Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default Quick question Cigarette Lighter

    Hey,

    I try searching through the forums, but I didn't know how to actually put in, so didn't really find anything. So excuse me if this is obvious.

    Here's my question: If you use the car cigarette lighter to charge something (lets say a laptop or cell phone) does it use the car battery if the car is running? If the car is not (the key is in, let's say, my hands) or should I use it with the key turned one bit (like when you ust want to listen to the radio)?

    The reason I'm asking is, I have a little stove that can be pluged in an electric output and I would like to buy an Electric to 12V adaptor to use it, but I don't want to kill my car battery.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If the car is running, the alternator will keep the battery charged. If it is not running, it will be powered only by the battery.

    Charging things like cell phones doesn't draw much, I've left mine in charging overnight with no problem. I would not recommend you try to run a stove on only the battery though. You also have to watch how many amps the stove draws, it may be more than the socket can handle and the fuse will blow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default alternator

    You've actually got two separate issues here.

    Some lighters/power sockets will work all of the time, while some will only work when the car is powered on (key in the first position, as you mentioned). This can vary by car or even by the specific outlet. For example, my suv has two plugs up front, one is technically the lighter and that one only works when the car's power is on. I've got a second 12v plug that is considered a power outlet that works all the time, regardless of if the power is on or not. I've also got a third outlet in the cargo area that also works all the time. The fastest way to tell how your power supply works is to simply plug in something with the cars power off (most adaptors have some sort of light that makes it really easy to tell if it is drawing current).

    Now, the car battery is a different story. A power adaptor is always taking power from the battery, regardless of which type of plug you've got and regardless if the car is running or not. The battery only recharges when you are running the engine and the alternator is sending power back to the battery. If the engine is running, you can use just about any powered item without having to worry about the battery. If you are running an electric item off of the car without the engine running (including when the key is in the first position and you are just using the radio) you are draining the battery.

    Then the question becomes how much power can you take from the battery and still start the car. That's going to depend upon a lot of factors, including the condition of the battery and how much power you are using. You can usually leave something small like a cell phone charger running all of the time without having any problems. But I had to jump start my car after leaving a small 12v cooler plugged in overnight. I'd think something like a stove would draw quite a bit of power, so you probably wouldn't want to leave it on for a couple hours without the engine running.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default

    This is exactly the answer(s) I was looking for. Thanks!

    Guess I'll get a propane stove, it will make my life easier.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you get a propane stove, I'd recommend you do your cooking outside the vehicle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Oh, yeah! Of course! Even with the other stove I was planing to do so. Thanks for the heads up though!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    A lot of new vehicles already have a battery guard circuit.

Similar Threads

  1. New York to San Francisco
    By Mid Life Crisis in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 08-05-2008, 02:38 AM
  2. Quick question about maps...
    By FloridaMike in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-06-2007, 09:03 PM
  3. Los Angeles to Yosemite in December...quick question
    By kapast in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-12-2007, 01:26 PM
  4. CT to WA and home through Canada, quick question, please help!?!?
    By mountainman2510 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-22-2005, 09:55 AM
  5. Refrigerator that plugs into cigarette lighter
    By USRoadtripper in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-29-2004, 11:06 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES