How to charge a car battery through a cigarette lighter

Written by david sandoval
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How to charge a car battery through a cigarette lighter
An automobile battery can be charged through an electrical power point such as a cigarette lighter port. (smoke sign image by petar Ishmeriev from

An automotive electrical system normally has one or more power accessory points. These accessory points are often cigarette lighter outlets. However, most vehicles manufactured since the 1990s contain dedicated power accessory outlets.

Many automobiles have their cigarette lighter outlets wired so that the outlets only work when the automobiles are running. However, power accessory outlets are usually hard-wired to the battery, and are always active.

A power accessory outlet may also be used as a means to trickle charge an automobile battery. Some accessories, such as solar battery chargers, are designed to take advantage of the bidirectional nature of a hard-wired power accessory outlet.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Automobile with hard-wired power accessory outlet
  • Solar battery charger with automotive cigarette lighter plug

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  1. 1

    Place the solar battery charger, shiny-side up, on the automobile's dashboard.

    How to charge a car battery through a cigarette lighter
    A solar charger must have the shiny side (left cell) exposed to light to generate electrical energy. (solar cell research image by Albert Lozano from
  2. 2

    Plug the battery charger plug into the power accessory outlet.

  3. 3

    Allow the battery to charge for approximately six hours, and then unplug the charger from the power accessory outlet.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the battery every half hour while it is charging. If the battery begins to bubble, or is hot to the touch, unplug the battery charger immediately.

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