Nearly 100 RV service technicians are participating in the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Trouble Shooter Clinic, taking place Feb. 27 – March 1 in South Bend, Ind.
According to a press release, the program helps technicians build their skills through the new track-focused format that features more hands-on diagnostic training on the major RV systems.
This is the second Trouble Shooter Clinic with the revised format that offers tracks covering Foundation, Chassis, Power Sources and Appliances. Tracks are offered independently, providing technicians the ability to receive training suited to their individual needs and job focus. Attendance in the Chassis, Power Sources and Appliances tracks requires technicians to be certified or have previously attended the Foundation track. Those that attended a Trouble Shooter Clinic within the last two years are also eligible to attend.
The Foundation track is open to all technicians and covers basic RV knowledge, including propane, electrical, plumbing, pre-delivery inspection, preventative maintenance, and fire, life and safety topics. The Foundation track is at full capacity at this week’s Trouble Shooter Clinic.
“We are very encouraged by the strong participation in this week’s Trouble Shooter Clinic, which is the second trial with the new format change,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA’s vice president of Standards and Education. “The reaction to the track-based curriculum from the industry has been very positive, and we look forward to enhancing this approach for future clinics.”
RVIA reorganized the Trouble Shooter Clinics to align the popular training sessions with the new RV Technician Career Ladder that was introduced last fall to provide technicians with two paths to technician certification. The new track format is more customizable to a technician’s specific needs, limits the time needed to participate in the training, and offers more class time and smaller class sizes. In addition, technicians can earn continuing education credits toward recertification while limiting the time away from the shop.
RV service technicians are encouraged to sign-up to attend RVIA’s next Trouble Shooter Clinic, scheduled for Feb. 27-March 1, 2012 in South Bend, Ind. This is the second clinic featuring the new format with tracks covering Foundation, Chassis, Power Sources and Appliances.
“The new tracks offer more for the experienced technician,” says RVIA’s Sharonne Lee, director of technical information. “Enrollment in the new tracks is limited and technicians are encouraged to sign up before all of the seats are taken. Technicians get more hands-on and diagnostic experience with the new tracks. Tracks are taken independently, and technicians can now get training suited to their individual needs, rather than having to take the one size fits all approach. Another benefit is the tracks make it possible for technicians to be away from the shop for a shorter period of time and provide continuing education credits for recertification.”
Following is a synopsis of what will be covered in each track. Attendance to the Chassis, Power Sources or Appliance track requires the technician to be certified or have previously attended the Foundation Track.
Foundation – 3 days, 24 hours CE Credit, $360
• Propane – Covers storage and handling, safety connections, thermocouples, venting, regulations, testing devices, control systems and common problems.
• Pre-Delivery Inspection – Covers the purpose of a thorough PDI and what items should be inspected and documented.
• Preventive Maintenance – An overview of the knowledge and skills necessary to provide routine inspection and maintenance to keep the customer safe and happy.
• Customer Care – A presentation to help technicians improve customer satisfaction.
• Fire & Life Safety – A presentation of safety requirements pertaining to smoke and CO alarms, propane detectors, fire extinguishers, floor penetrations, and glass or mirror requirements.
• Basic Electricity – A presentation of 12 VDC and 120 VAC. Includes hands-on exercises covering safety; testing meters and procedures; and common problems and solutions.
• Water Distribution/Drainage-Waste Water/Monitoring Systems – Will cover water supply line, drainlines, holding tanks, fresh tanks, and monitoring installations, sizing, and repair. Also will include testing methods and the new waterless valve installations at fixtures.
• Pumps – Covers pump operation and selection. Hands-on exercises with common problems and troubleshooting.
• Thetford Sanitation – Covers basic diagnosis and repair of toilets, use of wastewater chemicals and Thetford customers service policies and procedures.
Chassis – 2 days, 16 hours CE Credit, $240
• Axles and Frames – Explanation and identification of components of axle, brakes and suspension systems. Hands-on training on brakes, bearings, seals and measuring of axles and frames.
• Hydraulics – Theory and operational characteristics, demonstrate different leveler and slide operations, discuss effective ways to troubleshoot and make timely repairs.
• Towing & Hitches – Covers the proper selection, installation and set-up including brake controls, weight distribution kit, sway controls and fifth-wheel hitching systems.
Power Sources – 3 days, 24 hours CE Credit, $360
• Generators – A comprehensive course covering both Onan and Generac generators including component identification and function, reading and understanding wiring schematics and hands-on performance of operational tests.
• Converters – This course will cover the operating characteristics of 3-types of power converters and their appropriate applications. Hands-on performance diagnostics will be performed on each type.
