Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Stereo, security systems, vehicle electronics, and electrical-related discussions
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jsmellie
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Location: Ferndale, Michigan

Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Postby jsmellie » Thu May 10, 2018 9:27 pm

I want/need to have a portable air compressor in my car. I want to get this Viair 78P recommended by Wirecutter, but I see that it typically draws at 15 amps while operating.

Can the cigarette outlet (and the circuit behind it) handle 15 amps? Since this is an air compressor, the car would be parked (and running, if necessary) during use.

If not, is there any way to upgrade the alternator or circuit or cigarette outlet to safely handle a 15-amp draw?

ehoff121
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Location: Conn.

Re: Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Postby ehoff121 » Fri May 11, 2018 5:33 am

I think the fuse is 15 Amp, so not a lot of room for error and compressors can have a surge draw with they turn on. The product listing says 15 Amps max, so it might be okay.

Try it out, but have a spare fuse handy and report back. :D
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

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jsmellie
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Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:09 am
Location: Ferndale, Michigan

Re: Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Postby jsmellie » Fri May 11, 2018 7:24 am

So if I blow the fuse, that's the only damage that will happen, and it can be repaired by replacing the fuse? I don't have a lot of experience with electrical systems, and even less with auto electrical, so I'm trying to make sure I have the answers before I go experimenting. My poor Vibe has enough major problems right now without me frying something.

As long as a blown (and easily replaced) fuse is the only worry, I'd feel fine about going ahead and trying this.

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joatmon
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Re: Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Postby joatmon » Fri May 11, 2018 11:31 am

The CIG fuse in your 05 is supposed to be 15A. If you blow it, you lose power to that power outlet and the radio, so nothing safety critical. The fuse is in the under dash fuse block, which is inconveniently located. I know, I've blown that fuse a lot over the years.

For what its worth, in 05 they dropped the 12V outlet in the console between the front seats, and its fairly easy to add one
( viewtopic.php?t=10792 ) .
It is fused by the under dash 15A PPOINT fuse, which doesn't take out radio power if you pop it.

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jsmellie
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Location: Ferndale, Michigan

Re: Can the cigarette lighter handle a 15 Amp draw?

Postby jsmellie » Fri May 11, 2018 8:29 pm

This is fantastic! I am definitely adding that second outlet; I was always pissed that they didn't put one in there. I appreciate the link!

Thanks for the confirmation. I've actually had to change that fuse a few times in the past. My girlfriend plugged in an inverter with failing wiring, and I'm pretty sure it shorted out on its own metal frame. It blew the fuse, killed the 115V outlet, and blew out the right two bulbs in my radio display. I replaced the fuse, but the 115V outlet stayed dead... until it randomly came back to life on its own four years later. I've been driving around with blown radio bulbs for seven years, though, and haven't made the time to replace them with LEDs.

Guess I'm gonna buy that compressor and see what happens! I'll report back.


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