What's your favorite obscure tools you have? (Software or Hardware)

hardaysknight

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What do you guys have in your bag of tricks?

For software, my favorite is definitely PDF-XChange editor. There's a free version which has by far the best PDF editor that I've ever used (and I have a full license for Adobe). I use to to basically color on Hydraulic drawings so it's easier to show which hydraulic line is pressure or tank. Makes it easier for our maintenance guys to read. (https://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-editor)

Greenshot is what I use for basic screenshots. You can set it to the PRTSCRN key so it's used like the basic snipping tool on windows, but with way more features. (https://getgreenshot.org/)

Notepad++ for ABB rapid programming or any other coding. (Also the compare plugin is a MUST)
(https://notepad-plus-plus.org/downloads/)

Hardware wise, I have a set of WERA insulated screwdrivers that I keep on my belt (https://www.amazon.com/Wera-Insulated-Interchangeable-Blade-Pouch/dp/B000VD1JGA/ref=sr_1_11?crid=3BF73OK0RN5TC&keywords=wera+screwdriver+set&qid=1638451067&sprefix=wera%2Caps%2C206&sr=8-11). I don't work on anything without it.


I also have a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. It's the best mouse I've ever used. (Horizontal scrolling ftw)

(https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Master-Advanced-Wireless-Mouse/dp/B07S395RWD?th=1)
 
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Theres a lot of cool little tools that you wouldn't think you'd need, but come in handy where you normally would have a headache.

Turck sensor tester, can output 20vdc for any kind of testing needed, will show pnp or npn (not that you couldn't test with a meter, but if you need to flag a sensor and watch from a distance, you can easily see the lights activating). Also good for bench testing/programming sensors as well
70035749.jpg

https://www.alliedelec.com/product/turck/tb3-cp80/70035749/

NWS right Angle needle nose, best needle nose i've ever used in a cabinet for grabbing and landing wires, surprisingly comfortable and they keep your plier hand out of the way
81K6q5oHqCL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PY77D6K/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_V8EQYF0Y80ZZYBSPJGBH



PLC tools SIM IPE, portable bootp/dhcp server. It's super quick and simple to use, just recently set 40+ kinetix drives and other devices in multiple cabinets up, less than a minute setup on each to set the IP and change it to static without ever opening a laptop.

sim-ipe.png

https://plctools.com/products/plc-tools-sim-ipe-ethernet-ip-address-explorer-dhcp-and-bootp-server
 
For making/modifying quick graphics for use on HMIs there are 2 programs I go to. Both freeware.

Paint.NET
Inkscape

If you download, do it right from the pages specific to the software. There are a lot of 3rd party download sites that host them but I think they download other stuff with them.
 
+1 for Inkscape.

Inno Setup - freeware (https://jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php). Use to create software installation package for software you make and distribute yourself.

WinDirStat - freeware (https://windirstat.net/). Use it to find out what is gobbling up the disk space on a computer.

Teamviewer - licensed (https://www.teamviewer.com/). For general remote support and also as a VPN Router when all else fails.
There are plenty alternatives, also less expensive and free, but TV is the best IMO.

hand tools:

Siemens 6GK1901-1GA00 Profinet cable stripping tool. Worth every øre.
P_IK10_XX_00560i.jpg
 
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I also use Autohotkey and AutoIt to make scripts for our Windows based HMIs to open and close other software (e.g. Click a button on HMI that opens camera software, then overlays a button in the camera software to go back to the HMI. This is so that the operator has no access to Windows at all).
 
One more, and more obscure software I have started using is
ZoomIt

When giving a presentation it lets you zoom highlight and draw. It’s a bit quirky to learn but really useful doing internet presentation stuff.
 
I like Faststone Screen capture it allows you to save screen capture to a word document for latter use, I found this really helpful when I had to do a lot of inductions in that I could create a word document with all the screenshots of the induction and refer back to that when doing the induction test.
 
I like Faststone Screen capture it allows you to save screen capture to a word document for latter use, I found this really helpful when I had to do a lot of inductions in that I could create a word document with all the screenshots of the induction and refer back to that when doing the induction test.




Wow. That's a cool one. If I'm understanding right, the software can recognize text and allow you to paste it into a word document to edit it as text? If so, that's amazing.
 
Very nice.... I think I will looking into making these, is that a M8 and M12 connection?
Yes, M12 and 3-pin M8; we hardly use any 4-pin M8. The PCB just has one LED and a resistor so it only lights up with PNP sensors (99% of what we use). With a bicolor LED it could be made to work with both PNP and NPN (my next revision). My goal was to make it as compact as possible because most of the purchased ones I've seen are rather bulky. Our electricians all carry them in their toolboxes.
 

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