General Tools & Instruments 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver

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3 Responses to General Tools & Instruments 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver

  1. Michael M. says:
    76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    An Excellent Hard To Find Powered Mini Screwdriver, October 16, 2010
    By 
    Michael M. (San Francisco) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: General Tools & Instruments 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver (Tools & Home Improvement)

    About six years ago I found and bought my first mini powered screwdriver, a brand called the “iGo.” The iGo was the same in concept as this Ultra Tech in that it was a super mini screwdriver, with small driver bits (albeit the iGo bit are not as small as the Ultra Tech). The iGo is powered by two AAA batteries.

    Back then the iGo was the only miniature battery powered screwdriver on the market (at least that I could find). There were plenty of large AA battery powered drivers (that use four batteries), for example Black & Decker’s drivers. But those are powerful screwdrivers meant for heavy duty jobs such as inserting wood screws into hardwood.

    In 2004, when I was first researching and looking for a battery powered mini screwdriver, I wanted something for delicate, small jobs such as working on computers or small electronic devices. (The Black & Decker type drivers are too big, cumbersome and powerful to work on small screws, plus those powered screwdrivers don’t come with bits small enough to fit into small screws.) What size screws am I talking about? Look on your netbook or notebook computer case, to see the screws I am talking about.

    Enter the iGo powered screwdriver. Those have served me well all these years and I am still using the original two I bought back then. (Actually, I bought five of them and gave two as gifts. By the way, geeks love these powered mini screwdrivers. My friend gave one to her sister’s new husband at their wedding reception, part of a box of gifts. Everyone at the reception was asking to play with the screwdriver and he caught two of his guests trying to “forget” they had the driver, by putting it in their pockets.

    Fast forward to three weeks ago when I decided to see if there were any new powered miniature screwdrivers on the market. A search yielded pay dirt when I found this “General Ultra Tech Power Precision Screwdriver” (that’s a mouthful but that’s the official name of it).

    I read the description and was impressed that this was obviously a better product than my iGo (even though the iGo was only $5 per driver and it has worked flawlessly). What I liked about this General Ultra Tech is that it comes with six screwdriver bits, including two torx bits (T5 and T6 that typically fit cell phones and small electronics). The bits case has two very small flathead and two small Phillips head bits.

    The chuck that the bits fit into are proprietary to the Ultra Tech bits. That means the full size bits that come on bigger drivers won’t fit. Besides, bits such as those on a Black & Decker driver are too big to work on small precision screws. And to be sure, a full-sized powered driver would strip screw threads, holes, or heads because there’s simply too much power driving the screw.

    Sidenote: The iGo driver also has a proprietary chuck and bit. The iGo came with two bits, a flathead and a Phillips, that conveniently stores inside the driver, so you don’t lose or misplace them.

    Also, the iGo bits and chuck are magnetized, a handy feature when working in tight spaces or difficult to access screw holes. (This General Ultra Tech is not magnetized.)

    Impressions of the Ultra tech: This is a great driver. It was a well thought out design and it’s perfect for doing precision work.

    For example:

    — You grip it like holding a pen. Because it’s a small diameter device, you can hold it and easily “target” the screw you are working with.

    — When using the driver your thumb is conveniently on the power switch. So you can power the switch to screw or unscrew without having to twist or contort your grip to operate the power switch.

    — The driver at the base is curved inward, like many pens that advertise a comfortable grip design. So when holding the driver with your fingers it’s really a natural grip.

    — Lastly on the grip or feel in the hand, the driver body is 6″ long and about the diameter of a U.S. dime. So when holding it, the top half rests on your hand, in between the thumb and forefinger. (This is similar to holding a pen.) This results in your being able to hold the driver firm and steady when using the driver.

    All in all, the form factor is a great design and pleasure to use.

    Now on performance.

    I see some people criticize this as being under powered or incapable of driving certain screws. Excuse me folks, first of all, this is for precision work, not driving bolts or screws into hardwood or metal. This driver has more than enough power to work on any electronic device’s screws. If you want more power, trust me, you are going to strip the screw or female threads of whatever you are working on.

    True, the driver head has a slight degree of of wobble indicating that these are not machined parts, where tolerances need to be precise.

    If the driver contained machined…

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  2. Just Lil' Ol' Me says:
    45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    I SO wanted to give it 4 or 5 stars, but cannot…, December 13, 2011
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: General Tools & Instruments 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver (Tools & Home Improvement)
    It works perfectly. Supposedly lasts for 100 hours on one battery. What’s not to love?

    The MFR made the extremely poor design decision to use a proprietary 1/8″ drive for the bits instead of the industry standard 4mm (which is not that much bigger). So instead of having thousands upon thousands of bits to choose from, you get…. 5.

    That is a bonified bummer right there.

    I’m going to keep it, but I’m only giving it 3 stars for the above design failure.

    P.S. I’ve scoured the net for bits and even a 1/8″ to 4mm adapter. They do not appear to exist.

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  3. Jason Anderson says:
    22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    one of best cordless Precision screwdrivers, May 8, 2012
    By 
    Jason Anderson (Cedar City, UT United States) –

    This review is from: General Tools & Instruments 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver (Tools & Home Improvement)
    First let me address all the bad reviews that state that this screwdriver uses some strange bit size and you can’t find bits.

    It DOES NOT use a strange bit size and you can find replacements everywhere!!!!

    This is a precision screwdriver. That is the size not some word meaning tight tolerances.

    Standard screwdrivers use 1/4″ shank bits. They generally have standard and large size tips like phillips #2 and so on.

    Precision screwdrivers use 1/8″ shank bits. These small bits are made for electronics and eyeglasses, small tips down to phillips #000

    As this is a precision screwdriver, don’t expect it to work on large screws, it will probably break eventually. If you mostly use regular screws in your work, you are better off getting a regular electric screwdriver, not precision. Again, precision does not mean quality, it means small screws.

    Just do a search on Amazon or anywhere for precision screwdriver bits and you will have lots of bit choices. If it says precision, then it should be 1/8″ shank, just make sure. I personally have over 60 different bits for this screwdriver, not counting duplicates.

    You can buy tons of bit styles in every price range, from real cheap garbage to high end swiss made bits. Lots of choices of brands and tips.

    Stay away from the cheap sets, if it doesn’t say the bits are hardened or chrome vandium steel, don’t buy them they will just strip out with light use. They are unhardened mild steel, beware the discount bits. There are some real inexpensive sets on Amazon that have 30 to 50 bits and are hardened steel. Again, just search for “precision screwdriver bits” and make sure they say hardened steel and you will be fine.

    This is a great driver for its intended purpose.

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