Powering a dashboard camera through the cigarette lighter

A chap in the garage commented yesterday that it was dangerous for me to use the cigarette lighter to power the dashboard camera. Is this the case? I’ve been doing it for years and nothing untoward has happened. The trouble is my wife is now becoming paranoid about it and if I can’t calm her down I’ll have to buy a new camera which uses some other power source.

I wouldn’t be surprised; it obviously wasn’t designed for that. What’s supposed to happen though? I would think you could find some reports about the danger.

Lots of people everywhere power lots of things with the cigarette lighter.

Why would the dashboard camera be any more dangerous?

Unless the equipment is old or there is no fuse inside the plug or something.

Maybe just one superstitious guy.

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The power draw from your dash cam is less than the cigarett lighter. Anyway it’s fused so nothing to be worried about.


I always thought that that was part of the cigarette lighter’s role - if you can stick something in it’ll charge it up. Beats giving people cancer.

I think it was really originally intended just to heat up cigarette lighters. Maybe I’m wrong though!

Thanks for the prompt replies, chaps. I think I will reassure she who must be obeyed.


It could be even more dangerous if the wire is not installed correctly to another location or if the installer does not include a fuse.

Yes originally, these days most new cars don’t come with the actual lighter part and they are more intended to be used for power supply. I worked for VW for several years and in the wiring diagrams they call it a 12V socket.


He might be a good mechanic but a terrible electrician, or maybe he just wanted you to pay him to rewire it.


Maybe he sells cameras!


And those DashCams probably come with a Cigarette Lighter plug on the end too!!


It would be funny to have a lighter like that.

… for decades. Nothing happened. Well, that’s not entirely true, I burned my thumb once as I thought the lighter wasn’t heated as I couldn’t see the red glow. I just stuck it in to check. Some cars come with USB connectors nowadays and more will over time.

Don’t remember seeing ashtray in newer cars either

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No expert, but i would venture a guess that if he said that with no reasons why and happened to be selling another way to do it…basic math.


This type of the socket does not provide a reliable contact, especially with crappy quality of most of these cheap non-fused inserts. It may lead to the glitches and possible failure of device powered this way, although the chance of that is not high. It’s always better to have a permanent dedicated wiring.

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I’m sure it would be better, but I like to balance probabilities*.

EDIT: *This might be a malapropism.

Seem like you are confident. If i may ask, would constant use of the socket cause any issues with the cars computer and.whatnot? Might be a stupid question, but the cigarettes lighter only gets used for minutes a day whereas the camera is on all the time the car is on.

Thinking about it more my camera does have a tendency to refuse to connect occasionally, which must be down to the connection with the power source. Yes, having the wiring done properly might be sensible.

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