In terms of soldering stations, I recommend using Metcal OKI brand. I personally like to use the Metcal MX-500 station. There is now a never version of this station. The new Metcal is expensive but the used version can be bought at a reasonable price.
These stations have their advantages:
When the working temperature is reached in almost 7 seconds, the
station is placed in the stand, when the handle is in the stand, use the
auto shut down feature.
The cartridges are very easy to replace
They auto regulate and keep a constant temperature.
De-soldering gun. I personally use the Hakko 808.
This gun is perfect for all sorts of jobs such as de-soldering capacitors, DC Jacks, coils, etc. This gun also can be used to solder in, but for convenience reason, I use a soldering station to solder in. This gun has a replaceable tip and is made with high quality materials.
Multimeter. This is the best measuring tool used to check laptops and desktop computers, and in some cases, this tool can even repair motherboard. It is better to buy this tool with as many functions as possible.
De-soldering Tweezers. This device is fairly new, but it extremely useful. Tweezers are usually a part of a soldering station kit, but I usually separate them. As you get more familiar with the motherboard and electronic components, you will find tweezers necessary in order to replace components like SMD capacitors, diodes, or resistors.
Oscilloscope. My favourite tool for computer repair. This tool eases the work a great deal that it is worth the investment. It would be very difficult to diagnose certain faults without it. Particularly, in terms of dried out capacitors with no external signs of leakage. Just remember, a faulty desktop with a faulty PSU has a damaged hard drive.
I personally use entry level oscilloscopes from Rigol. The reason I chose this brand is that the user interface is great and the ability to record oscillograms as pictures. All the oscillograms on this site are made with Rigol oscilloscopes. The Rigol brand also can be controlled and measurements can be taken using a computer. The only thing that could be improved on the Rigol is that it could be quieter, but everything else on this oscilloscope is perfect.
UBCD4WIN. My favourite diagnostic tool. I even use it for data recovery as it has Recuva preinstalled already. In fact, this CD can install many programs as plugins. For example, the Teamviewer portable. Also, this tool has HDTune already preinstalled. Data transfer from a not booting up laptop or desktop makes this CD a breeze to use.
Other programs and software tools. Here is the list:
GSmartControl. The best hard drive diagnostic tool out there, bar none. Without this tool, I struggled for a long time. I needed to retrieve SMART data, so before GSmartControl, I was thinking of writing my own software tool. The interesting thing about SMART data is that the BIOS operating system doesn't seem to care about it. In fact, no hard drive can guarantee data safety. Not even any type of RAID. The situation with RAID is that many times it is secure, but if the controller fails, everything will just fall into pieces and only a data recovery company will be able to retrieve the data. My suggestion is to always use a completely separate system to back up your data with. With a bad PSU, the data can be destroyed on RAID just as successfully as on a hard drive.
HDTune. For a visual disk surface display, bad sectors marked with red.
Malware Bytes. This is a somewhat good antivirus and anti-malware in one. I was a sceptic about removing viruses and other smart worm data from various computers, but MB is somewhat better than the rest out there and it is worth a try.
Tip: Run Malware Bytes on Safe mode or as normal, if it is still possible, boot the computer as well.
AtiTool. Used to diagnose the graphics card issues.
Apple Service Diagnostics. For Macs (ASD). This tool is good but not the best.
Apple Hardware Test (AHT). The same as ASD, but could be accessing more sensors. I personally do not feel a difference between either of them.
ASD is not available for everyone. AHT comes with the Mac operating system restore disks.
ASD once overlooked on a MacBook Pro motherboard problem which I later confirmed with OCCT. Simply stated, ASD does not stress test the hardware enough in order to reveal all the faults.
OCCT is the best system stress test to use. Not because it is only the best, but because it has many options as well as a CPU and GPU test in one. Also, it has a good user interface and it is free for personal use.
Me holding a laptop hard drive
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