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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-08-2013, 08:36 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY: How to make your cigarette socket a switched circuit

I posted the info on bimmerforums, but will repeat it here since this issue comes up all the time. I understand some use the adapter for the flashlight in the glovebox.

The mod below is very very simple, costing about $3 (the price of a Fuse Holder).

Many people don't smoke and simply want to turn the cig socket into a "switched" circuit for their iPOD, iPhone, GPS, Radar detector.
So once they turn the car off, they don't have to worry about discharging the battery.

People who try this mod, please post your photos and feedback so others can benefit from!

I think it is a simple 5 min mod.

------------
1. Different years have different fuse numbering for the cig socket. For 1998 528i, it is Fuse #52 (30A) in the trunk.
Factory setup: Current flows from "Always Hot" pin (the pin toward you) ---> 30A Fuse ---> Cig Socket.

The idea is to feed "switched current" to the other side of the Fuse #52 socket.
So you need to permanently remove Fuse #52 and somehow bring "switched current" to the other side.





2. Photo #2 is a typical layout of the Fuel Pump. I use this for illustrative purpose only, don't tap into fuel pump circuit.
In other words, don't mess around with the critical circuit like fuel pump.
I think you are better off tapping into the Defogger Relay circuit.


* Current flows from #86 (On when key in position II) ---> DME grounds #85 ---> Current flows from #30 to #87.
* Once you understand this setup, you should be able to bring the current from "switched circuit" to the other side of the cig socket.
* The idea is to bring current from a #87 terminal the other side of the Connector for the Cig Socket.





3. Photo #3 (borrowed from JimLev photo) shows you a typical trunk setup.
- Buy a Fuse Holder and put a 5A fuse in there. OK, 5A x 12V = 60 Watts, which is plenty for GPS and cell phone charger.
- The reason BMW puts a 30A fuse is to power the cig lighter, which sucks a lot of current when used! Look, if you don't smoke, then you don't care about the cig lighter.

- Remove Fuse #52.
- Remove a Green Relay (let's say Defogger Relay), look at the socket; verify that #86 (or #85) is "switched circuit" by using a Voltmeter. Turn the key to Off, position I and position II while checking the voltage. You have to do your own homework here.

- Note that the row of pins close to you are always HOT (12V).

- The Fuse Holder wiring mod:

#1 ---> Strip the wire on 1 side and leave it alone, this side is to be inserted together with the terminal #87 on the Green Relay during insertion.
(Or you can splice it to the appropriate wire under the socket).

#2 ---> Strip the other side and crimp a small "spade" connector. Insert this into the other side of the Connector for the Cig Socket.

Voila, you now have a "switch circuit" for the Cig Socket.

Good Luck and Have Fun!


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Last edited by cn90; 08-08-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2013, 11:11 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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actually I love fact lighter is always hot, as I can charge GPS & cell phone with out keys in car .I find it a huge plus .Not like my wife's Lexus where charging is not possible unless ignition is one.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:16 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Yeah,

My Honda Odyssey van is the same way, I have to turn the key to Position I to charge things.
The reason I posted this DIY is for folks who like to have the socket "switched".

BTW, this mod is easily reversible, i.e., at any given point you don't want it any more, simply remove the Fuse Holder and re-insert the factory fuse in.
Easy Peasy...
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:56 PM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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Don't the devices you're trying to switch have their own switches?
Just use those switches to turn things off.
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  #5  
Old 08-08-2013, 07:14 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jygesq View Post
actually I love fact lighter is always hot, as I can charge GPS & cell phone with out keys in car .I find it a huge plus .Not like my wife's Lexus where charging is not possible unless ignition is one.
+1, I much prefer an always "hot" cig lighter. If I leave my car for more than a few days in the garage, I will attach a battery tender though the cig socket and run the cord out the door threshold. The rubber seals easily collapse safely around the cord, and voila, I topped up battery ready when I get back to start the car. I believe this probably helps extend battery life (and alternator life), versus letting it run down, then get charged back up by the alternator.

