Author Topic: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter  (Read 30315 times)

Offline AZDuffman

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 64
  • Karma: 2
  • New TSP Forum member
Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« on: October 20, 2014, 05:30:35 PM »
I have a birthday coming up and my parents are asking the usual "whadder ya want?"  As I build my preps I decided I should really have a battery-charger for my car.  Last year when it was really cold for the first time in 20+ years the car did not want to start from the cold.  Turned fine, but for the first time since I had a carb and not fuel-injection I could just hear the thing huffing.  I stopped turning the engine because I didn't want to kill the battery as I knew I had no charger.

That would be it, but last week I again saw how easy jump-starters are to bring out when we put a boat in storage.  I thought maybe that would be a way to go.  But I was told jump-starters have a "shelf life" and after a few years need to be replaced.  It will cost more as well, OTOH it is instant.

Any thoughts I missed?  One thing to say is I have and know how to use jumper cables if needed, which in my life they have more than once, so "know-how" is not the deciding factor.

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8349
  • Karma: 150
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 06:02:16 PM »
I like the idea of the jump packs, but I'd bet that the majority are not kept charged.  It's worthless if it doesn't have a charge.  The shelf life is because of the battery.  Just like any battery, the jump pack battery does have a finite shelf life.

I will eventually have a jump pack in each of my cars, but until then good jumper cables live in each trunk.

Personally, I would rather have a good charger first.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 06:06:34 PM »
I like the idea of the jump packs, but I'd bet that the majority are not kept charged.  It's worthless if it doesn't have a charge.  The shelf life is because of the battery.  Just like any battery, the jump pack battery does have a finite shelf life.

I will eventually have a jump pack in each of my cars, but until then good jumper cables live in each trunk.

Personally, I would rather have a good charger first.

100% agree

Offline Crazy Fox

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 455
  • Karma: 25
  • Every day, every way, getting better.
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 09:46:04 AM »
I wish I had experience to share about the portable jump starters, but I have only heard that they can be junk, especially if they stay on the store shelf for a while before getting sold.
 
Therefore my vote is a battery charger.

Next year, how about a portable tire pump?

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.

Offline r_w

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1262
  • Karma: 35
  • On my way
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 10:16:20 AM »
+1 on a 3 stage smart charger. 

jump packs are handy, but they only last a couple years until the battery goes.  A better $$ spend is a smart charger and then an odyssey motorcycle battery with jumper cables.  The little odyssey has enough power to RUN most cars, will hold a charge MUCH longer than the cheap gel cells in the jump packs, and lasts 10+ years if you take care of it. 


Offline ericksonrs

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Karma: 4
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 10:54:58 AM »
While I agree with the others that a charger is great to have, I have two of the jump starters, one in each car, and use them all the time.

I wish I could find one of the brands to buy again, but we have had it over 5 years and it still works like a champ. 

I bought a stanley one from home depot two or three years ago and it is still going strong.

I lend it out all the time and can stop anytime I need to to help others.  I've even used it as a phone charger in a tent camping as they both have 12v outputs.

Use it camping to blow up the air mattress, etc, etc, etc.

If you have the option its worth having one, rolling the dice with the battery.

This is the one I bought most recently, not as good as my other one of unknown origin, but worth the 80$ even if you have to rebuy every 3 or 4 years IMO.

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-J5C09-Starter-Built-Compressor/dp/B002X6VXL4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413996783&sr=8-1&keywords=stanley+car+charger

Offline ericksonrs

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Karma: 4
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 10:59:03 AM »
BTW I do have jumper cables in each car as well.  I do pull the jump packs out every couple months and leave them overnight on the charger.  Pretty simple.

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 01:36:11 PM »
I got one of the new lithium ion jump boxes that fits in the glove box, also works to charge my laptop and my cell phone. Charges on either 12vdc or 120 household current. To me, you just can't beat that versatility.

Offline bradleypaul75

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 207
  • Karma: 11
  • there is no spoon.
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 02:25:15 AM »
I got one of the new lithium ion jump boxes that fits in the glove box, also works to charge my laptop and my cell phone. Charges on either 12vdc or 120 household current. To me, you just can't beat that versatility.

Which brand did you get? Do you have a link?

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 06:02:29 AM »

Offline NWPilgrim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1605
  • Karma: 114
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 03:24:39 PM »
I tried the NiCad vesion of the jump starters and was not happy, same with the motorcycle battery type. Only the wet cell battery holds a charge over several months, the Li-ion type be fine as far as holding charge.  BUT...

Even when a battery holds a charge the small ones are often not up to the task of starting with a totally dead (headlights left on) battery.  The small batteries just don't have the capacity, so I would revert to using jumper cables to start from a running vehicle.

