In my last blog I opined that repairing machinery is nothing more than small, simple steps performed in the right sequence with adequate tools and knowledge. Not necessarily "easy," but not brain surgery.
The brain surgery comes BEFORE the repairs. Most ag mechanics agree that the most challenging part of their job is now diagnostics. Repairs may take most of their time, but figuring out what's wrong is the hard part.
Back in the day, "diagnostics" required observing which shaft was broke, which belt was burned, or which engine bearings were scuffed. Nowadays it literally requires a specially loaded laptop full of software to diagnose maladies in computerized farm equipment. The latest machines have built-in technology that in some cases self-diagnosis problems, right down to telling you which wire is shorted or which wiring harness is unplugged. But you still have to know how to navigate the darned laptop computer to interpret and decipher the diagnostic codes the machine generates.
I spent most of today without touching a wrench. I had problems with software on my diagnostic laptop, then had trouble getting that laptop to "talk" to a combine that I was trying to diagnose. Once I got the computerized stuff figured out, the repairs were little more than tracing wires, checking connectors and re-seating some connector pins that were 1/16-inch out of place.
Days like this make me recall fondly the days of identifying a damaged belt and simply replacing it.