Charge car battery through cigarette lighter – How to Do It?

Cigarette lighter originally designed to light up electronic cigarette lighters is now utilized in other areas. You can now charge appliances like laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc., using a cigarette lighter outlet. Don’t confuse a cigarette lighter for a 12V accessory socket; they are not the same.

That said, car owners have raised concerns about whether they could charge car battery through cigarette lighter. This article will address whether or not one can charge a car battery through a cigarette lighter. And if possible, ideal situations where it makes sense to charge through a cigarette lighter.

cigarette lighter battery charger 12v

How to charge car battery through cigarette lighter

Charging car batteries via a cigarette lighter is a convenient way of charging batteries without opening the hood. You can also worry less about accidentally switching positive and negative terminals, which could be dangerous if it happens. It also comes in handy in keeping your battery alive when you park your cars for longer periods.

All you need is to get the right battery charger suitable for your cigarette lighter socket. Can you charge a car battery through the cigarette lighter socket? Yes you can. So, how do you charge a car battery through the cigarette lighter? First thing first, get a battery charger of your choice—a trickle charger or a solar or grid-powered battery maintainer, battery tenders, etc. They all do the same job.

To charge car battery via the cigarette lighter using the solar battery charger:

  • Get only battery charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket
  • Place the charger on your dashboard, ensuring the shiny part faces up. This way, the charger will be exposed to the sun to work efficiently
  • Plug the battery charger into the cigarette lighter socket. Note: If your charger doesn’t fit into the cigarette lighter socket, you need to get a special charger adapter.
  • Leave to charge the battery for an estimated six hours before unplugging the charger from the cigarette lighter. Ensure the ignition is placed on accessory if your car automatically shuts out power from the cigarette lighter when the ignition is off. If otherwise, you’re good to go.

This may as well answer those who have been asking, can I charge my car battery through cigarette lighter with a solar panel? Yes, solar charging car battery through cigarette lighter socket is possible. Just ensure the solar charger adapter fits into the cigarette lighter socket and the shiny part of the panel is facing the sun.

Now, when charging via a solar panel, there are two things to keep in mind. Does your vehicle disconnect power from the cigarette lighter when your ignition is off? Or does your vehicle keep power in the cigarette lighter when the ignition is off? Which is your situation will determine how long you can solar charge your battery via the cigarette lighter.

If your vehicle’s cigarette lighter remains on even after turning off the ignition, the solar charger can charge your battery for a long time, even up to a year. Hence, an excellent option for those who intend to keep cars parked for long or in cases when they hardly drive but need their battery alive. This way, one can easily start their car anytime they deem fit. All you need to do is ensure the solar panel is exposed to the sun and properly connected to the cigarette lighter.

If, however, your vehicle shuts out power from your cigarette lighter when the vehicle is off, you may only be able to charge using solar for a short time. If you intend to keep such cars in storage or hardly driven, solar charging won’t be possible. Such vehicles will require keeping the ignition on for as long as the battery is being charged. You don’t want to keep your ignition on for months, do you?

Is it possible to charge car battery through cigarette lighter?

With technology making life so easy, no one wants to go through the hard way anymore. With earlier car models, one would need to open the hood, locate the battery and plug it into an outlet to revive a drained battery.

This is done by attaching the charger clamps, positive to positive terminals and negative to negative battery terminals. Well, the versatile use of a cigarette lighter has made it much easier to charge car batteries. So can you charge a car battery through its cigarette lighter?

Yes. Charging a car battery via its cigarette lighter is possible. And it comes as a convenient way of charging batteries without needing to open the hood. It also comes in handy in keeping your battery fully charged whether parking your car or camping. However, there are a few things to keep utilizing this feature and avoiding potential damage to your car or any disaster.

