Jumper cables

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Jazztonight
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Jumper cables

Post by Jazztonight » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:58 pm

The set of jumper cables I keep in the trunk of my car mysteriously disappeared, and I want to replace them.

Your recommendations, please. My car is a 2001 Camry V6; the battery is under 2 years old. But this would be for emergency situations--mine or someone else's. I do not live or drive in a cold-weather area (anymore).

16' or 20'?
What gauge?

Thank you.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Voltaire2.0
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Voltaire2.0 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:04 pm

6 gauge is fine.

I suggest shorter cables because they will be less unwieldy.

sport
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by sport » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:08 pm

Voltaire2.0 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:04 pm
6 gauge is fine.

I suggest shorter cables because they will be less unwieldy.
I like longer cables because sometimes you cannot get the two vehicles close enough for a shorter cable to reach.

Always wear eye protection when using jumper cables.

Big Worm
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Big Worm » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm

Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Jazztonight » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:24 pm

Big Worm wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.
Doesn't this require that the battery pack always remains charged?
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:25 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:24 pm
Big Worm wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.
Doesn't this require that the battery pack always remains charged?
:oops:
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Kenkat
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Kenkat » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:33 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:24 pm
Big Worm wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.
Doesn't this require that the battery pack always remains charged?
The Lithium Ion based ones hold a charge very well over a long period of time - months if not 1+ years. I have one and am not likely to buy another set of jumper cables ever again.

Mine is similar to this:

https://www.amazon.com/BEATIT-B10PRO-Po ... 43&sr=8-13

Yooper
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Yooper » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:01 pm

sport wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:08 pm
Voltaire2.0 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:04 pm
I like longer cables because sometimes you cannot get the two vehicles close enough for a shorter cable to reach.

Always wear eye protection when using jumper cables.
I agree, went with 25 foot cables. Nothing worse than being just a little bit short when you need it. And since I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, I zip tied a cheat sheet to them so I'd remember what order to attach (Red to Dead, Red to Good, Black to Good, Black to Block). Also, if I'm not in the vehicle when it's getting a jump there's a better chance it'll be done correctly.

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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:11 pm

Red to Dead?

What's that mean?
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samsoes
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by samsoes » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:21 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:11 pm
Red to Dead?

What's that mean?
An end of the red cable gets connected to the "+" terminal on the dead battery.

I hope that helps.
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downshiftme
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by downshiftme » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:04 pm

I really like the newer battery jumper kits. Small, hold their charge well and no need to monkey with positioning the second car close enough for cables to reach. Prices have dropped quite a bit and they seem like the better option now.

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anon_investor
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by anon_investor » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:19 pm

You do have to check the battery pack periodically, but it works. Saved my bacon in the winter once.

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F150HD
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by F150HD » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:24 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:11 pm
Red to Dead?

What's that mean?
LOL

GreatLaker
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by GreatLaker » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:26 pm

I bought a Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry booster pack. They have a reminder program where they send me an email every 3 months reminding me to charge it.

3-20Characters
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by 3-20Characters » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:27 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:24 pm
Big Worm wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.
Doesn't this require that the battery pack always remains charged?
I charge mine twice per year (Spring and Fall).

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fortfun
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by fortfun » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:28 pm

Skip the cables! For around $70, just get an emergency charger. Store it in your glove box. Stays charged for quite a long time and can easily be charged. Doubles as a phone charger. I think my days of using jumper cables are officially over! I have this one:
https://www.amazon.com/DBPOWER-18000mAh ... WER&sr=8-1 Works great!

manatee2005
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by manatee2005 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:29 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:28 pm
Skip the cables! For around $70, just get an emergency charger. Store it in your glove box. Stays charged for quite a long time and can easily be charged. Doubles as a phone charger. I think my days of using jumper cables are officially over!
Same here. I once waiting for 30 minutes on the road, with booster chargers in hand for anyone to stop, and NOBODY stopped. I bought a small booster that works awesome, don't have to wait for anyone.

Grasshopper
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Grasshopper » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:20 pm

^ Should have waved a $20 with the free hand. I am old school I have a nice set of cables in my truck and always refuse a tip. :D

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ClevrChico
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:23 pm

Get the best and longest you can afford. I was gifted a high quality set 20+ years ago, and it has saved many a stranded vehicle.

Trader Joe
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:24 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:58 pm
The set of jumper cables I keep in the trunk of my car mysteriously disappeared, and I want to replace them.

Your recommendations, please. My car is a 2001 Camry V6; the battery is under 2 years old. But this would be for emergency situations--mine or someone else's. I do not live or drive in a cold-weather area (anymore).

16' or 20'?
What gauge?

Thank you.
I recommend the cheapest jumper cables that you can find. Check Walmart.

