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Old 3rd October 2013, 09:37   #1
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Default Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Smoking might not be fashionable anymore but that hasn't stopped car makers from equipping their cars with the ubiquitous 12 volt cigarette lighter socket. However, more and more car makers around the world have stopped equipping the cigarette lighter socket with the heating element.

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While one purpose of the cigarette lighter socket is to heat up the element, that can in turn be used to light up a smoke, this versatile feature has spawned a wide range of car accessories. From GPS modules to car kettles, car accessories that use this socket as an auxiliary power outlet have only been growing.

The 12 volt cigarette lighter socket also doubles up as a readily available source of power for charging cell phones, laptops, etc, while on the move. All of this could change if Hyundai's latest move resonates widely. In a landmark move of sorts, South Korean car maker Hyundai has dumped the venerable 12 volt cigarette lighter socket from all its cars sold in its home market of South Korea. The cigarette lighter socket will now be replaced by a USB port.

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Note: Belkin Car USB image used as an illustration

While this move is currently specific to the South Korean car market, the coming times could see Hyundai carrying out a similar exercise on its global car line up. With Hyundai taking the lead in replacing the 12 volt cigarette lighter socket with a USB port, other automakers are likely to follow suit in the coming years as more and more devices are now compatible with the USB port.

Notably, Hyundai's move, if adopted by other car makers, could result in the multi-million dollar after market accessories industry also making the shift towards car accessories that eschew the cigarette lighter socket for USB power. Don't be surprised to see the 12 volt cigarette lighter socket gradually fade into obsolescence. Here is Hyundai's official statement to the FinancialTimes,

Quote:
From October 1, all passenger car models and SUVs made for the Korean market will replace the cigarette lighter with a USB port.

Last edited by JayPrashanth : 3rd October 2013 at 09:55. Reason: News Link Added
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Old 3rd October 2013, 10:30   #2
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

I believe this is for the good.
All major electronic devices have a USB port - which can be at least used for charging them.

However to be honest cig lighter socket was not just a cig lighter but a 12 V socket which could be used for just anything under the sun.

Of course I am sure the car accessory makers will just as easily shift to the USB port, however would there be concerns about max permissible voltage and current through this port? (Which might limit its usability)
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Old 3rd October 2013, 11:44   #3
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

I think the move is good, most people have AUSB cables already to charge their mobile equipment. The cigarette charger is an additional expense, a big one if you go for branded.

I guess the next accessory offered by Hyundai will be USB powered cigarette lighters. The business of creating more business.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 12:20   #4
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

The Cigarette Lighter was indirectly a Universal port for multiple use within cars, as several devices which could run on 12 V DC electrical supply could be connected. Making it a dedicated USB port on face of it looks a cool idea but might not be good as several other uses will be restricted.

Why not both - a USB port and a 12 V power supply for conventional purposes?

Cheers

Last edited by i74js : 3rd October 2013 at 12:21.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 15:07   #5
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

I think they could easily have provided a 12V socket + USB port. Many devices do need a 12V supply.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 15:12   #6
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I think they could easily have provided a 12V socket + USB port. Many devices do need a 12V supply.
Soon there will be adapters that would convert USB to 12V cigarette lighter format.
Its clearly mentioned that the USB would be able to charge your gadget.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 18:03   #7
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Originally Posted by JayPrashanth View Post
Notably, Hyundai's move, if adopted by other car makers, could result in the multi-million dollar after market accessories industry also making the shift towards car accessories that eschew the cigarette lighter socket for USB power. Don't be surprised to see the 12 volt cigarette lighter socket gradually fade into obsolescence.
I think I'm confused on this one Have they merely stopped equipping the cars with a plug-in cigarette lighter (as I suspect they have) and replaced it by a plug-in USB port instead? In other words, a USB port plugged into the 12V socket instead of the heating element to light up cigarettes? This would make sense, I think.

Or have they thrown out the 12V socket as well and replaced the entire thing by a USB port that directly draws power from the battery (through a protected circuit, of course)? This doesn't make sense at all, because of the massive variety of accessories that come with an adapter to plug into the 12V socket.

I don't think Hyundai would have done the latter, for two reasons. One, I don't think it would be that easy to get the USB port to power the large variety of accessories that come in a variety of ratings (even with a special adapter). Two, being a South Korean company, Hyundai would be quite averse to do something as radical and disruptive and violative of the shared common conventions across the globe as this. The Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese companies generally avoid doing such radical and disruptive things, if they can.

It would take the automotive equivalent of a company like Apple to do something like this. Hyundai are like their compatriots Samsung, who try to bring their stuff in line with the commonly shared conventions, instead of departing from them.

Last edited by RSR : 3rd October 2013 at 18:06.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 18:35   #8
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Originally Posted by RSR View Post
Or have they thrown out the 12V socket as well and replaced the entire thing by a USB port that directly draws power from the battery (through a protected circuit, of course)?
They have declared their intentions of doing exactly that!


