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Old 11-04-2003, 09:39 AM   #1
azroadrunner
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Default How to troubleshoot.

We seem to have a lot of questions and frantic pleas for help regarding problems that come up during the use of our TMs. When this happens, the person with the problem generally does not fully describe the problem. It's just, "HELP, My _____ broke." It might encourage others to more fully describe their problem and work to solve it if we had a section on troubleshooting. Here, in the calm, can be resources for techniques for troubleshooting, tools that help define the problem and the importance of fully describing the problem so others, with no insight as to the conditions, can more easily picture the problem and use their experience and expertise to help solve it.

Although I generally am quite adept at troubleshooting, I found myself in the condition I describe above when I called for help finding the switch that turns off the power to the upper rear shell. When I looked back on that experience was when I came up with this idea. Having a resource pool of info gives one the ability to work out their problem without waiting for the results of a plea for help. This is not to diminish the need for or benefit of a plea for help. It works beautifully here on this board and the members are to be congratulated for their generous help and assistance without diminishing the person asking for help.

What do you think?

Jim
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:10 PM   #2
Bill
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

Jim -

This sound like a good idea to me. But I would like to see Chris put a "sticky topic" at the front (so it STAYS in front), which would define the purpose of the TROUBLESHOOTING section, lay out what is is and is not appropriate, and outline some suggestions on how to describe a problem so as to get the best and quickest response. Without this, I fear that the section would end up being nothing but an ill-defined extension of GENERAL DISCUSSION .

Would you be willing to write such an intro? If you would like some editorial help and reviews before "going public", I can think of several people on the board who would be good at providing it.

I don't mean to sound negative, but I think that the FAQ section, which should be incredibly useful, has kind of degenerated for lack of a good comprehensive definition. We should avoid this in the new TROUBLESHOOTING section.

Bill
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Old 11-04-2003, 05:58 PM   #3
azroadrunner
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

Bill,

All of your suggestions are good ones. As to writing up a definition of the purpose, I think you could do it much better than I. As a "TrailManor God" you have been on the BB longer and have an insight into how to word such an item to get the point across without ticking off the reader. ;D

I have noticed a tendancy for off topic cross discussions to go on which have nothing to do with the stated topic. ??? Is there a way for this to be handled? If not, I would suggest that the poster start a new topic when the subject is changed with a note that the discussion should be continued in the new topic.

Jim

p.s. I'm just learning to use smilies.
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:15 AM   #4
mjlaupp
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

I am not in favor of adding a new section for troubleshooting.
  • The postings in the new section would soon duplicate what is already in the maintenance, general, and other sections.
  • Who would be willing to develop a comprehensive troubleshooting flowchart? It would need to be the size of the New York phone directory in order to completely cover all of the TrailManor models and model years?
  • Would the majority of the membership be able to use such a troubleshooting flowchart?
  • I don't know of any place where general troubleshooting skills are taught. How do you impart this skill to someone?
I think that a full description of how to use the advanced search capabilities of this board would be of more use. It should be a sticky topic. In what section would it be most usefull?

MJL
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:33 AM   #5
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

I agree with Mike. I've almost always found information that I need by searching the board. While a good idea in theory, I'm not sure that it would work in practice.

Camperboy
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:55 AM   #6
Bill
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

[quote author=Mike Laupp link=board=24;threadid=1504;start=msg10637#msg1063 7 date=1068048917]
The postings in the new section would soon duplicate what is already in the maintenance, general, and other sections.[/quote]You are probably right here. It would be difficult to avoid.

Quote:
  • Who would be willing to develop a comprehensive troubleshooting flowchart? It would need to be the size of the New York phone directory in order to completely cover all of the TrailManor models and model years?
  • Would the majority of the membership be able to use such a troubleshooting flowchart?
  • I don't know of any place where general troubleshooting skills are taught. How do you impart this skill to someone?
I don't think anyone was suggesting a general troubleshooting flowchart. You're right, it would be an impossible task.
On this board, most people ask their questions pretty well. If you have visited other boards where members attempt to solve problems experienced by other members, you know what I mean. But occasionally, some guidelines on how to describe a problem might be good. As Jim points out, "Help! My ____ won't work" doesn't provide enough information, which then delays a solution. Not all guidelines apply to all situations, of course, but I think of things like these.

Troubleshooting suggestions
  • If "it" doesn't work, what is the "it"? What specific device is not doing what you expect it to do? If you don't know its technical name, that's OK - describe it - but don't feel the need to fake the jargon. That would often be counterproductive.
  • What are you expecting it to do? (We have seen a number of non-problems, where the poster was expecting something to happen that isn't supposed to happen.)
  • Did it ever work? Did it ever do what you are expecting it to do?
  • When it doesn't do what you expect, what does it do? What are you observing?
  • Can the problem be reproduced - can you make it happen again, or did it just happen once?
  • Under what conditions does it happen? For example, if it is an electrical problem, is the TM plugged into shore power when it happens? Is the weather cold? Rainy? Dead battery? Is the TM attached to the tow vehicle? Propane on? Tires inflated? And so forth. Describe anything that might be related to the situation, even remotely.
  • What steps have you taken to investigate, isolate, or fix the problem? What were the results?
  • Do you feel that you have the basic knowledge to handle the problem, and just need a couple ideas? Or are you looking for a ground-up step-by-step procedure? Either one is OK, but it helps the responders put together a helpful answer if they know where you are.
  • Do you have any of the tools that might be needed? Again, it's OK if you don't, but it helps the responders if they know.
  • Where are you and/or the TM located (City & State)? We might know of a professional (dealer) solution or a non-professional (one of us) solution that is located close to you that can help in person. (Thanks, Mike Laupp!)
I'm sure a number of other bullets could be added, and I would welcome them. Join in!

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I think that a full description of how to use the advanced search capabilities of this board would be of more use. It should be a sticky topic.
Excellent idea!

Bill
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:53 PM   #7
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

Wow! That's an excellent list of points for describing a problem. Thanks Bill! Hope this can be implemented, maybe as a sticky topic on the current boards.

Camperboy
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Old 11-08-2003, 05:19 PM   #8
Bill
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Default Re:How to troubleshoot.

Thanks, Camperboy.

Quote:
That's an excellent list of points for describing a problem. Hope this can be implemented, maybe as a sticky topic on the current boards.
That's up to Chris, of course.

Bill
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