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Old 01-13-2017, 05:42 AM   #1
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Who else reads manuals?

I have always had a great interest in how things work. From the time I was a little kid I yearned to understand "why" and "how".
As we are now just months away from the new boat, I am beginning to read every manual I can find for equipment used in our boat. From drivetrain to electronics I am collecting manuals and reading them.
Often, this answers questions I have regarding setup and use of the gear. Even if I forget much of what I read between now and the day we step aboard, I will remember having seen it and know where to look for it.
I just finished reading (skimming?) the Magnum inverter charger manual, the Magnum remote manual and the Magnum battery monitor manual this morning.
Now I understand how the system is designed and I will know what to look for in terms of set-up when we take delivery. The manuals are all saved to my reading lists so that I can get to them quickly if I need...
Am I the only one who does this?
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:49 AM   #2
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Nope, I just downloaded the Clearwater Series US Watermaker manual and read it. And I don't even have one, but it helps with the purchase decision.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:03 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. BrB. I, unlike a lot of males I know, DO read manuals to some extent. Isn't it a "male" rule that the first thing you do is throw away the instructions? That being said, there are some manuals that are quite beyond me. The SSB radio manual I have is totally incomprehensible whereas the stabilizer and engine manuals have been a great help in troubleshooting.
I would also note the ambiguity of some Asian manuals that appear to be written in Jenglish or Chenglish. "Please to be pushing the button you wish to push"...(JRC radar manual from many years ago).
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:09 AM   #4
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Are they delivering the manuals before you get the boat or are you finding them on the web?
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:18 AM   #5
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Former military pilot so reading manuals is drummed into me.

Have read every one for everything I have ever purchased.... even my last $8 drip coffee pot (mostly looking for the wattage for inverter use...).

It is kinda strange when people come here and ask tech questions before they read the manual...kinda supports that "nobody ever reads the manual" mentality.

Almost as strange as those that say read the manual before they even know that you did and the manual doesn't cover everything under the sun.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
Are they delivering the manuals before you get the boat or are you finding them on the web?
I have been finding them online.
I have a pretty comprehensive list of the equipment in the boat so finding them is easy.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:35 AM   #7
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Former military pilot so reading manuals is drummed into me.

Have read everyone for everything I have ever purchased even my last $8 drip coffee pot (mostly looking for the wattage for inverter use...).

It is kinda strange when people come here and ask tech questions before they read the manual...kinda supports that "nobody ever reads the manual" mentality.

Almost as strange as those that say read the manual before they even know that you did and the manual doesn't cover everything under the sun.
I try hard to figure it out on my own first. The only exception might be calling Apple for support. I'll give it a go but at some point, I'm on the phone. Thankfully, Apples stuff works pretty well so the answers are typically quick to find and easy to execute!
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
Nope, I just downloaded the Clearwater Series US Watermaker manual and read it. And I don't even have one, but it helps with the purchase decision.
I do the same thing...it often has swayed my decision as one product would be totally unsuitable or another a breeze to install and operate.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:40 AM   #9
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I'm a manual reader. Read the manual that came with each woman I married. Apparently I'm not real good at following the instructions in the manual.

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Old 01-13-2017, 06:45 AM   #10
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I've been through most of our manuals at least once. And then over and over as issues surface, often sometimes a simple as when deciding I want to try something new and wonderful with existing electronics.

For new stuff, I usually read product manuals before purchasing. Partly to guide the purchase decision (especially determining compatibility, if the product needs to co-exist with existing equipment), partly to prepare for installation or use.

Our boat came with a big valise of paper documentation, but I've been able to recreate most of that with a soft copy library... augmented by soft copy manual for anything new we've added... all accessible from our home desktop, the boat laptop, and both tablets. Keyword searches, easier; less storage space; etc.

