How to Charge Your Phone Using a Car Cigarette Lighter

Quick Answer
To charge a mobile device in a car via the cigarette lighter, you will need to use an adapter and a charging cable. First, you’ll need to insert the adapter in the cigarette lighter slot, and then connect the charging cable. In most cases, the car should be running in order for the charging to commence.

Some cars do allow power to be drawn from the cigarette lighter socket even when the engine is off. It largely depends on the design of the car’s electrical system. However, having the car running is generally a good idea, as it ensures that the car’s battery is being charged by the alternator while the phone is being charged.

charge phone in car

Adapters come in different styles and sizes. They can have one or multiple USB ports and they also can have different charging speeds ranging from 1A to 2A or even higher. The more amps an adapter has, the faster your phone will charge.

As a safety measure, you should be sure that both the adapter and charging cable are not defective. Otherwise, it may damage the phone or it will not charge properly. Mobile devices usually run on 5V of power, so in order to use the 12V cigarette lighter, the power needs to be transformed to an acceptable value.

Using an adapter will help solve the higher voltage issue since it can regulate the power to meet the requirements of a smartphone. But if the adapter is defective, then it might damage your phone.

Can You Charge Your Phone in The Car When The Engine is Off?

It mainly depends on the car’s make and model. If your key is in the ignition and in the accessory position, then the radio and 12V cigarette lighter charger will be functional without using the motor. However, it would be a bad idea to charge your phone while the key is in the ignition because that could drain the car battery if you leave it running for a while.

There are some car models that have their power outlets on all the time. For instance, some cars in Russia, Europe, and China have a USB port that never shuts off. Most of the new cars have an AUX port switch. To turn the AUX port on, all you need to do is put it in the ignition and switch it to the ACCY or ON position.

However, you usually won’t be able to charge your phone while the car is off. The power connector, cigarette lighter, or USB socket turns off after the key is removed from the ignition.

This is done so that you can save energy in your car battery, allowing you to start the car again later on. Plugging a mobile device likely won’t drain the car battery, but it’s possible that other power-hungry gadgets could.

If your car battery is very low on power and you decide to charge your phone anyway, then there’s a chance it will drain out completely. This could cause an issue since your car may not be able to start. So this method should only be used in emergency situations.

Instead of relying on the cigarette lighter in your car, it would be better if you used a power bank. But before using it, you should make sure it’s fully charged.  You can even connect the power bank to the cigarette lighter and charge it while driving the car, then use the power in the power bank when the engine is off.

Can Charging Via The Cigarette Lighter Damage Your Phone’s Battery?

Charging your phone via the cigarette lighter in your car is unlikely to damage your phone’s battery under normal conditions. This is because the adapter you use to connect your phone to the cigarette lighter is specifically designed to regulate the power it receives from the car (usually 12V) down to a level that is safe for your phone (usually around 5V).

This regulated output is the same as what you would get from a wall charger, so the phone and its battery shouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

However, potential risks do exist. If you use a low-quality or defective adapter, it could potentially provide inconsistent or excessively high voltage, which could indeed damage your phone’s battery or other internal components.

In addition, some cars can provide “noisy” or fluctuating power, particularly when the engine is running and the alternator is operating. While most adapters should be able to filter out this noise, a poorly designed adapter might not, and this could potentially harm your phone.

But in general, as long as you’re using a good quality, properly functioning adapter, charging your phone via your car’s cigarette lighter is perfectly safe and will not damage your phone’s battery. However, as with any electronic device, it’s a good idea to monitor the device and unplug it if it becomes excessively hot.

How Does a Car Cigarette Lighter Work?

The internal components of a car cigarette lighter contain a coil of Nichrome wire. When a strong electrical current is passed through to the coil by pushing it into a receptacle, it will heat up. As soon as it becomes hot, a metallic strip will bend, causing the lighter to pop out, which can be used again later on.

Not only does it light cigarettes, but it can also provide power to small electronic devices. A special adapter plugs into the receptacle touches the contact points and in turn, completes a circuit, which then sends electrical power directly to a connected device.

Small gadgets like GPS, cell phones, etc. will often have a cigarette lighter adapter with it, which will enable users to charge the battery in their devices while they’re on the road or even when the vehicle isn’t on. The receptacle can also power small air compressors that will allow a driver to re-inflate their tires without calling for help.

Power Banks That Come With a 12V Lighter Port

The car cigarette lighter can also be found in several other devices, besides a car’s dashboard. For example, some power banks or power stations can feature such a port. Usually, these are high-capacity devices, that feature such a port as one of the multiple charging options. 

One example of such a power bank is the Renogy 72000mAh. It features a 12V cigarette charging port in an array of different ports that also include USB type A, USB type C, and a DC barrel port. 

Renogy Ports

Another example is the Bluetty EB55 power station. It comes with a multitude of charging options, among which is the 12V cigar charging port that delivers DC current, alongside two different barrel-type ports. It also features two different AC/DC classic wall sockets in the European version and four different sockets for the US market. How to Charge Your Phone Using a Car Cigarette Lighter 1

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