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I know I have a power socket about 4 inches away from the lighter, but I'm just curious if I could use it to power/charge my cell phone or some other thing while I have a GPS plugged in (for example). When I bought the car it did not have an actual lighter element and I took the plastic thingy from my old car and covered the lighter socket with that. So I don't have a lighter and I would never use one in that socket. Is it safe to plug something into it?

Thanks everyone.
 

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QUOTE (golfergurl @ Jun 21 2010, 08:38 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=334978
I know I have a power socket about 4 inches away from the lighter, but I'm just curious if I could use it to power/charge my cell phone or some other thing while I have a GPS plugged in (for example). When I bought the car it did not have an actual lighter element and I took the plastic thingy from my old car and covered the lighter socket with that. So I don't have a lighter and I would never use one in that socket. Is it safe to plug something into it?

Thanks everyone.

its perfectly safe to use it
 

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I actually put in a Rocketfish USB adapter for the lighter.. now I can charge/run pretty well anything that has a USB charger... Blackberry. GPS.. you name it... has a nice little blue light on it that pretty well matches the interior lighting. Fits flush into the lighter socket.
 

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You would have to leave a cell charger or other low power device plugged in for probably a few months to discharge the battery to the point you couldn't start the vehicle. At that time frame the battery will charge just from sitting plus all the stuff that gets power already such as the ECM PCM radio, security. Etc

Look at it this way. Your phone can run a week or longer on standby using the tiny little battery it has.
 

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QUOTE (pen411 @ Jun 21 2010, 04:30 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=335047
You would have to leave a cell charger or other low power device plugged in for probably a few months to discharge the battery to the point you couldn't start the vehicle. At that time frame the battery will charge just from sitting plus all the stuff that gets power already such as the ECM PCM radio, security. Etc

Look at it this way. Your phone can run a week or longer on standby using the tiny little battery it has.
I know -- big honking battery ought to manage this sort of thing forever. Sure looks like it should. It won't.

Don't join the folks who have made the mistake. Some of these devices consume something on the order of 100mA, some far more. Now that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but leave your car at an airport for a week with that kind of consumption and you'll be looking for the guy to give you a jump start when you get back. Another one that bites people are those little RF modulators into which you might plug an MP3 player. Your battery won't last a week with that kind of load, either. Even at 110mA, you're eating up about 32Wh per day.

Remember from your own experience -- a single 1A (12W) dome light left on overnight can leave you stranded in the morning. In five days, a 100mA load can produce the same result. 1A x 12 hrs = 0.1A x 5 days.

I designed the firmware for a product that requires about 110mA of current even when "off" (actually, it's in a "sleep" mode) when connected to external power. The CPU has to manage the charging circuit, and remains on full time. I can't tell you how many times we've warned LEO and other government agencies that when they hardwire the power for these things, they be sure to do so on the SWITCHED side of the ignition. We still get calls about the product killing batteries over the period of a 5 ~ 7 day period because they ignored the warning.

Any time I hear about someone with what appears to be a decent battery and a functional charging system complain about the battery going dead if they don't start the vehicle at least weekly, we go on the hunt for parasitic losses that exceed those of the normal on-board stuff you mentioned above (not all of which is powered with the ignition off, BTW). 9 times out of 10, it's an accessory wired on the wrong side.

A vehicle battery doesn't have to have every last ounce of power drained from it before the vehicle won't start. Load it up until it drops to 10VDC and many vehicles won't even try. Since the voltage tends to drop immediately when the starter load is applied, you have to start out quite a bit above that to have success. It's also not recommended to keep discharging a normal lead-acid battery below about 50% of capacity (a s.g. of around 1.190~1.195) which occurs at a rest voltage of a surprisingly high 12.25V or so. I say "normal" since most people don't run deep cycle batteries under the hood. The kinds of small parasitic losses I mentioned can cause this to occur on a regular basis, significantly reducing the life of the battery.
 

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Be aware that most accessory plugs when installed to the lighter socket will leave the socket useless from that point on when you try to use the lighter element (push it in, and it pops right back out at you)...

People come in and the job description on the repair order -- Customer states: lighter inop... put element in socket, push it in, and it pops right back out.. snoop around, all kinds of power cords in the glove box and console.. Toyota actually had TSB for the issue... stated to use the power outlets for accessory cords, not the lighter socket.
 

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QUOTE (sbr711 @ Jun 21 2010, 09:45 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=335109
Be aware that most accessory plugs when installed to the lighter socket will leave the socket useless from that point on when you try to use the lighter element (push it in, and it pops right back out at you)...
I'm curious as to if there was a stated reason why, the only physical difference between the two is the lighter outlet has two prongs to hold the element in.
Considering how long both lighter elements and 12v accessories that plug into them have been around, it doesn't seem likely that using 12v accessories in the outlet would be the issue, nor would the plugs those accessories use, being that they are tapered on the end for just that reason. It seems more likely that the lighter element was simply bad causing it to short, heat too quickly and think it was done.
 

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QUOTE (pen411 @ Jun 22 2010, 10:38 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=335242
I'm curious as to if there was a stated reason why, the only physical difference between the two is the lighter outlet has two prongs to hold the element in.
Me, too. That's definitely outside my experience. I use my SF's cig lighter plug for my cell phone charger pretty much 100% of the time. On rare occasion, I'll need the cig lighter (kept in the center console) to light up a smoke. It always works. Had the same situation on my Chrysler 300M, but had my TomTom plugged in there. The lighter always worked on the rare occasion when I needed it. Perhaps the mechanics/tolerances of some manufacturers are better than others? Besides, it's that little bimetalic gizmo that responds to the head and pops the lighter out - and that's part of the lighter, not the socket.
 

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I don't use my lighter but when I run my GPS, I always use the power port because I've heard that using the lighter for long periods of time can damage it.
 
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