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-   -   Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends (http://www.jeepgarage.org/f203/lighter-accessory-socket-melting-plug-ends-42087.html)

markon 05-13-2012 12:49 PM

Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Hi, first post here!

I bought one of those 4-way lighter socket adapters so I can use multiple gadgets. It lasted a few months, then one day I smelled plastic burning and my gadgets started cutting out. I checked the adapter's main plug that plugs into the Jeep's accessory socket. It was melted and would no longer hold in the socket.

I bought a different brand of adapter and the same thing happened after 2 weeks of using it.

Neither time did the fuse blow. So I don't think I was exceeding the allowable amps. I'm not running alot of high amperage stuff anyway. It seems like these adapter plugs just can't handle the heat in the socket. Has anybody else experienced this? Maybe certain Jeep models just have really hot running accessory sockets? Or maybe it's just crappy plastic used by the adapter makers? Or a combination of both?

Thanks for any ideas!
markon

Frango100 05-13-2012 01:08 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Heat buildup occurs if the connector is not making a good contact, creating a low resistance, which causes it to heat up. The cigar lighter normally uses a 15A fuse, so check if its not changed for a higher Amps one. Did you check the jeeps socket if the contact area is clean and doesn't have any corrosion or alike on its surface? If thats ok, most probably the adapters are crappy.
But its not normal for the adapter to heat up, a little bit of warmth is acceptable, but it should not heat up.

markon 05-13-2012 06:13 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frango100 (Post 628934)
Heat buildup occurs if the connector is not making a good contact, creating a low resistance, which causes it to heat up. The cigar lighter normally uses a 15A fuse, so check if its not changed for a higher Amps one. Did you check the jeeps socket if the contact area is clean and doesn't have any corrosion or alike on its surface? If thats ok, most probably the adapters are crappy.
But its not normal for the adapter to heat up, a little bit of warmth is acceptable, but it should not heat up.

Thanks Frango. That makes sense. I bet that's what happened. I drive around, using the gadgets, but never worrying about the plug seating in the socket. After so much driving, it gets loose, but still makes enough contact for the gadgets to still work. So I think nothing of it. In the meanwhile, heats building up due to the poor contact, the plastics warping a bit, making the fit slightly looser. Eventually, it comes unplugged enough for the gadgets to stop working. So I shove it back in and the cycle starts again. After several cycles of this, the warpage is too much and the plug no longer stays in.

So next time around, I will have more respect for the connect. Make sure everything's clean. Make sure it's in there nice and tight. Check it alot. Sound like a plan. Thanks again! I think you nailed it.

01grand 05-14-2012 10:06 AM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
How many extra things are you plugging into it? Just because the plug on the Jeep is designed to handle 15 amps doesn't mean the adapter is. I would see if the packaging lists a maximum current draw, but I would suspect that the problem is just too much current for the adapter to handle. I would also check for corrosion like Frank said, high resistance will cause heat to build up quickly. Are you using the cigarette lighter port or the "power outlet" port?

markon 05-14-2012 12:53 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 01grand (Post 629259)
How many extra things are you plugging into it? Just because the plug on the Jeep is designed to handle 15 amps doesn't mean the adapter is. I would see if the packaging lists a maximum current draw, but I would suspect that the problem is just too much current for the adapter to handle. I would also check for corrosion like Frank said, high resistance will cause heat to build up quickly. Are you using the cigarette lighter port or the "power outlet" port?

These things don't handle alot. The first one had a 6 amp fuse. The second one had a 5 amp fuse. I'm running a GPS, an MP3 player, and sometimes a Papa John's sign (I know. Don't judge!) The GPS is .5 amp. The mp3 player is probably .5 amp or 1 amp. The pizza sign has a 7.5 amp fuse. Converted to watts, that would be 90 watts. So I'm thinking a 75 watt bulb, which would be 6.25 amps. If it's only a 40 watt bulb, that would be 3.33 amps. So at least, I was drawing 4.33 amps (.5 + .5 + 3.33). At most, I was drawing 7.75 amps (.5 + 1 + 6.25). I never blew a fuse though - 6 amps and 5 amps. Either way though, I was running close to the limits of the splitters. Combine that with the fact that the main plug was jiggling loose every now and then, I can see why it would melt.

I definitely need to be more diligent about checking the main plug's seating. That's the danger of having the type of splitters I've been using. They have on/off switches, which is a really cool feature and the reason I bought them. I didn't want to be bothered with constant plugging and unplugging of plugs. This is also the downside of this product. You get lazy and never check your connections. You're just flipping switches. Then the connection gets a little loose, starts generating some heat, but you don't notice because everything still works.

