Ice Breaker: Creating an Electronic Library
Just as equipment technology is evolving, so is the way manufacturers provide technical information. Most of the technical information provided by manufacturers today is in an electronic format, most commonly in a PDF file. This allows us to review this information using Adobe’s Acrobat reader, a free Internet download. This makes it very convenient and cost effective for everyone; you do not need to purchase multiple software programs to reference this information. Using an Adobe format offers another useful benefit — it has a very useful tool that allows you to search a word or phrase within a document. Adobe’s “Find” tool allows you to simply search where a word or phrase appears in the document. This can be very useful since it eliminates the need of having to read or scan through an entire document and directs you to the exact paragraph(s) of information that you need.
For example, suppose you are working on a low-temperature system using an electronic controller, and you need to find out how to change its defrost schedule. If you have never done this before, you will need to reference the controller’s manual to find out how. Instead of scanning through the entire manual, you can simply enter “defrost” into the “Find” toolbox and search for the sections of the manual where the word “defrost” appears. This will lead you to the section of the manual explaining how to modify the controller’s defrost schedule.
Many manufacturers make their technical information available on their websites to be easily downloaded. Sometimes you may need to call and have them email it to you. Other times it is given out at their training classes. You should start to collect and organize this information into your own electronic technical library. Collect all the manuals of the systems you install, service, and maintain. This allows you to reference information as needed without having to go online or call for it.
With today’s mobile technology, there are several options available for storing and viewing this information. Some technicians are carrying laptops in their service vehicles. Others are carrying a tablet such as an iPad for this purpose, and still others are using their smartphones. All of these devices work well. The choice comes down to preference of screen size, storage capacity, and cost.
Start collecting and organizing your electronic literature today. It will save you time and frustration on many jobs.
Publication date: 7/2/2012