  • What type of vehicle do you have? Some vehicles, older cars precisely, will keep the cigarette lighter socket on even with the ignition off. In some cars, for the cigarette lighter socket to function, you must turn on the ignition; this is apparent, especially for newer vehicles.
  • The cigarette lighter runs on a 10-15 amp socket and, therefore, can only feature chargers with low amps like trickle chargers, battery tenders, battery maintainers, etc.
  • The charge rate must be kept low (10-15 amps) so as not to blow its associated 10-15 amps fuse.
  • Because of its low charge rate, it takes several minutes for a fully depleted battery to get juice to crank the engine. It takes even longer to get a battery full.
  • Ensure the power the car battery needs equals the power from its power source (cigarette lighter). If the power source delivers higher power than needed, use the circuit’s fuse to regulate the power.
  • Activate the charger only when you have plugged the other side into the battery or devices you want to charge. This would help prevent the circuit charging from shorts.
  • Cigarette lighters aren’t the best fit for depleted batteries. If, however, you want to charge a dead battery to get small juice to start your engine, ensure you have charged for at least 20 minutes before starting the car. Cigarette lighter has a low charge rate. To avoid this wait time, you could prevent your battery from total depletion by always having it connected to the cigarette lighter (solar panel comes to mind). This way, you can start your car immediately after you reach.
  • Solar trickle chargers can only work with the sun. So if you’re using a trickle solar charger, the panel must be exposed to the sun for the battery to stay charged.
  • You can’t plug in two devices simultaneously.

how to use a cigarette lighter battery charger

Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs

Can you charge a car battery via the 12V socket?

You can charge a car’s battery via the 12 Volt cigarette lighter socket. In fact, a 12V socket is standard in many cars and is used as the main power source for many accessories. To charge via a 12V socket, you will also need a 12V socket battery charger.

The 12V cigarette lighter socket can output up to 12 volts at a time to charge your car battery. But for safety purposes and so as not to blow the cigarette lighter fuse, it is recommended to keep the charge rate at 10 amps. To keep the charge rate low, you will also need a lower amp battery charger. Good examples are solar trickle chargers, battery tenders, etc.

So, can I charge my batteries with a battery tender through a cigarette lighter? Yes, you can. Battery tenders work exactly like solar trickle chargers. And they are particularly designed to keep your battery powered throughout long periods of hibernation, invariably prolonging battery life span.

Can you use a trickle charge through a cigarette lighter?

You can trickle charge through your cigarette lighter. All you need is to get a solar car battery trickle charger. A solar car battery charger needs the sun to work, so you need to expose the panel to the sun. To do this, position your trickle charger on your dashboard with its panel facing the sun. With it in this position, plug it into your vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter.

But there is something to keep in mind. Tickle charging entails charging at slower rates. So you would need to keep your trickle charger connected to your battery for a long time to keep the battery charged. Trickle charging works best if you intend to leave your car stored for long or if you hardly drive your car.  However, only cars that don’t disconnect power from the cigarette lighter when the ignition is off can keep such vehicles charged for long.

If you own a car whose cigarette lighter only functions with the ignition on, you may not need to trickle charge. Because you will need to keep your ignition on, but for how long? So for those asking, can I charge my car battery through cigarette lighter with a solar panel? Yes, trickle charging basically requires using solar chargers. It could be a trickle charger, battery tender, battery maintainer, etc.

Can you use a cigarette lighter as a charging port?

While cigarette lighters were initially designed to heat up electronic cigarette lighters, they now have more functions. You could use the cigarette lighter as a charging port to charge your phones, laptops, and car batteries. For phone charging, some cigarette lighter sockets come with USB ports that allow you to charge.

If, however, your vehicle’s cigarette lighter doesn’t come with USB ports, it will be impossible to charge your phones without a car charger. In this case, you need to purchase a USB adapter (car charger) to fit in that 12V socket slot and charge your phone.

Can you charge car from regular socket?

Owners of electric vehicles can charge their cars from the regular 120V socket. However, there are things to keep in mind.

The regular socket charges at a slow rate and, as such, also utilizes chargers rated for small amps.

Here, a level 1 charger comes to mind. Level 1 chargers come from factory with a new EV and charge slowly. If you’re not upgrading your charger, the level 1 charger would be suitable for the 120V outlet.

However, if you are using level 2 or 3 chargers, the regular socket will not suffice. You need.

These chargers are not rated for regular sockets, they output more power, so they can blow a regular socket or cause a fire. Level 2 chargers will require the kind of socket used by your dryers, washing machines, etc.

Can I charge my car from a domestic socket?

Yes, you can charge your car via a domestic socket. Every EV comes stock with a cable designed for a three-pin home socket. However, charging through a domestic socket isn’t really ideal for fast charging. It could be used for emergencies or when you have the whole night to charge.

