An Okanagan man has fixed the escaping extension cord dilemma with a product that is being used in space by the Johnson Space Centre.

Okanagan invention goes out of this world

David Forrester, a new Vernonite, formerly of West Kelowna, invented the Qwik-Lok - a locking extension cord connector.

A former tradesman’s frustration with extension cords has built a handy tool which has been picked up by NASA.

David Forrester, a new Vernonite, formerly of West Kelowna, invented the Qwik-Lok – a locking extension cord connector.

The idea was constructed from Forrester’s 25 years of building houses where hand tools, air tools and electrical tools are used.

“They are vital for success and keeping them in top shape and operating is critical,” said Forrester, noting items such as saws, drills, lawnmowers and weedeaters which need extension cords.

“The problem is keeping these friggen things from coming apart when you don’t want them to,” said Forrester. “We have the constant irritation and frustration of them disconnecting all the time – drives us nuts.”

Using the quick connect concept of the air line connector, he wondered why the same concept couldn’t be applied to an electrical application.

And after three years of working on the idea, the Qwik-Lok was born.

The 120 volt, 15 amp female locking connector is designed to replace, retrofit and greatly improve common extension cords by preventing unintended and unwanted disconnections. And it fits all gauges of cords, from 10 to 16.

“The Qwik-Lok accepts all common two and three prong grounded plugs,” said Forrester. “Nothing needs to be changed on the tool – it is so simple, it is stupid! And universal too.”

Made in Kelowna, the user-friendly device is available at some Vernon stores like Fishers Hardware, Canadian Tire, Eecol and BC Fasteners for about $20-22.

Meanwhile the product has gotten some out-of-this-world attention.

In February of 2013, Johnson Space Center bought 53 Qwik-Lok’s to be used on the International Space Station.

“The Qwik-Lok was the only product that met the highest standards available and it is an honour to have attained that credibility,” said Forrester, who has since developed further advancements on the product for NASA.

The latest adaptation has drawn further interest but Forrester is seeking some support.

“For anyone that is interested in becoming involved financially or otherwise, we should talk,” he said.

“Let’s make Vernon even bigger on the industrial map.”

Readers might remember David Forrester from a stolen trumpet article which ran in The Morning Star a year ago.

“The paper was so effective at finding the stolen trumpets that I have told this story over and over again,” said Forrester, who plays the trumpets in the Okanagan Big Band.