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No Cables. No Batteries. All By Yourself!
You walk out to your car one chilly morning, turn the key or hit the Start button and you hear the dreaded “this car isn’t going to start” sound. It can sound like a slow, high-low whirring, (which is the starter trying to crank the engine), or a simple clicking sound, which is a sign your battery is too weak to get the starter to rotate even a little.
Your alternatives are few, and often time-consuming. Grab a set of jumper cables and another car, be prepared with a 12 volt Battery Pack Jump Starter, and the old standby, call AAA. In any of these cases, it could be a long time before you’re on the road.
Using jumper cables requires another vehicle or spare 12 volt battery to supply ample power to turn the starter, which “turns over” the engine.
Hence, as battery charging technology has advanced in recent years, came the 12 volt rechargeable battery pack jump starter. Sometimes these will be fancy with a handle and a mini tire inflator, but all in all, they’re the same concept as jumper cables.
And, we all know about AAA. Fast as lightening, cough cough, and very affordable. Grrr.
But, until now, those were the average motorist’s options…
This article became a topic for me because just this week, the nearly dead battery incident happened to me. It wasn’t a critical situation, I had another car at my disposal, so I went online looking for a battery bank jump starter to keep in the back of my SUV. I did learn that they are not all they’re cracked up to be. First thing being they need to be charged very regularly, usually overnight. They are as susceptible to cold as the car’s battery, losing juice as the temperature drops. And lastly, they can actually explode (expand) in Summer weather. NOTE: This is where a rechargeable battery’s chemicals over-react and cause the battery to swell. This is a very bad situation and any battery that exhibits that behavior should be disposed of properly and immediately.
While I was learning all this, I stumbled on an Amazon listing entitled “Batteryless Car Jump Starter”. This was an automatic “I have to read this one”, but the fact is the thing is real. It doesn’t have a battery in it that needs to be charged.
The battery-less jump starter uses a capacitor instead. And while a capacitor can store energy like a battery, how they work are entirely different.
Capacitors can recharge very quickly and release energy in large bolts. If you’ve ever seen a gray cylindrical trash can at the top of a telephone pole, that’s a capacitor, and it stores electricity to thrust down the power line to the next capacitor.
The claim this product made in their description was quite bold: “Charge the Autowit SuperCap Jump Starter in just a few minutes from your own dead battery.”
YES! You can charge up this gadget right from your nearly dead battery and then use it to jump start your car.
Even crazier, you can charge it up from inside your car using your cigarette lighter, and if your battery is completely dead, no juice left at all, you can use a 5 volt cell phone battery bank to charge it!
I followed the instructions, but instead of attaching it to my nearly dead car battery, I used the miserable, little batter bank I have that barely charges my phone. It took 30 minutes to reach 100%, but it worked! It started my car with NO battery installed. (P.S. That’s not really good for your alternator, but I know what I’m doing.)This was so impressive to me, I had the balls to go out on errands, and when I got back to my SUV, of course, the battery was dead. But this time, I connected it to the battery terminals and it had enough residual voltage to charge the SuperCap in just under 10 minutes. Once it it 100% you turn the key, and again my vehicle started right up.
The Autowit SuperCap Jump Starter weighs about 2 lbs., is 11” x 5” x 2”, and comes in a sturdy, rigid woven carrying case with a USB cable, a cigarette lighter cable, and the 12 volt battery terminal clamps on a special cable. Mine was $149.
The device has almost 1,000 ratings of 4.5 stars, and the comments are as impressive as mine above. (Some are idiotic, but you have to expect that.) It claims to have a ten year lifespan, but I would guess it could last forever.
It pumps out 800A of current in the charging boost, and works down to -40 degrees.
NOTE: Fraser Engine Co. does NOT receive compensation or a commission on referral editorial. This is a genuine article on a product we feel is a superior item for car enthusiasts.
Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!