As far as car accessories are concerned, you’ll find the 12V socket, sometimes called an “accessory power outlet” or just “cigarette lighter” for short, in most modern vehicles.
It’s designed to take in power from an external source, generally in the form of electricity generated by the vehicle’s alternator. The 12V socket is usually located in easy-to-reach spots like behind the center console or below the glove compartment.
There are few versions of the 12v power outlet. The type of plug and the configuration depends on the make and model of the car.
More specifically, the 12V auxiliary power outlet is a receptacle on a vehicle’s interior to which a user can connect a 12V vehicle power adapter. The voltage is regulated from the main DC-to-DC power supply circuit of the car.
The car’s cigarette lighter socket is universally used for powering portable electronics in most cars and trucks worldwide. Most 12-volt power adapters contain a grommet or connector for this socket and will provide power and recharge the battery of portable electronic devices.
What Are the Uses Of 12v Power Outlet In Car?
The 12V power outlet has many uses and therefore it should be one of the essential accessories you should carry with you all the time so that you don’t get stuck anywhere.
Even if your cigarette lighter sockets do not work, you can solve this problem by buying a new power adapter that would fit into your car’s cigarette lighter socket or as is said more precisely as an accessory outlet.
1. You can use a 12V power outlet to charge mobile phones, tablets, and other USB chargers. You can charge your laptops using a converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket of your car. The best thing is you can connect multiple devices at once by way of USB cables to the power port in the car.
2. People take their music seriously when they are in a car. You can plug your devices with audio cables and enjoy music. This eliminates the need for carrying FM transmitters and other things.
3. Another great use of a 12V power outlet is to use it as an air compressor. It would be impossible to drive around without inflating tires or checking them regularly during the warm weather. The 12V power outlet in your car can be used to power an air compressor to top up the tire pressure and fill them quickly and effortlessly.
4. You could also use a car battery charger to connect it to a 12V power outlet in your car to charge any dead batteries in emergencies or other unfortunate circumstances when you run out of power.
5. There are many other uses of a 12V power outlet. You can use it as a source to power up your GPS or phone that features an inbuilt battery charger. It will save you from the hassle of carrying separate chargers for GPS and phone as well as spending on extra batteries.
6. Another side benefits of using these adapters are that you can recharge your dead batteries with ease.
So if your cell phone is running low on juice or any other gadget is attached to it then simply plug them into the socket which will, in turn, start recharging. You can use this in emergencies or at home when you are not using your car.
In short, whatever gadgetry you require, if it can be powered by a USB cable, you can easily connect it to the 12V power outlet in your car.
Types Of 12v Power Outlet In Car
1. The Cigarette Lighter Socket You know it as the familiar, ever-present receptacle for the ubiquitous cigarette lighter. It’s sometimes called a cigar lighter or ashtray, even though both are now largely obsolete. This power port is found in most cars everywhere you look. It is the most practical choice for powering portable electronics because it’s simple, ubiquitous, and offers direct access to power.
2. The Power Outlet With USB Socket This arrangement includes a 12 V power outlet like you would find in any car cigarette lighter socket, but also adds at least one USB port (many models offer up to three or four). This is a versatile upgrade that lets you simultaneously power up to four USB-charged devices.
3. The Power Outlet With High Current USB Socket This customization adds at least one 12 V power outlet and several high current (1 to 2.4 Amp/10 Watt) USB ports, adding significantly more charging capacity than the standard cigarette lighter or even power outlets with USB. The downside is that this customization requires some serious wiring work and an upgraded auxiliary battery in most cases.
4. The Power Outlet With Integrated Indicator Lights This modification offers an added LED light or two to indicate when the power port is in use by a device (flashing blue for charging, steady blue for fully charged). This is a convenient way to decrease the chances of leaving one or more USB devices on overnight.
5. The Multi-Socket Power Outlet This modification includes one or more 12 V power outlets, but also offers improved USB charging capacity, an added LED indicator light, and a switch to toggle the power on/off.
6. The High Output Power Socket With Built-in USB A built-in USB port provides an excellent way to charge portable devices without taking up valuable space in your vehicle. The possibilities are endless for charging phones, tablets, GPS units, and other USB-powered devices.
7. The High Output Power Socket With Integrated Solar Panel A built-in solar panel makes it easy to keep your electronic devices charged when you’re outdoors or on the move. There is no need to transfer power from your alternator or auxiliary battery to a separate solar panel.
You can use a 12V power outlet in a car in several ways that will help you stay connected when your primary battery is dead. In most cases, the usual cigarette lighter socket isn’t enough to keep your portable devices charged up.
You may need more power or USB ports depending on what gadgets you plan to plug in, but almost all cars offer at least one 12V power outlet, if not more.
The safest choice is to rely on an adapter with built-in protection circuitry or your supply of fully charged spares batteries.
No doubt, the benefits of using 12V power outlets in your vehicle are immense. You can use these power outlets to their maximum benefit because they include many hidden uses which one needs to explore and realize for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
The power rating on a cigarette lighter is 2.1 Amps, which is enough to handle most standard gadgets. However, if you are looking for something specific make sure you check the user manual before connecting it to your cigarette lighter socket.
Cigarette lighters are nearly universal in cars these days, so yes, most vehicles have at least one. However, it is not standard on all vehicles so check the owner’s manual to find out about your car model.
You can plug in any device that takes power from a USB port. This includes cell phones, digital cameras and tablets, and more. These sockets can also be used for things like heated seats and mirrors, but only if the specific vehicle has those features available.
Almost anything that can be plugged into a USB port, including smartphones, tablets, and most digital cameras. They are also used for things like heated seats and mirrors in some vehicles, but this is not an option on all models.
The output is 5A at 12V. Some other USB adapters put out less than this, so consider things like overheating when you install. Also, make sure you use a high-quality product for the best results.
Typically it outputs around 10W. This will vary by car and even the specific model of car (and sometimes between different trim levels of the same vehicle).
I am Baker Hughes and I live in the USA. I am an electrical engineer and work with 12 Volt products. I want to explore this section more because it is an area of interest for me that has been developed over time. I have 10 Years of experience with 12 Volt products, specifically wiring, installation, guide, reviews, and troubleshooting.