If you live someplace that gets cold winters, then you'll be familiar with the practise of plugging in your car's engine block heater on frigid nights. Doing so can be difficult, however, plus you may forget to unplug it when driving away. That's where the Q-Plug comes in.
Invented by Canadian entrepreneur Sterling Roberts, the Q-Plug consists of two interlocking parts – one of those stays plugged into the end of the block heater cord that hangs out the front of the car, while the other stays plugged into the end of the extension cord that delivers power to that heater.
When it's time to plug the heater cord into the extension cord, the two ends of the Q-Plug are simply pressed together. Getting them to engage one another requires much less pressure than is required to get the prongs of one traditional cord into the holes of another – particularly when the ends of both cords are frozen hard.
Additionally, because the male end of the Q-Plug incorporates a single power pin that goes into a single receptacle in the female end, there's no need to fumble around getting either end to face the right way up.
Should you forget that your car is plugged in when you drive it away in the morning, the two ends of the Q-Plug will simply pop apart from one another when just 5 lb (2.3 kg) of pressure is applied. By contrast, in the usual heater cord/extension cord arrangement, drivers can end up with the extension cord dragging down the road behind their car. That, or the prongs on their heater cord can get bent as it's forcibly wrenched out of the extension cord.
As an added bonus, both ends of the Q-Plug have integrated LEDs. These are intended to help users find the end of the extension cord in the snow at night, and then to confirm that an electrical current is indeed being received by the heater cord.
If you're interested, the Q-Plug is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of CAD$22 (about US$17) will get you a setup, when and if it reaches production.
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