General Question

El_Cadejo's avatar

How do car cigarette lighters work?

Asked by El_Cadejo (34524points) December 27th, 2007

is it like an electrical current heating like a electric grill?

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5 Answers

LanceVance's avatar

Well, I think they set up a kind of a short circut. There is a flat copper wire in the lighter and the cap in the center is probably some kind of a resistor that prevents the electrical current to flow through at high values.

El_Cadejo's avatar

yea it just always confused me how it made that really hot yet i could simply plug in an electronic and it worked fine

gooch's avatar

same concept as a toaster

samkusnetz's avatar

the reason you can plug an adapter in and get electricity instead of heat is because the socket has electrical contacts only… the heating element is in the cap which plugs the socket.

mac316's avatar

The element inside the plug-in portion has a high resistance to the flow of electricity, however the voltage used is only 12 volts from your car battery. To limit the current thru the element, they size the element so that only about 15 amps of current flow, producing heat without creating a danger of a fire. They incorporate a thermal switch to limit the top temperature. And, yes, it is exactly the same principle as the electric grill or space heater!

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