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Cars' cigarette lighter sockets: same in Europe?

Cars' cigarette lighter sockets: same in Europe?

Jul 4th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Cars' cigarette lighter sockets: same in Europe?

I have purchased a set of European maps for my US-model GPS device, and I plan to bring it to Europe and rely on it pretty heavily during my upcoming trip to France and Switzerland.

I've read elsewhere that all European cars now use the same voltage and polarity for their cigarette lighter sockets, but that some late-model European cars use a DIN socket that's slightly smaller than the standard socket. So, I want to make sure that my cigarette lighter plug is guaranteed to work in my rental car.

I've read many GPS-related threads here, and nobody has ever mentioned having a problem with plug compatibility. Still, I thought I should I should ask about this specifically. Has anyone ever had a problem? If not, why not? Is it because there are just very few cars that have the DIN sockets? Or is it because the standard plugs are made to fit in the DIN sockets?
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Same socket
alanRow is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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There might be another problem. The rental cars may not have cigarette lighters.

I think the European sockets are the same as the US but there can be some variations. My wife has a Land Rover which is slightly than my station wagon. My telephone charger gets flattened after my wife uses the plug.

blackduff is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Blackduff, are there really cars that don't have cigarette lighter sockets at all? I read a warning somewhere that rental companies sometimes disconnect the socket to dissuade customers from smoking in the car, but I've never heard of a car that simply doesn't have one, especially in this era when cell phones and iPods are so common. I'm expecting to be renting a Volkswagen Golf and a Citroen C3, although I suppose one never really knows what car one is going to get.

I wonder if that Land Rover socket is the DIN kind? Supposedly the plug looks like this: http://www.netcamping.de/tmp/images/81013.jpg To me, that looks very similar to a standard plug, as though you might be able to fit a standard plug in a DIN socket if you pushed hard and flattened it a bit.
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Cars will have a cigarette socket - they just won't have the cigarette plug.

Otherwise how are us Europeans supposed to run our car gramaphones
alanRow is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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The round hole is the same in all cars.
kerouac is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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There could be another problem you didn't consider. There is something in the glass in European cars that can hinder reception if your GPS has an internal antenna. We encounted the problem with our Magellan GPS when mounting it to the windshield of the Peuoget we leased. An external antenna would be helpful.


dgassa is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 01:37 AM
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Some but, not all, European cars do indeed have a heat reflecting layer in them, which affect gps reception as it is a thin layer of metal. However they always have two areas by the rearview mirror without this, for toll passes etc, and the GPS, though awkwardly placed, will work there. An external antenna is of course better.
Make sure you do not block too much of the windscreen with the gps - you can be fined for obstructed vision!
hetismij is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 03:34 AM
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Re the external antenna.

I had to use my GPS external when I rented (Hertz) at Heathrow this past April and I agree that is something to consider.
Dukey is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Most new GPS-systems (like my TomTom One Europe) have better GPS-reception beacuse of a new/better/improved internal antenna. I have no problem using it in my car, which does have a heat reflecting layer in the glass.
TommieG is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Another good point! I'm not sure if the windshield transparence issue is specific to Europe or not, but it makes sense that it's something to think of when trying to use a GPS device in any car other than one's own.
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Here's a follow-up post, for closure: I did manage to find the standard plug to DIN plug adapter here in the US. The only place I could find it was at a BMW Motorcycle dealer. Apparently BWM motorcycles have the DIN socket, so there's some demand for the adapter in the US.
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 10:04 PM
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The DIN socket can be various sizes and differences. The letters DIN means "Deutches Industrial Norm" and it covers many things, including sockets.

Some plugs are called DIN, meaning a particular socket but it's worthless without the number of the norm. Video cams always have DIN plugs/sockets but they're not at all like the cigarette lighter sockets.


blackduff is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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I think the DIN standard for cigaratte lighters is DIN ISO 4165. At least, that's the one that I found. If there's more than one, then I may be in trouble again!
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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I picked up my new car [european] and it has both a cigarette lighter and a plug. It's an audi, my mini only has a cigarette lighter. Just thought I'd confuse the issue.
aeiger is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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Take a look at this site.

It seems that the DIN ISO-4165 is a converter. It changes the cigarette lighter socket to this DIN ISO-4165. From what I've found, this ISO plug is used for various appliances. Maybe it will work for your GPS unit.

Like the last poster, there are two sockets being used.

I'm sure you're going to be okay when you bring the GPS unit. Maybe you could see if your unit is sold in Europe and if so, check their plugs.

blackduff is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Blackduff - that's exactly the adapter I was looking for! I also found a similar item on a British store's website, but the only place where I was able to find it in the U.S. was at a BMW motorcycle dealer.

The company that manufactures my GPS unit, Garmin, sells lots of similar devices in Europe, always with the standard cigarette lighter plug. They don't make an adapter. Their American tech support people tell me that they haven't heard of any problems. This leads me to believe that a standard lighter plug will actually fit in a DIN socket, although, looking at the adapter that I bought, it kind of doesn't look like it would fit so well.

Definitely very confusing -- hence my decision to play it safe and buy BMW's adapter. It was pretty cheap, and I'd hate to risk messing up my vacation over a $30 part.
hawksbill is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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i just got back from italy where i rented a Fiat Punto. my garmin charger didn't fit in the place where the cigarette lighter would go. the charger was too long. i had no idea that there was more than one size and apparently neither does budget or garmin. we rented in spain last year and it worked fine. the technical stuff previously was pretty confusing. does anyone know if there is one other size and if there is one type of adapter that i can purchase? getting around europe without a gps is not fun.
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