Can I charge the battery to my van using the van's cigarette lighter?

Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 4.2L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 160,000 MILES
Hello, it's just me Warren and please forgive me if this question has been asked before. I looked through the forms and I didn't see it on there. Well, anyway here is my simple question: Can I charge my battery to my van via my cigarette lighter? I heard some people say you can but I'm not really sure that is a safe thing to do. So that's why I am asking the 2CarPros. I have 1 set of cigarette lighters in my van. Two in the back that goes off when the van isn't started. But the one up front stay on all the time etc.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 AT 11:13 AM

10 Replies

Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If it stays on when the engine is off then yes, but you don't want a large current flow through it, so a small trickle charger or battery maintainer is okay, but anything over about 10 amps would be taking chances. Personally, I'd rather see you add one of the units that mounts to the battery or at least to the power stud on the fuse box, those are safer and don't depend on lightweight wires to carry the power. Now if you are talking about something like the solar panels you toss on the dash, yes.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 AT 1:23 PM
Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
Hello there Steve, and yeah, that is what i was talking about and that is one of those solar panel things you can toss on your dashboard. this model is the one i was looking at https://tinyurl.com/4pyjuzku Its a 5-watt model. The question is, since i have a wheelchair lift on my van and one of those 6-way transfer seats in it will that solar panel put back little to all of the power those things use when i am not using them? The reason why i ask about the cigarette lighter is because that is the one i can reach myself and i don't need anybody to help me connect the thing up. Now if i have to i will have someone to connect it to my battery if i have to. I would then just have to wait for someone to do it for me etc. But if i need a stronger one than that then i will run it directly to my battery. Better to be safe than sorry and more help i can give my battery would help out things too etc. Can a truck battery handle 17 watts being charged to it all the time? I saw a model that puts out that type of wattage too.
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Thursday, January 6th, 2022 AT 10:36 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
The idea of solar units is to keep the battery topped up because of constant draw of things like the clock, remote controls and such if the vehicle is just setting still and doesn't get run much. Power seats and chair lifts generally take a lot more power than those items. Now if the idea is to keep the battery topped up while the van is parked between uses and you just want to be able to roll up, open the door, use the lift, then start the engine and drive around. The solar units would handle that. If on the other hand you are thinking of being able to use the lift and seat on a daily basis but without running the engine, they won't work very well. For that you would probably want to do like many RVers do and put a few hundred watt solar panels on the roof and add a couple other batteries to handle the current draw.
5 watts isn't a problem, neither would the 17-watt panel for simply keeping the battery up while it's parked.
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Thursday, January 6th, 2022 AT 7:12 PM
Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
That's exactly what I am going to do with it what you said right here "Now if the idea is to keep the battery topped up while the van is parked between uses and you just want to be able to roll up, open the door, use the lift, then start the engine and drive around. The solar units would handle that." :-) Because I have let my van sit for a long period of time one time and the lift and seat drained the heck out of that battery. Plus, the battery I had was very old too didn't help things out none. And thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. It helped me out a lot. :-) :-)
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Thursday, January 6th, 2022 AT 10:25 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Okay, for that it will work, I'd opt for the larger unit because they usually rate those panels like you are sitting in the desert on a hot sunny day at high noon, so for normal days you might get a bit over half in real output. One of the things most solar items don't tell you.
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Friday, January 7th, 2022 AT 12:00 AM
Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
Okay. Which model are you referring to? I haven't ever bought a solar panel before either so. Which one do you think would work best? Keep in mind i plan on putting it on my dash in the front or let it mount to the windshield. Or if you know of a better company, please let me know about that too. but here is the site link right here: https://www.batterytender.com/solar-panels Most of the ones that would fit in my windows seems to be out of stock or discontinued.
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Friday, January 7th, 2022 AT 12:56 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
I would say it depends on how often you use the van and how much sun you get where it's parked. Those come with a built-in controller so they won't overcharge the battery so bigger isn't an issue, but if you plan on just driving it say every other week or so something in the 10 15-watt range would work just fine. The smaller one might work as well if you have a lot of sunlight. Likely hard to get the panels as they are all pretty much made in China.
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Friday, January 7th, 2022 AT 1:12 PM
Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
I use my van at least 3 or 4 times a week. Once the larger ones get in stock again, I try and get one of those. I am hoping the 5 watt one will work and where I park it at. It gets a lot of sun since all those trees around it were cut down this summer. So, I'm going to try that one just to test the waters and see how it goes. But if I see a 10-15 watt one I'm going try and get one of those too if this one works out like I want it to. Thank you for your help! You have big a very big help. :-)
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Friday, January 7th, 2022 AT 10:55 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Sounds like a plan. You are welcome.
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Saturday, January 8th, 2022 AT 7:17 AM
Tiny
WARREN1814
  • MEMBER
:-) :-) :-)
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Saturday, January 8th, 2022 AT 8:56 PM

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