Relieve pressure in your shop!

We've got plenty of pressure with deadlines looming, new projects, and other 'people issues'. But the pressure I'm writing about today is torque.

For serial adapters that screw on (DB25, DE9, etc.), you shouldn't need to tighten them more than finger-tight. The screws are meant to keep the connector from being pulled out if the cable is tugged. Most of the small threaded nuts and screw-end on the adapters are not made for serious torque, and will likely break, or strip, if you apply too much pressure.

Finger-tight for you may be tighter than finger-tight for someone else that might need to work on the gear later. I don't want to make someone have to go get tools to remove serial adapters.

This goes for the screws for mounting your gear in cabinets or relay racks. You can tighten these hand-tight, but don't set your screw-gun to be an impact wrench! The lowest settings will probably be fine. (If it's not, you should make sure that you haven't cross-threaded the screw to begin with, rather than cutting new threads in the rails...because aluminum rails will strip easily, and steel rails will chew your screws easily. Let's try to not damage any parts today.)

The other damage that occurs from too much pressure is damaging the screwdriver bits and the screw-tops. It starts when the screw stops, and the drill keeps going, and the screwdriver bit starts to round over the screw head, but it's starting to damage the screwdriver bit as well! This makes it easier for the screwdriver bit to round over the next screwheads. (Take a good look at the philips bit in your screwgun today. If you don't have good, straight edges, it's time to turn down the torque, and either get out the file to renew your bit, or use a new replacement bit.)

The pressure you will save, will be the pressure on you in your next emergency. You'll be able to quickly remove an adapter without needing to go get tools. Your tools will easily remove and install screws, and your screws and rack rails won't be damaged by 'the last guy that worked on them'.

Once you set the torque on your screwgun to only 1 or 2, keep checking it, since there are probably other folks that borrow it. They'll likely change the setting, and not put it back. When you find it has been changed, you may be able to share this note with the culprit, and make things just a bit nicer in your shop.

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