Unplugging a new market

Sterling Roberts shows some of the prototypes of his Q-Plug invention. Bill Phillips photo
Sterling Roberts shows some of the prototypes of his Q-Plug invention. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

If you’ve been through a winter in northern B.C., you’ve probably had to plug your car in at night. And, you’re probably guilty of driving off to work in the morning with your car still plugged in.

It happens.

Northern inventor Sterling Roberts decided he could remedy that situation.

“Nine years ago I was driving down the highway watching the car in front pulling a 20-foot block heater extension cord between its axles,” he says. “We’ve all been there. Pulled out of our driveway on a freezing cold morning when all of a sudden we feel a tug and our block heater’s power cord has yanked apart. Morning brain has struck again.”

After experiencing this road hazard, realized how dangerous it is, from burst tires, multi-car accidents to house fires.

The NCR employee decided to design a plug that would easily disengage should you drive away with your car still plugged in. After four years of developing prototypes, the Q-plug was born.

The patented Q-Plug is a tension-released electrical adapter primarily used to connect block heaters to an extension cord. To use, you simply connect one end to the block heater cord and the other to your extension cord; they join together with light pressure. If you forget to unplug, it just pulls apart and disconnects. No damage, no stress. It is so easy to use, even those with little hand strength or mobility issues will find the Q-Plug easy to use.

The Q-Plug
The Q-Plug

“Safety has always been a really important part of this for me,”he told about 25 people at the Hubspace Thursday for the kick-off of a KickStarter campaign that will raise money, obviously, and take orders for the product. “It’s not just a safety device, it’s a functional device … it replaces your plug.”

He has been working on different prototypes for about four years and has developed it to a point where he’s ready to sell the product.

“I’ve got a couple of different tiers for one unit, two units,” he said, adding there is also a tier for fleets.

The retail price will be about $30.

He uses a manufacturer in the Lower Mainland to build the product. The Kickstarter campaign will run until end of July.

“I’ve spent a lot time and made sure to produce something that is very good,” he said. “It’s just me doing this and the support has been good.”

Q-Plug Kickstarter campaign