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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 02-04-2013, 09:05 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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It's 2013: What's the best E39 cigarette lighter power adapter at the best price?

We've all evolved - but there is still much to learn.

What do you currently use for a cigarette lighter power adapter in your Bimmer?

Why?
(i.e., what can the rest of us learn from your setup?)

In the olden days, most of us use separate proprietary power adapters (perhaps with a y-splitter) in the cigarette lighter socket to power our cellphones and GPS units and to recharge our bluetooth devices.

Some added dedicated power & others used the existing glovebox flashlight charger:
- Adding new fuses & wiring in the engine bay (1) & all about the BMW Glovebox Flashlight Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter (1) (2) (3) & how to install a Valentine or Escort radar detector (1) (2)

But most of us simply use the cigarette lighter, with an adapter.

So that we can all benefit, I ask, for 2013:

Q: What do you use for cigarette lighter power adapter for your portable electronics?

EDIT: See also: It's 2013: What do you currently use for handsfree cellphone & audio in your Bimmer?
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-04-2013 at 11:49 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2013, 10:17 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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So that others benefit from my research (and multiple mistakes!), I bought a dual-USB charger for about $15 at Frys; but it's only about $10 on the net (exclusive of tax/shipping).
But, with these USB power adapters, there is MUCH DUPLICITY abounding in the packaging! Caveat emptor!

Given that this is a system, here are the specifications I recommend you shoot for in a power adapter:
  • Dual USB (simultaneously - don't be tricked by the two ports - look at the specifications to ensure BOTH can be used at the same time!)
  • 2.1 amp (in at least one slot - this isn't critical unless you have an iPad - but it's nice and doesn't cost more, in practice)
  • 1.0 amp (in the second slot, as an amp is mandatory for today's power hungry devices)
  • Total should be 3.1 Amps, and 15 Watts (not 10 Watts which many dual-slot devices are because they don't deliver that power simultaneously!)
  • Fused (is nice)
  • Ceramic (would be nice)
  • Lighted (a nice option)
  • Labelled (some don't label which slot is the 2.1 amp slot!)
Note: If it doesn't SAY what the amperage is, then it's probably 500ma, which just won't cut it for the smart phones of today.
Note: If it doesn't say what the wattage is, then it's probably only 10 Watts, because both slots can't be used simultaneously!

Here is a picture of mine: (If you can find a BETTER power adapter, please let me know!)


You can get this a 15 Watt low profile (ceramic?) 3.1 Amp (2.1 + 1.0) dual-USB charger for about $10 on the net.

It would be nice if fellow bimmerfesters find a good source so others benefit.

Here's just one to give users an idea of what they should shoot for.


Be careful NOT to get the 10-Watt version (which looks the same!).
(The difference is that you want BOTH ports to be used simultaneously.)
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-04-2013 at 11:49 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2014, 07:52 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Whatever cigarette lighter adapter you do use, don't use the one this person did today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > USB charger plug- in stuck in cig lighter socket

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdt10768 View Post
Bought my wife a little oem bmw usb charger, and now it is somehow stuck in the CLOSED space for the cig lighter. Cannot open it. Tried prying, don't want to break anything. Ideas?! Thanks
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2014, 01:31 PM
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shaftdrive shaftdrive is offline
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I've seen dual port 3.1 amps each (6.2 amps total).

Most smartphones can draw at least 1.5 Amps nowadays.
For example, my Moto G says it wants 1.0 to 1.5 Amps to charge it.
If you have an iPad, you're at 2.1 Amps.

Just bear in mind that Android phones can tell charge capabilities using data shorts while Apple devices use voltages to tell the charge need.

More information that I can say about that confusing situation is in these references.

Quote:
Apple USB charging standard:
  • 2.0 V on D+ and 2.0 V on D- puts out 500 mA on the power pins
  • 2.0 V on D+ and 2.8 V on D- puts out 1 A on the power pins
Quote:
Android USB charging standard:
  • 2.8 volts across D+ tells the Android phone it's low current.
  • 2.0 volts across D- tells the Android phone it's high current.
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2014, 11:05 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I'm now using a dual port 2.1 Amp + 1 Amp power supply because I recently received my very first iPad for my birthday, and I'm currently figuring out how to power it, use it, and mount it while in the vehicle...

See also:
- 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)
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2014, 01:53 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I highly recommend GreatShield dual USB charger, $5.50 on amazon.
You should buy a few of these.
- One USB port is 2.1A for things like tablets etc.
- The other USB port is 1.0A for cell phones etc.


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  #7  
Old 04-01-2014, 08:33 PM
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2014, 10:40 PM
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For reference, the quirks of powering electronic equipment came up in this thread today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Lighter Heating Socket Not Heating Up
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2014, 03:55 AM
scott740il scott740il is offline
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this is helpful! i have the worst time finding a charger that will charge my Galaxy S4.
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:50 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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The question came up today that some USB adapters have too small a pin to work in the E39 cigarette lighter socket, so it behooves us to report which ones do work.

The goal is:
  1. At least 3.1 amps simultaneously (15 Watts simultaneously)
    • (24 Watts is even better!)
  2. Each port fused separately
    • (single fuse is acceptable)
  3. Cigarette lighter trap door closes with the unit in place
    • (indicator light is a nicety)
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Cigarette USB adapter issue
Quote:
Originally Posted by kricker View Post
I have a strange issue with a USB adapter for my cigarette lighter. I bought an Aukey dual USB charger model CC-S1. It is a compact unit that I could leave plugged in and still close the cigarette lighter port when I don't need it. For some reason I can not get the adapter to work in my port. I have tested it in various other vehicles and it works in all of them. I made sure it is plugged in all the way. I have turned it various orientations, but nothing. I have a few other larger USB adapters, and they work without issue, but they are large, ugly and I can't leave them plugged in and close the port.

So my question is, what could be preventing this charger from working. Seeing as I have pushed it in as far as it can go, I would assume the pin on the bottom is making contact with the bottom of the port, but I do not know how I can confirm this. I know the side contacts are touching.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Is the light on? If not, the pin is not making contact.

Compare the adapter with the cig lighter. It may be too big to allow full insertion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisCooper! View Post
Hi,

Edjack is 'almost' correct again I suspect !

Some USB adaptors that fit into the cig light socket are just that little bit too short for the 12V pin to make contact with the socket and there's some which do work but don't have a small LED.

The solution is to buy another adaptor that is long enough - I know as I had the exact same thing happen to me.

Cheers, Dennis!
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I have had the same problem.
The center pin is vastly different in different cigarette lighter adapters.

We should probably list the ones that work for us, so others don't make the same mistake.

BTW, make sure you get a dual-fused dual-port 3.1Amp simultaneous (15 Watt simultaneous) socket, for best charging, that fits with the trap door closed.
- Dual USB Car Cigarette Lighter Charger Adapter w/ Apple Compatible 8-pin Data / Charging Cable

See also:
- 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 choosing 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)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I love that your charger is 24 watts!
That's hard to find but very useful, especially if you're an iStuff person!

__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 07-03-2015 at 11:57 AM.
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