• Power Systems – This class covers 30- and 50-amp input systems, load panels, basic energy management, line generator switches and neutral current in in-phase and out-of-phase power sources.
• Batteries – Covers battery technology, inspection, testing equipment, specifications and terminology.
• Inverters & Transfer Switches – This course covers inverter/charger and transfer switch basic operation, installation wiring, programming, troubleshooting and board replacement in the field.
• Energy Management Systems – Covers the basic operations, board replacements, and troubleshooting including interfacing.
Appliances – 4 days, 32 hours CE Credit, $480
• Water Heaters – A comprehensive course covering both Atwood and Suburban water heaters including specifications, installation and sequence of operation. Course includes the water heater tear down, testing and reassembly.
• Air Conditioning and Heating – Comprehensive courses covering Airxcel air conditioners and heat pumps and Dometic air conditioners. Instruction includes component operation, installation and troubleshooting. Students will perform a cooling performance and use meters to diagnose components.
• Refrigerators – A comprehensive course covering both Norcold and Dometic refrigerators covering absorption refrigeration versus gravity, heat transfer, component operation and completion of a cooling performance tests.
• Furnaces – A comprehensive course covering both Atwood and Suburban furnaces including specifications, installation and sequence of operation. Course includes the furnace tear down, testing and reassembly.
More information and an application can be found on the RVIA website, www.rvia.org, or by calling Nancy Jo Bell-London at (703) 620-6003, ext. 355.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) next Trouble Shooter Clinic is scheduled for March 7-11 at the Ivy Tech Community College (old campus) in Elkhart, Ind.
Registration for this session is still open at a cost of $599 per registrant. For more information or to register, contact RVIA’s Education Department at (703) 620-6003, ext. 355.
At these popular clinics, participants learn to quickly diagnose and correct malfunctions in all major systems found in today’s RVs. Industry experts provide attendees with a comprehensive review of major RV components during the sessions, according to a news release.
Each registered attendee receives a detailed Trouble Shooter Clinic manual including an electronic copy of the Electrical Systems and Propane Systems textbooks to keep for future reference, coffee breaks and a daily luncheon (excluding Friday). A certificate and Troubleshooter’s cap are awarded upon completion of the clinic and attendance to all assigned classes.
As a separate activity, the RVDA/RVIA Recreation Vehicle Technician Certification Testing will be offered beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 11. Those interested in sitting for the RV Certification Test must complete a separate registration application. For more information about the application process, please call (703) 591-7130 or visit www.rvtechnician.net.
In related news, RVIA has cancelled the final Trouble Shooter Clinic for 2011, which had been scheduled for March 28 – April 1 in Seattle, Wash.
Yet another signal of an improving RV marketplace was the strong attendance at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) latest Trouble Shooter Clinic, which drew 104 U.S. and Canadian RV service technicians March 8-12 to Ivy Tech Community College on the east side of Elkhart, Ind. Much to the approval of RVIA Vice President of Standards and Education Bruce Hopkins, a 30-year RVIA veteran who has overseen the program since its inception, that was the largest class since March 2007. Hopkins, who chatted with RVBUSINESS.com during a break in the action, calls Trouble Shooters “the best hands-on training for RV service technicians that’s provided in the industry.”
Watch today’s featured video on this week’s clinic.
RVB: Do you find it significant that here, coming out of the recession, a program like Trouble Shooters is getting its legs back in terms of attendance.
Hopkins: I think that this particular clinic with 104 students indicates that the industry is in fact returning because it says that the dealers are sending their technicians here to get the training. And over the last two years so much of the training has been delayed. Oftentimes, in a recessionary situation, education is the first thing to go. And now, we are coming back, as indicated by the level of participation this week.”
RVB: How many years has RVIA been doing Trouble Shooter Clinics?
Hopkins: RVIA has been doing Trouble Shooter Clinics for more than 15 years. We started in about 1993. It was an opportunity for the suppliers to come and give training to the dealers so that while the RV manufacturers put on their own dealer training sessions, we can really get into more in-depth and cover all the types (of components) better than the hour or two that the manufacturers had to give for training right at their own shops.
RVB: Trouble Shooters is an unusual program, is it not?
Hopkins: This program is quite unusual from the standpoint that it’s probably the best hands-on training that’s available, plus all of the courses are delivered by the vendors themselves.
RVB: So, the clinics are proprietary in that component suppliers are addressing their own equipment.
Hopkins: Yes, the instructors try very hard to get their points across with the products that they’re dealing with. But they also try to do it on a general basis because the tech at the dealership has to deal with everything, no matter what brand it is. So, by having two different vendors in air conditioning, for example, they get to see what the differences are. Many air conditioners work the same. But here, with both vendors (presenting sessions), they get to see what the differences are and how those appliances are actually treated.