My Valentine One radar detector is hardwired to my sunroof switch in the headliner. The only thing I might charge on the cig lighter is my Iphone or Garmin, and both get removed when I park anyway. If BMW finally comes out with an Iphone 5 snap in adapter for my arm rest I might spring for that...I need a new armrest adapter too...I think the cost for both is like $400 though...ouch! But that keeps my Iphone and Garmin from competing for the socket...or running a cord/adapter to the glove box. I hate all the cords running around.

I believe switched cig lighters is the car manufacturer's answer to reduced "road side assistance" calls under warranty where people have left devices charging for extended periods, depleting the battery and resulting in a "no start" situation. Only in the past 10 years have all these devices need to be plugged into a car, and resulted in multiple outlets throughout the car and switched via the ignition switch.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 08-08-2013 at 07:18 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-08-2013, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Yeah,

My Honda Odyssey van is the same way, I have to turn the key to Position I to charge things.
The reason I posted this DIY is for folks who like to have the socket "switched".

BTW, this mod is easily reversible, i.e., at any given point you don't want it any more, simply remove the Fuse Holder and re-insert the factory fuse in.
Easy Peasy...
Thanks, nice post regardless (as yours always are), didn't want to sound unappreciative...
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  #7  
Old 08-08-2013, 08:48 PM
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What I love about CN90 posts are they're almost always an instant classic!

I'll look up the appropriate cross reference, and put this in the bestlinks, so that, as always, others follow in Cam's footsteps.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:37 PM
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BMW gave us the best of both worlds. An always hot cigarette lighter outlet on the console and a switched one in the glove compartment.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
An always hot cigarette lighter outlet t.
Doing a search in the bestlinks for cigarette lighter & glovebox, we find:
- How to diagnose & repair an inoperative E39 cigarette lighter socket (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
- BMW Glovebox Flashlight Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter (1) (2) (3) & adding new fuses & wiring in the engine bay (1) & how to install the Valentine or Escort radar detector (1) (2)
- One users method of installing 12v and USB cigarette lighter power adapters for smart phones and cell phones in 2013 (1) & how people add a handsfree bluetooth cellphone or smartphone in 2013 (1) (2) & how some install an iPad (1) or an Android tablet (1)
Putting them together with this, we get something like:

Putting them together into a keyword-rich paragraph, we get something like:
- How to diagnose & repair an inoperative E39 cigarette lighter socket (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) & how to make your cigarette socket a switched circuit (1) (2) & a BMW Glovebox Flashlight Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter (1) (2) (3) & how to install the Valentine or Escort radar detector (1) (2) & one users method of installing 12v and USB cigarette lighter power adapters for smart phones and cell phones in 2013 (1) & how people add a handsfree bluetooth cellphone or smartphone in 2013 (1) (2) & how some install an iPad (1) or an Android tablet (1)

EDIT: See also:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > DIY: Hard wire 'switched' cigarette lighter /power socket, keeping the flashlight
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-14-2013 at 02:48 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-09-2013, 06:59 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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did not mean to sound ungreatful,your post

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Yeah,

My Honda Odyssey van is the same way, I have to turn the key to Position I to charge things.
The reason I posted this DIY is for folks who like to have the socket "switched".

BTW, this mod is easily reversible, i.e., at any given point you don't want it any more, simply remove the Fuse Holder and re-insert the factory fuse in.
Easy Peasy...
contribute a great deal to this community, I just like the lighter the way it is.
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  #11  
Old 08-09-2013, 07:01 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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I did not realize glove box outlet for flash light

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
BMW gave us the best of both worlds. An always hot cigarette lighter outlet on the console and a switched one in the glove compartment.
is switched. You learn something every day,
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  #12  
Old 08-09-2013, 08:17 AM
z168 z168 is offline
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Great idea. What I would do different would be to use a relay. So the defogger will power up a relay so that the cig sockets feeds off its original designated power source that way it wont overload the defogger
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:34 AM
professorman professorman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I understand some use the adapter for the flashlight in the glovebox.

The mod below is very very simple, costing about $3 (the price of a Fuse Holder).

Voila, you now have a "switch circuit" for the Cig Socket.
Thanks for the writeup. I will look into doing this.

