What you most need to understand about these - all of the lithium-cell booster packs, and some of the lead-acid SLAs as well - is that if you are boosting a car with a completely dead battery, you will fail. The pack has adequate juice to start most engines, but as soon as the alternator kicks in, the booster pack kicks OUT, and with the battery still dead, the alternator will also kick out and the whole thing will be dead again.
Sometimes you can put just enough of a charge into the car’s battery to let the alternator work, sometimes not. Generally, these are best used for boosting a vehicle with a battery that’s low but not dead, or failing and unable to crank the engine or take enough of a charge to start the car.
OBTW, the flashlight is a bad joke, and the red flasher thingy is the ba-dum-tss for the bad joke.
All of that said, I’m in for one more. They have uses.
@werehatrack Great explanations! This does have some limitations, and won’t produce miracles. But it does have the ability to provide sufficient power to jump many batteries that haven’t dropped too far in voltage (which wouldn’t be very easily saved by many other means, for what it’s worth).
Additional point to help use this well; There is a power switch that can/should be used to turn this off, and help prevent discharge over time. However, the battery will not charge unless that switch is on. Hope that helps
@RetreadNJ To an extent, maybe. I have not tried it with this exact model, but my experience has been that they will only stay in live mode for a limited amount of time - usually not enough to put a surface charge on the vehicle battery. Typically, they give you 90 seconds to get the engine cranked. They don’t have enough capacity to transfer a meaningful amount of juice to the deader, and still remain able to start an engine.
Hmm. I bought a newer one that charges from USB-C input, which is ideal for me. Second-best would be something common, such as 12v barrel input (i.e. could be periodically charged in-car for maintenance). But this guy needs 15v input, nonstandard, not in-car, etc etc.
Still, if it keeps a decent charge for the better part of a year, I might still pick up a couple and throw it in the kids’ cars’ trunks, and try to remember to charge 'em up every fall and spring…
I don’t have this brand or one that looks like it with a different name, but I’m a big fan of this kind of device.
I’ve used it myself a few times over the last few years, and a couple of weeks ago I gave a stranger a jump start in a parking lot. I plugged it in after, not because it was running low but because it had probably been eight or nine months since I last did it.
I also keep a tire pump in the car, which was a lifesaver after Pep Boys did a shitty job putting new tires on my car.
@craigthom An friend of mine finally added one of those to his emergency carry-along kit, after a “helpful” friend with a pancake compressor DEflated his tires because the helpydweeb didn’t understand that he needed to run up the regulator pressure to a point above that van’s tire pressure before the compressor would do any good. (And neither did my friend; he’s mechanically illiterate to an amazing/appalling extent.) I was off doing something else while they handcrafted their little mess, but I was the one who had to clean it up, as usual.
I got one of these last year from Groupon and it worked great while I needed it!! (My super sweet, awe-some, loving dad buying me a new car solved my need )
I paid just under $40 total and right now they’re selling them for $53.
This is a terrific deal here on Meh and if I didn’t already have one I’d definitely jump on it!!
Get it, JUMP on it!
These also work to jump lawn mowers and (big) tractors. I used one a few weeks ago to power an entire day of model rocket launches. I have a smaller one I use to run a fan on the back of a telescope. Planning to hook one up to my BBQ controller so I can stop running an extension cord. Handy little devices, and there’s plenty of adapters for the EC-5 12V output available.
I have this exact model. I originally got it because I was having starting issues, but it turned out to be an issue with my starter motor.
I have, however, used it to bring my car back from the dead at least once, and it was successful. Maybe I have a different car than the other user.
@TexasDex The older the vehicle (or the older the tech involved in its alternator design), the better your chances of the booster working as expected when the battery is dead. The majority of newer vehicles regulate the alternator output directly from the powertrain ECM instead of via an old-style voltage regulator, and when the ECM’s not happy, nothing works. The briefest interruption or significant blip in the voltage supply can cascade into a system shutdown if the battery has zero charge. This is one of the places where “smart” systems are predisposed to doing the wrong thing where dumber systems just soldier on regardless.
