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Old 10-21-2017, 03:27 AM   #1
CM400T
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Mad Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Sad news. Recently I witnessed an accident right in front of me. But I must have bumped the dash-cam's USB power adapter plugged into my cigarette lighter, because the footage stops as I was getting into my car at the shopping center, 10 minutes before the accident (I'm glad everyone is okay but sorry I did not get the footage).

I have not measured this dash-cam's power consumption (Novatek 96650 based unit, several years old), but it is probably less than 2 amps.

I have decent knowledge (and the Haynes manual) and very capable volt meters. I know there are fuses on the right side of my console, under a cover. I would rather not run wires through the firewall since it is harder to do.

Any idea, before I begin, which wires I can splice into to apply power only when the ignition is on, or maybe when in the key is in the "accessory" position as well?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-21-2017, 07:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

You can't if you want to keep the OEM electrical system functioning. Run wire direct from battery and use a high resistance relay coil relay to switch the man power on and off. The ignition ckt is not designed for another 2-4A load.

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Old 10-21-2017, 08:52 AM   #3
CM400T
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Happy Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

I'm sorry, I thought a "cheater" fuse adapter would let me add another circuit to the fuses under the cover near the RF passenger's left leg, and everything would be fine and dandy. But the radio circuit is always on (powering the clock in the stock head units) and so is the ECM fuse (keeping "block learn" alive, IIRC). So the USB power adapter would always be on and my battery would run down.

And if the ignition switch, etc. really isn't designed for more load, I guess we'll have to go with your relay solution. Are there any spare power points inside the under-hood fuses, where the "reset oil change indicator" is? (The original owner of my 1983 Cutlass Ciera FWD sedan powered her radar detector by just screwing a piece of stranded wire into the positive side-terminal of the battery and allowing corrosion into this connection. I want something more elegant.)

For example: there is an extra, unused by the factory, positive connection (through a fuse), inside the headlamp housing on my chain-drive 1981 Honda CM400T. It is documented, but probably rarely used (for aftermarket accessories) or even known about.

Any thoughts?

And BTW, the relay that controlled the radiator fan and/or AC compressor clutch on that dreadful Oldsmobile took, I think, over 3 amps, and possibly over four amps to actuate. Not power-efficient at all (but maybe the spring was stiff, so the relay wouldn't come on for a fraction of a second every time you hit a pothole).

If I need a high resistance relay, where would I get one? An online auto parts place, or an electronics place like Farnell, Digikey or Mouser?

Last edited by CM400T; 10-21-2017 at 09:03 AM..

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Old 10-21-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

You can connect a wire with a 20-25 amp inline fuse to the red wire at the UHJB. inside the car cut the normal power feed to the cigarette lighter and tape up the end that originates at the black connector as it is always HOT. connect the lighter and whatever else to the new wire from the UHJB. If you wan to switch it then install a 30-30a rated contcat relay with a sufficently high enough coil resistance to not excessively load the ignition switch and connect coil control power from IGN-3 switched side. Ground coil to car frame, usually the H brace next to the radio on the left side. The ignition switch drawings are in my photo gallery.

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Old 10-22-2017, 01:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

The easiest way is a piggyback fuse. It creates another circuit and the original still is protected with its original fuse.
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Old 10-22-2017, 04:24 AM   #6
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Happy Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Quote:
The easiest way is a piggyback fuse.
Yes, that's the "cheater" fuse I was going to use. Looks like it is not going to work. Any sources for the high-resistance (low power draw) relay?

I was thinking about using this relay to control a second cigarette lighter socket. If my relay can only handle 3 to 5 amps (not the traditional 10 of a cig lighter socket) then that would be the limit of this second socket. It would be fused accordingly. I believe there is precedent for this - the original USB port on the original Playstation (IIRC) could not handle the full current draw of the USB specification (you could only use Sony game controllers that drew little current).

This would be good enough to maybe charge a cell phone and operate a dash cam (or radar detector). If I ever sold the car, I would, of course, have to tell the next owner about this limitation.

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Old 10-22-2017, 07:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

For my exterior lighting mods I've yet to have any issue's with repurposed GM relays or chinesium relays. Everything from eliminating voltage drop to headlights to running plow lights and medium power LED off-road lights.

Weatherproof option: https://www.amazon.com/Fastronix-Wea...dp/B01CXA42XK/
cheaper option of the same idea: https://www.amazon.com/Pico-Terminal...dp/B007UTFJHS/

5pk of not weatherproof relays that could be made weather resistant with hot glue & tape while STILL being cheaper than the above options: https://www.amazon.com/Pack-EPAuto-R...dp/B017VDI0GY/

If you run the power wire from the battery to the IPJB area, then have the relay in the cabin you don't need the weather proof options anyway and can tap into the cig lighter wires for the switching signal wires on the relay.

