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Old 01-28-2013, 06:27 AM   #1
Fleetwood Owners Club
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Scanned or Hard-copy maintenance records?

In an effort to save space and weight (am full-timing), I have already scanned to a CD all the Installation Manuals, Operator's Manuals, Service Manuals, and Troubleshooting Manuals that came with my used coach. Between the Fleetwood book, the Spartan book, all the literature for each appliance, and the countless "how to" procedures I've printed over time, there was quite a bit of space used up that is rarely if ever referred back to - now that space is converted to the size/weight of a single CD.

I am now contemplating scanning all the maintenance records/receipts gathered over the 12 year life of the coach. My question is this:

We all want to see extensive maintenance records on a used coach we are contemplating on buying. Would having electronic maintenance records/receipts, versus paper copies of the same, be a variable to wether or not you would buy a used coach?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:42 AM   #2
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I would like the added space it would give you, but if I were to buy a used coach, I would like to see the hard copies. That way I could see the signatures of the service mgr. or tech. who worked on it. Or another way would be to scan the copies and then put on a CD.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:52 AM   #3
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It would say to me this is a person with attention to detail!
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:14 AM   #4
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To me, it would be a variable but, no, it would not be a total deal breaker. I would, however, still want to see them if I were looking at the coach, and hard copy would be easier for me to see and the seller to show.

Picture this: I'm looking for a coach and there are two listed. I visit them both and find that they are essentially equal. I have my checkbook with me.
Coach one, the owner hands me a satchel with all the owner's manuals and maintenance records. I can see by the heft and a quick look that the manuals are all there and the records appear complete and comprehensive.
Coach two, the owner hands me a CD (or two CD's) and says everything's been scanned. "Trust me." It's going to take me a while to pull out my computer and run through the discs. Maybe I'll do that at the hotel tonight and get back to you ...

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:20 AM   #5
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WOW, scanning everything ?!?

I'd first look for a soft copy to download on the net....
that's what I did for all my appliance, etc... manuals and put them on my laptop and tablet...

MUCH easier to search then read

now maintenance and repair records, that might not be a bad backup plan !

and if you have a ford chassis (and some other mfg's) they have online forms to input your maintenance records under the owners sites....

been using that too for years...
'11 Monaco Diplomat 43DFT RR10R pushed by a '14 Jeep Wrangler JKU. History.. 5'ers: 13 Redwood 38gk(junk!), 11 MVP Destiny, Open Range TT, Winn LeSharo, C's, popups, vans, tents...
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:24 AM   #6
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For me, I'd love the CD, for the same reason you made it.

If scanned/copied correctly there should be no reason you shouldn't be able to see everything on the document, including the signitures.

About 20 years into my career in the State Farm auto claims department we went to a centralized mail system. Regardless of which office I worked out of ALL of our claim related mail, including legal documents, went to a large processing center where they are scanned into our claim system and "attached" to the appropriate claim file (also all electronic now, no more paper files - which always had a way of getting lost just when needed most). Claim handlers see very little actual paper any more, be it estimates, repair bills or medical documents. One of the few things we do keep are original titles.

We live in a digital world now.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:50 AM   #7
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Maintenance records are kept for one of three reasons.

First: Is to have a log of all work performed on the whatever. For this a scanned document is fine.

Second is warranty .. Again, most companies will accept a "photo copied" (Scanned and printed) document.

Finally there is Legal.. In the event for example you have a brake job done and 100 miles down the road said brakes fail and you find the job was done... wrong. You may need to take the service provider to court.. Courts generally want originals.

My suggestion,, When you get word doen scan the document, Keep a 12 pocket expand-o-file and label them jan, feb, mar And so on.

Drop the document in this month's pocket, and when this month rolls around next year, empty the pocket to trash and re-fill. (The theory is if it's going to fail in a law suit manner it will likely do so long before a year passes).
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:06 AM   #8
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Manuals I would download via Internet.

Receipts are something else. I generally scan all my receipts the day I bring them home. To many times I needed to show a receipt for small repair warranties and the receipt is faded to oblivion but having the newly printed copy with some visibility on the original receipt shows that they are the same and it is accepted. The original doesn't fade completely but to a degree it is unreadable or unreadable on portions of the receipt.

