If you wrench - or even just tinker - you may already have a portable jump-starter rig. They are super handy to have.
For those who aren't hip, it's jumper cables plus a high-capacity battery (lithium-ion) that recharges via household current. If you - or someone else - ever needs a jump, you won't need another car.
You also won't risk hurting your car.
Modern cars have sensitive electronics and these can be damaged by traditional car-to-car jump-starting.
There is also the traditional risk of sparks - and possibly, an explosion. (Batteries can leak hydrogen gas, which isn't what you want around sparks; remember the Hindenburg).
Portable rigs eliminate these potential problems.
There's no chance of damaging your car in the process of jump-starting another car's dead battery... because you're not using your car (well, its battery) to jump-start the other car. And the portable rigs typically include a safety circuit to eliminate sparks by only allowing the current to flow after the cables have been connected properly.
Mine (a Black & Decker) is portable. But it's also pretty big. Not suitcase-sized, but not glovebox-sized, either.
Definitely not pocket-sized.
It's fine for the garage, but less-than-ideal for the road.
So I was intrigued when Bestek sent me a hand-sized jump starter to try out.
It's about a third the size of my Black & Decker rig and a fourth the weight. It's almost exactly the same length and width (7x3 inches) as a large Hershey's chocolate bar and easily fits in your car's glovebox, purse or even pants pocket.
Or your backpack (give me a minute).
Definitely small enough to take with you when you're riding a motorcycle, too.
It's ideal for that.
Once charged (any household outlet or your car's 12V power point) you've got 600 amps of peak starting power - plus a mobile source of power to simultaneously recharge four USB devices such as iPhones or tablets and an additional power point (with multiple adaptors provided) to power other devices that use non-USB hook-ups.
It's pretty cool - and very useful.
And not just for the garage.
If the power in your house goes out, you'll still have power for your essential gadgets.
I backpack - and there's only so much room in my backpack. This gadget takes up about as much space as the aforesaid large Hershey's bar - and it only weighs about a pound (17.9 ounces). The lithium-ion battery holds enough charge to keep you plugged in for several days, even when you're nowhere near a plug. Remember, this gadget's primary mission is to jump-start a dead car's battery - which requires serious juice. Keeping your phone or iPad juiced is easy work. The built-in flashlight (normal white and red/strobe) is pretty cool, too.
The "smart jumper" system has short-circuit and overload protection; if the alligator clamps aren't hooked up properly, you'll get a red light and No Go. If everything's connected right, you'll see green - and good to go.
I was doubtful about the prospects of such a small bugger packing much punch, so I decided to give it a real test. I hooked it up to a gimpy battery that was having trouble turning over the massive 7.5 liter V8 in my 40-year-old muscle car ('76 Pontiac Trans Am). Bestek only claims 5 liters' worth of starting capacity (3 liters, if it's a diesel).
It started.
I'm impressed.
The cost is about $60, depending where you buy. Here's the listing on Amazon.
I only recommend stuff I personally use and can vouch for - like the Valentine 1 radar detector (it saved me from yet another Encounter of the Porcine Kind yesterday) Amsoil (it's all I use) and now this little sucker.
Check it out!
PS: Thanks to all for another month not in the red. We just made it (yesterday), a slide into home if ever there was one! A new batch of EPautos magnets went out with yesterday's mail.
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