I get a disturbing number of calls from customers who are trying to troubleshoot a very expensive piece of equipment that can be easily damaged by doing the wrong thing, without the manuals for the equipment. Coming from an engineering and aviation background, I find this astounding. For an aircraft mechanic, it is actually against the law (you can and will be fined, or worse if audited), to work on an aircraft without having a complete set of manuals on the premises. That is even true for painting an aircraft (mine was in hock at the paint shop for a couple of weeks because they didn’t have the manuals). I actually had to carry my personal set down to them so they could show them to the FAA before they would let them proceed on work.

So when I get a call from someone who is trying to troubleshoot, or even better, trying to get an entire plant going as people are being sent home without pay because of downtime, and they don’t have the manual that lists the error codes, I am amazed and upset. Manuals are easy to get. Our company websites have buttons to press to get to forms that are sent in to have manuals emailed to people. The corporate websites have downloadable manuals (admittedly, in a labyrinthine setup that makes you appreciate the Dewey Decimal System), and if you do a search on the web, you can typically find a PDF that shows up in the first few lines of Google or Bing.  So, manuals, the single most important thing you can have when troubleshooting a drive, are literally just a few keystrokes away. Anyone who doesn’t have one should reconsider their priorities.  Anyone supervising someone who doesn’t have one should perhaps consider it part of their job performance…or lack thereof.