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Presguy

Car jump start packs - advice?

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For years I've carred a jump start pack in the car, and its been used plenty of times. It's the traditional lead-acid battery type, which is bulky and heavy, but has been consistently reliable.

It recently got.. appropriated.. by my niece, and I'm looking to get a new one.

While you can still get the lead-acid ones, it seems like almost everything now is lithium. I'm a little hesitant for two reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of a high-energy density, large capacity, lithium cell banging around in the back of my car for months on end.

2) If your alternator dies, you can use the lead acid kind, under the hood, to briefly run the car - long enough to pull it off the road. The lithium ones won't do this.

Am I being an old fashioned, given the lithium ones sell well and seem to have thousands of good reviews? Or should I stick to the old bulky style?

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23 minutes ago, Presguy said:

For years I've carred a jump start pack in the car, and its been used plenty of times. It's the traditional lead-acid battery type, which is bulky and heavy, but has been consistently reliable.

It recently got.. appropriated.. by my niece, and I'm looking to get a new one.

While you can still get the lead-acid ones, it seems like almost everything now is lithium. I'm a little hesitant for two reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of a high-energy density, large capacity, lithium cell banging around in the back of my car for months on end.

2) If your alternator dies, you can use the lead acid kind, under the hood, to briefly run the car - long enough to pull it off the road. The lithium ones won't do this.

Am I being an old fashioned, given the lithium ones sell well and seem to have thousands of good reviews? Or should I stick to the old bulky style?

I guess it depends on what lithium pack you are looking at.  Lead acid battery technology hasn't really changed much in the past century, other than newer materials for the casing and other minor tweaks.  Lithium batteries have been around long enough now that they are known technology, and while they occasionally have issues due to poor quality control, you get what you pay for.

 

I tend to view the lithium packs as two different types.  

There are the ones like Antigravity makes, that are essentially a portable power pack that can also jump start a car.  Lots of power available for use, but not all at once

Then there are the NO.CO packs that are jump start packs that you can also use for portable power.  Not as much overall power as measured in watt hours, but they can feed power at a higher rate without damage, so have higher ratings than the first type.

 

I own both types, typically for jump starting I like my NO.CO pack.  The cells in it are designed for higher/faster discharge rates than the AntiGravity pack.  I have the GB150, their largest 12V pack, and had it for a few years now.  Used it dozens of time for work on dead generators.

 

As for the dead alternator statement, I ran my parent's Ford Freestyle for about 20 miles using my GB150 when the alternator died, and it was small enough to fit under the hood without having to remove the car's battery or anything else, where a larger lead acid pack wouldn't have fit.  Still had a half charge or so when they got home.  

 

If you take apart a portable lead acid pack, most likely you'll find a sealed lead acid battery that has an 18 amp hour rating.  It works for jump starting a smaller car or one with a battery that's a little low, but has nowhere near enough juice to turn over most mid size or larger vehicles if the host battery is dead.  A good lithium pack will start a car without a battery in it at all, while still being easily carried in one hand.  The GB150 that I use can start my F450 7.3L diesel without any batteries installed.  

If you aren't in a hurry, get onto NO.CO's mailing list, occasionally they'll have a decent sale and take 25-30% off their jump packs or other stuff in their store.  Looks like right now they'll do 15% off your purchase if you sign up.

Figure out what the largest vehicle you will realistically need to jump start and buy accordingly, the GB150 is kind of overkill for anything short of full size diesels.  I use the GB150, my ex wife has the GB20 and has used it a few times on her Kia Rio when the battery in her car was dying.

https://no.co/products/power/jumpstarters

 

Biggest problem with any of these types of packs is shopping on Amazon or Ebay.  Amazon is flooded with knock offs of the Antigravity packs, so best bet is to buy from the manufacturer.  

I also bought the tire inflator from Antigravity, it will plug into either of the packs I have, but looks like the GB70 and GB150 are the only two from NO.CO that have the 12V out port.  Plus side on them is they also have a 12V in port, and can be charged from your car or a no.co charger set to supply mode with the right adapter.  

 

Oh, my biggest issue with my Antigravity pack is the stupid jump cable that came with it.  Has a breaker built in that you set, then get 30 seconds to try to start the car before it trips and you have to go reset it.  The wires are too small to handle the amount of power available for much longer than that without heating up (mine the insulation looks a little melty on it) and makes it a royal pain to troubleshoot electrical issues as you have very little time to push the reset, gather up your electrical tools, try to figure out exactly where you are testing, then by the time you're ready for a measurement, it trips out and you have to start over.  The GB series you hook it up, turn it on, and it stays on until it's turned off or dead.  

