Replace a Cigarette Lighter with a USB

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Why not use it if you don’t need it?

 

Your car’s 12V socket was originally intended for heating a cigarette lighter. It has since been used as a receptacle to store 12-volt accessories. If you are certain that your cigarette lighter will never be used as a cigarette lighter or as a 12V socket then you can use the space to house a dedicated USB port.

It is important to weigh all options before you make that decision. Car cigarette lighters can also be used as universal 12V sockets to power everything from a cell phone to an automobile pump. This could mean that you’re losing more than you gain.

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Cigarette lighters and 12-Volt Sockets

Although it’s true that accessory sockets in almost all modern cars and trucks were originally intended for cigarette lighters, they are increasingly being used for other purposes. Some cars come without a cigarette lighter socket and include a safety plug. Some vehicles have a single socket for a cigarette lighter and several sockets for 12V accessories that don’t accept cigarette lighters.

It’s understandable that you might want to get rid of your cigarette lighter because you won’t be allowed to smoke in your car. First, let’s note that a cigarette lighter socket is capable of powering a variety of devices. This functionality will be lost if it’s replaced with something like USB.

A typical cigarette lighter circuit can provide enough amperage to charge devices such as phones and tablets via a USB charger. If your phone supports wireless Qi charging, you can also plug it in.

You can plug in other higher-amperage devices, such as a 12V tire pump. Many of these are designed to draw less amperage than a cigarette lighter fuse. A cigarette lighter converter can be used to power other electronic devices, as long as they don’t draw too much amperage. You can also plug in other accessories like purifiers and car air ionizers to your cigarette lighter.

A hard-wired inverter is required for devices that draw more than 10A or 15A.

Replace a Cigarette Lighter with a USB

To replace a cigarette lighter using USB, simply toss the lighter and plug in a low profile USB adapter. There are many options for 12V USB chargers that are smaller and more compact than others. They also come in different colors so you can match your trim.

This adapter option will allow you to leave your cigarette lighter as a 12V accessory plug. It is useful for if you need to plug in a tire pump, or any other device that cannot be powered via USB. It will give the appearance that you have switched to a high-tech USB port if done correctly.

Another option is to take out the cigarette lighter socket, and place a USB port there. This option is completely possible, and there are many aftermarket options. Some offer two USB ports in one space, while others provide additional functionality.

Although replacing a cigarette lighter socket by a 12V USB port can be done easily, it may pose problems with fit or finish. There are many direct replacements, but you might need to modify your dash or finish the job to make it look neat.

It’s easy to wire a 12V USB port instead of a cigarette lighter socket. Once you have found the right one, it is simple. You will need to disconnect the cigarette lighter socket from the socket to reconnect to the USB port.

It depends on how the socket is wired and what terminals are built into the USB port. There may be some soldering and cutting involved.

Here’s how the basic process for replacing a cigarette lighter socket by a USB port looks:

  1. To avoid shorting the circuit, remove the fuse from the cigarette lighter.
  2. You must remove any components of the dash trim that may block access to the part of the lighter that is hidden behind the dash.
    You may be able to access the cigarette lightener by removing the vent, drawer, ashtray or other dash components. Rarely do you need to take out the console where the lighter is located. If you have difficulty accessing the lighter, try reaching under the dash.

Replacing a Cigarette lighter with a USB has its limitations

It is important to note that your original socket will still be functional if you remove the wire from the cigarette lighter. The new USB accessory will not be able pull more current than the original socket, and it won’t blow a fuse.

You should also be aware that you cannot replace a cigarette light bulb with USB. However, you cannot simply plug a USB port into an existing cigarette lighter’s power lead and expect it to work. USB can provide 5V DC while your vehicle’s electric system provides 12V to 14V. The internal circuitry of accessories that replace a cigarette light with one or more USB ports allows them to supply the right voltage to your phone.

Explore Other Cigarette Lighter USB Options

If you want a clean OEM look, replacing your cigarette lighter socket with a hard-wired accessory USB port is an excellent option. There are many other options available, including installing a flush-mount USB charger and leaving the socket for the cigarette lighter.

Hard-wired 12V USB accessories designed to replace a standard cigarette lighter socket provide only one or two USB ports. You’ll also find a very few low-profile USB chargers with one USB port. This may be fine if you are the only person in your car. However, if you want to supply power to more people, it can become problematic.

You can leave the socket in place and use a low-profile USB charging cable for a sleek look.

 

 

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