Product Reviews Archives

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?

Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings

Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything

You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

Speed Up Wire Fishing with the Magnamole Magnetic Cable Guide

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

Magnamole Magnetic Cable Guide Back in March, we explained how Jonard’s Magnepull works and can be used to make wiring the home much easier. If you thought the Magnepull was useful, you’d probably like Jonard’s Magnamole magnetic cable guide. While the Magnepull helps to run cable from floor to floor (attic too!), the Magnamole’s forte is running cable through cavity walls and other void spaces.

The Jonard MM-800 cable guide system comes with one magnetic rod, two magnetic extensions and 5 magnetic caps in various sizes and colors.

Here’s how the Magnamole works:

  1. Thread the Magnamole magnetic rod through the hole in wall
  2. Push the magnetic cap on the end of the cable
  3. Touch the magnetic cap to the magnet on the end of the rod
  4. Pull the cable through the wall using the magnetic rod.

Overall, the Jonard MM-800 is an inexpensive way to fish cable with just one person.

Jonard Industries has created a great video with several real life examples of how the Magnamole can be used to simplify and speed up the wire fishing process.

All-Spec Now Stocking Psiber Telecom Instruments

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

For over a decade now, All-Spec has strived to expand our product base to various niche markets within the electronics industry. Perhaps some of the most exciting and fastest growing areas of this market are the telecom and data communications industries. Since 2003, All-Spec has been able to offer cutting edge technology through our partnership with Psiber Data Systems, Inc.

Psiber products have proved to be innovative and unique since their introduction to the market in 1994. Psiber was the first to manufacture a Local Area Network (LAN) test instrument that was able to capture and display LAN traffic information without a direct electrical connection to a network. And this was back in 1994! Over the years, Psiber has continued to produce cutting edge technology catering to the telecom, data communications, and electronic test instrument markets.

Some of our favorite Psiber products at All-Spec have been the CT50 CableTool and the PNG65 Pinger Plus+

Psiber CableTool Psiber CableTool: Those who work in the cable industry could easily benefit from using the affordable CableTool. By detecting discontinuities using time-domain reflectometry (TDR) technology, the CableTool finds and diagnoses cable faults with no launch or dead zone and with accuracy to + 2%. This tool can find faults in cables up to a distance of 2,500 feet (762 meters). That’s longer than the length of six football fields!

Psiber PingerPlus+ Psiber PingerPlus+: Generally used for installing or maintaining LANs running the TCP/IP protocol, this tool is commonly used to quickly test proper LAN operation after completing a Move, Add, or Change (MAC). It’s also ideal for handling internet connectivity issues- the specialized DHCP Client Mode confirms a DHCP Server is available and subsequently displays the IP address assignment. This was also the first low cost tester on the market to provide Gigabit testing. Psiber also recommends using the PingerPlus+ for the following networking processes:

  • Verify connectivity
  • Check transmitted and received data integrity
  • Indicate network traffic loading by measuring Round Trip Time
  • Provide the MAC address of an IP Address
  • Warns when the default gateway can not be located
  • Identify reversed polarity for improperly connected wire pairs

These are just glimpses of our favorite Psiber items, so feel free to check out our entire line of Psiber telecom instruments.

Wiring Your Home Using The Magnepull

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

Typically when you need to run wire it’s literally hit and miss.  You crawl up into your attic, drill a hole and fish the wire using a fish tape or fiberglass rod down the hole.  Then you crawl out of the attic and hope you find the wire without tearing out a wall.

A new product is about to change all that.  It’s the Magnepull Cable Retrieval System.  It uses two very powerful rare earth magnets allowing you to easily find your cable and run it through drywall.  The system can be used on most residential or commercial applications.

Some of the things the Magnepull System can do:

  • Pulls through insulation in seconds
  • Reduces cable fishing time by 70%
  • Eliminates wall damage
  • Allows for installations in confined spaces
  • Eliminates the need for a stud finder
  • Reduces time in attic during installation of cable and wire
  • Makes wire fishing a definable process

Using the MagnepullTo use the Magnepull first connect the leader rod with the chrome bullet-looking magnet to your wire.

Next, drill a hole about an inch wide through the head joist and drop the wire into the wall.

Then drag the roller magnet across the wall to find the leader magnet and drag the wire to it desired destination and voila, you’ve just completed your wire pull.  Nothing to it!

Here are a few videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of using the Magnepull.

Insulated Wall Drop with Drop Magnet

Metal Stud Wall Drop with Drop Magnet

Hollow Wall Drop with Drop Magnet

Retrieving Lost Tools

20 Heatgun Uses – Who Knew?

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

Heat guns are pretty versatile tools. But when you use them everyday for your job or hobby you may get “tunnel vision” and only see one or two uses for this great piece of equipment. So we decided to dig up a few more, perhaps unconventional, heat gun applications.

1. Shrink Wrapping – from videos to gift baskets and beyond, when it comes to shrink wrapping the heat gun is the only way to go. Here’s a video that compares shrink wrapping with a heat gun vs. a hair dryer. Who do you think will win?

2. Desoldering – one of our specialties is in the electronics department and desoldering is one of the more common uses among our customers. There are many attachments that make it easy to direct the heat to just one component.

3. Paint Drying – probably a more obvious use is to dry paint once it has been applied. If there’s work that needs to be done to a freshly painted wall but can risk messing up the paint, this can decrease your wait time dramatically.

4. Heat Shrink Tubing – another customer favorite is using a heat gun to shrink tubing and around wires for wire harnesses and connections.

5. Paint Stripping – when stripping old paint from furniture or other woodwork, use a heat gun as an alternative to paint solvents or other harsh chemicals. It’s safer and more environmentally friendly! This article from eHow shows us how easy it really is.

