Welcome to tool five of Tony's Toolbox Tuesday
Each week we will peek into one of the many tools Tony has on hand for diagnostics, inspections, and repairs. We will cover what we like, dislike, how we use it, where we got it, and other noteworthy information. Unless specifically stated otherwise, all these tools have been paid for out of pocket. We have no sponsors, paid advertisers, or donors at this time. Tony just loves tools and carries several that people tend to ask "Where did you get that? I've never seen something like it".
This week, a screwdriver with a trick up it's sleeve that turns a few heads.
Many people see a screw and don't give it a second thought as to how tight is "good enough". Some connections, electrical in particular, are critical to have a tight clamping fastening force. A loose electrical connection is a fire hazard. It leads to excessive heat in the connection, melted wiring or connectors, arcing and sparking, or worse, a fire. Excessive tightening can cause the threads to strip, which circles back to a loose connection.
The Goldilocks solution is a connection that is not too loose, not too tight, but just right.
Introducing my Wiha Torque Screwdriver set.
When it comes to electrical repairs especially, I consider this to be a "must have" right next to my Fluke test meters for diagnosing the issues. From electrical plugs and receptacles, to transfer switches and power distribution panels, most data plates and installation guides have a specified torque that the connections should be tightened to.
On this particular job I had to replace a transfer switch due to the hot L1 and neutral wiring having loose connections that caused too much heat, melting the wiring and transfer switch. Luckily it was identified in time, and the power was disconnected before it led to a fire, but the underside of the original cover showed signs of arcing and how close it had come to combustion if it had gone on longer.
As you can see from the data plate on the new cover, it specifies the bonding lug torque on the lower left corner, and the contactor lug torque rating on the lower right corner.
Setting the torque of the screwdriver is super simple. Remove the bit holder from the driver handle, insert the included adjustment tool, and turn the adjustment tool until the desired torque is in the window. Mine is adjustable from 10 to 50 inch pounds, which has so far been suitable for all the electrical repairs and other installations I have done.
Price wise this set goes for around $260 at the time of this post. Wiha also offers an insulated version if working on live electric where shorting out the contacts is a concern for slightly more with less bit options. The Wiha part number and description for the kit is:
Wiha 28595 Torque Screwdriver and Bits Box Set 10-50 in-lbs., 53 Pieces
This tool can be found many places. I think I picked mine up from Amazon, but at the time of this post they do not have any availability or price information on it. Wiha still lists the set on their site, as do a few other tool sites if you search by the Wiha part number.
I like that if the tool were to fail, I can buy individual parts to replace them from Wiha. I also like that I can use any 1/4 inch but with the bit holder blade that was included.
One dislike I have is the shape of the handle. On higher torque settings sometimes it is tough to get a good grip on the handle to achieve the force needed to get the click. Anything below 30 inch pounds is fine, but I have done a few that required 35-45 and it was a beast of a time to get it that high.
I also think down the road I will invest in their torque tester to make sure that my driver remains in spec, and replace it if it goes too much out of tolerance. When I do, I will be sure to do a follow up Tuesday Toolbox blog post on it as well.
None of these are "affiliate links", nor do I have "promo codes" to save whatever. Just my honest opinion and review on a tool I use a lot, and links to places I order from over the years with no issues or complaints.
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Have a wonderful day and God bless!