If you aspire to be an AV freelancer, you’ll want to make sure you’re well-equipped before you set foot on a work site. Every AV freelancer has their toolkit or what’s sometimes referred to as their “go bag” of necessities that will keep them prepped for any task or situation they come up against.
Having the right tools for the job is as important as conducting a proper site survey. Being thorough not only helps you stay safe onsite, it minimizes time and resources that can be wasted on a project due to inaccurate procedures. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of five types of minimum-requirement tools every AV freelancer should have at their disposal.
1. The Essentials
As long as you account for these essential tools, you are ensuring your general tasks will be taken care of. The essentials are as follows:
- A multibit screwdriver, which can account for several different types of screws you’ll encounter onsite. The different bits can also be attached to a drill, when needed.
- A tape or laser measure to adhere to any client-provided floor plans and diagrams/blueprints. Make sure your tape measure is in the measuring system of your project’s region and is at least 25 feet in length (if you’re using tape).
- A level to ensure you’re mounting equipment properly.
- Cutting tools, specifically a box knife for opening packaging and flush wire cutters for exact cutting and manipulation of wires.
2. Signal and Quality Testing
An AV freelancer will do a lot of signal testing in the course of their career in order to install and integrate the most effective systems for clients.
You’ll need an audio generator to measure acoustics and a video signal generator to determine the ideal parameters for networked video output. You’ll want a network cable tester as well if you’re dealing with many networked video systems; it’ll help you optimize your network’s connection.
Once you have dealt with your signal testing, you’ll also want source material to check the quality of your signal, image, and audio quality. A laptop or a smartphone will be needed for audio testing, as well as a DVD to test existing displays and control system operations if clients have you reusing equipment.
3. AV Rack Dressing
These tools are to make certain your wire management is on point when installing AV systems. Without tools like cable ties, electrical tape, and label markers, your AV equipment rack design will inevitably suffer.
An important note to make about cable ties, however, is that you should favour velcro over zip ties when bunching cables or dressing AV racks. Zip ties may seem more secure, but they often cinch too tight, damaging the cables (especially fiber optics cables).
4. Extra Cables/Parts
This category is about time management, which is crucial if you want to get steady work as a freelancer. Having extra cables and essential parts for AV systems design, especially consumables like batteries of various types and the previously mentioned electrical tape, will save you from running to the store.
Last but not least...it’s 2017! You should consider your smartphone a vital AV tool. While your phone might not strictly be a “type” of tool for AV design, its access to many relevant mobile apps makes it a multipurpose tool!
You can use your smartphone for a number of onsite activities, including taking high-quality pictures to update your client, using the flashlight function for hard-to-see parts, and, of course, communicating with your fellow technicians and clients. Not to mention, there’s a whole host of AV-specific apps designed with integration and networking projects in mind.
If you cover all bases discussed in this blog, you’ll be prepared for any AV project you take on!