Modern technology keeps us connected to the world and allows us to work, play and browse infinite knowledge on a range of devices – until the batteries run out.
One of the most common ways to keep your device charged when you’re on the go and from power outlets is car chargers.
Some modern cars are now built with multiple ports for car chargers so passengers can power multiple devices at once.
How Car Chargers Work
Car chargers plug into the car socket, which was traditionally used as a cigarette lighter but is now known simply as an auxiliary power outlet.
The outlet is the best way to deliver power from a vehicle’s battery to portable electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, or cameras.
Car chargers have a socket end which plugs into the outlet, and a device end which connects to the item needing power. This is often done via a USB cord.
The power that is provided to a USB device to charge it is measured in Watts (W). It is the Voltage (V) multiplied by the Current – measured in Amps (A).
Therefore W = V x A
All phones & tablets charge using 5V. If a phone charges at 1A then the power is said to be 5V x 1A which is 5W.
Size Doesn’t Matter
The biggest issue with using a car cigarette lighter receptacle as a socket is the size (inner diameter and depth) of the port itself.
Since there is some variation in the size of a port, car-friendly power plugs typically have spring-loaded contacts at the bottom to stay in electrical contact no matter the size of the port.
Because this means the connection may be lost from time to time, many models come with LED lights to indicate when it is powering up.
Not always a smooth ride
While modern cars have this under control, some older vehicles may be unable to regulate the voltage going through the charging port.
This can mean anywhere between 9 and 14 V maybe being sent through the connector, but accessories have in-built regulators and converters to ensure a steady voltage output.
More than one charge option
Even if your car only has one charging port – there are adaptors and extenders available which mean you can charge up to 10 devices at once.