High Tech Tools for DIYers and Pros
These innovative, affordable tech tools are perfect for DIYers looking for a modern solution.
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LED flashlights aren't new, but this isn't an ordinary LED flashlight. The TFCFL 1800LM XM-L T6 LED Zoomable Torch Flashlight ($17 online) is powered by a standard 18650 lithium rechargeable battery that provides up to five hours of continuous use. The zoom feature allows you to concentrate light to get better illumination or pull back to light up large areas. Use the serrated front bezel for self-defense or to break glass in emergency situations. The flashlight kit comes with plug-in car and AC wall chargers, lithium battery, "AAA" battery adapter, a lanyard and a plastic case.
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Smartphone with Thermal Imaging
The CAT S60 Android smartphone is far more rugged than a consumer-grade phone. It's shatterproof up to a 6-ft. drop onto concrete, dustproof, shockproof and waterproof down to 5 meters for up to an hour. This phone works in temps from minus 13 to 131 degrees F, and the touch screen has glove-on and wet-finger tracking ability, so it operates in any weather. The CAT S60 has a 13-megapixel camera as well as an infrared (FLIR) camera. Use the FLIR camera throughout your house to measure surface temperatures and find air leaks and temperature differences behind walls, electrical problems and even beehives. The S60 works with AT&T and T-Mobile and affiliated GSM networks using a nano sim card. It comes with 32GB internal memory and accepts a microSD card for extended storage up to 128GB.
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Electrical Tools with Onboard Voltage Tester
Non-contact voltage testers are great for making sure the power is off before you start an electrical project. But the testers are easy to lose track of and misplace—which pocket is it in? Tool manufacturer Gardner Bender solves the problem of lost testers by incorporating a tester right into the handles of its wire stripper and screwdriver—tools you're bound to have on hand whenever you're doing electrical work. Simply press the button and move the tool handle near the wires to test before touching. Or, slide the tester off the tool handle to use it as a freestanding unit. Find the GST-70M Circuit Alert Voltage sensing stripper and SDT-10 screwdriver at home centers and online.
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Smartphone Inspection Camera
This Distianert Endoscope Inspection Camera has a 13-ft. cable that lets you snake behind walls and peek inside appliances—even grab wires or retrieve nuts and bolts from tight quarters. Just download the app and plug the 2.0-megapixel inspection camera into any on-the-go (OTG) compatible Android smartphone or tablet or into a USB port on a Mac laptop. Move the camera into position and adjust the light intensity switch to get the proper illumination. Watch your screen to get the camera into the right spot. Then snap a still shot or shoot video. For long runs, tape the cable to a stick to feed and aim the camera head. The unit comes with a cloth storage bag and three attachments: a 90-degree mirror, a hook and a magnetic tip. The video quality is good enough to get the job done; just don't expect 1080 resolution for this price. You can find the camera for about $33 at Amazon.
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Many DIY enthusiasts have dropped a screw or bolt during a home repair or automotive project. Often the hardware lands out of reach where it is nearly impossible to retrieve. This telescoping magnet will make quick work of retrieving a lost bolt.
Originally Published: August 04, 2017