A few weeks ago, the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) introduced a new feature to its online forums that allows technicians to share information more effectively. The iATN’s software development team introduced a file uploader that allows technicians to share automotive data formats more easily from vehicle manufacturers and automotive tool manufacturers.
Any capability that enhances communication saves technicians time and allows them to get repairs done faster.
The new file uploader answers much of the challenge posed by different data file formats when discussing repair issues.
In the past, iATN members could only share a screenshot or photo of the data being displayed on their tool. The new feature allows others with the same tool and/or software to actually load up the raw data file for analysis.
The feature also allows drag-and-drop for modern browsers, enabling users to drag and drop multiple files onto the file uploader screen.
In a recent technical discussion about a crank no-start issue for a 1997 Dodge Intrepid 3.5 L (http://autop.ro/5kh), a technician was able to include screen captures and the raw data file from his Picoscope. The first image shows a crank and cam correlation during cranking. Another file shows checking engine timing using a transducer in cylinder 1, including how it lines up with the cam-crank correlation.
With the inclusion of the raw data file, those technicians that have the same tool can follow along by downloading the tool file to their local machine for further analysis.
Data file formats currently supported by iATN include ATS EScope, Ford IDS, PicoScope, Snap-on, Toyota Techstream, Tech-II and GDS2, and others. iATN plans to support more data file formats as users encounter them. Even if a user uploads one that is currently not accepted, the system retains the file and the iATN staff will attempt to accept it in the future.
While vehicle OEMs and tool and equipment manufacturers still use different data formats, this new sharing feature allows participants to gain a deeper understanding of data analysis following best practices demonstrated by others.
In the future, iATN would like to develop a universal data viewer for even more flexibility.
Those technicians who have participated in iATN and other user group forums have gained the benefits of sharing repair information; faster diagnosis and improved productivity. As forum software evolves, new efficiencies are accelerating these benefits.