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Anyone try a SuperCapacitor jump starter? How did it go?


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#1 Old Crow

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Posted 29 January 2024 - 05:32 PM

     Back in 2014-2017 or so I had three lithium-battery micro-starters-- an Antigravity XP1 and two Whistler Jump-N-Go units.  My brother also had two Jump-N-Go units.  Within three years of purchase, all of them were unusable and the batteries in all of them had expanded and broken through their cases.  (if anyone wants more detail, see Micro-Start / Jump & Go Experiences and Yikes! My micro-starter batteries broke out of their cases)

 

At the time I concluded I'd have to consider them consumables... and only good for about 2-3 years.  I decided I'd only buy another if I'd soon be going somewhere very remote.  Otherwise, I'd just depend on jumper cables.

 

In 2017 I saw this Scotty Kilmer video about the Autowit SuperCapacitor jump starter and bought one in late 2018.  The main thing that attracted me to it was that it didn't use a battery and reportedly had at least a 10-year lifespan. I also liked the claim that it can endure extreme temperatures.

 

I finally had a chance to use it four years and ten months later.  We had pulled into a rest area near Banff this past September and I saw a car with the hood up-- an SUV with a young family.  Dad was staring forlornly into the engine bay.  

 

When I said I had the SuperCap and would love to try it, he was all for it.  Voltage started at a little over eight volts and climbed to 18 before the OK LED turned green. 

 

I think we made a mistake at that point.  You're supposed to turn on the key and wait for the gauges to settle before cranking.  But I hadn't told the guy that and he cranked immediately.  There was a brief pause before the engine turned over.  I don't know if the guy had the key turned the whole time or if he had turned if off and back on.

 

In any case, it then turned over quite strongly and started easily.  But that was on a relatively small engine.

 

So that's why I'm curious about the experiences others may have had with SuperCap jump starters.  How did it go?  What engine did you try it with? What voltage readings did you see?  Did the engine just barely turn over or did it turn over strongly (or did it fail to turn the engine at all?)?  Did it work with an engine that required a good bit of cranking to start?

 

-----------------

 

Also--

 

1. Please note that Scotty's video doesn't recommend the Autowit for diesels even though the Amazon listing for them says they work with smaller diesels.  As he explains, diesels have glow plugs which draw quite a lot of current and that drains the Autowit too much to have enough left to turn over the engine (in his experience).

 

2. The current version of the Autowit is the SuperCap2.  Scotty made this video about that one.

 

 


Edited by Old Crow, 30 January 2024 - 12:53 AM.

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#2 Cpt Davenport

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 01:13 AM

Not sure about the SuperCap2 but the Flux Capacitor on my Chevy is out of this world.

Sorry no help here. Interesting topic tho and sounds like a handy unit in a pinch.
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#3 buckland

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 01:34 PM

I Have a DBPower unit. My Truck is a diesel. I've used it once on it and a couple times on my wife's car and a friend's.  Worked great even in 15 degree weather. What I really like is having an extra charging unit for iPad and iPhone if tent camping without Camper or on a road trip without the camper.


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#4 Old Crow

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Posted 01 February 2024 - 04:28 PM

Not sure about the SuperCap2 but the Flux Capacitor on my Chevy is out of this world.

Sorry no help here. Interesting topic tho and sounds like a handy unit in a pinch.

 

Yes, it's definitely an interesting concept that you can use a battery that's too discharged to turn over the engine to charge up a device that WILL turn it over.  The biggest complaint I see is that it may not work if the battery is discharged too far (and I'm not sure what that threshold is).

 

The Autowit does include a cigarette-lighter-plug 12v cable and a USB-A to micro-USB cable to somewhat address that. The other battery could be another car or an auxiliary battery in the camper. Or perhaps a solar 'generator' like a Jackery or Bluetti.  The device can also be connected via it's main cables to another car's battery to charge up and can then be disconnected and moved to the dead battery to boost it.

