Member Discussion

What Is In Your Field Testing Toolbag?

I know this has been asked in various ways in the past but it would be nice to hear what others find useful or indispensable when performing video equipment field testing and benchmarking. It would be nice if IPVM could consolidate everyones responses into a convenient spreadsheet that could shared across the IPVM membership.

Here is a short list of some of the tools I use (I included make & models where possible);

P.S. - I have no affiliation with manufacturers or vendors. I am an end user.

  • Tool Bag with assorted screw drivers, small pliers of various sizes, hammer, box with assorted screws & bolts and nuts
  • Flashlight - Maglite
  • Light Meter - HD450 Extech Instruments (I use this for data logging my lighting surveys)
  • Laser Distance Meter - Leica DISTO D5 -
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Battery Powered PoE Injector - Pointsource

I also have used scissor lifts as a steady platform for mounting cameras in the field to determine the best line of sight, height and angles for cameras at the actual locations.

I am a flashlight snob. Once I started carrying a Surefire, I forgot the Maglites and never looked back. The LEDs account for brighter intensity AND longer battery life.

I was also fairly picky about the stripping tools and lineman's pliers I carried. If someone 'borrowed' one of my Kleins without asking, they dealt with my passive-aggressive wrath for months.

I don't want to admit how much money I've spent on Klein tools in my life. I stopped buying any other tools when I was in the field, and I still have trouble just paying for junky ones I won't use much. But I've had most of my Kleins for 15 years, so I'm going to say they've paid for themselves.

My favorite lineman's pliers were the ones with the fishtape pulling notch on the side.

So aside from nerding out about pliers... Two things I always kept with me:

  • A cable tester -- I had the old version of this one
  • A toner -- the tester actually would send tone, as well, but didn't come with the probe. I actually had the 60Hz filtered probe, too, because fluorescent lights could make that tone impossible to hear.

A short cable with an RJ45 plug on one end and a RJ45 jack on the other with all the wires soldered together. With a continuity tester it's a cheap way of tetsing for broken wires.

Also another short wire with an RJ45 plug and RJ45 jack on each end with the wires in crossover format. Turns a straight thru cable into a crossover cable quickly.

Agree with most comments here. I always bring a laptop thats clean and up to date and trouble free. Usually handy for troubleshooting IP cameras / IP networks

A PoE power source if you are working remotely without any power nearby. Make sure the laptop with a fully charged battery.

If you're working with Axis cameras, a set of Torx drivers is useful. They use Torx (mainly T20, I think?) as a 'tamper resistant' measure, although it isn't that hard to find a set at the nearest hardware store.

Common enough to be sold everywhere, uncommon enough to NOT be in your toolbag when you're on top of the ladder.

If you're working with Axis cameras, a set of Torx drivers is useful.

and inevitable. The last 4 domes I've purchased came with one. ;)

I keep this set of extended bits around. Long enough to reach annoying recessed screws in some housings, plus it includes hex and spanner bits.

Tie wraps, electric tape, surgical tape (for marking, I found it held better and ripped neater than any other tape, plus ink smudged less), broad tipped Sharpie, fine tipped Sharpie, pocketknife, Maglite, curved hemostat (useful for all sorts of delicate work), electrician's scissors, the cheapest wire stripper they sell, 10-in-1, dikes, B connectors (my dad always called them Good & Plenties, after the candy) a Zippo, this beeper tester (very useful for testing continuity or IDing wires by yourself, you can buy one from these guys), a tone generator and a wand, a multimeter, a small notepad and a pen, a razor, and a pack of cigarettes. All carried in my pockets. Supplement as necessary, depending on the particular problem I'm trying to troubleshoot.

I'm waiting for someone to slip up and say a fake arm cast, bottle of lotion and a basket.

Does anyone have a recommendation on cable fishing rods?

I like the ones that glow at the end, but I am unsure which set/brand is the best.

LSD is best, in my opinion. Klein's is too inflexible, and their luminous rods splinter like crazy.