I eventually decided the best utility was to have heavy duty Marine type batteries with a good charger.  This way it does double duty as power outage backup with an inverter, as well as mobile/home jump starting.  The only downside is I don't have an extra battery with me when I am out and about, but 90% of the time there are other vehicles or I can call for wife to come help with jumper cables. At home a Marine battery is heavy but easy to use for jump starts and has massive capacity for hard starts.

Overall I think the battery charger will give you many more years of service for both car and home use, especially if your primary car starting issue is cold starts at home.  If primary issue was dead battery in remote location then the jump battery would be a better idea.

The mention of Lithium batteries makes me think of all the 18V cordless tool batteries I have.  Anyone know of anything that makes use of cordless tool batteries to directly power USB, cigarette lighter plug, AA charger, etc?  Not to jump a car battery but for other low wattage 12v jobs.

Offline JakeG

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 11
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 06:56:32 PM »
I look at this a few different ways.

First off, I've used jumper boxes commercially for approximately 13 years and have never had one go bad due to a manufacturer defect. The few that have met their demise were due to user error and/or neglect. The brand of jumper box has always been JNC. I can take a pic of our latest 3 year old version. It holds a charge for about 6 weeks with 1-5 daily uses. It would last close to 3 months of the same usage when we had two jump boxes. Please note that most uses are on vehicles with either a completely dead battery, or NO BATTERY whatsoever.

Next, if a battery charger is the decision, please make sure it has the Start Assist function. Limitations are you still have to rely on an external power source to use the charger or an individual willing to jump start you.

Lastly, I would consider a compact deep cycle battery (or larger depending on space) mounted in your trunk + a battery charger and jumper cables long enough to reach from the hood to the trunk. Charge the battery every 1-2 months OR have it charging while driving. These batteries can be had for ~$50 at Tractor/Farm supply stores. We use them on BBQ pit trailers to run the radio, speakers and lights for a weekend.

Good luck and let us know what you end up with!

Offline Perfesser

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 728
  • Karma: 24
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 09:53:23 AM »
I've had the same portable jumper for about 5 years, with an inverter and compressor built in. Incredibly handy for me as there's no electricity at the BOL.
Every weekend I go this box runs 2 CFL lights off the inverter.
Just last weekend the inverter died but the battery is still good and I can plug a small inverter into the 12v outlet. Compressor is very handy as it has it's own power source built in.



Offline keebler

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 418
  • Karma: 9
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2014, 06:57:05 AM »
I have 4 harbor freight Jump starts on sale $39.99 ?   Main problem with them is the small inside Charger .I can buy replacement battery from (attbattery) $30.oo just got (2) last week to replace the 18 amp 12 Volt one inside them.
had a expensive Firestone brand one  it did the same thing.
I have jumper cables in all my vehicles too. but jumping some ones car it's easy to fry a alternator...Id rather use a "Jumpstart unit"
my 2 cents
Keebler.

Online FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6083
  • Karma: 771
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2014, 01:30:45 AM »
I've been happy with the three DieHard jump packs I've had. They run off an 18 ah SLA and have two inverter 110v outlets, two 12v, and a USB.  I charge them at least once a month using a Noco Genius 1amp charger, instead of the wallwort it comes with, and they work well.  I've used them to jump other people more than myself and it couldn't be easier, certainly better than jumper cables, although I still carry those, too. One time I went to use my wife's and she'd shoved the thing into a corner of the trunk and inadvertently switched on the light and killed the battery for good, so you got to watch for things like that.

My wife hates them and doesn't see the upside to it taking up space in the trunk, so I just bought her the new little lithium unit that Noco came out with and so far have been amazed at the power out of such a small package, plus I don't have to worry about charging as frequently. We'll see how long it lasts.

Offline TLBones

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 255
  • Karma: 9
  • TSP Forum Chupacabra
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2014, 07:09:59 AM »
My 0.02....

I've had 4 jump starters over the years.  One lasted about a year, one lasted about 5.    As others have stated, they have a shelf life no matter how careful you are taking care of them.     I don't plan on buying another of the traditional jump starters, but will probably go in this direction:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D42AFS8/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=AORVR7PL23VX&coliid=I3TJT7T9EICVGM

(this is just an example of the type I'm talking about, I'm not recommendin this particular one)

 These smaller types seem to be gaining in popularity due to thier size.  I've seen them in HD and Lowes recently.  I think the Li batteries are probably a better way to go than they traditional lead-acid jump starters.    Some are rather small and not powerful, but I think more of these will come to market and they wil eventually become more powerful and cheaper.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 07:20:53 AM by TLBones »

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2014, 07:30:18 AM »
My experience with JUMP BATTERIES is such that I was really not able to start an auto with a dead battery. Most are a 12 Amp battery and you connect it for ,say 10 minutes and pray that the 'dead' battery takes enough charge from a battery that is 1/4 it's size to start the vehicle. I mostly used mine as a power supply for Radio/cell phone charger and as a "pet" that needed my attention each week in order to stay 'alive'.
  The average Jump Box in my possession lasted 3 to 5 years , no matter how good ,or bad,I kept up with maintenance.

