A well stocked tool box is a necessary item for any serious RC enthusiast. Here at Motion RC, like most RC pilots we collect a large arsenal of tools which remain at home. This article instead recommends a list of essential tools for a smaller, lighter tool box which we carry to the field with us for emergency repairs or on-location servicing. Leave the five gallon tub of epoxy at home and let's get started:
1) Metric Allen Wrench Set.
Most aircraft are produced in Asia, so a metric allen wrench set in 1.5mm-5mm sizes is an indispensable asset. For example, a 1.5mm allen wrench can be used to service retracts in all major brands sold here at Motion RC, from Freewing and FMS to Dynam and Parkzone. Larger planes use 2mm -2.5mm allen screws also.
2) Double-stick tape.
A couple inches of this material is always handy for securing receivers, UBECs, or gyros inside an aircraft. Don't bring the entire roll.
3) Adhesive backed Velcro.
4"-8" of adhesive backed Velcro can be used to secure loose batteries in a large battery bay. As a tip, standardize which side of Velcro you put on all your batteries. For example, all of my batteries have the fuzzy/looped side of the Velcro, and all of my airplanes have the prickly/hooked side.
4) Small and Medium screwdriver set.
The stock included screwdriver which comes with planes is handy. Don't bring along too large of a screwdriver which is heavier and larger than you'll need. I have a small screwdriver for servos, retracts, and similar items, and I have a medium screwdriver which is the perfect size for larger screws like wing bolts.
5) Eyeglasses-sized flat head screwdriver.
With the popularity of gyros like the Eagle A-3, having a tiny flat head screwdriver is necessary for on the go adjustments to the Gain potentiometer dials on the gyro.
6) Spare Servos.
I carry at least one 9g servo and one 17g servo, which matches most of my aircraft.
7) Servo Extensions.
I carry at least one Y-harness, and two 12" straight extensions. Just in case one fails, or I need to relocate something and need more wire.
8) Spare propellers.
Depending on which planes I am flying that day, I always pack 1-2 spare propellers. Few things are more frustrating than driving all the way to a flying field, only to bust your only prop during takeoff and then be grounded for the rest of the day.
9) Spare Retract.
For the same reason as the propeller, I usually carry at least one spare retract unit.
10) Epoxy and CA.
A small bottle of medium CA glue, and of 5 minute epoxy, is usually enough to get me through on-the-field fixes after a minor incident. A small bottle of Beacon Adhesive or Gorilla Glue 2X is great for larger fixes.
11) Hinge Tape.
Great for reinforcing hinges and other emergency uses.
12) Portable Butane-powered Soldering Iron.
I've used this far too many times to count, soldering ESCs, motor bullets, telemetry wires, UBECs, and other components at the field so I could keep flying. A wise investment!
13) Portable Electric-powered Hot Temp Glue Gun.
Never underestimate the holding power for hot glue on foam.