 

It may be said that if I have another battery nearby, why can't that be used to jump the dead battery.  Maybe it can.  Maybe it can't.  Are the jumper cables long enough and in good-enough condition? Do I have the whatever I'd need to remove an auxiliary battery to get it move it close enough? Will the owner of that other battery refuse to allow jumper cables but would be ok with a cigarette-lighter connection? etc

 

But in the end, if there's no other battery and the Autowit won't charge from the dead starter battery, I would be out of luck.

 

I Have a DBPower unit. My Truck is a diesel. I've used it once on it and a couple times on my wife's car and a friend's.  Worked great even in 15 degree weather. What I really like is having an extra charging unit for iPad and iPhone if tent camping without Camper or on a road trip without the camper.

 

Good point, buckland.  The battery-based units can be used as a power bank where as far as I know the super-capacitor ones (like the Autowit) can't.


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#5 TerrapinOverland.com

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 02:48 PM

I use mine for the first time a few months ago and it worked like a charm. I actually had easier access to my jumper cables but couldn't find anyone to give me a jump. I wound up unearthing my capacitor jump starter and it work like a charm on my dead battery. I didn't put a meter on the battery but the headlights wouldn't come on and my flashers didn't work. So, I think the battery was pretty dead. I was glad I had cell service in the area because I had to read the instructions on how to use it. It wasn't all that complicated. I forget how long it took to build up the load, but if my memory serves me correctly once the load was built up, I had 10 or 15 seconds to start the car. Fortunately, my Tacoma doesn't take too much to start right up.

Edited by TerrapinOverland.com, 07 February 2024 - 02:51 PM.

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#6 Old Crow

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 05:28 PM

I use mine for the first time a few months ago and it worked like a charm. I actually had easier access to my jumper cables but couldn't find anyone to give me a jump. I wound up unearthing my capacitor jump starter and it work like a charm on my dead battery. I didn't put a meter on the battery but the headlights wouldn't come on and my flashers didn't work. So, I think the battery was pretty dead. I was glad I had cell service in the area because I had to read the instructions on how to use it. It wasn't all that complicated. I forget how long it took to build up the load, but if my memory serves me correctly once the load was built up, I had 10 or 15 seconds to start the car. Fortunately, my Tacoma doesn't take too much to start right up.

 

Thanks for the info!  I appreciate it.

 

----------------------

 

While I'm here, let me provide the following additional info I found since my last post, this from a listing for the SuperCap2...

 

Note: When the car battery voltage is lower than 6V, SuperCap 2 will not automatically turn on. It needs to be operated by pressing the button (if the emergency power supply has electricity inside). And if the car battery voltage is lower than 1V, SuperCap 2 will not recognize the battery(it will not respond by pressing the button)

In very rare cases, the car battery is completely dead. You can charge and zoom in from the cigarette lighter socket of another car or the Micro USB terminal of the mobile battery. There are four ways to charge and amplify power in a short time.

  1. From your own car battery with very little power remaining (about 3 minutes)
  2. Use another car battery (about 3 minutes)
  3. From cigarette lighter socket (about 5 minutes)
  4. Use the power bank (about 45 minutes)

The manual does not mention pressing the button when the source is under 6 volts.  It does show charge times by source voltage. With a 12 volt source, it charges in less than three minutes. At 6 volts, it charges in less than 20 minutes. At 5 volts (i.e., via USB), it charges in less than 30 minutes.  I see the manual also says to turn off all electronics in the vehicle.

 

The back of the unit also gives us some specs:  The Micro-USB input port is 5 volts and draws up to 2 amps and the 12-volt input port draws up to 6.5 amps.

 

This suggests I should add a note to instructions to turn off all electronics before connecting up.  And to check the bad battery's voltage before connecting so I know what to expect from the Autowit.  If it doesn't turn on when first connected, press the button. If it still doesn't turn on, the battery is too low to use the Autowit. Try again but it's probably not going to work. Look for another power source to charge up the Autowit, then reconnect to the bad battery to jump-start it.


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