Cigarette Socket Overload?

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 11, 2001 at 00:00
ThreadID: 352 Views:9033 Replies:6 FollowUps:0
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Having read with interest the responses to Ron's query about 12 volt wiring, and having had an overload(?) problem ourselves, maybe those of you with expertise could also provide advice on our power/wiring question.

We like to travel quite simply in our Hilux 2.8 diesel and don't carry any heavy current-pulling appliances such as a fridge or power winch etc. (Yes I know, de-hyd tucker and no cold beers but it suits us well). However we do make good use of the standard cigarette-lighter socket to power and recharge small items such as GPS, rechargable torch and "Power-Pac" (12 Volt powersource / portable emergency jumpstarter). In order to be able to use several items at once, i.e. continue to run the GPS while charging the other items, we purchased a multi-socket adaptor for the cigarette-lighter socket. This seemed to work well until we found the plug in the lighter socket one day melted! Thankfully this appeared to be the extent of the damage. We are naturally quite wary about hooking up a similar setup again.

Our question is why this might have occurred, given that both the lighter and the adaptor itself had fuses which one would expect might have blown before the potentially dangerous situation of meltdown began. If the fault is simply a faulty adaptor or incorrect fuses, then replacement is the easy solution, but might we could we need to look more deeply at the wiring in the truck itself? Any suggestions?
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Reply By: jeremy - Sunday, Aug 12, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 12, 2001 at 00:00
The main problem with this set up is the standard fuse holders etc can handle the current but can't handle the heat generated from the load your applying, this is why running anything other than a phone charger at one time would not be recomended (especially not a fridge !) The heat can cause a melt down yet still not blow the fuse and in extreme case's burn down your car ! the way to fix this and have piece of mind : Go to your local auto elec and obatin a few metres of 4mm Twin Sheath automotive wire and a 20 amp circuit breaker, wire from battery or fuse box (either ignition or constant power, if you want to use the cig lighter without the ignition on use a constant power sauce)Through the circuit breaker and solder straight on the back of your cig lighter !!....... this will be safe !! if you intend to use any more higher current accesories it would be best to throw away your cig lighter plug and replace it with a Hella or similar higher rated plug and match it with the male on your appliance.
Good luck ! Your local auto elec should do all this for not much if you would rather not do it your self !
AnswerID: 875

Reply By: Brian F Harris ....RockyOne - Thursday, Aug 16, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 16, 2001 at 00:00
Hi Tom..Did'nt mention what fuse was in there. I always like to start with a lower amp fuse & work my way up,does'nt hurt to blow one or two on the way,'till you get up to a safe working situation.Lot safer than starting with a 25amp etc.(We had a D/Cab 2.8 thru Kimberleys,hurt to trade in last of real rigs,with good old live axles)Rgs Brian..RockyOne
AnswerID: 907

Reply By: John Wood - Friday, Aug 17, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 17, 2001 at 00:00
Hi Tom!
I would expect that your socket overheating problem would be due to either a poor connection of the truck's wiring to the socket or due to the adaptor plug being a poor fit, especially with adaptors hanging of it. Generally the cigarette lighter sockets are designed to hold a small light cigarette lighter and are of relativelt light construction. Poor electrical connection will cause overheating without increasing the amp draw - so no blown fuses. Replace the socket if you want to continue to use it as a cigarette lighter but fit an extra (or 2) proper Hella or similar good quality sockets, with heavier wiring and it's own separate fuse, in a convenient location in the truck. You can change the plugs on your various appliances to suit the new sockets or purchase adaptors if you want to keep the cigarette lighter plugs. For me I would change the plugs. This also has the advantage that every Tom Dick & Harry won't borrow your gear 'cos the plug won't fit their cigarette lighter sockets. Good luck, John.
AnswerID: 916

Reply By: Brian - Friday, Aug 17, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 17, 2001 at 00:00
Yep, its a flaw with the Hilux. We've got the same car as you and we blew the tiny connecting wire at the back of the socket (about 1cm long wire). Our fuse didn't blow either. I'll be doing a re-wire job from the battery direct to the plug soon.
AnswerID: 918

Reply By: Nigel - Sunday, Aug 19, 2001 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 19, 2001 at 00:00
It sounds like there was a poor connection, which can cause a lot of heat without drawing enough current to blow the fuse. I once has a situation with poor quality inline fuse holders (supposedly heavy duty) for my spot lights where a poor connection (caused by a weak spring in the fuse holder) created enough head to melt the solder in the glass fuse without actually blowing the fuse.
AnswerID: 931

Reply By: Lisa Ayoub - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2001 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2001 at 00:00
Tom, I have never been a person who liked cigarette lighter plugs. I find hard wiring works best then every item is wired directly to the battery and fused individually. This eliminates any lighter plug problems. If you need to use a plug to connect and disconnect something my suggestion is buy another plug that you know will do the job properly.
AnswerID: 1019

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