Overnight charger hacks?
March 17, 2006 11:59 AM   Subscribe

My new car won't charge my ipod or phone when the car is turned off. Is there anything I can do to change that?

The new vehicle is a Nissan Murano, and it obviously turns power off to the cigarette lighter jacks when the car is off. My old vehicle, a Ford Explorer, allowed me to charge my ipod 24/7, on or off. Is there any product i can buy or any kind of hardware hack that will let me keep power on to the jacks when the engine is off, without draining the battery?
posted by ab3 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Our old Xterra had three or four jacks, at least one of whcih was always on. Have you tried every jack in the vicinity?

If so, sure, there's still a hack, just run a wire (please use a fusible link!) from the battery, through the firewall, to the lighter. Solder or clamp to the back of the lighter socket.

Also, if you can find any other always-on power source on the interior side of the firewall, your job got even easier.

Someone smarter than I will come along and tell you how many amps your iPod draws, and whether it makes a difference in my last suggestion.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2006

You have to have another (external) lighter jack installed or have the wiring to the existing jack changed. Most car stereo places can do this.
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2006

I've ready plenty of threads on Altima forums where people have changed the wiring to one of their cigarette lighters DC outlets for exactly this reason. Here's one, but you could certainly find others.
posted by Plutor at 12:17 PM on March 17, 2006

If the engine isn't running, and anything is drawing power be it a tiny light in the trunk or your ipod you are draining the battery and sooner or later it will end up flat.
posted by zeoslap at 12:22 PM on March 17, 2006

Agree with zeoslap. You could thwart your vehicle's protective circuitry by installing another jack connected directly to the battery, but if you do that you'll have a car that doesn't start, after some interval, depending on your battery's age, because you drained away all of its juice.
posted by Rash at 1:41 PM on March 17, 2006

Instead of risking a dead car battery, just carry a jumper box in the car. You can get one with a DC outlet for $20-50, then when the car's running you can re-charge the box via the lighter.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 2:25 PM on March 17, 2006

I've got a truck I only drive when we go do art shows, about once a month. There's an ipod charger plugged into its always-on cig plug and the little green light steadily glows. Not one issue with harming the battery and this is a V6 which takes a good amount of juice to turn over. All through the winter I've let it sitting for a month and had no issue starting the engine.

This is not to say a slow drain is of no concern, but what the poster is talking about plugging in will either be chargers with no notable draw when nothing is plugged into them or devices that will charge and then stop drawing current when they fill up.

ab3, you can monkey with the wiring to that plug if you want to but you might be better served just putting in a supplimental one. Certainly it would be easier. One of the simplest ways to do it is to get the $5 socket from Radio Shack and screw the black wire to some bit of metalic console. For the red 'hot' wire you pull fuses out of the box and touch the wire to where the blade pushes in till you find one that's on even when the car is off.

Once you do that you can bend the wire under the blade of the fuse and jam the whole mess back in. It's not elegant but it's easy. I've had aftermarket headlight buzzers that installed that way.
posted by phearlez at 2:37 PM on March 17, 2006

I'm just going to throw a caution out there. Don't leave high dollar gadgetry in your car for recharging unless you plan to babysit it while it charges. Cars are broken in to to yank out steroes, head units and the like. iPods and such require no complicated procedure to remove them from the car. If I were a crook, I'd be curious to see what that wire going in to your glovebox was.

This happens.
posted by mnology at 2:43 PM on March 17, 2006

Response by poster: i've got gated, off-street parking, so that's not the problem i could be. :)
posted by ab3 at 7:04 AM on March 19, 2006

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