 

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25 minutes ago, Cougar_ml said:

I guess it depends on what lithium pack you are looking at. ..

Holy cow - thank you for taking the time to offer all that information and explanation. Reading thorough that (a few times), has taught me more than half an hour studying Amazon reviews.

I was under the impression all the lithium packs had the "jump and then off 30 seconds later" - I didn't know something like the NoCo ones would remain powered on, and could be used in the bad alternator scenario.

Between that feature and the discharge rate characteristics you explained, it sounds like one of the NoCo GB series is the direction I'll go. I'll hop on that mail list you mentioned, and maybe hunt around for trustworthy resellers (to avoid the knockoff issue).

My own car is a smallish gas turbo engine, and nothing I'd be worried about starting (cars in the family and such) are meaningfully bigger, so I'll probably go for a GB a little more modestly sized than the 150.

Thanks again, mang.

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3 minutes ago, Presguy said:

Holy cow - thank you for taking the time to offer all that information and explanation. Reading thorough that (a few times), has taught me more than half an hour studying Amazon reviews.

I was under the impression all the lithium packs had the "jump and then off 30 seconds later" - I didn't know something like the NoCo ones would remain powered on, and could be used in the bad alternator scenario.

Between that feature and the discharge rate characteristics you explained, it sounds like one of the NoCo GB series is the direction I'll go. I'll hop on that mail list you mentioned, and maybe hunt around for trustworthy resellers (to avoid the knockoff issue).

My own car is a smallish gas turbo engine, and nothing I'd be worried about starting (cars in the family and such) are meaningfully bigger, so I'll probably go for a GB a little more modestly sized than the 150.

Thanks again, mang.

Not a problem.  I know I bought all of my NO.CO stuff straight from their website.  I know Batteries Plus has some of their smaller stuff in stock, but even with shipping it comes out cheaper to buy from the website.  My buddy bought a battery pack (not jump starter) and a solar panel.  They had some supply issues with part of the order, they ended up giving him some extras when they got everything straightened out, so service is good.

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What about storing these mighty mites in the vehicle in the summer, Phoenix summer to be specific.

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7 hours ago, NPTim said:

What about storing these mighty mites in the vehicle in the summer, Phoenix summer to be specific.

Looks like the no.co manual says it can be stored at 50c+, and used up to 50c, charged below 40c.  Translates to stored at 120f+, used when it's 120f, and charged up to about 100f (average temperatures).  

Antigravity gives the same specs for their packs, but specifically state not to store on the car dash or anywhere over 110f, or the battery pack could swell.  The no.co units seem to have a little more space between the case and the battery pack, the antigravity xp-10 that I have seems pretty dense, and I've seen one that got blown up from misuse/abuse, battery takes up right to the top/bottom of the case.

 

I'm sure you're used to having things in the car that shouldn't get excessively hot, my recommendation would be store in an insulated place like a good cooler or something, and take it inside with you when it's a real scorcher out and you're not going to be back to the car for a long time.  My ex-wife carries hers in her purse (uses it as a portable power pack now that her car has a new battery).  

 

Only downside of the no.co units is they don't fit into a pocket that well due to the extra space between the case and battery pack, but that also gives them a lot better protection from bumps, falls, and direct heat.  

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Let me add my thanks for the info.

I'm ordering one for each of our cars right now!

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i bought this off the Matco truck a few years ago held a charge really well and jumped a Diesel in MN Feb.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JXN0YHE/?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=bestjumpstarterreviewcom-20&linkId=QQGFTPTOYPNM43PP

i have since updated it to this Matco one,but keep the zeta around to charge my wifes phone or Ipad or the like in an emergency (zeta had a big recall on the model i have so i essentially got my money back for it)

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/DSR108/SUPER-CAPACITOR-BATTERYLESS-JUMP-STARTER/

this little thing is a beast.

i also have 2 mity-mites that were used for service calls.

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9 hours ago, NPTim said:

What about storing these mighty mites in the vehicle in the summer, Phoenix summer to be specific.

we use them for service calls and left them in the truck all year long,they can charge off the AUX output in your car and hold a usable charge for a long time.

we still check them every month or two just to make sure we have a charge when we need it.

