’t be able to fix that drive without the microscope and good soldering station. This one USB board repair and data recovery job paid for the microscope!