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Here's the Why & How of the adapter's creation:

In the year 2000 while spiked out at 8,000 feet on the Montana / Idaho border the Plumas Hotshots had a problem. We'd been there for 4 days. The football pool was about to end... Girlfriends wanted to hear from us... We had no football scores...

We had been trying to get scores from the helitak folks who manned the drop point during the day, but for some reason we couldn't.

Baby Brian had his cell phone, but the battery was dead. What to do?

Tony came up with an idea of charging Brian's battery with a couple of taped up headlight batteries & some bits of wire, but we were unsure if it would work & or damage the phone battery. Brian didn't care and spent a while holding a handfull of batteries & wire... "Hey is it bad if this is getting hot?"
Suddenly I realized what runs on 12 volts? A King Radio. We had 6 radios with us and probably 10 (total) battery clamshells. Every day we recieved food & more AA batteries for the radios. A virtually unlimited supply.

Only one problem. How to get the 12 volts from the clamshell into the phone?

After that roll I spent some time in the garage.. After some engineering with some sheet metal, copper pipe, solder & gel epoxy I built this:


The very first prototype "cell phone adapter".

Many years have passed. Every year in the spring I go talk to the crews about my injury- How it happened & how to avoid the same fate. In the speech I tell of the phone adapter and a few other firefighting things I'm working on... Always saying "When I get these made I will provide them to the crews..."

The time for the phone charger has come.

I've redesigned the adapter & made a bunch of prototypes. Figured out a way to make it stronger. The solder is gone. The epoxy is gone. Now they are braized together- I had them field tested, and they were quite bomb-proof.

All of my testers were quite happy with their prototypes, so... I decided to go into retail production.

I had been making the base-plates in the garage on my drill press.. But I was having a problem getting each one exactly the same as the last. The bit would slip.. Or I might miss with the punch when I marked the hole.. Then I had to use my little chaper to cut the slot.. It was quite tedious.
I spent a few weeks thinking on how to make them exactly the same.. I thought of a punch & die setup, but that would require an iornworker- (it's a machine that bends / punches metal) Annnd those are a bit expensive.
Then I happened to remember watching 'American Chopper' when they were using the new water-jet cutter. "That machine will do it i bet!" I said to myself.. Looked in the phone book and gues what? There's a place right here in Chico. Pacific Waterjet Cutting now makes them for me.
Each piece is exactly the same, which was the whole point.

After all the testing one problem was reported- The copper piece may be too deep for your car adapter to reach the bottom. If this happens, find a file & take about 1/16" off the top.

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