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Thoughts on the manual and revisions - Wiki?


kazetsukai
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I had the chance to read through the manual today and found a few sections citing things like: "If you have this revision then this will be the case, else that will be the case"- examples being the gen start amperage/connector and the "critical warning for AC input".

No complaints about the manual- its very thorough, reads well, aesthetically pleasing as far as manuals go.  Going to be my go-to for questions about how to do X or Y.

This is purely a look at saving time long term maintaining documents for each model/revision... a Wiki might be easier maintained over a longer term than a single document- You could have a heirarchy/page flow like:

  • Genetry Solar (general page)
    • PJ Inverters (list of)
    • GS Inverters (list of)
      • 6000W
        • Revisions (and differences)
        • 3 phase wiring
        • Daisy chaining
        • etc
      • 3000W
        • Revisions (and differences)
        • etc
      • Determining which revision GS inverter
    • Common Inverter Info
      • Wiring a split phase inverter
      • Wiring a single phase inverter
      • Determining which inverter you have
    • Wifi Board
      • Setup Wifi
      • Updating
      • Versions / Changelog
      • etc

One can link between these pages to reduce redundancy, and most Wiki software also have a form of VCS built in. Some may even be suitable as a source to generate manuals by cherry picking articles to use as sections. On the flip side, maybe manuals and wikis are separate concerns- product manuals do not equal knowledge bases for instance.

Thoughts?

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13 hours ago, kazetsukai said:

I had the chance to read through the manual today and found a few sections citing things like: "If you have this revision then this will be the case, else that will be the case"- examples being the gen start amperage/connector and the "critical warning for AC input".

No complaints about the manual- its very thorough, reads well, aesthetically pleasing as far as manuals go.  Going to be my go-to for questions about how to do X or Y.

This is purely a look at saving time long term maintaining documents for each model/revision... a Wiki might be easier maintained over a longer term than a single document- You could have a heirarchy/page flow like:

  • Genetry Solar (general page)
    • PJ Inverters (list of)
    • GS Inverters (list of)
      • 6000W
        • Revisions (and differences)
        • 3 phase wiring
        • Daisy chaining
        • etc
      • 3000W
        • Revisions (and differences)
        • etc
      • Determining which revision GS inverter
    • Common Inverter Info
      • Wiring a split phase inverter
      • Wiring a single phase inverter
      • Determining which inverter you have
    • Wifi Board
      • Setup Wifi
      • Updating
      • Versions / Changelog
      • etc

One can link between these pages to reduce redundancy, and most Wiki software also have a form of VCS built in. Some may even be suitable as a source to generate manuals by cherry picking articles to use as sections. On the flip side, maybe manuals and wikis are separate concerns- product manuals do not equal knowledge bases for instance.

Thoughts?

I can see the allure of a wiki, for sure...especially with the upcoming Rev. C having a number of features not possible with the current units.

However, there are 2 challenges:

  1. I have zero experience running a wiki, or setting one up for that matter.  Definitely don't need another monthly cost...
  2. While an online manual is great, some customers (RV'ers especially) may find themselves in a location without Internet access.  Being able to download a PDF manual becomes extremely valuable.

Not throwing the idea not, just not sure how to create one, or how it'd work with a PDF that can be downloaded / printed in a hard copy form.

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I was thinking print-media CSS (CSS that applies to web pages only during printing) could be used to convert an article/series of articles into a PDF document equivalent to that of a manual, using the "print as PDF" feature common in modern browsers. I'd think that modern open source wiki software has decent default print-media CSS, but it could be tweaked further to achieve a desired aesthetic.

If you're ever interested in giving it a whirl, I could setup a demo MediaWiki or DokuWiki, copy some of the current manual content into an article, and see how it "prints".

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11 minutes ago, kazetsukai said:

I was thinking print-media CSS (CSS that applies to web pages only during printing) could be used to convert an article/series of articles into a PDF document equivalent to that of a manual, using the "print as PDF" feature common in modern browsers. I'd think that modern open source wiki software has decent default print-media CSS, but it could be tweaked further to achieve a desired aesthetic.

If you're ever interested in giving it a whirl, I could setup a demo MediaWiki or DokuWiki, copy some of the current manual content into an article, and see how it "prints".

Do you have some examples of these functions in use?  Can said programs be used on a local server w/out a monthly fee?

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12 hours ago, Sid Genetry Solar said:

Do you have some examples of these functions in use?  Can said programs be used on a local server w/out a monthly fee?

Well, examples... here's an article showing the some of the surface potential of print media CSS:
https://sympli.io/blog/a-quick-guide-to-css-for-printable-webpages/

Idk what distro you use, I run Arch linux. Both MediaWiki and DokuWiki is in the official repos:

https://archlinux.org/packages/?name=dokuwiki

https://archlinux.org/packages/?name=mediawiki

And have articles for setting up:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/MediaWiki

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/DokuWiki

Docker compose is probably the fastest way to get this up on a Linux box. 

https://hub.docker.com/_/mediawiki/

Again I'm happy to build out a demo of this if you'd like... I've got a week or so of free time before I start a new job.

 

 

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2 hours ago, kazetsukai said:

Again I'm happy to build out a demo of this if you'd like... I've got a week or so of free time before I start a new job.

I think we should wait on this for now; there's enough other redesigning going on right now anyway.  I guess I don't fully understand how a wiki could be downloaded to a fully comprehensive PDF by an end-user...I've never seen that sort of functionality before.

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14 minutes ago, Sid Genetry Solar said:

I guess I don't fully understand how a wiki could be downloaded to a fully comprehensive PDF by an end-user...I've never seen that sort of functionality before.

Sorry, to clarify: The end user wouldn't do this, you would use the Wiki as a knowledgebase, and occasionally also to compile PDF documents from several articles in manual form, hosting that PDF much like you do today. 

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