Charging an LED Flashlight in a New Auto Power Socket




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

This is a compact LED flashlight for use in an automobile. These fit very well into older power sockets or cigarette lighter sockets for charging. But, they do not fit snugly in new power sockets appearing in recent automobiles and do not charge.

This Instructable will suggest a simple remedy for that problem.

Step 1: The Flashlight Base

The photo shows the base end of the flashlight. Notice that it is smooth with nothing to grasp the walls of the power socket.

Step 2: Older Style Plugs

This is an older style plug for a power socket. Notice the traditional spring clip on the side of the plug. These plugs still work well in the new power sockets.

Step 3: The Automobile Power Socket

If you look closely, you can see there are no spring protrusions inside the new power sockets. The walls are smooth.

Step 4: One Option

It is possible to remove the flashlight from the car now and then, and connect it to a 12 volt charger. The charger in the photo is from another Instructable I published.

Step 5: A Solution That Does Not Work

One vendor of these flashlights offers a small clip that may enable the flashlight to charge in some sockets. It did not work on my car. The flashlight still fit too loosely.

Step 6: A Simple Solution

I found an ordinary paper match from a book of matches solves the problem. Hold the stem of the match alongside the flashlight and insert both into the power socket. If you do not have a book of matches, fold a small piece of paper over several times and use it instead.

Update (Feb. 8, 2012)--I have some plastic file folders I use for various things. Today I took a piece about 1/2 inch wide and folded it lengthwise so it is two plies thick. I inserted that into the power socket with the flashlight and it worked quite well. Sometimes a paper match is a little too thick. You could also peel away a little of the paper match's thickness to make it fit in the socket with the light better. 

Step 7: How Did It Work?

Here you can see the flashlight in my power socket. To charge the light turn the knurled ring at the lens counter-clockwise. The flashlight glows red when charging. Notice the matchhead at the 5 o'clock position. I tested this solution and the light continued to charge even while driving on a bumpy street. Sometimes I would get into the car after it had sat idle overnight, and the light did not charge. I just nudged it a little and it charged again while I was driving.

If you have one of these lights and a newer power socket, you will appreciate the simplicity of this solution.



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    8 Discussions

    Phil Biceng

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. You cannot imagine how long I tried to think of a way to make something out of metal that would hold this little flashlight in place for charging. I surprised myself when I thought of a paper match and it worked.

    pfred2Phil B

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The very best ideas do not always strike us all instantly but often take some time for the subconscious to synthesize. Edison used to sleep on his desk. Which some have theorized he was using as a sort of meditation tool of sorts.

    Often when I am faced with a vexing challenge I like to sleep on it myself.

    As a side note I just got hit with my posting bug and had to reload the page. But before I did I copied my typed text, then pasted it into the new comment box.

    Though when I switched back to rich editor to put in that URL I didn't have the presence of mind to copy it again, when I do I lose my paragraph formatting. So then I have to re-space all of  my text.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I saw a video on YouTube where a guy defeated a Kensington computer lock with a toilet paper roll core and a pen. Amazing what cardboard can do! I'm watching it again, he uses some gaffer's tape too. I bet you could do it without the tape though, just the cardboard.


    Thank you for looking. I am glad it will be helpful to you. I have thought about trying a piece of plastic from the side of a milk jug. It might be necessary to experiment with the width of the piece to get a satisfactory fit.