Radio/clockloses power when I plug in the lighter

Tiny
EARTHYARTIST
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  • 2005 TOYOTA ECHO
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 110,000 MILES
I recently blew the 15A fuse for the radio/clock/lighter. Once I replaced the fuse everything seemed fine for about a week but now I have a new problem. The radio/clock works fine UNTIL I plug a device (or the actual lighter) into the lighter socket. Then all power to the unit seems to cease. When I unplug my lighter or iPod adapter, the power returns to the clock radio right away.

Is the problem connected to me using a generic fuse from Canadian Tire or is there something else going on here?
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Thursday, August 18th, 2011 AT 2:18 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There really isn't such a thing as a generic fuse. The only concern is that you put the correct value back in. First I'd suspect there's a problem with the lighter socket. Sometimes accessories such as cell phone chargers have a plug that isn't exactly compatible with lighter sockets and they can touch multiple points and create a short. They usually will work if you plug it in rotated the right way. I would look closer at the new fuse to be sure it's plugged in securely and there's no corrosion on the terminals. If the new fuse isn't blowing when the radio quits, it suggests there's too much resistance in the circuit. That will have the greatest affect when more current is demanded such as when plugging in the lighter. The radio memory circuit and clock by themselves take very little current so that suspect resistance won't be a problem when nothing else is turned on.

If you don't see anything obvious with that new fuse, plug the lighter in so the problem occurs, then measure the voltage right at the fuse. There's two small holes on top to stick the voltmeter probe. If you find a different voltage on each side of the fuse, it's just barely blown but left a carbon track behind. That is fairly rare but can pass enough current for the radio and clock.
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Thursday, August 18th, 2011 AT 4:41 AM
Tiny
EARTHYARTIST
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Yup. You were right. The fuse was blown on just the one side. It still seems odd that this fuse had blown so soon when I had used the iPod adapter on the previous fuse for almost a year before it blew. Is there a difference between the durability of one brand to another?

I made sure this one was in good and tight so hopefully it won't happen again. Thank you so much for your advice :)
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Friday, August 19th, 2011 AT 1:09 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Nope. Basically, a fuse is a fuse. I think if you monkey with the Ipod plug and rotate it, you will reach a point where something touches and the fuse blows. When that happens to me, I just watch the orientation closely when I plug it in, and I make sure to always have it oriented the same way.
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Friday, August 19th, 2011 AT 1:18 AM
Tiny
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That makes sense. There is a little light on the top so it always goes in light up - but it is often hit by my passengers knees. I will have to train myself to train them to watch how they sit. Maybe carry a ruler to give them a little wack on the knee when they get out of line. LOL Once again, thank you so much :)
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Friday, August 19th, 2011 AT 1:31 AM

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