By Greg Illes
If you are like most of us, your RV has a huge collection of operating manuals, installation manuals, specifications and other literature. This stuff usually comes with all the appliances and accessories that are part of a trailer or motorhome, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, heaters, TVs, smoke alarms, generators, electrical panels, and on and on. The list sometimes seems endless, but (if you’re lucky) it’s all filed away in a box or a bag — somewhere.
Thing is, you never need this stuff until you really need it, as in when something fails or acts up. (So where was that fuse located? And what exactly was the reset procedure? And what was that oil type for my leveling jacks?)
None of us can remember all this stuff, so it’s written down and filed away, maybe — big maybe. If your RV is used, maybe you didn’t get the whole enchilada when you bought it? And if you (once upon a time) did have everything, do you still? And even if you do have all the docs, can you even find what you’re looking for in the pile? Different doc sizes, different fonts, sometimes faded with age.
After finding out that my personal collection of such documentation amounted to thousands of pages and at least 15 pounds of paper, I got the brilliant idea to “go paperless.” After all, I’d been doing this with my bills and statements, why not my product manuals?
Turns out, it’s really simple to take everything that documents an RV and make “soft copies” of it. This can be done with a scanner, or even a smart phone. What’s more, it’s very common for updated manuals and documentation to be available online; and if that’s the case you just download them to your RV folder. It all takes a few hours of diligence, but once done, it’s done.
Now that I’m paperless, other doors open. I can keep photos, manuals, even receipts and work records, all organized for quick access and easy identification. Right now, it’s all on my laptop, but I have a secure online backup service and I can access the files from any computer if I need to. It is also simple to burn a CD with all the contents of my RV folder.
To put icing on the cake, I also have simple, free software that allows editing of the PDF and JPG files, and I can make notes or edits to them.
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog.