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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2011, 07:26 PM
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crewdog843 crewdog843 is offline
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IPhone and GPS power cables for Z4

I have a 2008 Z4 3.0si which I just bought. I connected my iPhone charging cable to the cigarette lighter and although the lighter works, the cable does not power up (light does not come one indicating current flow). Ditto for my Magellan. I read somewhere that the cigarette lighter socket for the Z4 is too shallow. If this is true, is there an adapter or a work around for a fix to the problem?

TIA for any and all answers
jake in Las Vegas
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2011, 05:33 AM
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I tried everything, as I can see the current socket is working. Tried rotating the plug in the socket to different positions to no avail. A common problem in this car, as I am sure others are trying to charge their iPhones and using GPS (because BMW nav systems basically suck). Yet there is very little on any of the forums.....wonder why...

jake
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2011, 09:36 AM
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You probably need an adapter to hold the plug in place correctly, European 12V sockets are 0.5mm larger in diameter than North American ones, sometimes the plug will stay in place without the adapter sleeve and make a good connection, sometimes they won't:

http://forums.pelicanparts.com/off-t...er-socket.html
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2011, 09:40 AM
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Terry J. Harris Terry J. Harris is offline
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Jake, when you arrive at a solution for this please re-post to let us in on it, as I am thinking of switching over to an iPhone within the year. Thanks, and good luck!!
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2011, 05:14 PM
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crewdog843 crewdog843 is offline
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This is the literal moral equivalent of the Miracle on 14th Street. I went back to BMW today, and you should have seen the surprised (and chagrined) looks on their faces when I told them their precious product did not work as well as they thought. They had never heard of a BMW which would not accept plugs intended to power units such as iPhones or GPSs, and of course, no one(least of all a customer) had ever mentioned it to them. How in the world can a company make a car and have it on the streets for three years and not know that you cannot charge an iPhone in it? They were shocked, and speechless, and of course could offer no solution. They suggested that I go to Radio Shack and get one of those three outlet adapters...well, duh, if the cigarette lighter which is in there will not work now, what makes them think that a three outlet adapter will work.

Someone suggested that Griffin may have a solution, so I am going to work that angle next. I'll keep you all posted.

jake
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  #6  
Old 12-03-2011, 05:22 PM
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You need the genuine Apple white cable, not a generic Apple white cable. I had the same problem charging my iPhone. Wouldn't charge until I purchased an Apple cable.
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2011, 08:06 AM
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crewdog843 crewdog843 is offline
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Really....that's interesting. What would explain the fact that my Magellan GPS power cord will not fit in there either, or the fact that BMW service people have never heard of this problem. Mine cannot be the only car on which the cigarette lighter cannot be used to power peripheral devices. I will try the 'real' iPhone charging cord today, and let everyone know... My current cord is a Belkin.

jake
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2011, 08:51 AM
Wdupdog Wdupdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swood02 View Post
You need the genuine Apple white cable, not a generic Apple white cable. I had the same problem charging my iPhone. Wouldn't charge until I purchased an Apple cable.
Of course we know this isn't correct. I have a generic custom-made cable, 30 pin out with mini audio out and USB plug which charges, connects and plays thru line out to Aux with no change in sound levels. It really suits my needs.http://i1216.photobucket.com/albums/...s/IMG_5162.jpg
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Last edited by Wdupdog; 12-05-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2011, 09:20 AM
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Jake - I had the same issue when I bought my Z4. Replaced cigarette lighter socket under warranty. No issues since. You just need to replace it for reliable contact.

No need for special cords. My Magellan iPhone holder and AT&T iPhone charger both work now.
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Last edited by madurodave; 12-05-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2011, 09:22 AM
STIHLBOLTS STIHLBOLTS is offline
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Quote:
They suggested that I go to Radio Shack and get one of those three outlet adapters...well, duh, if the cigarette lighter which is in there will not work now, what makes them think that a three outlet adapter will work.
It does work, that is what I use to take care of the Iphone, Zune, and fuzz buster.

Happy Motoring.
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2011, 08:20 PM
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You know...I am warranted until 2016, so I think the best course of action will be to replace the foolish lighter under warranty which will throw the ball into BMW's court. If it doesn't work then with my existing cords, it then becomes their issue.

Thanks, madurodave

jake

PS: I looked at some 2011 Z4m's today, and there is little in the way of badging on the exterior to identify the car as a 'M'...there is a small 'M" emblem on the steering wheel, so maybe it is the grille which gives it away....
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crewdog843 View Post
PS: I looked at some 2011 Z4m's today, and there is little in the way of badging on the exterior to identify the car as a 'M'...there is a small 'M" emblem on the steering wheel, so maybe it is the grille which gives it away....
No such thing as a 2011(E89) Z4M. They make a sDrive35is, but it is NOT an M. It does have M badges(door sills, wheels, etc) all over it though...

Last edited by chickdr; 12-06-2011 at 08:54 PM.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2011, 07:34 AM
jman1975 jman1975 is offline
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contrary to the OP's issue, seems like my cigarette lighter socket is too small, every cable I put in the thing gets stuck while trying to unplug
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  #14  
Old 12-07-2011, 10:58 PM
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Gotta wonder...what are they putting in these cars, rejected stock? This is the first BMW I have ever owned which would not accept a plug in the cigarette lighter.

jake
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2011, 11:08 PM
Army_Wag127 Army_Wag127 is offline
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Hey all,

Sorry to go slightly off topic but I have a iPod/Cigarette lighter problem in my Z3. My car stereo has a iPod cable which gets its power from the 12v feed for the cigarette lighter. My boyfriend keenly installed this for me but the problem being that I now can't use my sat nav as the battery is so bad it needs to be charged all the time and I now have no power to my lighter port. Any ideas ? Can I take two feeds from the 12v, one for the radio and one for the lighter? I don't really want to install a new port in the car somewhere.

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  #16  
Old 12-08-2011, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by crewdog843 View Post
Gotta wonder...what are they putting in these cars, rejected stock? This is the first BMW I have ever owned which would not accept a plug in the cigarette lighter.

jake
Seems like it. My replacement works fine though.
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2011, 05:50 AM
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Thanks, madurodave...you gave me hope. I am going to call today to see if I can set up an appointment for next week. Coming week is going to be hectic, but i'm going to try and fit it in. My iPhone4 needs to be charged at least once a day after 8 hours of use, and I'm not going on a trip without being able to charge it enroute. Besides, I'm lost without my GPS.

jake
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  #18  
Old 12-10-2011, 06:56 PM
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Sales manager at Desert BMW has promised me an answer by Monday (Dec 12) on the cigarette lighter incompatibility issue with my '08 Z4. I hope he finds out something which the service advisers (who can sometimes be boobs) don't know. I don't know why these guys don't keep an eye on forums such as this, as they could probably learn a lot about their cars that BMW has not taught them. The salesman who bought my 7 series, had never heard of unlocking the OBC (On-board Cluster), which is common knowledge to any young e38 owner. Interesting....

jake
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:41 PM
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Besides, I'm lost without my GPS.

jake
You mean your iPhone and GPS are not one and the same? Shame on you! Haha!
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  #20  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:03 PM
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Although the iPhone has the GPS feature, my eyes are failing (I'm 70 years old) so I need the Magellan.... Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

jake
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  #21  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:47 PM
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I went to Radio Shack and their adaptors do not work. I tried a Verizon adaptor and it did not work. My wife suggested that I try an adaptor she had bought in China, and glory be, it worked (after a fashion). If I bump the cord, it would stop charging.

So, finally I had BMW order me a new cigarette lighter female portion in the hope that only something is loose. It has arrived and I am waiting for a chance to let them put it in. Hopefully this will solve the problem.

jake
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  #22  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:58 AM
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My money is on problem solved with new lighter based on my experience!
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  #23  
Old 01-02-2012, 09:26 AM
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The new lighter is in, but I have not had the time to get over there to have them install it. Today I am on break from work, but I am sick with a cold, and also have guests at the house, so I can't get out. Maybe tomorrow. I did notice that if I use the wife's Chinese iPhone power cord and rotate it around to one particular sweet spot, it will work. But the Magellan will not work no mater what I do, although it does work in the Camry.

jake
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:35 PM
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I have scheduled the new part to be replaced on the Monday after next, but after talking to the service writer, I am more than a little confused. According to him, BMW designed the Z4 cigarette lighter to be just that, a cigarette lighter. Little or no thought was given to it being used to power any other devices, because, the people who would drive a Z4 would buy it anyway, even it the cigarette lighter was only used to light cigarette (at a time when millions of people are giving up smoking). My feeling is that people would buy the Z4 and then find out the ugly truth and just find a work around.

He did state that some models come with an AUX jack, either on or under the console and some even in the storage compartment to the rear of the console...so BMW was aware that some would want to have a power outlet other than the cigarette lighter. My car does not have that option

I did manage to get my cell phone to charge, by twisting the plug in jack, and lo and behold, I even got my GPS to charge.....but if you (or the car's suspension) changes the attitude of that jack, power is lost and you might not know it. This leads me to believe that the female receptacle is not installed tight enough. At any rate, we will know in a week or so.

jake
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by crewdog843 View Post
This leads me to believe that the female receptacle is not installed tight enough. At any rate, we will know in a week or so.

jake
As I mentioned earlier in the thread, there is a difference in diameter of over 0.5mm between the smaller North American socket and the European ones. You need a sleeve for a tight fit in the receptacle on BMWs if you use a North American plug. North American 12V receptacles are "size A", whereas European ones are "size B": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cigar_l...hnical_details

At the low end of the plug size range the specification says a "size A" plug can be as small as 20.73mm, at the high end of the socket range a "size B" socket can be 21.51mm, leading to a size difference of up to 0.78mm. If you are lucky and you have a plug at the high end of the range and the socket at the low end, you will still have at least 0.53mm of slop without using a sleeve.

I've seen "A" to "B" sleeve adapters for sale in the past, but can't seem to locate any on-line at the moment.
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