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Searching for a good on-the-go kit for the laptop bag

anonymous 8545 -

Mi Problema

I'm an Apple service tech, and have been keeping a Wiha set # 75992 in my bag for unexpected service needs.

It's been a fairly good set. It's small and light, and the bits fit mac screws well.

However, it lacks security on its torx, and doesn't have any of the new Apple security bits such as triwing and pentalobe. It uses 5/32" bits, which is very close to 4mm. I've found other sets that use similar bits, but haven't been able to find individual bits. Also, the wiha set only carries 27 bits. It also lacks sockets. So I've been looking for a replacement.

A new hire at my shop bought your 54 bit driver kit and I got to look at it and saw it has several advantages, so I decided to get one and see what sort of a hybrid kit I could make. The wiha set was in the $60 range, your set was considerably cheaper, enough so for some experimentation.

Your inclusion of both metric and japanese PH bits is very thoughtful. Not many people understand the difference, and cuss and wonder why their philips screwdrivers have a lousy fit on certain gear without realizing they're doing it wrong, and round their tools and strip screws. Also, being able to get out bits in groups is a good idea, because it's difficult to eyeball the size of some screws, and having to get out the case and swap bits repeatedly until you find what you need isn't as easy as your solution.

Mi Solucion

Considering I have the 1/4" adapter, I'm packing the more properly sized PH1 and PH2 as well as larger flathead in the wiha case which has been cleared out quite a bit. I've also got a couple 1/4" spanner bits useful on some security screws, as well as a "tighten only" flathead remover bit. A few of these bits came from yet ANOTHER security bit set I got from MCM electronics.

Despite the larger selection, it still lacks some of the bits I was hoping to see. I have a Pro's Kit #SD-9313 that is mad to open video games, so comes with a large selection of security bits, in 5/32" size, (3.94mm) same as the wiha. Oddly, all of these bits fit fine in your extension (but not YOUR bits) because they're slightly smaller. This kit includes TS3.8 and 4.5 (reverse of torx, sort of a mini torx socket) as well as three triangle bits (you include just one) as well as the bits you have. It doesn't have sockets though. These reverse torx sockets are used on game cartridges, but are also used on some other small electronics.

The hand tool you supply has very poor ergonomics, at least for my hand. It's shaped wrong, the three rubber grip rings position themselves uselessly out of skin contact, leaving my fingers to try to get traction on an inward-sloping smooth edge. My fingers would need to be almost an inch longer to reach the grips while the palm swivel is in the pocket between my first two fingers, so I can either have torque or control/force, but not both. The magnetic hold end works well though, and the palm swivel is good. The other tech here that bough your set agrees with me on the handling problems of the hand tool, so you really shouldn't just dismiss my observations without actually doing some user testing on your end.

Strangely enough, the extension is tooled too small, and I have to force the bits in. The wiha bits slide in with a very small resistance. I may have gotten a defective extension. I don't usually use them so no big deal. My wiha's extension works better and is longer. The bar doubling as a T-bar on the hand tool is a smart idea, though your bit set lacks the largest bits in my wiha set, so I wonder how useful it will be, I don't need it when I'm removing PH00 screws.

The larger size of your kit (for the additional bits) made me have to rethink my mobile arrangement anyway, so I bit the bullet and went ahead with a much larger mobile arrangement. Pros Kit driver in a pen pocket, your kit with driver removed and extensions swapped out, and the wiha case with bits swapepd. The pros kit hand tool is bigger than yours by quite a bit, but it has lock and F/R ratcheting, a good swivel, and soft rubber right where you need it for grip. It comes with a flexible extender, that actually allows me into places shorter than your driver, because I can operate the driver at nearly a right angle to the screw. It's superior to your driver in almost every way, except for its larger size.

Your set has an adapter to use 4mm bits in 1/4 tools, but only covers half the need. The pros tools kit comes with the opposite adapter, allowing me to use my 4mm hand tool with 1/4" bits. I think you will agree this is the more intelligent choice if you can only supply one adapter. Odds of needing to use a micro bit in a large hand tool are small, odds of needing to use a large bit in your hand tool (especially when improvising) are much higher. Besides, to use your adapter I'd have to carry a larger 1/4" hand tool, or be thinking of using one of your bits in a power drill.... now isn't that silly?

Mi Consejo

I will be amazed if the plastic lock clip on your case lasts a year. You need to put more thought into that design. The cover has plenty of resistance to prevent an accidental spill, and that hard plastic clip will break soon enough I'm sure.

Your answer to Apple's pentalobe is very disappointing. It's an alternate type of "security torx", five edges instead of six. And they're SHARP. Apple uses tri-LOBE screws, these are NOT the same thing. While your bits may work, they are a very poor fit and will be getting rounded pretty fast, and may damage some screw heads. Fortunately, the hand tool apple supplies on gsx isn't a fixed shaft, but is a 4mm driver with bit, so I just pack their bit. I strongly suggest that you add an actual pentalobe-5 to your kit.

The Wiha bits are all hardened tool steel with no coating. Your bits appear to be chrome plated common steel. Usually these will not be hardened, and the small bits (PH00 etc) tend to flake off their chrome plating quickly and then start to round the soft steel. So their long term durability worries me a little.

So, it's a mixed bag. But worth the money I think. I paid less for your set than I did for either the pros kit or the wiha, and it's 80% of what I'm carrying with me now. Still has some room for improvement though. Keep up the good work!

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