what's this jump-start gadget?

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May 9, 2003
Fayetteville, NC
Hi all,

last night at 2:00 am, Wifey and I got to RDU airport from our spring break vacation in San Antonio, TX (my cousin lives there) to find her Elantra (which we left at the RDU parking lot,) with a dead battery(probably left the int.lights on for 5 days, and it was freezing at night in the parking lot at nights, too).

Called airport assistance, and a guy appeared with a little flat gadget the size of a laptop with 2 cables and +/- alligator clips coming out of it. he just connected the cables to the battery posts, and started the car. Drove home fine, and all is fine with the car, too.
(we could have called road-side assistance, too, but would have taken longer, I guess)

This gadget could something very normal, but I was curious:
What was this gadget? is it some kind of mini-battery? it looked pretty compact, like I said like a laptop, but thicker on the sides. I thought this would be a really cool thing to have in cars, in emergencies; no need to look for other cars to jump-start etc.

How can I find one?
How is this thing called?

Thanks in advance.
They are great, I've got one. They don't cost too much and I feel that they are safer than booster cables. Mine starts beeping when it needs to be charged and that doesn't happen very often. Even if I use it a couple times it won't beep for a few months.

These units are nice for medium to light duty applications. When it is -30F you need jumper cables made from welding cable and high amperage clamps to start the diesel engine of your choice.
Thanks all for the info!

I think I'm going to buy one...or two: we have 2 cars.

I searched a bit, and found this one: also has an air compressor, which I can use, 'cause I'm lazy to go to gas stations and get air.

Can you guys take a look at the spec's and tell me if this thing is powerful enough to start the 4.6L v8 in my 97 T-bird? (my alternator is a 130-amp)

I think this one with 600 amp starting power should be OK, but want your guys' opinion before buying.

Thanks again.
Should be. That one has a 17 amp-hour battery which is the largest I've seen them come with.

My mechanic used one with a 17 amp-hour battery to jumpstart my 1988 Mustang 5.0 when the battery died on it in his parking lot. It had no trouble starting that engine.

EDIT: You may want to check the shipping charges on that unit. I've seen similar units at Wal-Mart for less than the total cost of that unit and shipping to where I live.
We got cheap ones from my father in-law for Christmas one year. The were apparently a bunch of "seconds" from some manufacturer (only $6 each). A couple wouldn't fully charge (5 LEDs - the 5th one would never light up after charging).

They also can be used as a battery charger in a pinch. My daughter at college had her battery run dead due to a loose belt and limited driving duration and some night driving. She couldn't get a good enough connection with the booster box ..so I had her connect it and then plug in the wall wart power supply to the booster box via extension cord. Worked flawlessly and she was able to make the drive home to get the belt serviced here instead of me paying $60-80 to have it done at college.

Mine also has a cigarette lighter/power port adapter that appears to work both ways. You can charge the thing through the port ..or charge the car battery if you want to wait long enough.
Thanks, guys.

I'll look into normal auto parts stores, walmart, etc before ordering anything online.

I read further that 350 cranking amps is enough for all 4 cyl. and most 6 cyl. cars and that 400-450 amps are enough for a v-8. I guess I'll just be safe and get one with about 600 cranking amps, so we can use it for both our cars( one 4-banger, and one 8-banger), either the one I had the link above for, or a similar unit with an air compressor.

Originally posted by Gary Allan:
They also can be used as a battery charger in a pinch.

I once used a 13.8V 5-amp regulated power supply to charge the battery in my car enough to start it. I have a 1.5 amp charger/maintainer but I didn't want to wait that long.
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