RVB: Tell us some specifics of this latest Elkhart clinic?
Hopkins: This week’s class is really great because it’s the first time that we’ve had over 100 students since March of 2007. In this particular clinic, we’ve got representation from 35 different states and four different Canadian provinces. So, it’s really well attended. And this is the first time that we have split the students up based on their level of experience. So, we have a student here who’s only been in the industry for about two weeks and another tech who’s been around for 23 years. So we tried to group them so that their levels of interest are addressed by the instructor so that he doesn’t have to talk down to the 23-year vet or over the head of the new entrant.
RVB: What are the core concentrations in this clinic:
Hopkins: The core concentrations in the clinic are predominantly appliances. We cover all types of appliances, from air conditioning to generators. We also get into hydraulics, electricity and propane plus axles and slideout rooms.
RVB: How many of these do you do in a year?
Hopkins: We had been doing four Trouble Shooter clinics a year, until the last two years. Last year we only did one because there weren’t enough technicians to attend. This time around, between October and March, we did two. We did one in Toronto, Ontario, in November where we had 69 students. And this is the last one for this round, and we’re in the process of looking at the next round of clinics and of modifying the Trouble Shooter format to get more into a tracked approach – following a track such as chassis that would cover axles and brakes and tires and hitches, perhaps getting into slideout rooms and landing gear, leveling jacks.
That would all be in one track so that if a particular technician wasn’t interested in all of the topics that they’re currently going through, he could select the track that he wants so that he could get more specific training in the area that he has the greatest interest in. And we’re looking at developing that for next year, perhaps. That still has to go through some development work, but, in talking with the technicians, they think that would be great.
RVB: Is this not one of the industry’s best kept secrets?
Hopkins: I do think that this is one of the industry’s best kept secrets. We still have technicians that say, “Gee, I really wish I had really known about that clinic, I would have attended.” And it’s like we try to announce it and get the manufacturers and suppliers to help us notify the dealer body to come and attend and still a lot of people miss out on the opportunity
The next Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Trouble Shooter Clinic for RV technicians is just around the corner: March 8-12 in Elkhart, Ind.
The course will improve the hands-on knowledge of RV service technicians and help them:
- Quickly diagnose and repair most major component parts.
- Make complete repairs on the first attempt.
- Over 40 hours of hands-on and classroom training.
- Enhance future RV sales and service potentials.
The core courses include:
- Basic Electricity – A presentation of 12-volt DC and 120-volt AC. Covers safety, testing meters and procedures, common problems and solutions. Includes Electrical Systems textbook.
- Propane Gas – Covers storage and handling, safety connections, thermocouples, venting, regulations, testing devices, control systems and common problems: includes Propane Systems textbook.
- Consumer Care – A presentation/DVD designed to help technicians improve customer satisfaction with your dealership.
- Product Specific Courses – generators, air conditioning, water heaters, refrigerators, furnaces, water pumps, commodes, steps, slideouts and axles, inverters, converters and brake controls.
- Specific presentations offered by industry expert.s
- Hands-on demonstrations cover common problems and solutions.
- Service publications and support resources provided.
- Supplier member firms offering courses covering their products include Atwood, Airxcel, Dometic, Norcold, Onan, Suburban, Shurflo, Thetford, Xantrex, Parallax, Cequent, Equalizer and Dexter Axle.
In addition, voluntary evening courses are available on NFPA 1192 Standard and Certification Test Orientation.
The registration fee is $599 per registrant.
Each registered technician receives a detailed Trouble Shooter Manual including an electronic copy of the Electrical Systems and Propane Systems textbooks, to keep for future reference, coffee breaks and daily luncheon (excluding Friday). A certificate and Trouble Shooter cap are awarded upon completion of the clinic.
RV Certification Testing: RVIA/RVDA Recreational Vehicle Technician Certification Testing is a separate event that will be conducted beginning at 1:30 p.m. the Friday afternoon following the Trouble Shooter Clinic. Technicians interested in sitting for the RV Certification Test must complete and submit a separate registration application and fee to RVDA. For more information about the application process, please call (703) 591-7130 or visit http://www.rvtechnician.com.
To register for the Trouble Shooter Clinic, click here.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has extended the “early bird” registration fee deadline to Oct. 30 for the Trouble Shooter Clinic, Nov. 9-13 in Toronto, Ontario.
There are plenty of seats available for $499.00 (U.S. funds) per person. For more information or to register, visit http://www.rvia.org/Content/NavigationMenu/TechnicalInformationTraining/RVSTProfessionalDevelopmentCertification