Tools for DIY

In order for the Do-it-yourself type to be successful, certain tools need to be owed, understood and utilized. I listed them below in order of importance, priority and value for the cost. The list is not completed yet.

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#1. Digital Multi-meter. If this is the only tool (beside a flat and Philips screw driver), then so be it. Solar or any electricity cannot be understood without one.

My favorite brand is Fluke, but this may be overkill for the price new. There are many other good brands.
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Watt-Hour Meter

#2. Technically this is also a DMM. It measures 120AC in various ways to inform the owner how much power something consumes over time. The Kill-A-Watt can measure Volts, Current, Watts, Watt-hours. Learn more from the manufacturer.
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Solar Pathfinder

#3. Solar Pathfinder can give quick, accurate solar/shade information for the entire year by tracing the shadow pattern on special little cards. The Card will show the entire year, morning to night.
See the Solar Pathfinder Manufacturer's Website

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Metal Knock-out Punch Kit

#4. Metal Knock-out Punch Kit can be used to create or expand the opening in a conduit box. For instance, the Outback Power PSPV has 1" hole on the bottom. This usually needs to be bigger!
For as often as a Do-it-yourself installer will use this item, get if from Harbor Freight... (enter item 91201 in the search box)

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Clamp-On Meter

#6. Another Meter, but just for current measurements. Unlike the Fluke above, the this meter measures current without connecting it inline with the meter. I use a small extension cord that I split the wires to get the current flow of any device. I have a larger gauge plug set to measure larger current items. Get one that can measure AC and DC amps. This Fluke 33 is a great choice.
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Updated: July 02, 2010