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Why are car power ports always on?

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Why are car power ports always on?

Old 11-22-2008, 07:10 AM
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Default Why are car power ports always on?

My wife got her new work car this week. I have to struggle to see under the center console to see 2 power ports, no cig lighter. My first thought is "GREAT, she now can have her GPS and cell phone charger running at the same time".

No such luck. The power ports are not connected through the ignition. They stay on after you remove the key! Therefore the GPS stays on all the time, running from the car battery. Now I guess I will have to put an aux cig lighter in, running from the fuse box!

Why would they not connect the power ports through the ignition? ;? Maybe there is a great reason, but I can't think of one.
Old 11-22-2008, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Check the owners manual - depends on the car. In some vehicles this is owner-selectable or there is a fuse you can swap back and forth to change the behavior. Personally I'd prefer it if anywhere there are two, one is ignition based the other is on all the time. Sometimes you need a 12v recepticle and don't want to leave your ignition on to use it...
Old 11-22-2008, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Taking Flot's suggestion 1/2 step further... The fuse for the power-port is probably seperate. There are inserts for fuse plugs to wire in a switch and it's also fairly easy to add in a switch of your own if you want to. The hardest part is findg a good spot to mount the switch.

Not all cars are wired that way. Better luck next time.

Good luck!
Old 11-22-2008, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Check around to see if you can find a "splitter"(1 into2) that's switched. Even if it's not switched it will provide some extra length so they're easier to unplug.
Old 11-22-2008, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

what is the year/make/model of the vehicle?
Old 11-22-2008, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Flot - 11/22/2008 10:30 AM

Check the owners manual - depends on the car. In some vehicles this is owner-selectable or there is a fuse you can swap back and forth to change the behavior. Personally I'd prefer it if anywhere there are two, one is ignition based the other is on all the time. Sometimes you need a 12v recepticle and don't want to leave your ignition on to use it...


I have not looked at the owners manual, yet. I will look-up and see if it is switchable.


It is a 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ
Old 11-22-2008, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Reel Boobs - 11/22/2008 2:06 PM

It is a 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ
Hey, I thought I was the only forum member with an American car..... ;?
Old 11-22-2008, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

LI Sound Grunt - 11/22/2008 2:27 PM

Reel Boobs - 11/22/2008 2:06 PM

It is a 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ
Hey, I thought I was the only forum member with an American car..... ;?

As un-American as I feel saying this........... .................the Malibu is her company car and our other cars are foreign nameplates. At least her company sponsors American companies.
Old 11-22-2008, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

I, for one, am glad they do that. One can charge a cell phone without running the engine. When traveling I often do this.
Old 11-22-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Well, I looked in the owners manual and it clearly says that they are always on. Then they give a warning of draining the car battery. And I found a 3rd power port in the center console, but it is "always on" also.


So, how do I switch the fuse to the ignition?
Old 11-22-2008, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

My Ford stays on which I find highly annoying. It sucks with radar detectors having to unplug it. My Honda shuts off with the ignition off.
Old 11-22-2008, 02:09 PM
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Default RE: Why are car power ports always on?

Personally, I like the fact that the port in my F250 is always on. This way the car doesn't have to be running to charge the phone. As for the GPS, I just turn it off.

Having said that, I am not your wife! [img]../images/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]
Old 11-22-2008, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

you could rewire them to the ignition switch using a seperate fuse holder. i believe the wire color is either orange or brown. (you would want to verify with a digital multimeter) They should be thick wires, around 12/14 awg. I dont suggest tapping into another fuse at the fuse box for something like this.
Old 11-22-2008, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Dont most people turn off (and hide) the gps for security purposes anyway?
Old 11-22-2008, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Why not just turn the GPS off?

Two power ports and one cigarette lighter in the dodge.

The power port are always on the lighter is on with ignition.

Cell phone charger stays on a power port. GPS is on the lighter, I still have to turn the GPS off manually or it runs the internal battery down.
Old 11-22-2008, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Can you believe Chrysler actually got it right on of all things the Jeep Wrangler (yes, I went from a BMW to a Wrangler) and one port is always on while the other goes on/off with the ignition.
Old 11-22-2008, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

The power ports are always on to facilitate electronics that cannot have their power interrupted, like if your laptop is writing to disc, may not be a good time to disconnect power. That's why FireFly's Wrangler has a port that is always on.

Power ports are potentially extreme dangerous. For that reason, some airliners have not allowed them. No idea why some do. Fwiw, Li Ion batteries are also have the potential to be extremely dangerous. The FAA has only recently moved to ban some types of uninstalled Li Ion batts on aircraft, only allowing those Li Ion batts installed in devices.

Old 11-22-2008, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

twentynine - 11/22/2008 7:50 PM

Why not just turn the GPS off?

Two power ports and one cigarette lighter in the dodge.

The power port are always on the lighter is on with ignition.

Cell phone charger stays on a power port. GPS is on the lighter, I still have to turn the GPS off manually or it runs the internal battery down.

Can you please tell my wife to always turn off the GPS. That way, when the battery dies, you can explain to her that it was HER fault!


The 3 always-on power ports are ok in my car, but for her car, I need to have an ignition controlled PP.
Old 11-23-2008, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

"T" a solenoid off the main radio power line. Route the power port line trhough the other connections. Solenoids are only a couple dollars so if it interferes wth the radioyou wont have lost too much money.

That way you dont have to risk telling the wife anything...

Old 11-23-2008, 05:39 AM
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Default Re: Why are car power ports always on?

Kamper - 11/23/2008 8:29 AM

"T" a solenoid off the main radio power line. Route the power port line trhough the other connections. Solenoids are only a couple dollars so if it interferes wth the radioyou wont have lost too much money.

That way you dont have to risk telling the wife anything...
that wont work on newer GM cars. they use a data bus system to turn the factory radio on and off. there is no switched 12 volt feed.

that is why i suggested that he tap into the ignition harness.

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