The Hotline that appears from time to time inThe NEWS is a Q&A in which technicians send in questions about real-world situations they are encountering. Then we atThe NEWSsend that question off to an expert in the industry - whether someone from a manufacturer or a consultant - and get an answer. Often the person offering the answer has to do some research to be assured the answer is the best.

So you can see, the idea is for one technician’s situation to be shared and answered for the benefit of many other technicians sure to eventually be facing a similar situation.

What the Hotline is not is an instant response to an emergency. Yet, every so often or so, I get an e-mail via the Hotline from someone in the field facing a situation that he feels needs an immediate answer. I do immediately e-mail back and say that I am totally unqualified to even attempt an answer. Nor is the Hotline answer procedure structured in such a way as to give an instant answer.

My response in such a “need an instant answer” situation is to tell the tech to get as much info as possible on the component in question and call the manufacturer of the component. Many such manufacturers have 800 numbers for troubleshooting. Or call a colleague in your company or a service manager for help.

The Hotline is one form of communication. There are others.