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Originally Posted by RSR View Post
Hyundai are like their compatriots Samsung, who try to bring their stuff in line with the commonly shared conventions, instead of departing from them.
Have you checked out the very latest, Samsung Note-3 and the accompanying Gear? You may find it interesting, as against your opinion about Apple (and possibly by extension, American companies) vis a vis their Asian counterparts.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 19:10   #9
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
They have declared their intentions of doing exactly that!
Thanks, Zappo! I think I've understood it now. I was not aware of the thing called "PoweredUSB" Now that I am aware (after a little help from friend Google), I think I understand exactly what they have done. They must have replaced the usual "cylindrical" 12V socket by a "PoweredUSB" socket, presumably rated at 12V.

The new socket should be something that would look like one of the green ones in the image, which are rated at 12V:

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So the gadgets that charge through a standard USB port would still be able to plug in to the new PoweredUSB socket. And all the other accessories (air compressors, vacuum cleaners and even cigarette lighters among loads of other gadgets) that drew greater power than that supported by a standard USB port will still work on the new SKDM Hyundais. Of course, they will need a PoweredUSB-to-cylindrical socket adapter to do so. This should become a very common thing soon, and maybe all other companies would also shift to the new 12V PoweredUSB convention. Hyundai would have made the shift only if the advantages were significant on the new type.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
Have you checked out the very latest, Samsung Note-3 and the accompanying Gear? You may find it interesting, as against your opinion about Apple (and possibly by extension, American companies) vis a vis their Asian counterparts
No, I haven't had a chance to sample the Note 3 and Gear yet. I'll check out some video reviews soon, since the South Koreans' departure from their usual philosophy does comes as a huge surprise to me

Edit: PoweredUSB seems to be a proprietary technology that is licensed out by the IP holders, IBM. I'm not sure if Hyundai have used this in the new SKDM models, or have gone in for something completely different.

Last edited by RSR : 3rd October 2013 at 19:39. Reason: Replaced image with a bigger one
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Old 3rd October 2013, 20:42   #10
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

I dont seem to understand the confusion here.

Instead of the powered 12V cigarette lighter, you now have a powered usb slot, making plugging in your smartphone easier, and thus no need to buy those car chargers.

Whats wrong in that?
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Old 3rd October 2013, 22:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E63 View Post
I dont seem to understand the confusion here.

Whats wrong in that?
There's nothing wrong with it, of course!

The confusion was because I wasn't aware of the existence of this "poweredUSB" standard earlier.

A normal USB slot can only support gadgets of a very limited power rating. The poweredUSB slot can support both normal USB devices as well as accessories that require more power. With a suitable adapter, many legacy devices could still be used on the newest South Korean Hyundais.

However, it looks like the poweredUSB still has a lower maximum power rating, when compared to the usual 12V socket. So those accessories that have higher power ratings cannot be used. Unless of course, Hyundai are using a modified poweredUSB socket that can support higher powered devices.

I'd love to know the maximum power the new socket can support. We'll know that in due course, I suppose.

Last edited by RSR : 3rd October 2013 at 22:25.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 22:28   #12
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

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Originally Posted by E63 View Post
I dont seem to understand the confusion here.

Instead of the powered 12V cigarette lighter, you now have a powered usb slot, making plugging in your smartphone easier, and thus no need to buy those car chargers.

Whats wrong in that?
Well, for starters, you'd have to use an adapter for devices that do not charge/operate via USB. Also, as RSR mentioned, we still do not know whether it'll be able to support devices requiring higher power.
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Old 4th October 2013, 00:39   #13
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Thumbs down Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

If it's not broken, why fix it ?

I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to power a 5V phone with a direct higher power 12V USB output (sorry, poor understanding with electronics)

Plus, the shape of the cigarette lighter socket allows you to shove-in some or most of the circuitry into the hole and thus have a flat facade (much like the Belkin shown in the OP). But with a USB port, there's going to be all that bulk standing out in an ugly fashion.

Also, cigarette lighter socket design allows for a more sturdy accessory due to the large girth at the base. It'd be easy to damage and/bend accessories that are made for USB, not to mention how easy it is to break the USB ports on my laptop.

I think this is unnecessarily disruptive without any value add. Providing a socket-to-USB converter would be much better than changing universal design. This move will force all car-accessory manufacturers and car-owners through an unnecessary transition.

Last edited by hellmet : 4th October 2013 at 00:41.
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Old 4th October 2013, 02:14   #14
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

I am against this move. There are few devices that require 12v like the kettle and the fridge. Where do these devices get their power from? Wouldn't it make sense to give USB port in addition to the 12v cig lighter socket?

To those who say that they have the 12v usb - Then i have to now buy a 12v usb to cig lighter adapter to make other devices work, adding this adapter beats the entire point of this exercise, as I am simply replacing a cig -> usb with a usb -> cig adapter.
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Old 4th October 2013, 03:25   #15
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Default Re: Hyundai dumps cigarette lighter socket for USB port in Korea

Why dont people get it?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

You have a smartphone. It comes with a USB cable. When connected to your laptop, it charges the phone.
Same will be here.
Hyundai is trying to remove the need for buying a car charger.
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