The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
A new type of electrical connector has become a significant issue for our customers in recent years. It's a square, Deutch-type connector that has a fiendish design that often becomes disconnected during use, or damage and destruction if it is taken apart incorrectly.
The fiendish part is that the connector, in addition to the familiar "push-to-release" latch, has a small, red safety stop that prevents the "push-to-release" tab from being disengaged. That red safety stop must be slid 1/4-inch sideways to allow the release tab to work.
If the red tab isn't slid sideways, the only way to disconnect the connector is to break it. And if that red tab isn't slid back into place when the connector halves are reconnected, the connectors will come apart during operation due to machine vibration.
The truly evil aspect of these connectors is that they are often on water sensors on diesel fuel filters (always dirty and covered with slime,) or in dark, out of the way places deep inside machines where it is difficult to see the little red tabs. For unknown reasons, the side of the connector with the red tab is almost always facing away from the person trying to disconnect the harness connector, so they're easy to overlook. Even if you know enough to look for the tab, the connectors are often in locations that make it difficult to access and "click" those red tabs so the connectors can be disconnected.
So if you're trying to disconnect a square electrical connector that resists your efforts, take time to get a flashlight, maybe a mirror-on-a-stick, and look carefully for a small red tab on one side of that connector housing. If it's there, click it sideways and the connector should come apart easily. Just be sure to click that red tab back into place when you reconnect that wiring harness.