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Most import vehicles do not have a "hot at all times" cigarette lighter. The lighter is only powered up when the ignition is in the ON position. This makes the 9-volt memory-savers that plug into the cigarette lighter just about useless for saving computer memories. If you've got more than one car in the shop and you need to temporarily disconnect a battery for any reason, try this instead to keep the memory alive:

  • Purchase two lighter plugs equipped with eight foot leads from Radio Shack (P/N 270-021 @ $3.49 each).
  • Solder the leads from both lighter plugs together. Make sure the polarity remains consistent between the two cigarette lighter plug leads. The ribbed wire lead is the power lead and the plain lead is the ground lead. (Editor's Note: An in-line fuse to protect both vehicles from an accidental short might be a good idea.
  • Also purchase one or two Y-cables (a lighter socket with battery clips P/N 270-1527 @ $5.99 each).
  • If the vehicle's lighter is hot with the key OFF, simply plug one end of the lighter plug jumper harness into the vehicle's lighter receptacle.
  • Now plug the other end of your memory-saver into the cigarette lighter receptacle of another vehicle to keep the disabled vehicle's computer memory alive.
  • If either or both of the vehicles do not have "hot at all times" cigarette receptacles, plug the Y-cables into the jumper harness, then attach the positive battery clip to the alternator positive terminal and the negative clip to an engine ground on either or both vehicles.


James Halderman
Sinclair College
Dayton, Ohio




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