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What's In My Toolbag?

Collection of Tools.JPG

Obligatory Dahua Product Plug

Obligatory Dahua Product Plug 1:PFM900


Always good to have several devices for testing purposes. The PFM900 allows you to test BNC cables, CAT5, determine the length of cable runs, test ONVIF, test audio, and even BNC inputs on a recorder. Small device packing tons of feature. This tool can even charge via POE!

More Information on the PFM900 at

Obligatory Dahua Product Plug 2:PFM820

This tool is a simple device used to switch video output modes on HD-CVI cameras, and access their OSD. This device is usually only used if I am having trouble changing the video output mode of a camera. Usually the PFM900 can handle this task, and this device is not needed, but sometimes the PFM820 is the fastest way to get the job done.


More Information on the PFM820 at

Drills & Drivers

  • Milwaukee M12 3/8" Drill Driver M 12 volt Model 2407-20 2407
Milwaukee M12 3/8" Drill Driver

Small portable, powerful drill. I use this for drilling holes in wood, securing the worm drive hose clamps, and occasionally to disassemble cameras. Depending on if I have access to a golf cart or not will largely depend on if I bring a second drill. If not, this one can usually handle anything I throw at it.

  • Milwaukee M12 Cordless 3/8" Right Angle Drill
Milwaukee M12 Cordless 3/8" Right Angle Drill

This is the backup to the Drill Driver. This device has a more delicate touch, which is useful for disassembling cameras. This drill is also super useful when you are mounting a camera in a hard to reach location.

  • Milwaukee M12 Charger and Batteries

The two drills above need power. This is it. Bring extra, and make sure they are charged!


  • iFixIt Pro Tech Toolkit
iFixIt Pro Tech Toolkit

I received this bit set as a gift, and it is easily one of the best gifts I have ever received. Clocking in at 64 bits, there should be very few electronic devices you can't get into with this set. High quality tools, and great price.


Hex Key Sets

  • Metric Hex Key Set
  • SAE Hex Set

The iFixit bits will have you covered for the majority of the time, but occasionally you might run need a larger size hex. Always good to have a Metric, and a SAE Hex set in your bag, just in case.


  • 1000' Cat5 or Cat5e cable (Depending on size of job, increase accordingly.)

I tend to use un-shielded Cat5 cable, and will usually bring 1-2 miles of 1000' boxes for install jobs. It is always better to have way more than you need. There is nothing worse than coming up 5 feet short on the last cable run, and then having to wait for an order, or source the cable from a local store at a high markup.

Extension Cables

  • 5x 50' Extension Cable
  • 5x 100' Extension Cable

You need these. Even if you think you don't bring extra. Go buy extra at a local hardware store, and return the unused cables after the job is complete. Just be sure to have several on hand at all times.

Cables Terminations

  • Cat5 Connectors (at least 100 or more)
Cat5 Connectors

This is another part of the toolkit that more is less. If you think you need 1000 Cat5 heads for the job, bring 3500. These heads are light, cheap, and work, so long as you terminate the cables properly.

  • BNC Connectors (If you are using HD-CVI or Analog)

BNC connectors are only going to be used for HD-CVI camera installs. Bring these instead of Cat5 heads if you are doing a coaxial install.

  • Twist-on wire connectors

Electrical tape's big brother. Use these when terminating anything electrical. Sure you can get by with just electrical tape, but this is the proper, and safe way to junction electrical.

Cable Termination Tools

  • Cat5 Modular Crimper
Cat5 Modular Crimper
  • BNC Compression Tool
BNC Compression Tool

Depending on the install, choose the appropriate termination tool. Ideally, you should be able to terminate both of these cables in your sleep.


  • Electrical Outlet Receptacle Tester
Electrical Outlet Receptacle Tester

This is a tool every installer should have in their toolbox. Eliminate the mystery of whether or not that power outlet is working, and wired correctly. Usually costs between $2-5.

  • RJ45 Cable Tester
RJ45 Cable Tester

Tired of making the same Cat5 cable over and over again? Buy a tester. This is usually a backup to the PFM900, or when you just need to do a quick test while up on a ladder or lift. These usually cost less than $5.

Straps, Tie-downs, and Zip-ties

  • Big bag of 1' zip ties (Black or White or both)
  • Worm Drive Hose Clamp
Worm Drive Hose Clamp

I always keep a handful of zip ties, and hose clamps in my toolbox. These are great for temporary installs, or for mounting the attaching the camera while you install the mounting screws. Think of these as another set of hands when you are up on a ladder trying to install that 15 pound PTZ.


  • Gorilla Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • Gaffer's Tape

You should have several different kinds of tape in your toolbox. You might need to tape down a cable, you might need to tape off a cable, there are tons of reason you might need tape. Just be sure you have some when you do.


  • POE Switch
  • POE Midspan

I originally had these listed under the, "Optional" section, but moved them. If you are doing any kind of IP-based installation, you should have at least one of each of these devices. Even if you don't use them for the installation, they are essential for troubleshooting issues in the field.

Obligatory Dahua Product Plug 3:High POE Midspan DH-PFT1200

Great power supply for the more power hungry PTZs, and much easier than running an additional cable.

DH-PFT1200 Midspan

DH-PFT1200 Product Page

Obligatory Dahua Product Plug 4:High POE Switch DH-PFS3106-4P-60

I will usually use these in conjunction with a PTZ, and a long range wireless AP. This switch has more than enough juice to power both devices without interruption.

DH-PFS3106-4P-60 POE Switch

DH-PFS3005-4P-58 Product Page


  • Thinkpad Yoga 11E

I usually bring a small laptop with me during installs. This doesn't need to be an i7 powerhouse of a computer either. This can be a sub-$500 laptop with a basic Windows 10 install. Ideally choose a laptop with standard USB ports, HDMI-out, and possibly a serial port. You can get by running OSX or Linux, but the majority of the software for security products is going to be Windows-based. You can always dual boot.


  • HD-CVI Baluns
  • Camera Power Supply (12v)
  • Camera Power Supply (24v)
  • Microphone
  • Speaker
  • Tape measure
  • High visibility vest
  • Hard hat
  • Gloves
  • Conduit (Outdoor permanent installations)