It’s interesting to see reports of happy users - I’ve never had one of these that worked. Perhaps in my case I’ve only tried to use them on batteries that are “too far gone”. (generally in Florida when a battery dies it’s usually “really dead” from the heat and needs replaced)
@Pufferfishy I feel your pain. I have railed more than once against the engineers that make smartass hardware that thinks it knows more about what’s needed than the user, and renders itself useless in the process. Generally this is done in the name of safety, and like the monstrously dangerous slow fill nozzles on the typical 5 gallon fuel can, they can kill somebody. I greatly prefer stupid hardware, that just does what I tell it to do, and doesn’t question my judgment. Yes, if I make a mistake, bad things can happen. But more often than not, I can make good things happen that the hardware would keep me from doing if it were “smart”.
I don’t have this model, but I do have a meh.com - supplied battery jumpstarter, and it is great to have in your vehicle. I have jumped my Honda Pilot 2-3 times successfully.
It is also cool to be able to help a stranded rando in a parking lot, without having to pop your hood and connect to their vehicle. You just walk over, attach the leads to their battery, and walk away after it starts.
@tkocka there is a standard in some units for a round barrel connector that supplies 12-18V. Units and accessories using this are often available. I don’t know if this is the same connector. I would guess this would gladly charge from a solar panel so in the worst case you’d have to hack the connector.
Also wanted to say I have a similar unit bought last year. I used it to “hot-wire” my 12V camper jack when I had to quickly power it in an emergency situation. That unit worked fine for that.
also I have a big diesel truck, and, NO, I wouldn’t even think to try this on it. If you really need something for a truck or RV or old 8 cyl American car, I’d recommend one of the BIG NOCO units. They range from about $250-$1K. I bought one on a daily sale at the big A, and was really surprised how well it worked on my truck. But it was about 10x more massive and 10x more expensive than this little unit.
Anyway decided to pick up this little one at this price, for garden equipment and emergency 12V in a small package.
@pmarin@tkocka This one’s barrel connector for charging input is tiny, maybe 3.5mm, you won’t push more than an amp or two past it. (I do not know if the internal widgetry regulates the input down to a “safe” level; it probably does.) But the pack comes with a “car charger” (a lighter plug with a pigtail that has the charging plug on the other end), so you could rig a solar panel to supply 14-15VDC to a lighter socket, and plug the pack into that. It’s easier than hacking the plug.
I bought one of these, and it’s failed me twice to start a car with a dead battery. the REAL failure though is TackLife. I wanted to get a replacement, no dice because THEY DO NOT REPLY. I sent multiple emails to every email address they have. I tried their phone numbers, nobody answers OR CALLS BACK. I tried their chat thingie and it’s broken. These guys are a JOKE and I will NEVER EVER buy anything from Tacklife again. Good luck if you ever need support.
@vreiner Be aware that most of the lithium-battery-pack jumpers have a misfeature that keeps them from successfully jump-starting cars with completely dead batteries. They’ll crank the engine, but as soon as it actually starts to run, and the alternator kicks in, the booster pack cuts out - and the engine dies, for technical reasons I went into in another post. A minority of the conventional-battery booster packs have the same misfeature.
However, your observations about TackLife are ones that many others have expressed as well. This is one of those “if it works for you, it’s a fecking bargain - and if not, you’re SOL” situations.
@Polymathic@werehatrack I’d say no… just too tiny for that. I posted earlier that I recommend a NOCO heavy duty model that is about 10x as heavy and 10x as expensive. This was for a Dodge truck with Cummins engine. If it’s a smaller car diesel — I’ve had a Mercedes and older Audi diesels, then you wouldn’t need as much, but surely bigger than this.
Just running the glow-plugs to start might deplete this or make it think that was the starting current before it even “gets crankin’”
@pmarin@Polymathic The listing over at WallyWorld is much more optimistic than I am; it claims this thing can jumpstart a 5.0L Diesel, which I find difficult to believe given the relatively tiny diameter of the contacts in the adapter’s plug.
Bought one of these for a friend who mysteriously had her battery die twice in a week…so she was borrowing mine!
I’ve owned a similar unit with another name on my friend borrowed it to jump his 6 cyl ranger. He kept it for a year until I needed it to start my 400hp 8cyl MB, after a year without using or charging the jumper it started the car in seconds.
so yeah, my friends have used my jumpers more than I have but everyone who uses it says “I’m getting one of these…soon!” as my jumper dissappears into their trunk and they announce, “I just need this for a couple of days to make sure I’m not stranded!”