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whodidntante
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:26 pm

You can charge the battery pack in your car. It's really easy if the car automatically shuts off USB power when the ignition is off.

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JoMoney
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by JoMoney » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:36 pm

I vote for one of those rechargeable portable jump starters.
If you need it, it saves the hassle of finding someone to help and maneuver the cars into a position where the cables can even reach.
It also may reduce the risk of damaging your (or someone else) electrical system from improper jump starting.
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fundseeker
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by fundseeker » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:00 pm

Good post! Maybe it'll make someone realize they ought to have a set in their car! But as important, it seems like everyone would have a tire inflator in their vehicle!

Spirit Rider
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:21 pm

Trader Joe wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:24 pm
I recommend the cheapest jumper cables that you can find. Check Walmart.
This has to be the worst advice on Bogleheads I have seen in a long time. Being frugal can be a virtue. Being cheap on emergency equipment is not.

Try using a cheap 8 or 10 gauge jumper cable in the dead of winter on a dead battery which is the most likely time it will be needed. Guess what, it ain't happening.

I agree with the majority here about having a jump starter. If you can't afford that, at least have 4 or 6 gauge jumper cables. Personally, I always believe in layers when it comes to safety. My girls have both in their trunks with self-assembled emergency roadside safety kits. Which by the way does have a decent tire inflator.

I suggest the following one. It has more power is is current discounted to the $69.99 as the earnier one. DBPOWER 2000A 20800mAh Portable Car Jump Starter (up to 8.0L Gas/6.5L Diesel Engines) Auto Battery Booster Pack with Dual USB Outputs, Type-C Port, and LED Flashlight
Last edited by Spirit Rider on Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Derby
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Derby » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:26 pm

I second buying the portable battery pack. Cables are only good if there's another car around. If you use it only once, it will be the best $50 you've ever spent in your life. Ask me how I know.
Carpe Diem.

KlangFool
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:28 pm

Folks,

As for those that had bought the battery pack, does it work after a few years? Doesn't the battery has a limited life like 2 years? Or, it is different from the battery that we used on our laptop.

KlangFool

Spirit Rider
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:33 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:28 pm
As for those that had bought the battery pack, does it work after a few years? Doesn't the battery has a limited life like 2 years? Or, it is different from the battery that we used on our laptop.
Mine is 5 or 6 years old and going strong. Battery life has a lot to do with your usage model. A laptop battery is under far more stress than a jump starter battery. It is charged infrequently and spends its time slowly discharging in standby mode.

MathWizard
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by MathWizard » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:04 pm

I have 20 ft 6 gauge cables and have used them several times
You can park a running car behind the car with the dead battery, and string the cables over that car to the battery.

I had sealed lead acid jump packs that mostly got used as an air pump. It died in 2 years.

I now have a lithium ion jump pack and a small air compressor that plugs into the cig lighter outlet. My son used it once.

toofache32
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by toofache32 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:08 pm

Do they still make jumper cables?? I have had this sit under my back seat in my pickup for over a year and it still worked to jump off someone else's battery. They make bigger and smaller ones based on what kind of engine you have. I bought one for my wife also so she wouldn't have to find someone else with a car to jump her off.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015T ... =UTF8&th=1

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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:09 pm

Another supporter of a portable jump starter. BTW there is a previous topic portable jump starters with lots of useful information and experiences.

Our personal choice is the NOCO GB40  Boost Plus. It has served us very well, including getting a car with a totally dead battery up and running. I've set a calendar alert to remind me to recharge it periodically. Originally set for every 3 months but since relaxed to every 6 months based on experience to date.
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telemark
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by telemark » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:51 pm

This is not a recommendation since I have not tried it, but I have it filed under interesting ideas:

https://www.amazon.com/autowit-Portable ... B07F8MJW8W

The idea is that the battery is hardly ever completely dead, just below the point where it can discharge fast enough to start the engine. The advantage is that you don't need to remember to keep it charged. I would be interested in other opinions (or better yet, experience) on this.

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TierArtz
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by TierArtz » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:09 pm

For my SUV, I have a 25' 1-Guage, Energizer brand ordered from Amazon as a backup to a lithium battery portable jumper pack I bought from Costco. Used them both in the last 6 months to help others out. For one car, the portable pack did not work for some reason, but the "beast with teeth" did. If I had to do it over again, I'd have bought lighter cables (4 gauge, 25').

dknightd
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by dknightd » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:15 pm

I like twice the length of my vehicle. At least 4 gauge. 2 would be better. But copper is expensive.