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got a cheapo from HF years ago , still working  ,  will technology is flying, batteries  are still 10 years behind  

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5 hours ago, holyjohnson said:

i bought this off the Matco truck a few years ago held a charge really well and jumped a Diesel in MN Feb.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JXN0YHE/?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=bestjumpstarterreviewcom-20&linkId=QQGFTPTOYPNM43PP

i have since updated it to this Matco one,but keep the zeta around to charge my wifes phone or Ipad or the like in an emergency (zeta had a big recall on the model i have so i essentially got my money back for it)

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/DSR108/SUPER-CAPACITOR-BATTERYLESS-JUMP-STARTER/

this little thing is a beast.

i also have 2 mity-mites that were used for service calls.

That zeta pack is one of the ones identical to the Antigravity packs.  I'm not sure who made them first, if antigravity did the design and had them made in china, then the chinese factory started turning out generically branded ones, or if Antigravity just bought a line from china.  

 

The capacitor one looks like a cool idea, but the price is a lot higher than the lithium type packs for the same amount of amps, and quite a bit larger.  Downside to it also it doesn't appear to have a USB outlet for charging electronics and such, which I've found is the main use a lot of people put these jump start packs.

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I have a lead-acid setup that I bought at Harbor Freight 4-5 years ago.  I've used it a couple of times but the battery now won't hold enough charge to start anything - gives the red "dead" warning pretty quick after you unplug it.  So I'd avoid that one.  Oddly it might be better if it was used MORE frequently.

In my car I have a Stanley (Wal-Mart special) that was about $50, and is a lithium pack.  It says it can only start a 3.5L or smaller engine, but I've used it to start my pickup and it's a 5.3L V8 (though the battery wasn't completely dead).  I've used it a few times and I like it.  It's compact and very portable.  I plan to get one for the wife's car.

I think you can actually charge it from the 12V socket in the car (after you get it started, and assuming the alternator is good of course).  I haven't tried that though.  It can also be used to charge cell phones, etc.  I think this one is it:

12eb5298-a76c-4f2a-8c61-3bb5e779c341_1.4

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbIQhskJho0

 

I share your concern of having a Li battery in a car in the heat though.  Jonas is a bit crazy.

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I ordered a second GB150 for work purposes.  Or so I keep telling myself.

I think mostly I bought it for if I ever need to jump start my 24V generator or 24V HMMWV.  Cheaper than buying the military slave cable, though I could probably get away with the jump pack on one battery and regular jumper cables on the second.  None of my customers have 24V generators, so that justification is really really thin at this point.

edit: I just spent $600 on batteries for the HMMWV (AGM with full 5 year warranty), so unless something really stupid happens I'm unlikely to need them for it.

Edited by Cougar_ml

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On 5/3/2019 at 9:33 PM, Presguy said:

For years I've carred a jump start pack in the car, and its been used plenty of times. It's the traditional lead-acid battery type, which is bulky and heavy, but has been consistently reliable.

It recently got.. appropriated.. by my niece, and I'm looking to get a new one.

While you can still get the lead-acid ones, it seems like almost everything now is lithium. I'm a little hesitant for two reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of a high-energy density, large capacity, lithium cell banging around in the back of my car for months on end.

2) If your alternator dies, you can use the lead acid kind, under the hood, to briefly run the car - long enough to pull it off the road. The lithium ones won't do this.

Am I being an old fashioned, given the lithium ones sell well and seem to have thousands of good reviews? Or should I stick to the old bulky style?

Are you planning to keep it in the car or at your house?  Lithium-Ion will hold a charge for a lot longer than Lead-Acid while sitting idle (off charge and unused).  You can also charge them from the cigarette lighter to top them up as needed (if you had to jump someone else's car for instance).  My Lead-Acid charger won't hold a charge for even 5 minutes now.  So it's a-goin' to Goodwill or something.  

The limit on L-Ion is how much they can put out.  Usually they are rated by engine size.  I have one (a Stanley) that can start up to a 3.5L V6, though I have used it to start my 5.3L V8 truck (though the battery wasn't completely dead).  They are also a lot smaller.

I've never had a charging system go so dead that both the battery and the alternator were useless.  Usually either it won't start, or the alternator throws a trouble light (or squeals like hell).

 

Holy Hell I didn't realize I had replied to this thread a few months ago.

Edited by SC Tiger

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2 hours ago, Cougar_ml said:

Thanks for the tip.  I just ordered one for my wife's Pilot.

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I learn so much from reading these threads, but it seems to cost me money.  Not complaining keep it up.

Edited by pipedreams
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