Tomorrow at work, I'm going to find out how many watts their sign bulbs are. I'm wondering though, is there any ingenious way I can use my multimeter to test the load while I have everything plugged in and running?

Thanks!
markon

Frango100 05-14-2012 01:47 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Depending on your multimeter, it can have a separate 10 Amps measuring point. If so, you could easily measure the total current draw. Maybe that you could get a better quality plug, or even divide the acessories over the cigar lighter and the power outlet.

markon 05-14-2012 10:58 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frango100 (Post 629360)
Depending on your multimeter, it can have a separate 10 Amps measuring point. If so, you could easily measure the total current draw.

Thanks. My multimeter does have the 10 amp option. I've never used that though. I don't understand how I would take the measurement. If everything is plugged in, there is no point left for me to touch with the probes. What would I touch with the negative and positive probes?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frango100 (Post 629360)
Maybe that you could get a better quality plug, or even divide the acessories over the cigar lighter and the power outlet.

Yeah I didn't think about sharing with the cigarette lighter. I can always plug the pizza sign into that at least, then use a splitter with on/off switches for my low power stuff.

markon 05-14-2012 11:26 PM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by markon (Post 629614)
Thanks. My multimeter does have the 10 amp option. I've never used that though. I don't understand how I would take the measurement. If everything is plugged in, there is no point left for me to touch with the probes. What would I touch with the negative and positive probes?

I think I just found the answer to this. Something that talks about testing a motorcycle for current drain. The testing part should be the same, hooking the multimeter up in series, instead of in parallel:

Quote:

To test for battery drain: Switch everything off on the bike. Disconnect just one battery lead. For example disconnect the Positive Battery Lead. Set your Multimeter to Amps as described above. Connect the Positive Multimeter Lead to the Battery Positive terminal. Make sure the Positive Lead you removed from the battery does not touch anything grounded, like the Bike frame etc…. Connect the Negative Lead from the Multimeter to the Positive Lead you removed from the Battery. You should now see current drain measured in Amps. Move to the lower Amp setting on your multimeter if the current is lower than the setting on the Multimeter Low setting. Start to unplug the wires or fuses around your bike and see if the current reading goes to zero. This will point you in the direction of the current thief. You can convert to Power measured in Watts by multiplying it by the Battery Voltage. Power = Volts x Amps 4.2Watts or (12Volts x 0.35Amps).
So I would just do this with everything turned off and then with everything turned on, then subtract the difference.

Frango100 05-15-2012 06:47 AM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
The current indeed is measured with a multimeter in series with the circuit . There are special clamp type current meters, which you can simply clamp over a wire and measure the current without disconnecting anything. The cigar lighter only works with ignition in on. Most probably the total current draw from the battery will surpass the 10 Amp in that case, so would be too high to measure with your multimeter. So only use the power outlet with ignition in off.
Instead of disconnecting the battery cable, you could also remove fuse 9 (20A) from the power outlet on the junction block and put the multimeter test probes in both open slots and you will only see the current to the power outlet.
Be carefull with the 10 Amp connection of the multimeter. It has a dedicated socket and should ONLY be used to measure the current in a circuit. Donīt forget to unplug it directly after use, to prevent making a mistake when you for example wants to measure voltage. Because even with the selector switch in any voltage range, but the probe still connected to the 10 Amp socket, it will cause a short circuit in the measured circuit and at least melt a fuse or brun your test wires or multimeter.

markon 05-17-2012 11:17 AM

Re: Lighter Accessory Socket Melting Plug Ends
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frango100 (Post 629707)
The current indeed is measured with a multimeter in series with the circuit . There are special clamp type current meters, which you can simply clamp over a wire and measure the current without disconnecting anything. The cigar lighter only works with ignition in on. Most probably the total current draw from the battery will surpass the 10 Amp in that case, so would be too high to measure with your multimeter. So only use the power outlet with ignition in off.
Instead of disconnecting the battery cable, you could also remove fuse 9 (20A) from the power outlet on the junction block and put the multimeter test probes in both open slots and you will only see the current to the power outlet.
Be carefull with the 10 Amp connection of the multimeter. It has a dedicated socket and should ONLY be used to measure the current in a circuit. Donīt forget to unplug it directly after use, to prevent making a mistake when you for example wants to measure voltage. Because even with the selector switch in any voltage range, but the probe still connected to the 10 Amp socket, it will cause a short circuit in the measured circuit and at least melt a fuse or brun your test wires or multimeter.

Thanks Frango. I'll try that this weekend - hooking up to the fuse 9 slot. That sounds alot easier than disconnecting the battery.


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