helloeveryone
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by helloeveryone » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:17 pm

manatee2005 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:29 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:28 pm
Skip the cables! For around $70, just get an emergency charger. Store it in your glove box. Stays charged for quite a long time and can easily be charged. Doubles as a phone charger. I think my days of using jumper cables are officially over!
Same here. I once waiting for 30 minutes on the road, with booster chargers in hand for anyone to stop, and NOBODY stopped. I bought a small booster that works awesome, don't have to wait for anyone.
We got an emergency charger and have used it to help stranded folks. We haven’t needed it on our own vehicle yet. Also it’s nice as it can be used as a flashlight or to charge phones etc....

dknightd
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by dknightd » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:27 pm

helloeveryone wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:17 pm
manatee2005 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:29 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:28 pm
Skip the cables! For around $70, just get an emergency charger. Store it in your glove box. Stays charged for quite a long time and can easily be charged. Doubles as a phone charger. I think my days of using jumper cables are officially over!
Same here. I once waiting for 30 minutes on the road, with booster chargers in hand for anyone to stop, and NOBODY stopped. I bought a small booster that works awesome, don't have to wait for anyone.
We got an emergency charger and have used it to help stranded folks. We haven’t needed it on our own vehicle yet. Also it’s nice as it can be used as a flashlight or to charge phones etc....
Personal opinion. Those jumper boxes are fine for charging a cell phone. Or as a heavy flashlight. Some even have air pumps. I would not rely on them to be useful in an emergency

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Cubicle
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Cubicle » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:05 pm

25 foot 2 or 4 gauge is what I have in all my trunks. I don't fret over costs. These are basically lifetime buys in my view.

Although I do like these portable jump starters, but I have never used one before.

mike77308
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by mike77308 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:58 pm

I went with a portable power pack recently. Newer car electronics sometimes don't play nice with jumping from another car's battery. After searching reviews I went with this highly rated Topvision 2200A power pack. It worked good enough to start my 1957 Oliver diesel tractor in below freezing weather. It can be recharged from any USB port. There are lots of similar products available.
https://www.amazon.com/TOPVISION-2200A- ... B07H58NP77

phxjcc
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by phxjcc » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:13 am

TierArtz wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:09 pm
For my SUV, I have a 25' 1-Guage, Energizer brand ordered from Amazon as a backup to a lithium battery portable jumper pack I bought from Costco. Used them both in the last 6 months to help others out. For one car, the portable pack did not work for some reason, but the "beast with teeth" did. If I had to do it over again, I'd have bought lighter cables (4 gauge, 25').
This.
Especially for diesel trucks, the power packs won't start it in winter with either plug warmers or grid heaters.

For the OP, a power pack might work 90%.
Cables will always work.

bob60014
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by bob60014 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:47 am

whodidntante wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:26 pm
You can charge the battery pack in your car. It's really easy if the car automatically shuts off USB power when the ignition is off.
+1. This!

researcher
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by researcher » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:58 am

phxjcc wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:13 am
Cables will always work.
Not if there isn't another vehicle around who is willing to stop and help.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:20 am

phxjcc wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:13 am
TierArtz wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:09 pm
For my SUV, I have a 25' 1-Guage, Energizer brand ordered from Amazon as a backup to a lithium battery portable jumper pack I bought from Costco. Used them both in the last 6 months to help others out. For one car, the portable pack did not work for some reason, but the "beast with teeth" did. If I had to do it over again, I'd have bought lighter cables (4 gauge, 25').
This.
Especially for diesel trucks, the power packs won't start it in winter with either plug warmers or grid heaters.

For the OP, a power pack might work 90%.
Cables will always work.
This is my thinking. I don't see how a power pack could start a cold engine with a really really dead battery. If your power pack comes with cables as thick as the ones connected to the battery, then maybe.

In my younger days, with a really crummy car, I had plenty of experience with an engine that required long cranks to get started.

rj342
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by rj342 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:37 am

fortfun wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:28 pm
Skip the cables! For around $70, just get an emergency charger. Store it in your glove box. Stays charged for quite a long time and can easily be charged. Doubles as a phone charger. I think my days of using jumper cables are officially over! I have this one:
https://www.amazon.com/DBPOWER-18000mAh ... WER&sr=8-1 Works great!
Since the whole issue is about having a problem, particularly possibly at a bad time or place, why not both?
Also, since you may be the Good Samaritan.

rj342
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by rj342 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:42 am

MathWizard wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:04 pm
I have 20 ft 6 gauge cables and have used them several times
You can park a running car behind the car with the dead battery, and string the cables over that car to the battery.

I had sealed lead acid jump packs that mostly got used as an air pump. It died in 2 years.

I now have a lithium ion jump pack and a small air compressor that plugs into the cig lighter outlet. My son used it once.
Never had that scenario fortunately, but quite a few times encountered situation where vehicles could only park side-by-side (rather than bumper to bumper) and having batteries on opposite sides a problem with a short set of cables.

