Get the tools of the trade


Following on from the topic of [intlink id=”494″ type=”post”]how to get started in the CCTV industry[/intlink], this is a list of the tools you will require.

Basic hand tools

This list is broken up into the essential tools, optional but recommended tools, sundry items used during installations, special tools for analogue installs and those for IP video installs



Depending on the sites you are working on, you may require 3 different height ladders. A 3 or 5 step for quick and easy camera focusing, a 7’ for installation work and possibly an extension ladder. If you are just starting out, it may be better to hire the extension ladder as you wont need it most of the time. Scaffolds are also required for many sites as a part of their OH&S even working at 7’

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000KL2YB2″ alt=”Louisville Ladder FS1506 Advent 300-Pound Capacity Extra Heavy-Duty Fiberglass Step Ladder, 6-Foot” src=”” align=”center” width=”42″ height=”75″]

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Spanners are a less commonly used tools but having an adjustable spanner is still essential. Optionally also carry a set of different sizes and some sockets.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B003H9M1P8″ alt=”Graintex CW1613 Metric Combination Wrench Set, 11-Piece” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”73″]

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A good quality battery drill is a very worth while investment. Get on with 2 batteries so you can keep working while one is charging.
For drilling concrete and brickwork you are going to need a hammer drill. You can get this in a battery drill but I would recommend a mains powered one.
Drill bit set of missionary, high speed twist, ogre and spade bits

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0002TXNX0″ alt=”Black & Decker 9099KC 7.2-Volt Cordless Drill with Keyless Chuck” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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You need a good quality gas soldering iron and solder to join cables. I have found that cheap ones don’t generate enough heat to work outside in the wind and can be hard to start.
The sundries for this are solder sized around 0.75mm-1mm and a can of butane gas
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0009ZD2AG” alt=”Weller SP23LK Marksman 25 Watt Soldering Iron Kit” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”45″]Click for product range

Cutters & Pliers

A good pair of side cutters will be one of your most used tools. Expect to use them several times a day.
While I was on the tools, I never bought really expensive ones as they tend to get lost frequently but you still need a good pair that actually cut rather than mash the cable. Maybe carry a spare set.Long nose pliers can be used to hold things while you solder them, loosen nuts and blots and cut thicker cables.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000IBU0YC” alt=”Xuron 2175 Maxi Shear Flush Cutter” src=”” align=”center” width=”53″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Hex Keys & Security Bits

These are needed maybe every couple of days. A fold out set of hex keys is best as you wont lose any. Get both a metric and imperial set.Many of the vandal resistant cameras require security bits to open them and there is no standards as to what head they will be so a complete set is needed.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0009U6AB4″ alt=”33 pc. Security Bit Set” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Screw Drivers

Screwdrivers are an essential every day tool and while an entire set is recommended, there are a couple that you want to get as good quality You will be working on small terminals in terminal blocks on a regular basis. These can be either flat or Philips head.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000T9SI60″ alt=”Wiha 30297 12-Piece Slotted and Phillips Screwdriver Set with Soft Finish Handles” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Extension power cable

You need to get a couple of these and they have to be the heavier grade ones if you are going to be working in commercial or union sites.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B00004SQFK” alt=”Coleman Cable 01289 100-Foot All-Weather 16/3 Extension Cord with Lighted End” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”72″]Click for product range

Cleaning tools

You will make a mess! Cleaning up seems to be over looked by many but I expect trades people to clean as they go.
Get a battery operated vacuum, a dust pan and broom, spray & wipe cleaner, cloths and disposable gloves.
The gloves will save you a huge amount of tiles washing the dirty finger prints off walls and ceilings.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B002VWK5T6″ alt=”Bare-Tool DEWALT DC515B 18-Volt Cordless 1/2 Gallon Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum (Tool Only, No Battery)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Other general tools

Claw hammer, gyprock saw, tool bag
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000IBHKAY” alt=”Apollo Precision Tools DT1241 95-Piece Mechanics Tool Kit” src=”” align=”center” width=”59″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Optional but recommended


You will learn to use a multimeter in the [intlink id=”494″ type=”post”]Certificate III in Technical Security[/intlink]. No need to buy anything really good like a Fluke. A generic no name will work fine for measuring voltages and checking for cable faults
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000EX0AE4″ alt=”Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with Built In Thermometer with Type K Remote Probe” src=”” align=”center” width=”42″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Cable Tracer

A cable tracer (F-set) is not an essential tool but will save you a lot of time working out which cable in a bundle is the one you are looking for.
The cost will be offset by the time you save.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000FTADX0″ alt=”Fluke PRO3000 Tone and Probe Kit” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Cable labeler

