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Effective Use of GM electronic Service Information
Posted to Technical Tips Forum on 7/28/2015 11 Replies

Part 1

Another forum thread that resulted in some off line assistance, spurred me to compose this post. Buddy Scudder by self admission had stumbled slightly during a parasitic draw diagnosis, posted to that effect and subsequently received some assistance to get him back on track.

Now, I hope that Buddy does not mind me quoting him here, but he wrote an observation worthy of note, in a message to me summing up his experience. "Something else I learned on this job is I don't know my way around GM SI as I should".

I do not doubt for a moment that many of us find ourselves to be the ultimate "power users" that we would like to be, when using some electronic information retrieval systems. I know that when using Alldata or Mitchell products, I consider myself to be a step behind, simply because I rarely use those systems in my work.

However, having been a long-time user of GM electronic Service Information since beta testing from the introduction of beta testing through to current date, I am equipped, able and required to instruct use of eSI, to enable my students to be proficient users.

There's insufficient room to provide a truly in-depth overview here in Part 1, but I'll attempt to "scratch the surface" and explain why navigating "SI" can be a challenge, due to changes that were implemented to improve the end user experience.

Over the years "SI" has enjoyed several stages of development and there are a myriad of methods of searching applicable documents to meet our diagnostic or information needs. However, we must keep in mind the age of a vehicle when searching information, because certain dates in time tend to dictate how information can be located using methods appropriate to that time line and current model platforms of the day.

Effectively, when looking for information prior to model year 2006 vehicles, it may take a little more effort than searching for similar information on Global GM platform vehicles beyond 2010. Somewhere during the years in between there is an overlap of availability or introduction to the more current information searching methods, often dependent on specific vehicle platforms.

Connector end view, terminal and service tools require a rather different approach prior to 2006, when the current system of providing relevant information with the Connector End View was introduced on some, but not all platforms.

For many years, I was a master of key word searches, because that was a very efficient method of quickly locating desired information. However, continued development of SI reduced the effectiveness of that method of searching because many documents no longer contained links to other external documents, effectively becoming "cul-de sacs" or turn around and start over points.

If we're going to end up going back to a menu listing, we might as well start out that way, unless we're power users who know exactly what we are looking for and how to get there.

There are many proficient methods that can suit each of our individual styles, so whatever works best for you is fine.

Examples of fast searches might be such as when looking for a component or connector end view, using the key word "Master" or "Connector" and dragging the slider directly to the bottom of the window that opened. This can quickly lead us to by pass clicking through several menu selections to arrive at the same document.

However, changes to adopt the use of "component codes" (e.g. BCM is always "K9") can require either a working knowledge of such codes, or revised search methods. Key wording "BCM" leads nowhere in the above example.

For those who find navigation challenging, novices or even wishing to have a wealth of useful links readily available when lacking a sense of direction, I strongly recommend that once the vehicle has been built from the drop down menu and advanced to "Service Manuals/Bulletins", to spend a moment reviewing the available search types.

In particular, the "Diagnostic Starting Point" link is useful. It leads to the "Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle (DSC-V) where a whole host of information and applicable links list resides. This is frequently overlooked or ignored by many, but is a valuable resource. [Diagnostic Starting Point]

When having difficulty locating documents, changing the criteria from titles to documents, any or all etc, or using the advance search option, can often locate than seemingly missing document or vastly reduce the plethora of documents listed to a more manageable size.

For most vehicles before 2006, searching electrical connector information provided little other than connector body information, while connector end view information since those times now includes reference to all part numbers for terminals, location and service tools.

Right clicking on links from a window provides the added benefit of linking to and opening documents in "New Windows" or "New Tabs" as preferred or available depending search engine.With multiple windows open, flipping back and forth or resizing and viewing each window is quick and easy

When viewing electrical schematics and wondering what the heck those symbols are that appear to be "hieroglyphics", perform a keyword search from the main Service Category for "electrical symbols". When wondering how to service an electrical connector, use the key word "connector" and the resulting list will have the various electrical connector manufacturers listed, with links to servicing each connector type.

In reference to viewing electrical schematics, the most recent enhancement wa the adoption of the "CGI Viewer" plug-in. While it has been around now for some time, it is not always utilized to maximum benefit due to practiced use of other search methods.

Typically, when needing information related to wiring connector end views called out on a schematic, clicking the "LOC" (locate) button or "DESC" (description of operation) button provided access to that information.

From the Master Electrical Component list that opened from "LOC" a quick "Ctrl/Find" or mouse selected "Edit/Find on this page" and keyword would find the desired document. However, with the adoption of Component Codes, it is often necessary to use the code from the schematic, e.g. "K9 rather than BCM for a successful search.

With the adoption of the CGI viewer, hovering over components may provide "hot spots" where single or multiple hands indicate one or more links may be available directly to related information, rather than having to go the "LOC" or "DESC" route.

Part 2 will provide some further insight to benefits of using the CGI viewer through the use of a case study activity used with my students.


Martin from British Columbia

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