If you get one...get one with the 18 Amp battery and learn how to use it.

Jump Box cost $40 t0 $100 PLUS and has limited life.

Schumacher 3 stage charger $40 , add an INVERTER for safe auto to auto CHARGING $40 , Jumper cables $40 ...LASTS FOR YEARS.

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2014, 08:19:57 AM »
I'm grateful for this thread because I've had a number of jumpboxes that used to kick butt, but have lost their umph. Now I understand they're just a medium sized SLA inside that I can replace. That rocks.  I will probably get another lithium for my wife, but my plan now is to fix my old SLA jump boxes and donate them to the fire Dept.  I've been pushing for a jump box on our wildland trucks for years, now I can fix the problem without bureaucracy.

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2014, 08:46:30 AM »
I have burnt up two of these All-in-One compressors.   My truck tires ask for 80 psi, and those little units just can't do it.   It's nice for the jump pack, but I've honestly never had to use it.  I'm starting to look at good chargers now.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2014, 08:57:56 AM »
I have burnt up two of these All-in-One compressors.   My truck tires ask for 80 psi, and those little units just can't do it.   It's nice for the jump pack, but I've honestly never had to use it.  I'm starting to look at good chargers now.

Yes ,but they can add enough air to get you to a good place to fix,or change ,the tire.A slightly better 12 volt compressor can be had, at a price. about $40 and up. Carry a tubeless PLUG KIT TOO and you can keep going and going.

http://www.amazon.com/Viair-00073-Heavy-Portable-Compressor/dp/B0012WHBSO/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1419695634&sr=1-1&keywords=12v+air+compressor


nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2014, 09:18:22 AM »
I have no personal experience, but was told by someone I ride with on occasion that this one works well.  He uses it on his 4X4.

http://www.amazon.com/Industries-MV50-SuperFlow-High-Volume-Compressor/dp/B000BM8RT8/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1419696878&sr=1-1&keywords=portable+industrial+air+compressor

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2014, 09:20:42 AM »
I have no personal experience, but was told by someone I ride with on occasion that this one works well.  He uses it on his 4X4.

http://www.amazon.com/Industries-MV50-SuperFlow-High-Volume-Compressor/dp/B000BM8RT8/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1419696878&sr=1-1&keywords=portable+industrial+air+compressor

I agree that looks VERY GOOD and at 2 1/2 minutes to inflate an average tire ,it pretty high volume too.

Bonnieblue2A

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2014, 09:36:01 AM »
I recently purchased this Booster Pac power pack in the 900 amp peak:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/CLORE-JUMPSTARTERS/1841221.uts?productVariantId=3862788&srccode=cii_328768002&cpncode=38-15569783-2&WT.tsrc=CSE&WT.mc_id=BingPLA&WT.z_mc_id1=03885892&rid=20

It worked well to jump start my 2002 SUV.  Better than the Schumacher trickle charger and better than the Wagen I had.   The Wagen lost the ability to hold a charge after 2 yrs.  It had lots of bells and whistles like a radio, tire pump, etc... .   This Booster Pac power pack is single function and good at what it was designed to do.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2014, 10:56:48 AM »
As Carl suggested, if you have other 12volt rechargeable needs beyond automotive, spending $30 for this is a no-brainer.



This model is nearly idiot proof. Even warns if you cross the positive/negative (red/black) wires incorrectly.

d3nni5

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2014, 11:13:58 AM »
Carry a tubeless PLUG KIT TOO and you can keep going and going.


Yup, do this already.   Good prep for cheap.

Online FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6083
  • Karma: 771
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2014, 01:08:37 PM »
This is a picture of my DieHard unit:



This is the 18ah SLA it runs off of, that's easily user replaceable:



This is the lithium unit my wife's going to be carrying around now, instead.  Amazing amount of power from such a small package.


Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8349
  • Karma: 150
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2014, 02:26:07 PM »
Glad to see the more recent posts.  I didn't know that these Lithium Jump Starters existed.  I'll be looking into these for a possible future purchase.

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2014, 02:51:49 PM »
I'm sad to see the price climbing so quickly on them. I didn't buy mine that long ago for $99. The same model is now $149.

Offline chad

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1191
  • Karma: 43
Re: Battery Charger or Jump-Starter
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2014, 03:28:47 PM »
I also have had no long-term success with the portable jump starters, I ended up buying a battery that is a little smaller then what's in the car and keep it in the trunk, I have it wired so it charges as I drive.

Almost forgot, for it to save your bum if your main battery dies your backup needs to be isolated, I used a cheap diode.