These domestic sockets usually feature only chargers with lower power output, which charge slowly. And therefore takes too long to charge your battery fully. For a faster charge, you may want to use an upgraded 240-volt socket, which implies you will also need to upgrade to a charger rated for a 240-volt socket.

Here, a level 2 charger may suffice. Therefore, while you can charge your car using a domestic socket, they can only safely charge your car using chargers with lower amps and therefore has slower charging rates

Does leaving charger in cigarette lighter drain battery?

Whether or not you will drain your battery by leaving the charger in the cigarette lighter depends on your car. Basically, there are three ways vehicles optimize cigarette lighters. In older cars, the cigarette lighter retains power whether the ignition is off or on.

However, in most modern cars, you must turn on the ignition halfway for your cigarette lighter to work. Some modern cars will also require you to fully turn on the ignition for the cigarette lighter to work.

Therefore, if the power to the 12V socket doesn’t get disconnected when you turn off the ignition, leaving your phone charger plugged in could drain your battery. But this can happen if it is left plugged for so long. It would take longer to drain because it’s only the charger plugged in, not a phone.

If, however, your vehicle shuts off power to your cigarette lighter(12V socket) when the ignition is off, leaving your charger plugged in will not drain your battery. Because, at this point, the battery is not outputting power to anything when the ignition is off. This is apparent in newer vehicles.

Can I connect cigarette lighter directly to the battery?

Connecting your car battery cigarette lighter directly to your battery is possible. However, it must be done by someone with technical know-how. You could go the DIY route, too, if you know your way around. You would need a cigarette lighter socket of your choice, connect wires and then hook the wires up to the battery.

Ensure negative wire goes to negative terminals and positive one to positive terminals.

For a simple connection, you can opt for alligator clamps. If, however, you want a permanent connection, get replacement battery terminal clamps and connect them to the 12V accessory socket (cigarette lighter).

However, for safety, you must wire a fuse into the circuit you created. This way, if something goes wrong, the fuse gets blown, which is easier to handle instead of the cigarette lighter sorting out or the battery exploding and causing a fire outbreak.

Does a cigarette lighter work as a 12V?

The initial purpose of a cigarette lighter is not to work as a 12V to power car accessories or electronics. Its initial purpose is to heat up electronic cigarette lighters. However, it’s pretty versatile now to works as a 12V. With it, you can charge your phones, laptops, and even car batteries from the cigarette lighter socket.

But it is important to note that while a cigarette lighter can work as, or most times, referred to as a 12V, it’s not the same as a 12V accessory socket. In some cars, if you have only one socket on the dashboard, it’s likely a cigarette lighter. If you have up to two, one is likely a cigarette lighter and the other an accessory socket.

Likewise, if you have more sockets in other areas of the car, there is a cigarette lighter and multiple accessory sockets. A great way to differentiate a cigarette lighter from an accessory 12V socket is to look at their diameters. Better still, look up your owner’s manual to know if you’re dealing with a cigarette lighter or accessory socket.

How many volts is in a car cigarette lighter?

A car’s cigarette lighter, referred to as a 12V accessory socket, can output up to 12 volts of direct current. Many cigarette lighters work on a 10 amp fuse amps that allows a power output of 12 volts or 120 watts at most. This means that whatever cable you get must also be 12 V.

For example, if you intend to charge your car battery with a 12V cigarette socket, you would need a 12V socket battery charger. Even more importantly, these chargers should be of quality. Some of the best car battery charger cigarette lighter on the market includes Sunway solar battery trickle charger, Deltran battery tender, etc.

However, there may be a little difference in this output depending on your car.

Run through your owner’s manual or cigarette lighter cover to know how much power your vehicle cigarette lighter outputs. Knowing this is important as it will help you find the right charger to purchase. Most importantly, do not, for any reason, replace your cigarette lighter fuse with a much more powerful one. This may result in electrical issues.

Final Words

This article has answered the question: can I charge car battery through cigarette lighter? A recap! You can charge your battery through cigarette lighter.  It comes in handy in keeping your battery charged if your car is parked for long. However, its charge rate is slow, so it will take time to keep your battery charged.

A cigarette lighter runs on a 10-15 amps socket that can output just 10-15 amps at a time. Setting the charge rate too high may end up blowing its fuse. Seeing the beauty of this feature, is it safe to charge a car battery through the cigarette lighter? Yes, it is, so long you use the recommended fuse amp, charge rate, and follow other instructions stated above.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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