If you are absolutely sure that you never want to use your cigarette lighter as a cigarette lighter or even as a 12-volt socket , then it is possible to tear it out and replace it with another accessory such as a dedicated USB -gateway. This may even be the best possible scenario for your specific situation, but it’s still worth considering your options first. Since car cigarette lighters are also universal 12-volt sockets that can be used to power anything from a cell phone to a tire pump, you can give more than you get.
Cigarette Lighters and 12 Volt Sockets
While it is true that the accessory sockets in almost all modern cars and trucks started as cigarette lighters , they are increasingly being used for other purposes. In fact, some cars do not ship the cigarette lighter section at all and include some kind of safety stop. Other vehicles include a single cigarette lighter and then multiple 12V accessory sockets that will not even accept cigarette lighters.
The tendency to lower your cigarette lighter, given the fact that you do not smoke and do not allow yourself to smoke in your car, is certainly understandable. But first, it is important to note that a cigarette lighter socket can power many different types of devices. This is the functionality you will lose if you replace it with something like USB.
For example, a typical cigarette lighter circuit provides enough power to power devices such as phones and tablets, via a USB charger. However, you can also install a higher power supply such as a 12V tire pump, many of which are designed to draw a little enough current so that they cannot blow a cigarette lighter. You can also turn on a cigarette lighter and power other electronic power, provided they do not charge too much. Other accessories, such as car air ionizers and purifiers, can also be plugged into your cigarette lighter. Devices that draw more than 10 or 15A typically require a hard converter .
Replacing a Cigarette Tiger with USB
The easiest way to replace a cigarette lighter with USB is to simply discard the lighter portion and include a low-profile 12V USB adapter . Some 12V USB chargers are large and bulky, but there are a number of options that more or less flush with the dash and come in a variety of colors to better fit the trim. This option leaves your cigarette lighter in place as a 12V connector, just in case you ever want to drive a tire pump or anything else that cannot be powered by USB. Done correctly, it will also result in a clean installation that gives the impression that you have lit your cigarette in favor of a USB port.
The other option is to remove the cigarette lighter and install a USB port in its place. It’s also a completely viable option, and there are a bunch of aftermarket options out there. Some offer two USB ports in the same space used by the old cigarette lighter, while others include other features.
Replacing a cigarette lighter with a 12V USB port is a relatively simple operation, but you may have problems with fitness and finish. Although more or less direct replacements do exist, you may need to tune in a bit or do a finish to make everything look clean when you are done.
Connecting a 12V USB port in place of a cigarette lighter is a simple matter once you have found one that fits in your car. The cigarette lighter has positive and negative leads, which you need to disconnect from the socket and reconnect to the USB port. Depending on the way the socket is in, and the terminals built into the USB port, there may be some cutting and soldering of wires and terminals.
Restrictions on replacing a cigarette tiger with USB
If you decide to remove your cigarette lighter and wire in a new accessory such as a USB charger, it is important to remember that the new accessory will have the same limitations as the original connector. Since you are likely to use the existing power and ground wires, the new USB accessory will not be able to draw more power than the original cigarette lighter without blowing a cycle.
It is also important to note that while you can replace a cigarette lighter with USB, you can not just attach a USB port to the existing cigarette lighter power wires and name it well. USB is designed to supply 5V DC, while your vehicle’s electrical system provides somewhere in the range of 12V – 14V. Accessories designed to replace a cigarette lighter with one or more USB ports include internal circuits that enable them to supply the correct voltage to your phone and other electronics.
Exploring Other Cigarette Lighter USB Options
Replacing a cigarette lighter with a USB port fixture with a fixed interface is a great option if you are looking for a very clean, OEM-type look without any sloppy wires. However, if you put the cigarette lighter in place and charge a USB charger, many other options will open up along the way.
Most hard-working 12V USB accessories designed to replace a cigarette lighter only offer a single USB port, or two. Similarly, most low-profile USB chargers you will find offer only a single USB port. It’s fine if you’re the only one in the car, but if you ever want to accommodate one or more passengers, this can be problematic.
By holding the socket in place and using a low-profile USB charger for a clean look, you leave the option open to pull the cloth-profile charger and plug in a multi-tap if the situation ever arises. ask. Some cigarette lighter multi-tap devices offer four or more 12V accessory sockets, in addition to USB ports, that can push directly against the capabilities of the cigarette lighter while providing all of your passengers simultaneously. These devices do not look as clean as a cloth profile charger, or a USB device with a fixed connection, but you can always remove it under the seat or in the glove box when not in use.
Another option is to replace the cigarette lighter with a pass-through device that hooks into your head unit. This type of device does not connect to the prior wiring of a cigarette lighter, so it must be securely cut and bound to prevent a short.
Instead, this type of device will include a USB port and a 3.5mm aux port on the front, and cables on the back that you can plug into your head, provided that your main unit has extra power and a Has USB connection on the back. It mainly provides an auxiliary input and USB connection conveniently located in your dash or center console, without cutting any additional holes.
Cigarette Lighters Versus USB Power
Regardless of the way you decide to go with your cigarette lighter, either to work it out or replace it completely, you will definitely get a lot of the USB on the go . Most portable devices today can be powered by USB, and it is also increasingly being found in main units as a way to transfer data from phones and MP3 players.
If you let the cigarette lighter down, it may offer more options today, but USB probably has more legs in the long run. If smoke disappears from vogue, ashtrays have disappeared from cars and trucks since 1994, and cigarette lighters could very well be the next on the cutting block.