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Cell Phone Charger in Car

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by urgatorbait, Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. urgatorbait

    urgatorbait

    4
    0
    Jan 5, 2010
    Hi all,

    Not sure if this is the right audience or not to pose this question to but here goes....

    I have always wondered if there is any harm done to a car's battery when you have a cell phone charger plugged into the outlet in the car and just leave it always plugged in whether or not the car is running or not. I would prefer to leave my cell phone charger plugged in always and whenever I get in my car to go somewhere to plug my phone into it and charge it back up. My fear is that when the car is not running there is still some small drain on the battery despite the phone not actually being plugged in during those times.

    Do I need to worry about this. My car is a 2007 nissan Altima and my phone is a Palm Pre (if that matters).

    Similarly, in my wife's car, we have a portable DVD player hooked up that we use for the kids on long drives. If that is plugged into the outlet in the car even when the car is not running is there a drain on the battery as long as the units are in the off setting and not actively showing a DVD?

    Thanks in advance for any information and for finally setting me straight on this topic.
     
  2. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    There may be some small drain on the car battery with those devices connected.
    This is not harmful at all if the car is used on a regular basis (daily/ weekly).
    Leaving the car alone for a month or two however will require a check on the specific drains.
    Even w/o any drains a car battery needs a recharge every 3-9 months, depending on temperature.
     
  3. urgatorbait

    urgatorbait

    4
    0
    Jan 5, 2010
    Thanks for the replies...

    So if the charger is plugged into the car's outlet but no device (cell phone) is actively connected to the charger then there will be no harm to the battery regardless of whether or not the car is running - Correct?
     
  4. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    Yes, well...
    Depending on the car the cig-lighter may be powerless with the key off. This would be observable.
    Depending on the construction of the charger it may or may not draw an idle current when the phone is disconnected. This is not so easy to tell.
    The DVD would also not draw full power, only a small idle current, if anything.
    But how is the use of the car? Also remember that a car battery has a temperature-dependent self-discharge current inside that can't be avoided.
     
  5. urgatorbait

    urgatorbait

    4
    0
    Jan 5, 2010
    Both my car (2007 Nissan Altima) and my wife's car (2001 Nissan X-Terra) are driven nearly every day. On my car, the cell phone is only plugged into the charger when I am driving the car. The DVD player in my wife's car is unplugged from the car's outlet when the car is not running. In her car, I would prefer to leave the unit plugged into the car's outlet at all times but just turn the power switch on the actual DVD player to the off position when the car is not running. I just wanted to make sure that there will be no concern about shortening the life of the car's battery by doing this.
     
  6. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    It won't affect the lifetime of the battery at all when the car is driven that often.
    What reduces the life of a battery is being discharged half-empty or more.
    This amounts to a 5-6 Watt bulb being left on for two full days.
    I can't imagine those devices drawing even 1/100th of that.
    Chances are they draw nothing at all when switched off.
     
  7. ilovesummer

    ilovesummer

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    Jan 10, 2010
    i always leave my charger in my car, and i think there's no effect on my car's battery so far
     
  8. urgatorbait

    urgatorbait

    4
    0
    Jan 5, 2010
    Thanks everyone :)
     
  9. johncq

    johncq

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    Oct 25, 2011
    Read the post and found it interesting and a common question in everyone's mind. Agree with Resquiline on this one. As long as the car is driven regularly and the battery does not get discharged due to inactivity over a long time, its perfectly okay to connect the charger or battery. You can even get your laptop charged if you've got the charging cables.

    John.
     
  10. cjdelphi

    cjdelphi

    1,096
    104
    Oct 26, 2011
    all modern cars have what's known as a 'parasitic' drain, all the electronics that have to tick over on idle, eg, car alarm, keeping the clock on the radio running, but i am surprised at the fact you can charge your phone with engine off ? can you?...

    eg, sit in the car and charge your phone? does the car not cut the power to the cigarette lighter socket when it's off?

    Even so, your battery could charge your phone a hundred times over before you need to worry about it draining your battery, and without charging, a few ma at most, nothing to worry about really......

    If you're serious about your electronics, you might want to fit a 2nd aux battery in the boot or next to the engine if there's enough space, use a small circuit which switches the battery to the backup battery when it's off, or infact use it anyway you want, always handy...
     
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