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Peculiar_Investor
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:44 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:20 am
I don't see how a power pack could start a cold engine with a really really dead battery.
Been there, done that.
Peculiar_Investor wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:09 pm
Our personal choice is the NOCO GB40 Boost Plus. It has served us very well, including getting a car with a totally dead battery up and running. I've set a calendar alert to remind me to recharge it periodically. Originally set for every 3 months but since relaxed to every 6 months based on experience to date.
The car in question isn't a daily driver and the battery doesn't hold a charge. On more than one occasion I've used the boast mode on the NoCo to successfully start the vehicle.
Normal people… believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet. – Scott Adams

niceguy7376
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by niceguy7376 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:50 am

Sunday evening, while running errands at grocery stores, my 06 corolla didnt start. Called AAA and they were there within 10 mins. He jump started but said that I need to replace the connectors (to the battery) and the battery (costco bought in june 2019) and that it wouldnt start again if switched off. I directly drove to nearby costco, had the engine on with family at the car and bought the jump starter battery pack and charged it overnight at home.
I used that to jump start today morning to go to office and will use it till I get to the body shop to get those replaced.

Yooper
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by Yooper » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:27 am

If you're thinking about buying a battery jump starter but don't have a clue where to begin, you might want to check out this video. At least it's a starting point.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN8A2nIMUWA

head gamez
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by head gamez » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:05 pm

We have 4 of these (one for every car), and they have did the job whenever we needed them to. I even used it to jump my diesel tractor on a cold December morning. My dad saw me do it and liked it. So we bought him the newer model for Christmas (newer model has wireless phone charging).

https://www.costco.com/type-s-lithium-j ... 25276.html

alfaspider
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by alfaspider » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:07 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:20 am
phxjcc wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:13 am
TierArtz wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:09 pm
For my SUV, I have a 25' 1-Guage, Energizer brand ordered from Amazon as a backup to a lithium battery portable jumper pack I bought from Costco. Used them both in the last 6 months to help others out. For one car, the portable pack did not work for some reason, but the "beast with teeth" did. If I had to do it over again, I'd have bought lighter cables (4 gauge, 25').
This.
Especially for diesel trucks, the power packs won't start it in winter with either plug warmers or grid heaters.

For the OP, a power pack might work 90%.
Cables will always work.
This is my thinking. I don't see how a power pack could start a cold engine with a really really dead battery. If your power pack comes with cables as thick as the ones connected to the battery, then maybe.

In my younger days, with a really crummy car, I had plenty of experience with an engine that required long cranks to get started.
It's pretty impressive what the little Li-ion batteries can do these days. They make battery packs that can start a big block v8 that weigh less than 10lbs. However, one thing I found with the lithium battery I use to start my race car is that the pack itself can't be too cold. A cold motor is fine, but it doesn't have much juice of the jumpstarter has been sitting in freezing temperatures.

inbox788
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Re: Jumper cables

Post by inbox788 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:27 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:24 pm
Big Worm wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:15 pm
Get the one with the battery pack. Don't need another car to jump off.
Doesn't this require that the battery pack always remains charged?
Surprisingly, no! Not if it doesn't have a battery. These new batteryless supercapacitor jumpers add a new twist to the problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN8A2nI ... u.be&t=411

https://youtu.be/JN8A2nIMUWA?t=629

You have to consider the performance, cost, maintenance and longevity of your decision. Cables should last a long time, but conductors and insulation can erode. Batteries have a limited lifetime, from very short to moderate. Supercapacitors should last longer than batteries. I worry about performance (not enough cranking) as well as host battery being too dead, but sometimes you may be able to charge these elsewhere first.

FWIW, I haven't carried cables for many years and haven't needed them. One time did help someone who had their own cables, but didn't know how to use them.

I test my batteries regularly and keep them relatively new. Or I call AAA or a friend. In some parking lots, the attendant or security will have a charger. Depending on where's you're driving, and the chances of needing a jump start, one might not need a solution in the car.

And if you're driving a manual, you could always get a push start.

smackboy1
Posts: 1140
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:41 pm

Re: Jumper cables

Post by smackboy1 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:30 pm

Don't bother with jumper cables. The ones that a long enough to jump 2 cars parked front to back are really bulky and heavy. Many modern cars have complex computers and some manufacturers (like my BMW) state that jump starting another car can damage the vehicle.

Buy a compact booster battery so you are self sufficient. Also, if somebody else needs a boost, you don't risk frying your own car's electronics. Some of the smart ones are also idiot proof in case they are clamped on the wrong terminals. I have used Li-ion boosters and they are great, but they don't hold a charge for long periods of time in the cold compared to lead acid. So you just have to check them every month or so in winter. Recharging is easy using a USB socket in the car.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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