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Old 01-13-2017, 07:29 AM   #11
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I read the manuals. I have even written a couple back in the day. It seems lazy for someone to not read the manual for something they own and then just ask people who have read the manual how it works or how to fix it.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:39 AM   #12
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Hey fellas, some of us bought old boats that did not have manuals with them. And worse, some of the companies have gone belly up and there is no documentation on the web.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:00 AM   #13
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True...but many times somebody posts a link to the manual in mere minutes...


....but sure...no manual, the manual is unclear or doesn't cover it....that's a big part in my mind why these forums exist.


An even bigger part why these forums are great to me...is that when you FOLLOW the manual and manufacturers telephone instructions and it still isn't working or working well.


It's downright great that the internet exists.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:05 AM   #14
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I have an observation about modern manuals.
It seems that the more complex the software the less information contained in the manual. This is especially true of Garmins electronics manuals.
I typically have more questions after reading a Garmin Manual than I did before reading!
Sheesh
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:34 AM   #15
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Yes I do read as much manuals as I can. As a newbie I learn a lot by reading manual.
Read maintenance manual about similar engine, which was very informative to me, read JRC radar manual, Raymarine chart plotter manual, seastar manuals for helm pumps and rudder cylinder, and many more.

However I do not for very simple things.

I also read as much book as I can about diesel mechanics, onboard systems, DC electricity etc etc and try to think about differences and similarities with what I have and how it is applying in my boat.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:50 AM   #16
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I keep a stack of manuals next to my bed to read before retiring. They help me get to sleep. Same way my wife reads the same 6 novels of Jane Austin over and over again.

But I never read assembly instructions.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:50 AM   #17
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Hey fellas, some of us bought old boats that did not have manuals with them. And worse, some of the companies have gone belly up and there is no documentation on the web.
That's where knowing how to search the Internet helps. Even when the company is gone, the manual may still be on the Internet somewhere.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
I have an observation about modern manuals.
It seems that the more complex the software the less information contained in the manual. This is especially true of Garmins electronics manuals.
I typically have more questions after reading a Garmin Manual than I did before reading!
Sheesh
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Along those lines, my Garmin 5208s have been upgraded by software several times. The upgrades are great but of course, the new features are not covered in the original manuals.

Yes, it's possible to download the new manuals but who wants to print out two hundred pages, staple it together and carry it on the boat?
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:57 AM   #19
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I usually read them. Often as part of pre-purchase to see exactly what I'm getting, and to confirm it will do what I want. This has saved me from some very costly mistakes. And for anything complex that needs to be installed correctly, operated correctly, and maintained correctly, I'll pour over the manuals. For major equipment like engines, generator, etc. I'll always buy the service and parts manuals. I usually find the parts manuals the most informative because they really show how everything goes together. And all this is especially important on a boat where you need to figure out what spares to carry, and will eventually need to carry out some maintenance or repair procedure on your own. I think the more you know about your boat and how it works, the more in control you are of your own cruising. Not everyone has the interest and aptitude to do this, and that's fine - we are all different - but I think it's a great advantage if it's a fit for you, especially if you cruise to more remote destinations.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:00 AM   #20
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I take an iterative approach. Try to learn as much as I can hands-on before reading the entire manual. I might start by looking up the most obvious questions I have, first. Only after I start to "get it" do I sit down and try to absorb the whole thing. Admittedly, the more unfamiliar I am with the equipment, the more I read before I "fiddle."

Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
...I would also note the ambiguity of some Asian manuals that appear to be written in Jenglish or Chenglish....
You're being WAY too kind. And it's not just poorly translated manuals. Even manuals in the native tongue can be confusing or downright incomprehensible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
I have an observation about modern manuals.
It seems that the more complex the software the less information contained in the manual.
I think it's a trend across all equipment. While they increase the space given over to legal disclaimers, safety warnings and multiple languages, the actual content of the manuals seems to be shrinking. When every troubleshooting step suggests the resolution "see your installer or dealer," the manual becomes somewhat useless.

Makes me appreciate the old manuals that actually contain helpful information for a reasonably skilled DIY'er.
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