I DO NOT want to create a single table with all the possible fields for all the possible
variations of equipment, as it would be unrealistic for our approach.
Can you explain why it is unrealistic? Not only will it help in providing a solution, but it may not be as unrealistic as you think.
Each set of equipment has a brand, model and serial no, but after that each set has different characteristics Id like to specifically detail in the tables. A stove is not a dishwasher is not a clothes dryer. Very different fields for each. With over 1200 pieces of equipment that would mean as many as 300 fields in one table. Not our goal at all.
Each set of equipment has a brand, model and serial no, [And description]
That data can be but in a common Equipment Table and linked to different "detail" tables for each general type of equipment. That way, you get a unified table of equipment and don't need "300 fields" to do so.
This is not a priority, but that means that I have four tables... [serial no, brand, model] [serial no, option1a option 1b, option 1c], etc. Interesting. I guess Ill have to work around that.