Store receipts for appliances and other expensive household items will fade to a completely unreadable state.

Scanning is a good idea if you have the time to do it. It is very time consuming.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:32 PM   #9
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If scanned files are good enough for the federal courts, it is good enough for me. The federalcourt system is completely paperless. try turning in a paper motion, and it will not be accepted. Unfortunately the old timers are clinging to the past. The future is leaning towards a paperless society. I think it is a fantastic idea, and like one of the othe posters said, it shows meticulous attention to detail. I think you are on the right track. Additionally a lot of the thermal type receipts naturally fade over time. It is a great way to preserve the documents.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cbones View Post
If scanned files are good enough for the federal courts, it is good enough for me...
Most state courts will now accept scanned documents into evidence. There are certain transactions that do still require an original signature, however (its too easy to fake on on a digital document).
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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I too have downloaded and scanned every conceivable document. So far I have over 6 gb of information. Make a copy onto a DVD or CD and a thumb drive. Put a copy in your toad and maybe even carbonite it. I have spent 5 years gleaning information on my rv and other fantastic pieces of info. Losing that would be devistating. I have scanned my maintenance records too. The reduction in paperwork is incredible. Can you imagine the tons of paperwork a submarine can eliminate with scanned documents. I have reduce my weight and bulk a lot and have access to the schematics in an instant.

I'm so close to fulltiming it that I'm gitty. I'm doing this on my pc that I just installed behind my couch. It has wi-fi and is working through my 4g phone at a blazing speed. I'm parked on the street in front of the house. We have transitioned to the RV for sleeping and cooking.

But I digress. Yes, scan the stuff and be happy.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:25 AM   #12
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As much as I like to sit and read page by page. You are in the right with me. Downsizing information will be the future and should start to change with new RV manufacturers.
My new Newmar came with the large case full of all the booklets provided by equipment vendors. After a quick clean up I removed over half the junk and have a clean looking usable file now. That said, I would change it all in for PDF file on record.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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I scan everything I want to keep. Home and in the RV. Save locally and some to cloud storage when I have good internet connection. I have a backup HD onboard and several USB sticks for additional backup. But I do keep original receipts for about a year also. (never keep gas receipts once they are logged.) still use a hard copy log book in the RV but thinking of trying a log on a tablet or phone.

Anybody have a good suggestion for RV log on Phone/tablet.

I just find the physicsl log book convenient to write in but not so good for searching or organizing. I transcribe some text and point to the page in my log. (Number every page in the manual log).

Carry a cheap flat bed scanner in my RV and a printer. Often I want a paper copy of something and if it is a small requirement I print it out, otherwise I go to a Kinkos, or similar place. For main schematics, I keep hard copies on board as well as electronic copies. I like to mark them up when I do trouble shooting. Trace every circuit with colored markers so I can readily see elements relative to a particular circuit.

I download any relevent document I can find on any sibject I might be interested in, including manuals for all appliances and assemblies I have, because one may not always have internet access when you want something and electronic storage is cheap.

Organizing the electronic filing system has to be well thought out and dicipline applied or after a while there are soooo many files, locating then can be difficult. File file/folder naming and storage location is critical for I can find what I want in a hurry. Yes one can do keyword search. But that often brings up many documents so I still like using standard file tree structures.

Am interested to hear how others organize the mountain of stored electronic documents for the RV.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:15 AM   #14
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I broke down and got the Neat Receipts. I have now scanned all receipts from last year and now working on all for this year as they come in. The IRS accepts the scanned receipts from Neat for tax purposes. Now I am working on scanning all other paperwork I have in a suitcase to lighten the load in the RV. I could have just scanned but Neat allows me to run reports all kinds of ways on the info and to keep it in order. I won't go into "infomercial" mode about why I like it way more than just scanning for receipts and stuff since it was my decision to buy it just putting it out there that's what I use.
Now as for which I would rather have - a stake of books and stuff or a few CD's - I would take the CD's. Much easier to look thru to find what I am looking for than book after book after book. Pulling down one after another and making a mess when needing to find one piece of info. I could just go on the computer and search for what I need and find it in just a few minutes or less.
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