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01-30-2005, 08:50 PM #1
I'm curious to hear if anyone uses a Palm Pilot for HVAC/R work. I'd like to be able to store all the prices of parts, Customer numbers, wholesale numbers, and even consider accessing manufacture's websites for d/l ing things like schematic drawings, etc.
I realize that some of you will imediately bombard me with how 'gadgets are a waste of money' etc... If you use one and it's an invaluable tool to you... gimme details...
01-30-2005, 09:56 PM #2Professional Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
- Yuma, Arizona
If you do a search you'll find a few threads on this subject.
But, to answer your question, I use a Sony Clie TH-55, Palm OS, PDA.
I use the date book (I have 443 addresses stored so far) to store any call I go on and in the notes of that entry I list make, model, serial number, pressures, amp draws and any thing that might be important.I also have a address list of work contacts and in their notes I list what equipment that entry has and any info like what refrigerant the walk in uses, etc.
I have Adobe PDF reader for Palm and I have on a memory stick a large number of PDF files that I downloaded from sites.
There are a few programs available you can buy to say make drawings or contact lists.
The search function will let me look up an address and see if I have been there and then I can see what I did in the past or say, if I have a a/c of model XYZ and I need to see some other amp draws on like units, I do a search and can find out if I have seen this before.
The memo function, I use for formulas and long general notes.
Now the only bad part is that Sony is no longer importing their units, so I'll have to go back th Palm if I want to in another year or more.
You can get map programs and store more info on external memory cards (most brands).
The Windows Pocket PC's I believe can do about the same.
What is snow? Is it that white stuff in a freezer?
01-30-2005, 10:28 PM #3
we recently switched over to Flat rate pricing, I bought Palm tungsten E's for all of the guys and downloaded the flat rate plus technicians price book into them. MUCH easier than thumbing through 200 pages to find a task/price etc. I am also in the process of downloading all of the manufacturars specs in pdf on most everything we install and work on. Technology is your friend!
01-31-2005, 01:42 AM #4
I can see many advantages coming to light... PDF... d/l all the specs from all the equip you work on. Keep it in the tool bag... saves from having to fill the cab with the Library of Congress, etc. Ok... I guess it might come in handy. Now, is there often a need to engage 'bluetooth' phone access? to actually d/l info off the net? I usually wait until I get home to find additional info one might draw off the net. However, the possibilities seem endless.
01-31-2005, 06:31 AM #5Professional Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2001
- Eastern Washington
I keep records of equipment I service, name tags that fade out, I journal notes in the date book ect. I find it handy when someone calls me up and I can bring the right blower motor/ gas valve, HSI or whatever the suspected problem might be, the first time. I dont have any fancy programs for my journada, just use the excel or word programs.TB
Everyone knows something I don't.
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
01-31-2005, 08:06 AM #6
Here in Metro Detroit there is a company that is owned by a Larger company that is nationawide in this raquett. They switched to a Palm type thing. I haven't actually seen this system yet but it is absolutely kick a$$ from what I have heard.
Short list of things it's used for. You get dispatched with it. You do your invoices with it. Customer digitize signature can be captured. You do no pricing, no speculating prices. This is all done already and in electronic format. And I guess if a customer wants to know possibly how much, the tech can do something on this thing to give them an idea. You can whip a service quote out likity split, then turn that into a billable invoice.
Absolutely no pen, no paper. The dispatching combines with a map and directions module for the technician. It is an internet browser allowing techs to get on their company intranet for info and or forms, get announcements, upcoming company events, training sign up, a nationwide company chat room. The list goes on and on. The browser will allow you full access to the internet but they have built in restrictions obviously. This is all wireless by the way.
One of the things that I was told about it that was the coolest part of it is, say your standing in front of a peice of equipment and you need a diagram or specs. This thing can either use the internet, internal company document archives or they even set up relationships with manufacturers to put their equipment information on this system. So you are trying to retrieve info on this equipment and chances are, your going to eventually have a screen pop up and show whats all available on the unit. And I guess the information is being uploaded and archived everday with even newer and older equipment.
Customers can veiw all history of work done for them right over the internet. They can look at what dollar amount they did with the service company from years past, present. They can look at how fast the response times to their requests have been handled. They can pay their bill with Credit Card. The damn customer can even, single out the last tech that serviced them and send them a damn email and tell em how good a job they did. It's absolutely amazing.
I am a guy who likes this stuff, more from a point of veiw of trying to streamline the process. As I have seen in my own biz how tough it can be to stay on top of everything, your always looking for a more accurate, efficient way to do things with less requirement to hire non billable people like secrataries and all. When I heard about this I was like. There going to kill off everyone else. I was impressed as hell and that takes a lot beleive me.
This area of our trade is about to explode. And you seem more and more players trying to sell their gadgets. Once we start seeing a lot of competition, you'll start seeing all kinds of ways to make you thing more easy to do. I am excited about it all.
02-01-2005, 12:53 AM #7
I agree with most of that for certain Dowa... It would be good to source the closest available part to a 20 year old RTU while you are still trying to sort through the rat's nest of wires left behind by others. All just by tapping into your 'window on the world' that is not much bigger than your calculator.
I'm guessing that most techs on here would agree that these type of advancements could be a good thing, otherwise they wouldn't BE on here.
I still meet the odd tech who swears by his old duct tapped analog meter "Because the digital ones are all junk and 'sides, can't read the damn things anyhow."
I suspect that even as I'm getting to my last 10 - 15 years in the trade, I'll still want to keep up.
02-01-2005, 01:43 AM #8Professional Member
- Join Date
- May 2004
- Caldwell, ID
I just got a new palm, actually it is the Garman IQue 3600 GPS unit. It kicks butt. The car kit comes with the friction mount for the dashboard. So not only can you get driving directions and detailed maps, but you have a PDA as well.
I think it is a much better value that the dedicated GPS nav units.
I personally like the a PocketPC unit over Palm, but if you buy some canned software, the Palm unit is OK. I like how you can get in and out of the file system on the PocketPC. But I have only had this new Palm/Garmin for a week or so now, so I am no expert on that.
02-01-2005, 02:12 AM #9
I've got an almost new Dell Palm PC off of Ebay for about 1/2 price. Didn't want to waste the money on a new one should I not like it.
I store my customer lists, contacts and appointements. On my job appointments I can also include notes of all the stuff, tools I need to take with me that I would not normally carry on my van. I can also include start times and stop times for invoices I may want to fill out at my desk later on.
I'm really sold on the one I use and can see getting a bigger, faster one with more storage by next year. Plus my desk computer and the Dell talk to each other when I plug in the Dell into it's cradle so all my files are update automatically."The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
- Alexis de Toqueville, 1835