A “step” or “hat” probe indicates the concept of using a “step” to control the distance of probe tip entry into a wire harness connector housing, thus allowing electrical contact to be made to a terminal without actually entering the terminal. The critical areas of the connector terminal remain virgin to ensure proper conductivity and intermetallic relationships once the harness is assembled into its end-use.
Depending on customer preference, step probes can be either replaceable or non-replaceable. All replaceable step probes feature a Pylon bend, to prevent walk out of the probes from the receptacle. Non-replaceable probes have a press ring, which holds the probe in place and keeps it from walking out of the mounting bracket.
Though used almost exclusively in the wire harness testing industry they can also be used in ICT / FCT testing. ECT offers a variety of pitches and step depths to accommodate most harness test requirements.