1997 Infiniti J30 Problems with the fuse

Tiny
HARDBRESLOV
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 INFINITI J30
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 197,000 MILES
I have an Infiniti J30 1997 which has a problem with the cigarette lighter outlet. When I plug in my phone the charger works perfectly, but once I insert a cigarette lighter into the outlet the fuse blows. I then tried a 30 amp fuse and it still blew right away. So I decided to test the cigarette lighter in my friends car to see if was defective, but it worked fine in he's car. So now I'm guessing that there is some kind of issue with the cigarette lighter outlet in my car. Would you be able to explain me the issue with my car, why is the fuse keep blowing, and how can I fix this.
thanks
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Monday, June 9th, 2014 AT 2:08 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There are a number of variables and you hit a combination that causes an intermittent short. Cigarette lighter outlets are considerably different than power outlets. Power outlets are very basic and almost any plug will work in them just fine. Cigarette lighter outlets have a thermal cutout built in to prevent overheating a stuck lighter element, and the metal tabs that hold the element in are "bimetal" which means they relax when heated to let the element pop out. Those tabs are designed to grab onto the element and they're sized to provide the right strength and release characteristics. Because of that, some power plugs for chargers, radar detectors, and things like that have contacts that are fat enough to touch the tabs and the socket housing at the same time and cause a short. Causing a short is another design feature meant to blow the fuse for safety by removing power to it when the wrong plug is used. How they incorporate that shorting feature varies by manufacturer. That's why a plug can work in one car and not in another. It will also depend on the orientation of how you put the charger's plug in. You can look at the outer contacts and always put the plug in with one of those contacts straight up, always at the 2:00 position, or some other orientation that doesn't cause the fuse to blow.
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Monday, June 9th, 2014 AT 3:24 PM

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