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How to light a car

Как правильно прикурить автомобиль

Lighting is the slang for a method of starting a car engine with a discharged ("dead") battery from a donor vehicle. It is practiced, as a rule, during the cold season.

The period of winter cold is a kind of test for motorists and their cars. One of the difficulties that many will have to face will be a battery discharged in the morning. And here you always need to wisely approach the solution of the problem and properly light the car. And the main thing to remember is that it is necessary to do and what cannot be done categorically.

The easiest way to start the engine in this case will be connecting another battery. Motorists call this method "light." You will need wires for "lighting up", having a fairly large cross-section, a car with the same engine capacity and a "live" battery that got into trouble.

Principle of operation

Starter cables

When “lighting a cigarette”, the batteries of two cars are connected in parallel (“plus” to “plus”, “minus” to “minus”) with the help of special starter cables - thick wires. Such cables have a sufficiently large cross-section of the current-carrying core and are equipped with terminals for connecting to rechargeable batteries.

It is not recommended to start the engine when the engine of the donor car is running. This is due to the fact that when starting the starter consumes a very large current. A starter battery is designed to deliver high-current currents, and a car alternator is not designed for high amperes of hundreds of amps. The generator and the battery work in parallel (in the buffer), but the voltage supplied by the generator is slightly higher than that of the car battery (the generator produces a voltage through a rectifier and voltage regulator within 13.7-14 volts, a car battery 12-12.5 volts When “lighting a cigarette” with the engine running, a large current will go through the donor car generator, which it is not designed for at all, and the rectifier and voltage regulator may fail. It is much better if you run the batteries after paralleling vigatelem donor 10-15 minutes at medium speed in order to recharge the vehicle's battery shrunken triggered. Also, when several failed launches should be borne in mind that if you start the engine of the donor, then it begins to charge the generator just two dead batteries and can be dangerously overloaded.

Precautionary measures

К положительной клемме присоединён провод с «крокодилом»
To positive terminal
wire connected
with a "crocodile"

“Lighting” is considered to be an unsafe starting method and, if the safety measures are not followed, the electrical equipment of both the vehicle being started and the donor vehicle can be damaged.

Therefore, precautions should be taken:

  • When lighting a cigarette, it is very important to observe the polarity of the battery connection, and also to avoid short circuits, which are possible, for example, if you accidentally touch two car body clamps. Always connect first +, then -. Turns off first -, then +;
  • When the engine is started, a current of about 200-400 A passes through the wires, depending on the type and power of the engine, so you need to check the labeling of the starter cable. If the cable is not rated for the appropriate current, the insulation may ignite;
  • It is necessary to make sure that both cars have the same onboard voltage. Passenger cars usually have 12 volts, trucks may have 24 volts.
  • The low battery of the vehicle being started must be in good condition. In the event of a malfunction (electrolyte leakage, plate closures, etc.), the battery may overheat, or even an explosion;
  • The negative terminal should be connected only to the “ground” (car body or engine crankcase), and not to the battery terminal.
  • Never when “lighting a cigarette” do not disconnect the battery from the vehicle network. In most modern cars, the battery voltage is used as a “reference” in the voltage regulator circuit of a car generator, and in its absence, the generator can produce any voltage, several tens of volts - and this will inevitably disable all complex electronics.


Зарядно-пусковое устройство для автомобильных аккумуляторов
Charging start
device for
car batteries

"Lighting" is used not only by motorists. Starting an engine from an external abnormal source of electric power can be used (and is used) on all wheeled and tracked vehicles (including tanks and special vehicles), and any source of electric power suitable for voltage and power can be used, up to mobile electric generators, autonomous power plants or industrial plants - current transducers.

Alternative vehicle start methods:

  • Using the start-up charger.
  • Launch "from the pusher" or "from the tug".
  • Starting the start handle (if provided by the design).

How to light a car

Как правильно прикурить автомобиль

Instructions for lighting:

  1. Cars must be installed as close as possible, but so that they do not touch.
  2. Using the wire, carefully connect the positive terminals of both batteries.
  3. Connect the second wire with one “crocodile” to the negative terminal of the “live” battery, and another “crocodile” to the cylinder block or another mass.

It is not advisable to connect the wire to the negative terminal of a discharged battery. Then the energy will go on charging this battery, and not on the starter. Although if you connect the negative terminals of the two batteries with a wire and wait for half an hour, then the dead battery can be recharged and will be able to start the engine.

If, however, with the described connection method, it is not possible to start the car, then the negative terminal will have to be removed from the discharged battery and the “crocodile” wires coming from the “minus” of the “live” battery will be attached directly to it. This should be done carefully, in order not to accidentally touch the plus terminal and not get a short circuit. The probability of starting the engine will increase.

After starting the car engine with a discharged battery, do not immediately disconnect the wires, but allow the engines of both cars to work for a few more minutes. First you need to disconnect the "minus" wire, and then the "positive", after turning on the heated rear window of the newly instituted car. This will reduce the peak voltage when disconnecting the wires. It is better not to turn on the headlights, as the indicated voltage peaks can damage the light bulbs.

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