6. Weld Plastics – the process is very similar to stick welding. Using a special nozzle for the heat gun and strips of plastic called welding rods, you can weld anything from PVC pipe to floor tiles.

7. Join Tarps – another plastic welding use but deserves its own number is tarp welding. Using a slit nozzle for the heat gun, overlap the two tarps heat the sides then immediately press together the two sides using a roller. This is great for large tents, awnings, trucking or even tarps for pond liners – anything you need a very large tarp.

8. Soften adhesives – Have you ever tried to get a bumper stick off of your car? If you have, you know how difficult that task is to tackle. Just heat the area with a heat gun and peel off. Any remaining residue can be removed using bug & tar remover or WD-40.

9. Restore Trim – You’ve seen older cars that used to have black trim but now look more like a dull gray. Using a heat gun you can restore that trim to its original shine! Video demo.

10. Thaw Frozen Pipes – It’s the dead of winter and you turn on the faucet to make some hot tea or coffee. One problem, no water comes out! Time to break out the heat gun. If you have pinpointed where the frozen pipe is you can apply heat to thaw it out. Be sure your pipes can handle it otherwise if you heat the pipe too rapidly or the pipe just can’t handle the heat, it may burst.

11. Embossing – This one is for all our crafts people out there. Used in conjunction with rubber stamping, embossing powder and special ink, the heat raises the embossing powder creating a nice embossed design. Step by step embossing instructions.

12. Wax The Snowboard – For a quick way to get the perfect coat of wax on your snowboard or skis use a heat gun. This guy shows us how to do it in minutes.

13. Make Candles – You just created the perfect candle when you notice a nick or it’s not level on top. A heat gun makes an easy fix of any defects along with a few other neat tips we picked up reading this article.

14. Roasting Coffee – Who’d a thought getting the perfect roast could be is easy as using a heat gun. An article by Jim Liedeka says he uses temperatures up to 750 F. We can definitely accommodate that!

15. PVC Pipe Bending – Plumbers love heat guns for this reason. Using a heat gun and a special wire coil you can bend a piece of PVC pipe at just about any angle without using any adhesives or elbow joints. Not only convenient but also dramatically speeds up the job because you don’t have to wait for any glue to dry before testing if the seal around the joint is ok.

16. Upholstering Furniture – This is mostly used when upholstering with vinyl. The heat makes it much easier to stretch the vinyl around the piece of furniture you are upholstering. When it cools it will be a perfectly fitted upholstery job.

17. Window Tinting – What you’re actually doing here is heat shrinking the tint film to the window. All you need is tint, a smoothing tool and, of course, a heat gun.

18. Molding Skates – You can mold ice skate or roller blades for a custom form fitted boot. The types of skates that can be molded are usually constructed of a type of carbon fiber composite. Check with the manufacturer to be sure your skate is heat moldable.

19. Dent Removal – For small shallow dents that don’t have creases in it may be able to be removed yourself. Using a heat gun, gently warm the area then apply dry ice to quickly cool the metal contracting it and popping out the dent. Be careful not to over heat the metal or you’ll be doing #5 to your paint.

20. Vinyl and Leather Repair – Trimming stray fibers, applying adhesive and filler compound, press a special textured cloth over the tear, heat with heat gun. That’s all there is to a do-it-yourself vinyl and leather repair.

Did we miss one? Is there a use for a heat gun that you would like to see on this list? Please, by all means, leave us a comment below. Maybe together we’ll be able to find 100 uses for the mighty heat gun! 🙂

Leatherman Micra vs Leatherman Squirt S4

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Leatherman Squirt S4 vs MicraHere at All-Spec, we’ve had several inquiries about the differences between the Leatherman Micra and the Leatherman Squirt S4. Both are pocket sized multi-tools, but other than that here’s how they differ.

First off, let’s look at the tools:

Micra – nine tools plus a key ring attachment

  • Scissors (The largest tool when opened)
  • Clip-Point Knife
  • Nail cleaner/File
  • Attached stainless steel tweezers
  • Extra small screwdriver
  • Medium screwdriver
  • Flat Phillips screwdriver
  • 5″ ruler engraved into handles
  • Bottle opener
  • Key ring attachement

Squirt S4 – nine tools plus a key ring attachment

  • Scissors (The largest tool when opened)
  • Straight knife
  • Removable tweezers
  • Extra small screwdriver
  • Medium screwdriver
  • Small flat Phillips
  • Nail File/Cleaner
  • Bottle opener
  • 1.5″ ruler engraved into nail file/cleaner
  • Key ring attachment

While they may look very similar when you read the list of tools, there are a few key differences.

Size: The Micra is the larger of the two tools by a 1/4″. The Micra measures 2-1/2″ and the Squirt S4 measures 2-1/4″

Looks: Other than the 1/2″ size difference, the next noticeable difference between the two is the finish. The Micra is available in green, blue, red and silver. The silver is just the plain stainless tool but the colored tools are the stainless steel tool with a colored plastic covering. The Squirt S4 is available in gray, blue and red but the color is actually on the metal.

Feel: Both tools are fairly small and have the same number of tools, but the Squirt S4 is slightly heavier than the Micra.

Conclusion: Both the Micra and the Squirt are great pocket multi-tools to keep around, and the tools on both of them are easy to open with the convenient nail nicks. With the Squirt S4 all the tools with the exception of the scissors are available when the tool is in the closed position. On the other hand, the blades must be rotated open to access any of the Micra’s tools.
Also, both the Micra and the Squirt S4 are stainless steel but must be maintained. From time to time both tools should be cleaned and dried plus the pivoting areas should be re-oiled.