Inexpensive fix for a more-secure trailer-pigtail connection

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VSA-Plug-saver-installed-2-2019-05-28-11-31
The device’s’ straps installed on a trailer-mounted housing for the electrical connection.
Got your own example of a do-it-yourself solution to a problem related to truck equipment or the owner-operator business? Send your story to tdills@randallreilly.com with the “highway hacks” subject line to be considered for this monthly feature.Got your own example of a do-it-yourself solution to a problem related to truck equipment or the owner-operator business? Send your story to tdills@randallreilly.com with the “highway hacks” subject line to be considered for this monthly feature.

Vincent Archuleta has been off the road for just a few months. “I quit trucking back in February,” he says, following 15 years in food-service delivery.

Archuleta’s giving full go to a new business marketing a product he invented to secure electrical connections more effectively and thus prevent flickering trailer lights and associated violations. The VSA PlugSaver is two custom-designed straps built for long-term life that, installed on the trailer housing for the pigtail connection, can reduce motion in the plug and effectively prevent wear.

The VSA PlugSaver installed with the tractor turned at a hard angle to the right, illustrating its ability to firmly hold the pigtail against forces that could wiggle it loose.The VSA PlugSaver installed with the tractor turned at a hard angle to the right, illustrating its ability to firmly hold the pigtail against forces that could wiggle it loose.

The straps hold the pigtail tight into the connection housing. They take “all the wiggle out of the plug,” Archuleta says, totally eliminating the chance of it ever falling out. “If you break the top of the cap off [the housing] and you have a PlugSaver on there, it holds the pigtail in with about 30 pounds of pressure.”

The PlugSaver’s straps can be installed in very little time and then pulled “over the ears of the pigtail to pull it into” a secure connection, he adds.

Archuleta had seen other drivers do all manner of things to hold the plug in place, from using bungee cords or zip-ties to stuffing toothpicks, paperclips and other materials into the housing to create pressure to keep the plug from disconnecting. He started thinking about engineering a better solution as far back as 2009. When he’d have issues with flickering lights, it always seemed to occur at the most inopportune moment possible, says the native of Rapid City, South Dakota. A particularly bad snowstorm and a loose pigtail put him over the edge in his mind toward developing the fix.

In September 2011, he built his first prototype on layover at a motel in Casper, Wyoming. He made and used the first one for a couple years before a friend encouraged him to inquire into whether such a product already existed. Last October, Archuleta received patent recognition of the design.

More about Archuleta and the Plugsaver via a recent Channel 19 blog post:

More from the Highway Hacks series:

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