On my Accord, I taped into the wire at the back of the cigarette lighter. I hard wire a 3 socket adapter, then I installed it under my passenger seat.

I am thinking about doing the same for the BMW. I want to tap into the wires at the rear of the flashlight, and hard wire a multi-socket adapter screwed into my glove box. I do not want to loose the flashlight. Granted, its not the brightest, but it is still useful to have a flashlight. I drove home the other day, and realized that the electricity was out in my neighborhood. Not to worry! My BMW flashlight is here!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
BMW gave us the best of both worlds. An always hot cigarette lighter outlet on the console and a switched one in the glove compartment.
I have no need for an always hot cigarette lighter. If I need something charged, I should be in the car. I will look into doing this mod.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
What I love about CN90 posts are they're almost always an instant classic!
Yes, his posts are always awesome!
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:34 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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z168,

Great idea!

But on the other hand, 5A is not that much, so you can piggy-back on the Defogger circuit w/o issues.
The defogger circuit is protected by a 40A fuse (the big fuse that sits toward the rear).
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:35 AM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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I agree. I just light the lighter the way it is. I still have a flip phone by the way.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:36 AM
professorman professorman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
z168,

Great idea!

But on the other hand, 5A is not that much, so you can piggy-back on the Defogger circuit w/o issues.
The defogger circuit is protected by a 40A fuse (the big fuse that sits toward the rear).
By the way, couldnt we just find the flashlight fuse and piggy back off that? Anyone have any idea, which fuse is the flashlight?
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:38 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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By the way, couldnt we just find the flashlight fuse and piggy back off that? Anyone have any idea, which fuse is the flashlight?
Yes, but way more work digging around the dash area.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:52 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z168 View Post
Great idea. What I would do different would be to use a relay. So the defogger will power up a relay so that the cig sockets feeds off its original designated power source that way it wont overload the defogger
OK z168,

I just sketched your idea for those who want it done your way...


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Old 08-09-2013, 08:56 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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my original 13 year ols startac went south

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsrguy98 View Post
I agree. I just light the lighter the way it is. I still have a flip phone by the way.
three years ago I bought a brand new Motorola Talk About on ebay,It has now replaced the old startac
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:43 AM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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I just love that old technology.
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  #21  
Old 08-09-2013, 06:28 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professorman View Post
any idea, which fuse is the flashlight?
It has gotta be one of these:
- One user's attempt at locating and snapping a picture of every single fuse & relay in the BMW E39 (1)
F39 = 7.5A, flashlight charging socket, courtesy mirror illumination

EDIT: From this thread, it appears to be fuse #39 (it was called "charging socket" in the original description above):
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > DIY: Hard wire 'switched' cigarette lighter /power socket, keeping the flashlight
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-14-2013 at 03:06 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-07-2015, 04:37 PM
Radlaw Radlaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
In other words, don't mess around with the critical circuit like fuel pump.
I think you are better off tapping into the Defogger Relay circuit.

* Current flows from #86 (On when key in position II) ---> DME grounds #85 ---> Current flows from #30 to #87.
* Once you understand this setup, you should be able to bring the current from "switched circuit" to the other side of the cig socket.
* The idea is to bring current from a #87 terminal the other side of the Connector for the Cig Socket.

Voila, you now have a "switch circuit" for the Cig Socket.
MY car is an E31 840Ci

1) When using the defogger relay (orange), you only have switched power to the cigarette lighter when the defogger switch is turned on. Is there a better relay to use?

2)My green relays have 5 connectors; not 4 like the orange defogger relay. The 5th connector is 87b. Should I use 87 or 87B?
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Last edited by Radlaw; 05-09-2015 at 01:59 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-10-2015, 12:21 PM
Radlaw Radlaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I'm not clear how this configuration will work. When the circuit is closed between 86 & 85, a circuit between 30 & 87 is created. The current will flow from 30 to 87, then to the right side of the fuse. Where after that? What is the input to 30? The diagram seems to connect 30 to the lead on the left side of the fuse pictured. There is a loop in & out that fuse. What is the left side of the pictured fuse connected to? What am I missing?
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Last edited by Radlaw; 05-10-2015 at 07:53 PM.
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