I had a similar one, different brand save my bacon when I thought I could listen to the radio for an hour and have enough battery to start and drive off. I need this as a gift, so if I am with the parent and we get stranded I can use this. (They won’t try it without me there though!)
Never commented here before, but wanted to share that by coincidence I just pulled mine out of storage last week (it’s been sitting on a shelf for at least 2 years). Surprised to see it held it’s charge to 98%. Started my daughter’s Prius with it a couple of times very easily. I had used it originally for my wife’s old Lexus SUV. Pretty impressed with it. I had also googled the company last week because I lost the wall charger for it, I also noted they seem out of business except for Walmart. Wish I needed another one. I’d say this is a buy.
@Lemans One of the corollaries of The Law Of Perversity Of The Universe is “Buying a replacement for a misplaced object will have a greater than 50% likelihood of causing the ‘missing’ object to be found, usually at the most embarrassing time. This will not occur as a result of the operation of the Law if you actually need both of them.” Another is “This Law is recursive; you cannot intentionally invoke it.” (The Law itself is “The Perversity of the Universe tends toward a maximum.”)
@peenut My three each took overnight to go from 85/88/88 to 100%, so hang in there. I have not tried charging them from the car’s lighter socket yet, so I have no data about whether that is faster, slower, or pointless to even attempt.
@peenut I had the exact same issue when mine arrived last night. I left it plugged in and turned the little rocker switch to off then unplugged, plugged it back in then switched to on and it started charging normally and has ever since.
Not sure if it was just a time thing and the messing with the switch was coincidence.
@ohhwell@peenut The included not-really-a-manual seems to be trying to say that you’re supposed to turn that little switch on in order to make it able to charge, but mine charged without touching it. However, given the overall background behind the people who were selling these, I would not take anything as a given. At least they all worked, so there is that.
@ohhwell@peenut@werehatrack I had the same issue with charge % not changing for the first hour or two. Then it did start to show larger numbers and finished in a few hours. My guess is that the batteries were discharged more than the 83% shown, and it took the first hour or two to build up a base charge before it stared showing correctly.
Mine arrived yesterday, but since I just got home from being out of town for a week I haven’t even taken the plastic wrap off the packaging. I must say though that it is significantly heavier than the one I currently have, which I hope translates into a better build/better battery. I hope to check it out tomorrow…
Just opened mine today (finally). Overall I am impressed with how sturdy the build feels. Nice hard clamshell case with all the accessories packed in one side and the battery pack in the other. Surprised to notice the little compass built into the battery pack (guess I overlooked that in the pics/details).
Plugged it up (with switch off) showed 84%
30 minutes later 83% (WTF!)
90 minutes later 98% (yeah!)
next time I checked… display was off so I guessed 100%. (I did unplug the charger and plug it back in to have it display the battery %… yep 100%)
So far I am pretty happy with this unit. Seems much more beefy than the one I currently have. I guess I will keep this one in the RAV (daily driver) and leave the old one in Mom’s old car (Ford Focus) I figure I am most likely to need it (probably to help someone else) when I am in the RAV. If I need it for my own car, the RAV will take more ‘oomph’ to get it going than the Focus, so bigger/beefy seems like a good choice.
@raj810@werehatrack Mine arrived Wednesday. Displayed “Lo” on arrival, did not change after being on the charger all night. Tried with switch “on” and “off”, no difference. Neither of the flashlights illuminate. I checked the charger and it’s putting out ~16V.
I guess it’s time to contact customer service.
@macromeh@raj810@werehatrack BTW for the flashlight I had to press and hold the button for about 3 seconds. That’s probably good so that it doesn’t accidentally get pressed and turn on the light and slowly discharge when you don’t know it.
Mine doesn’t work, screen just flashes whenever I try to charge the device or charge anything from the device. The switch is in the on position. It just doesn’t work. Customer service doesn’t respond. Very disappointed
@pmarin no number per say, every thing flashes (so 188%, In, Out, 12v, 5V, quick, charge all illuminated). No “LO” indicator. Left charging overnight with switch on, no difference. Company clearly is out of business when you check their website. Looks like I (and other people here) just got duds. Hopefully meh honors DOA return policy