More Bullets for Your Gun
“Getting the most from your tools”
   Instructor, ASE CMAT w/L1, ASBPE and IAMA award winning writer, and Technical Editor for Motor age magazine only can describe one person I know… Pete Meier.  Pete put on a first rate class on how to use the tools at hand more efficiently.  Those tools ranged from the ohm meter to the oscilloscope and their various advantages of their capabilities. Along with the tools from your personal tool box he also covered the tools that are available on the internet.  Yes, these are tools too and knowing how to use them properly can add to your bottom line when repairing today’s vehicles.  As technology changes so does the methods for obtaining information, diagnosing, and making the actual repair. 
To quote Instructor Pete Meier; “With every repair the thing that is unknown is the answer to the problem.  Starting out with a cone full of possibilities the next step is to strain out the answers that don’t fit the situation and start narrowing it down to the actual cause of the problem.  Now you can find the correct answer and “the” solution to the problem.”  Pete went on to tell the class that understanding the system is invaluable part of the process, but even more important is to follow some basic steps to make your trip to the solution much easier.  As he puts it: Observe, Think, Test, Evaluate, and Repeat as necessary.
Even though every tech would like to hurry up a repair by comparing the current problem with a previous similar problem, the key is not to rely on that “silver bullet” to solve the repair issue. “Even when you’ve completed the repair you’re not done,” Pete told the group, “You need to check your work and verify the repair before calling it done. 
Pete went on with case studies that he was personally involved with and showed how the use of the tools, the information on the net, and the physical condition of the case study added up to proper repairs.  Class involvement was superb!  The interaction of the group and questions on the scope readings, current ramping, cylinder leak down testers, to battery drain checking really brought out a lot of answers that were not part of the “scripted” class schedule.  With Pete’s extensive background and nearly 30 years under the hood himself the questions and answers just added to a well rounded class room event.
Along with some of the standard uses for oscilloscopes and meters, Pete also covered the use of pressure transducers, low current amp usage, and much more.  He also had enough time (barely) to explain each line of the trace on the scope readings and what they meant as well as what a proper scope looked liked for several case studies. As Pete will tell you; “Keeping up with the changes, getting more and more information, understanding those changes and information is just more bullets for your gun.  It can’t do anything else but make you a better tech.”  I certainly agree with him. 
When it comes to understanding the information, understanding how to use that information, and how to use the tools better than before there’s no doubt that a technician who’s been in the trenches and knows their way around a toolbox makes some of the best teachers and instructors out there.  In my book, Pete Meier is one of the best. A tip of the hat to ya Pete, hope to sit in on more of your classes in the future.