Saturday, December 29, 2012

Solving a Problem: Portable Tire Inflators Blowing Car Fuses

OK, this post is a bit off-topic, but here goes.  Hopefully this might help out folks who have had the same problem.

I have bought about four different tire inflators over the years--$50 Slime and Vi-Air inflators, and a $20 Campbell-Hausfield inflator. 

I bought the more expensive Slime and Vi-air inflators, hoping to buy more durable ones that would last a long time and were of better quality than the cheap ones I've had in the past.  Both of these inflators works well but they both blow the fuses of all my cars -- a 2006 Ford E-150 van, Dodge Caravan, and Honda Odyssey.  The thing that I don't understand is that there is a fuse in the power cord of the inflator.  Theoretically this fuse should blow before the ones in my car (which are rated at 20 amps!), but the Vi-Air and Slime inflators both blow the fuses in my cars, and it is a hassle to replace the fuses. 

 I solved this problem by buying an adapter that I can clamp  directly to my car battery.  This adapter has a cigarette lighter female socket on the other end, so it supplies power directly from my car battery to the tire inflator.  I have had no problems with blown fuses, whether in the car or in the inflator, since using the car battery directly.  

 I have a cheaper Campbell-Hausfield inflator that is much louder and slower to inflate, but it has never blown a fuse in my car.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Norbert,
I enjoyed your tip, as I am interested in buying a portable tire inflator and many (this is a classic run-on sentence which the nun I had as my fourth grade teacher would strongly disapprove of....also shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition) reviews complain about blown fuses. If it's not too inconvenient, would you please forward the name, p/n, vendor etc. so that I can buy one to solve this potential problem. Thank you so much for your help.

Bill Carney

Norbert Wu said...

Hi Bill:
The part in question can be found in many places, including Radio Shack and Amazon. Here's a link to an Amazon product that will work. It will clamp directly to your car battery and therefore the fuse in the tire inflator should blow -- not any fuses in your car.

I'll try to post a photo of this in a more recent blog entry.

Roadpro 12V Battery Clip-On and Cigarette Lighter Adapter

Anonymous said...

Hi Norbert,
I have a dodge Ram 1500 that blew both the cig lighter and aux plugs, and today my Nephew's Nissan Titan did the same thing, so we each had to peplace two fuse's...Thank's for the top, I'll have to look one of those adapter's.

Anonymous said...

I think this is the first time I've searched for something on the net and actually found a real solution!
I have a Slime pump - it works great "except" it blows fuses. (Not what you want went it's 20 below zero in the middle of the woods)
Your advise was like a big light bulb - perfect.... I know it'll work as advertised.

Norbert - Norbert - Norbert....

Wish I was an underwater photographer.

George London
Troy, Maine

Richard Dixon said...

If you have a 12 volt, you are good to go with this tire inflator. Count on an inflation speed of 1.06 CFM, to quickly fix your flat tire and catch up with your schedule with the EPAuto 12V 120W Portable Tire Inflator.