Didn't even know these existed, think I'll get one myself to put in place of one of the trio of cig lighters in my truck for USB charging: https://www.amazon.com/Ginsco-Charge.../dp/B01N6S2SNM
With that ^ you can just plug the device's USB cable in to charge it, no need for a 12v power adapter unless it's a laptop sorta thing that needs more than 2.1a from 5v.

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Old 10-22-2017, 08:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Relay source. https://www.allelectronics.com/categ.../relays/1.html this relay will do the job, use the N.O. contacts that close when coil energized. CAT# RLY-656

It is also advised to place a simple diode across the coil that is reversed biased when power is applied to suppress the coil discharge voltage spike. The ignition switch is not designed to handle these types of transients long term.

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Old 10-29-2017, 05:46 AM   #9
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Happy Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Thank you everyone!

It turns out the dash cam is not really functioning properly. Recording is unreliable (bad soldering? bad firmware? - things might improve if I delete all the footage from the microSD card every week using my PC's card reader). I do have another, different camera I can put into service immediately.

But this modification eliminates plugging something into and removing something from the cigarette lighter every single trip. I'll get on it soon.

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Didn't even know these existed, think I'll get one myself to put in place of one of the trio of cig lighters in my truck for USB charging: https://www.amazon.com/Ginsco-Charge.../dp/B01N6S2SNM
With that ^ you can just plug the device's USB cable in to charge it, no need for a 12v power adapter unless it's a laptop sorta thing that needs more than 2.1a from 5v.
I'd consider removing the existing 12v socket and replace with one of these. With an upgraded power supply of coarse.

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Old 11-03-2017, 07:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Some new vehicles come with those along with the regular cigar lighter. Manufacturers are catering to the iPhone generation.

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Old 11-08-2017, 02:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Some new vehicles come with those along with the regular cigar lighter. Manufacturers are catering to the iPhone generation.
Yes, our 2011 Suburban has one in the armrest console and it connects directly into the audio system as well as charging the device.

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Old 11-13-2017, 04:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

There are plenty of places to get a switched power source that is adequate to power many things that wont disrupt the power capabilities of the various circuits in the car.

For instance, I added a separate "power socket" into my '94 SL2. It's not a cigarette lighter socket, but only for power. I wired the power for this socket into the power wire for the sunroof and power windows. Neither the windows or sunroof are continuously running, so their power feeding circuits are generally available to power other objects and you probably never run both the sunroof motor and power window motors at the same time. Plus how many times have you powered up or down multiple window motors? That window/sunroof circuit is very beefy to handle a lot of current.

In my case, I wanted to plug my GPS "permanently" into the power socket, and have the socket turn off when I turned the key off. Thus my GPS adapter stays plugged in and out of sight.

I stuffed the socket and GPS adapter into an empty space in the console below the heater controls. I ran it's wires behind the radio bezel, popping out at the left near the rear window defroster switch.

I also added a Cadillac auto-dimming rear view mirror to my car and ran it's power to the the sunroof power wires that were less than 10 inches away above the headliner. I'm considering changing that mirror for one with a compass, map lights, and the auto-dimming feature. Those will all power via wires that are right at the sunroof. Truth is, I didn't run the wire for the reverse-defeat feature of the mirror. I can simply turn the mirror off if I need to back up in a sensitive situation.

Last edited by PrestonIII; 11-13-2017 at 04:37 PM..

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Old 11-13-2017, 06:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

What happens to be possibly acceptable for a 94 model year electrical system is not acceptable for the later model year cars.

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Old 11-20-2017, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

The power window circuit can handle the load of all 4 windows going up or down at the same time (which is not normal by any means), and it was designed with that possibility from the factory to eliminate damage or fires due to factory insufficiencies in design. Each of those motors can draw nearly 6 amperes when stalled, so the circuit can supply 25 amps easily enough. And it's protected with a fuse!

The sunroof circuitry has that same capacity. Hold the switch down to close the roof and continue holding it even after the panel is closed, and that stalled motor still doesn't blow the fuse!

Those 2 circuits have more than adequate capacity to handle the minor load of MULTIPLE phone chargers or a GPS ALL the time!

For one thing, those circuits aren't used but for 5 to 20 seconds at any given point when the window or roof is moving, and the rest of the time they JUST SIT THERE with no load at all.

We are not talking about powering a high power load such as an audio amplifier with these circuits. That WOULD OVERLOAD those circuits. Those kinds of loads would require an independent circuit to run your equipment.

Last edited by PrestonIII; 11-20-2017 at 02:35 PM..

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Old 11-20-2017, 08:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cigarette lighter wired to ignition

You can do as you want and you may or may not get into trouble with it. Your load analysis is not correct however.

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