How to Convert a Cigarette Lighter to an AC Adapter

Updated April 17, 2017

A car battery runs on a 12-volt DC current, which can be converted to AC by way of a power inverter. The AC power inverter plugs into your cigarette lighter jack and converts the battery's power over to AC, so that you can connect and power your AC devices. If you are new to converting a cigarette lighter into an AC power source, do not worry. With an AC power inverter, and the right instruction, you will be powering your AC devices in no time at all.

Purchase a DC to AC power inverter from either your local electronic store dealer or from a reputable source online. The prices may vary based on power wattage and capabilities, but you can generally find them within the 30 to 50 dollar range.

Plug the 12-volt adaptor on the power inverter into your cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle; power on the inverter (if applicable), then turn your vehicle ignition to the "ON/ACC" position. The DC power will flow through the inverter and be converted into AC.

Plug one of your AC-powered devices into one of the inverter's power-supply sockets, then power on the device. Your device should now receive AC current once you power on the equipment.


Contact the manufacturer about your AC equipment's specific power ratings before you use a power converter of any kind. The owner's manual should contain this material as well.

Things You'll Need

  • DC to AC power inverter
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About the Author

Based in Florida, Robert Ceville has been writing electronics-based articles since 2009. He has experience as a professional electronic instrument technician and writes primarily online, focusing on topics in electronics, sound design and herbal alternatives to modern medicine. He is pursuing an Associate of Science in information technology from Florida State College of Jacksonville.