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Jump Starter Review (tl;dr for JJ)

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I've been wanting one of these rechargeable lithium battery packs for jump starting cars and recharging your USB devices for a while now. I've been looking on Ebay for these very high powered ones that are up around 18,000mAh/800A or more (claimed) for around 100 bucks. I've seen reviews claiming some are crap and some are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, today I decided to pick up the cheapest lowest end model on the Walmart shelf for $49. I figure if it didn't work I would just take it back and being skeptical I sort of expected that I would be doing just that. So I checked out and got my 10% off to boot. :)

 

Now, for the test. I had just put a new battery in my '05 Taurus a few months ago. It's just a spare car that we never drive but have it just in case something else breaks down. This car has a small draw that I've never fully been able to pin down that will drain the battery in around a month. Well this thing's been sitting for a couple of months and I haven't driven it or charged it. Yes, I know that's bad for the battery. :) Anyway, I noticed a couple of weeks ago it was already completely dead but I would get to it eventually. Today was the day.

 

I noticed in the directions it said you're not supposed to use it on a car battery that doesn't have at least a 40% charge. I was like "huh, what good is that?" This one was so dead not a peep out of a dash light or bell, dead. I didn't put the meter on it before testing out the battery pack so I don't know what the voltage was (actually I did measure the voltage on the battery but I don't remember if I did before I did anything else). Anyway, I plugged in the new battery pack and hooked the cables up and pressed the button to light up the green light and send current to the battery. I let it sit maybe 2 minutes and then turned the key and it fired right up like it had a fully charged battery. And it's pretty dang cold today too. I was a very surprised to be honest.

 

I unhooked it and drove the car about 5 miles and tried to start it off its own battery and it didn't yet have enough charge to even turn the motor over on its own, but I am sure it would have after running longer. Interesting note, after driving 5 miles the car wouldn't start on its own. In fact it wouldn't even start after having my booster charger on it for a few minutes at 50A. But with that little battery pack it fired right up! Impressive! I have the charger on it now and I did go out and fire it up after charging a while, and I also stuck the meter on it to make sure the alternator was putting out a charge. The lithium battery pack still showed 100% full after jumping the car (although I am a little skeptical that the battery display is truthful). The box claims 20 starts on a single charge so I believe that if the battery meter is in fact truthful.

 

Anyway, the moral of this story is maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up a few of these and put one in each vehicle along with the jumper cables that are already there. It's handy because the pack is actually smaller than my cell phone and would be great for carrying along with you to keep your phone charged if you're not near a power source for a long time. They are very light as well, probably lighter than my cell phone. Might not be a bad idea to carry one on the bike. Would have to remember to check them periodically to make sure they're still fully charged but they should hold a charge for a long time being lithium. The only thing missing on this one that I would have got on a more expensive model is a 12 volt or USB recharging of the pack itself. This one comes with a 110 adapter to charge it, which wasn't a big deal since I have a small inverter in my truck I used to charge it on the way home from the store (was already about 80% charged in the box).

 

The one I got is the Schumacher Red Fuel Jump Starter SL161 from Walmart for $49. It has 2 USB ports, 1 @ 1A and 1 @ 2.1A, a built in LED light, and comes with a 9" Micro/Lightning USB cable and a carrying bag. It's rated at 8000mAh, 400A peak/200A cranking. For me I think this was a good buy:

 

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Goddamn I love living in the future.

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i have the one made by battery tender. it is bigger than cell phone size like that but still small and light overall. i use mine mostly out of the water, to either powe/recharge cell phone, gps, camera etc.

one day i actually used it to jump start my boat on the water, and then had to jump my truck when i returned to the boat ramp bc i had left the switch on while checking my trailer lights.

 

It comes with the led light, alligator clips for the battery, 110 wall charger, and 12v lighter outlet charger. only has 1 usb port though.

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You wrote too much, I am sorry I am not reading it all. Terry recommended something like this that his son uses at work to jump start cars all day long.

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Wanker! Yep, I've heard of people doing it, now I am on board finally. It just seemed like one of those things that is too good to be true. :)

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Oh regarding the size compared to my cell phone. It's a little shorter, a little wider, and a little fatter than my Samsung Galaxy S7 and probably similar weight.

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So I went through and read you original very nicely written. I did pick up one of the chargers similar to this off of amazon over the summer. I have not used mine to do anything but charge my cell phone, and I think Terry one with him on his bike.

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how long do these packs themselves hold a charge before they drain? That's what I wanna know.

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Casey, I've checked mine after 3 months of non-use and the charge indicator shows FULL. I'm buying another to keep in the VStrom.

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These are petty cool need them to be solar rechargeable will be a literal happy camper.

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The Vette is the only power drainer in the bunch but I need 650-700+ CCA and 800 would be better.

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1 for 2 on the starts. Wife left the trunk on her Toyota open all night and wasn't enough juice to turn the car over this morning. Couldn't get the little unit to start the car or even make it seem like it was trying. I hooked everything up, pressed the button on the cables and the light went green. Let it sit a minute or two and tried to start, nothing. Look at the light on the cable and it's flashing red. Didn't have much time to much with it though so I just threw the charger on it. I can just keep that one in the Ford and look for better ones for the other cars/truck.

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So was a 2nd attempt on the same charge?

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