About Portable Jump Starters
Portable jump starters are found to be convenient, headache-saving devices that work in a similar fashion to actual car batteries and attach to a car battery via two alligator clamps. The end result is transferring enough power to a weak battery in order to start the car. There are many reasons drivers choose portable starters over jumper cables. One of the top reasons is that portable starters do not require an additional vehicle to jump start a battery. Instead, drivers can simply pull out their portable starter, attach its cables to the positive and negative battery terminals, and get enough “juice” to start their car.
However, there is one major downside to a portable starter. Unlike attaching jumper cables from one vehicle to another, “jumping off” a car with a portable device will not charge a battery. So batteries that are completely dead or have extremely low cold-cranking amps may not get enough power to boost the car back to life.
Choosing a Portable Starter
Like most automobile tools, portable starters vary widely in terms of price and quality. Usually, starters that come equipped with various accessories cost more but many drivers find accessories, such as air compressors or flashlights, to be not only unnecessary, but also energy-draining. The best amount of peak amps for a starter are 1,700, which is enough to start most car engines.
Using a Portable Starter
Starting a car with a portable jumper is not a complicated task. All that is needed to be done is to match up the colors of the clamps with the corresponding colors of the battery terminals. Red symbolizes positive terminals while black represents negative terminals. After both clamps are attached properly, either turn the starter on via a power button, if it has one, or allow the starter to power automatically.
Once the portable starter is turned on, the starter will transfer its individual peak amperage to the car battery, giving the battery’s cranking amps a necessary boost. Before starting the vehicle, the starter as well as the wires should be moved far from the vehicle’s moving parts. After everything is “all clear,” the vehicle can be started. But remember, since a portable starter can only output a certain base peak amperage, the starter is not capable of charging a car battery, even if it is left attached to the battery for an extended period of time.
Quality starters do a fantastic job at starting a battery on the first try; however, if the battery’s terminals are corroded or dirty, it may be difficult to get a suitable connection from the clamps to the terminals; this can limit a portable starter from transferring its best peak amperage. Knowledgeable auto technicians will advise their customers to keep their battery and its terminals clean and well-maintained.
Caring for a Portable Starter
In order to keep a portable jump starter from working at its optimum level, the starter should be kept in a dry, cool area when not being used. Never leave the starter enclosed inside of a vehicle when the vehicle is parked in extreme outdoor temperatures. Starters left in very cold or hot weather can not only ruin the plastic covers on the clamp wires, but also drain the starter’s power. And of course, the portable starter should be kept fully charged in order to get the highest possible output of amps. Properly maintained jump starters are reliable jump starters.