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View Full Version : Cigarette Lighter Always On? Possible?


x3ronnie
05-24-2010, 03:03 PM
I just purchased an XM SkyDock and am using the lighter socket for the first time. The socket is only powered with the engine running or the ignition in the on position. This is very inconvenient and I am wondering if there is a way to have the socket be powered under any other conditions (radio readiness switched on). The Sky Dock must be connected to the lighter socket as it provides a physical mount for the iPod Touch. I am not comfortable making electrical mods myself,but would have someone do it if it can be done.
TIA

archie253
05-24-2010, 04:49 PM
My local dealer claims it can't be done (reason / excuse given: the car already draws a lot of power when it's off / why would you want to add another draw?) but my level of trust in said dealer is low. It's definitely do-able if you want to physically re-wire an outlet or two, but that may be more complicated than it's worth (with the exception of the trunk cig lighter outlet, which would be a 4-5ft wiring run that will probably void all your warranties) :rolleyes:

Would be great if there's a software switch that keeps the cig lighter relays on, but I'm guessing that the cig lighters are fed by a fuse panel master relay that shuts down a lot more than just the lighter sockets - stuff that you really don't want to keep running full-time. Would love to hear some fact-based data though!

HokieXDriver
05-24-2010, 06:01 PM
BMW is the first German car I've owned that does this. I owned VW and Audi and they both keep the lighter sockets powered at all times.

Sorry, I don't know a fix, but I would also like to know if there is one.

MSAMMY
05-24-2010, 08:55 PM
Check in the upper left corner of the passenger front footwell - there is an adapter port near the courtesy light. I don't recall if it's powered on shut-down, but it's worth a try! :thumbup:

GoRavens
05-24-2010, 10:43 PM
I just purchased an XM SkyDock and am using the lighter socket for the first time. The socket is only powered with the engine running or the ignition in the on position. This is very inconvenient and I am wondering if there is a way to have the socket be powered under any other conditions (radio readiness switched on). The Sky Dock must be connected to the lighter socket as it provides a physical mount for the iPod Touch. I am not comfortable making electrical mods myself,but would have someone do it if it can be done.
TIA

Why do you want to run/charge it when the car is off?

x3ronnie
05-25-2010, 02:47 AM
Why do you want to run/charge it when the car is off?

I don't want it to be ALWAYS on,but having it on in the accessory position would be nice. I can listen to the radio this way,but not to my XM or iPod when connected through the skydock/lighter socket.
Unfortunately my 5 does not have the passenger footwell lighter socket. This would not be helpful anyway,as the unit has to be physically connected to the socket and close to the driver as well.

HokieXDriver
05-25-2010, 05:25 AM
Check in the upper left corner of the passenger front footwell - there is an adapter port near the courtesy light. I don't recall if it's powered on shut-down, but it's worth a try! :thumbup:

Nope, same thing.

The manual says all power outlets in the car behave the same as the front cigarette lighter.

HokieXDriver
05-25-2010, 05:30 AM
Why do you want to run/charge it when the car is off?

In my case, I have a small tire pump that I use to set tire pressures correctly when the tires are cold, in my garage.

I don't want to run the engine while doing this because it would waste fuel. So ironically I turn on the ignition and set my tire pressures - I say ironically because I'm using up the battery faster that way than if BMW let me run the pump without turning on the ignition.

I usually hook up my battery tender overnight after setting pressures.

x3ronnie
05-25-2010, 10:11 AM
This is just another one of those "things" that I dislike about my BMW. Add it to the list. Sat Rad is prohibitively expensive and proprietary as is iPod interface. Most vehicles would allow the lighter socket to work with the ignition in the accessory position. Certainly the radio would work in the acc pos.With my X3 I loved being able to turn on the radio without even doing anything with the key/ignition. Now I can't even do anything until the iDrive screen boots up. Waiting to turn on the radio,or select something on my iPod is not my idea of a premium vehicle. I will get used to it,but thought the 530xi would be similar to the X3 I had grown accustomed to. Guess I should've done more research. If anyone has any idea about how to get the lighter powered without having the ignition on,please chime in.

Spyder
05-25-2010, 11:50 AM
Rewiring the cig lighter to an unswitched 12v line would not be difficult, but this solution is trivial...

http://www.amazon.com/BMW-Genuine-Auxiliary-Power-Adapter/dp/B000NCNB92

The device simply plugs into the flashlight socket in your glove box. That receptacle is always hot to keep the flashlight battery charged.

Spyder

x3ronnie
05-25-2010, 11:59 AM
Rewiring the cig lighter to an unswitched 12v line would not be difficult, but this solution is trivial...

http://www.amazon.com/BMW-Genuine-Auxiliary-Power-Adapter/dp/B000NCNB92

The device simply plugs into the flashlight socket in your glove box. That receptacle is always hot to keep the flashlight battery charged.

Spyder

Thank you for the adaptor solution. Again, the unit that I am plugging in acts as an iPod dock and needs to be connected to a fixed location. I need to have the lighter socket powered. What about the rewiring?Details?

Spyder
05-25-2010, 12:15 PM
Thank you for the adaptor solution. Again, the unit that I am plugging in acts as an iPod dock and needs to be connected to a fixed location. I need to have the lighter socket powered. What about the rewiring?Details?

It's never difficult to find an unswitched power source, eg see the current V1 thread. The dome light assembly has both switched (suitable for the V1) and unswitched wires that can be tapped. Also, the hot wire to the flashlight adaptor could be tapped for an unswitched source.

As for iPod/iPhone mounting, powering, and connecting to the OEM sound system, this solution is the best I've come across...

http://www.2point5.com/

I purchased their unit for the 650 but have yet to install it. In my case, and older gen iPod lives in the glove box, and is connected to the OEM sound system via the BMW CD emulator. Hence, I use iDrive to play iPod music, but I still needed to connect the iPhone to the aux input to play Podcasts and Pandora. That's where the spec dock fits in. I really like that I can just pull the iPhone out of the dock, close the ashtray cover, and have the car appear entirely stock.

Spyder