If you have pride in your work, this will add that finishing touch and make it easier when servicing the system.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B00011KHPG” alt=”Brother PT-1400 P-Touch Handheld Labeler” src=”” align=”center” width=”39″ height=”75″]Click for product range

Sundry items used during installations

Screws & Bolts

An assortment of these are needed. Just get a mixed pack to start with and you will soon work out which you use the most.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000MN3HKK” alt=”Zinc Plated Steel Sheet Metal Screw, Pan Head, Phillips Drive, #6-20, 1/2″ Length (Pack of 100)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Wall Anchors

A range of wall anchors are required. The main 2 I use are 6.5mm rawl plugs for masonry and screw in hollow wall anchors for Gyprock

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000BQMK7Y” alt=”50PK#50 Stud Dry Anchor” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Insulation Tape

The wonder product of the trade.
Uses include insulating soldered joints, bundling cables neatly Get it in white so you can write labels on it (the poor mans cable labeller)

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B00004WCCL” alt=”Scotch 6132-BA-10 Super 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape, 3/4-Inch-by-66-Feet-by-0.007-Inch” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”62″]

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Terminal Block

A couple of strips of this will help when you need to terminate power cables from all the cameras or just join a cable when the soldering iron is out of gas.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B003NXWN9W” alt=”35A 12 POSITION TERMINAL BLOCK” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”42″]

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Heat Shrink

It comes in a huge range of colours and sizes. I commonly use the smaller sizes but a mixed box is the easy way to get it and it will last months.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000F7RB4Q” alt=”Anytime Tools 48′ HEAT SHRINK TUBING WRAP SLEEVES ASSORTED COLOR” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Various sizes for when you forget to turn the power supply off before you cut a cable and short it out.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B001I1GO1E” alt=”Scosche EAGU60-4 60 amp AGU Fuse – 4 Pack” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Cable Ties

You will use a few of these every day and will need multiple sizes.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0002J2R2I” alt=”Cables to Go 43038 Cable Ties – 100 Pack (Black)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”56″]

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Analogue CCTV Tools

BNC Crimper

BNC compression crimper for RG59 & RG6

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000I94F7W” alt=”RG58 / RG59 / RG6 Crimp Tool for BNC / F-Pin” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”24″]

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Coax Stripper

You can do the same job with a good pair of side cutters but these are faster if you are doing a lot of connections

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000E9TJXQ” alt=”Paladin Tools 1255 LC-CST Stripper for RG58/59/6/62AU: .315/.157 Coax Cable” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”33″]

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BNC crimps

A word of warning! These all look the same but some have a different centre pin diameter to others and will result in a poor connection if not matched to the coax cable size.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B004ULQICE” alt=”Vanco BNC2X BNC Male Crimp Type Connector RG59A/U (Pack of 5)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Multimeter with video

Picture this. Your up the ladder trying to focus the camera while relying on someone else watching the monitor yelling ‘Left a bit, bit more. Stop! Too far go back’ This tool will save you hours.
[easyazon-image-link asin=”B004IM5PBK” alt=”Evertech Cctv Multi-function Tester PRO M – Built-in Digital Multimeter – 3.5″ LCD Monitor Cctv Tester Video / PTZ Tester / Security Camera / Cable Tester /Cctv Monitor Test Tester + Multimeter 11 in One Function” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]
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IP CCTV tools

RJ45 Crimper

These crimp the plugs onto the ends of network cables. Choose one that does RJ45 & RJ12

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0000AZK4G” alt=”TRENDnet RJ-11/RJ-45 Crimp/Cut/Strip Tool TC-CT68 (Blue)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”52″]

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CAT5 cable tester

Tracing a network fault is a challenge an some times it ends up being a dicky patch lead or a cable pair crimped in the wrong spot. This tool will allow you to test for correct cable wiring in seconds. Higher end units will also test the cable for bandwidth throughput and if there is a fault, how far along the cable the fault is.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000KMHL8M” alt=”Paladin Tools 70025 RJ45 Network Cable Tester Kit” src=”” align=”center” width=”56″ height=”75″]

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RJ45 crimps

The clear plastic bits on the end of a network cable.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000FI9VU2″ alt=”Platinum Tools 100010C EZ-RJ45 Cat 6+ Connectors, Clamshell, 50-Pieces” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Laptop computer and 3G cellular internet connection for system programming and looking up manuals while on site

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0054QJ2BS” alt=”Toshiba Satellite L755-S5271 15.6-Inch LED Laptop (Grey)” src=”” align=”center” width=”75″ height=”75″]

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Now you are set to go, all you need is some customers. If you do not have a plan there, I would first call other installation companies and ask to do some sub-contract work. This will get your skills up by doing work in the field.



Leave a comment
  1. James April 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Thanks for these detailed list. I think it’s best to have these tools to be always prepared. It is a worthy investment because it is needed for the job.

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