Q: How do I charge my iPad in my car?
A: The simplest way is to use a USB power adapter designed for your car’s cigarette lighter. These are very common and you can find them on eBay by the squillion. However, there is a trick. Many of these are rated at the standard 5VDC / 1A current level. While they will work with an iPad, your iPad actually needs two-amps of current to charge at its maximum level (to charge in minimum time).
Basically, you’re trying to replicate your iPad’s AC charger – if you look on the spec panel on the iPad charger, you’ll see that its rated at 5.1 or 5.2VDC at 2.1-amps. You need the same power coming out from your car. So the trick is to make sure you purchase a USB car adapter that delivers a 2.1A (2.1-amp) output option.
See the adapter in the pic here – it has two USB outputs: one designed for iPhone and one for iPad. In reality, the only difference is that one is rated to 1A and the other for 2.1A and it’s the 2.1A output you use for your iPad to get maximum charge power for minimum charging time.
As for how long the charging should take, if you’re using a 2.1A charge output, it should take around the same time as your standard iPad AC charger.
Now if you’re thinking you can charge your iPhone faster by plugging it into the 2.1-amp output, it doesn’t quite work like that. Your iPad or iPhone looks to negotiate with the power adapter about how much current is available to draw. The iPhone with its smaller battery is only designed to charge at a maximum of one-amp whereas the iPad has a much larger battery and uses the 2.1-amp charge current to keep the charge time down.
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