- Android Phones
Five Best Android Apps for Electricians
Turning Your Phone Into A Tool
The one problem with tools is that you have to carry them around with you. This is especially true when you aren't exactly sure what tools you will need for a job and end up going back and forth between your van and the job to pick up everything that you need.
This is where you phone can come in handy. Many simple tools can be downloaded as apps to your phone, turning your smartphone into a really useful electricians tool. Just remember - please do not get tempted to use it as a hammer!
Here are five of my favourite 'tool apps' for electricians - and other construction workers.
Bubble Spirit Levels
Bubble levels are a very handy tool, and if you have a decent handset then an app is capable of doing the job just as well as the kind of dedicated tool you would buy from a hardware store (at least as good as the small ones anyway, sometimes you do need something longer).
Mine is the simple 'Bubble Level' which does everything that I need from it, but if you need to get actual numerical readings rather than just check if something is flat then you can get other apps which turn your android phone into a fully fledged clinometer.
An electrician's calculator makes it super easy to perform any kind of electrical or electronic calculation without even needing to remember formulas.
There are actually quite a few of them out there to choose between, and generally they work by using a menu system. You use these menus to select the value that you want to calculate, then enter your figures in the boxes provided and click for an answer. Whether you need to calculate cable lengths, motor torque, resistances, motor slip, efficiency - or pretty much anything else you would come across in your career as an electrician or electronics installer / maintenance engineer you can use an electricians calculator to make is easier.
My personal favourite is the 'Mobile Electrician' app, which is pretty comprehensive and even includes a tool to encode / decode the colour bands on resistors. It's also free, which is nice.
The humble flashlight will always be one of the most important tools for an electrician - especially when working in domestic properties, because of the simple fact that you need to turn the power supply to the lights off before commencing many jobs.
A large powerful lamp which you can place on the floor and still have both hands free will always have its place in the back of most people's van, but a little flashlight which you always have in your pocket ready to go can be really handy.
My recommendation is the 'Super-Bright LED Flashlight' app which is free and includes an additional strobe mode.
Apps for Jobs
Do You Use Phone Apps for Your Work?
Smart tools offers a range of useful professional tools, and you can get the complete set for a couple of dollars. Their 'Smart Distance Pro' set includes three separate tools for measuring small, medium and large distances using your phone's camera, touchscreen, and some pretty clever trigonometry.
The Smart Ruler is simple enough, mainly measuring distances smaller than your handset. Smart Measure uses trigonometry to measure distances up to 50m with pretty impressive accuracy, while the Smart Distance tool can measure distances up to 1km.
You also get a free 'speed gun' which also uses the phone's camera to capture speed measurements.
Smart Distance Pro
Metal Detector / Stud Finder
If you ever need to check whether there are any wires or metal pipes behind a section of wall before you start drilling then you probably use a stud finder or some kind of similar tool.
Although your smartphone cannot completely replace a stud finder it can do a pretty good job some tasks and as such is a very welcome addition to any phone's toolbox page - especially seeing as how it is totally free! It uses a magnetic sensor in your handset to detect the presence of metal and / or emf radiation.
The Smart Tools 'Metal Detector' is one of the best, in my humble opinion