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In the Shop

RSS By: Dan Anderson, Farm Journal

As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.

Fix Equipment Over The Phone

Sep 22, 2012

 Here are a few suggestions to use a cell phone to diagnose and possibly repair equipment malfunctions:

-all directions--right, left, front, rear--are given as if you're sitting in the driver's seat. North, south, east, west, "my left," or "my right" mean nothing to the person on the other end of the phone who's trying to help you.

-don't try to describe a motor or machine malfunction if you're standing next to the machine while it's running. Shouting louder won't help the other person hear you over the background noise. Repeating yourself even louder--I SAID, REPEATING YOURSELF EVEN LOUDER--doesn't help.

-when possible, write down any diagnostic codes, error codes or other information displayed on the machine's cornerpost or dashboard. Don't be offended if the person on the phone says,"That doesn't mean anything, don't worry about it," when you report the individual codes. They're not calling you stupid; they're just thinking out loud and letting you know that many of the warnings that show up aren't anything to worry about.

-if the person who's trying to help you suggests you do something you're already tried, be patient and try that process again. Sometimes, with modern farm equipment, it's not WHAT you do as much as the sequence in which you do it. 

-Have the machine's serial number in the cab with you. Many diagnostic tests, let alone part numbers, are dependent on the serial number of the machine. 

-Before you call for help on diagnosing the cause or figuring out how to repair the problem, take a deep breath and think about what you were doing with the machine when it malfunctioned. Were you turning on a headland, crossing a waterway, going uphill, going downhill, bouncing across ruts--it can speed diagnosis if you're prepared to help the guy on the phone not only figure out WHAT broke, but WHY it broke.

Cell phones can be wonderful tools that save time and money when equipment breaks down. How much time and money they save depends on the way they are used. I SAID, HOW MUCH TIME AND MONEY THEY SAVE DEPENDS ON THE WAY THEY ARE USED....

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