A Cool Gadget

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If you wrench – or even just tinker – you may already have a portable jump-starter rig. They are super handy to have.

For those who aren’t hip, it’s jumper cables plus a high-capacity battery (lithium-ion) that recharges via household current. If you – or someone else – ever needs a jump, you won’t need another car.spy vs. spy

You also won’t risk hurting your car.

Modern cars have sensitive electronics and these can be damaged by traditional car-to-car jump-starting.

There is also the traditional risk of sparks – and possibly, an explosion. (Batteries can leak hydrogen gas, which isn’t what you want around sparks; remember the Hindenburg).

Portable rigs eliminate these potential problems.

There’s no chance of damaging your car in the process of jump-starting another car’s dead battery… because you’re not using your car (well, its battery) to jump-start the other car. And the portable rigs typically include a safety circuit to eliminate sparks by only allowing the current to flow after the cables have been connected properly.Bestek:candy bar

Mine (a Black & Decker) is portable. But it’s also pretty big. Not suitcase-sized, but not glovebox-sized, either.

Definitely not pocket-sized.

It’s fine for the garage, but less-than-ideal for the road.

So I was intrigued when Bestek sent me a hand-sized jump starter to try out.

It’s about a third the size of my Black & Decker rig and a fourth the weight. It’s almost exactly the same length and width (7×3 inches) as a large Hershey’s chocolate bar and easily fits in your car’s glovebox, purse or even pants pocket.

Or your backpack (give me a minute).

Definitely small enough to take with you when you’re riding a motorcycle, too.

It’s ideal for that.

Once charged (any household outlet or your car’s 12V power point) you’ve got 600 amps of peak starting power – plus a mobile source of power to simultaneously recharge four USB devices such as iPhones or tablets and an additional power point (with multiple adaptors provided) to power other devices that use non-USB hook-ups.Bestek console

It’s pretty cool – and very useful.

And not just for the garage.

If the power in your house goes out, you’ll still have power for your essential gadgets.

I backpack – and there’s only so much room in my backpack. This gadget takes up about as much space as the aforesaid large Hershey’s bar – and it only weighs about a pound (17.9 ounces). The lithium-ion battery holds enough charge to keep you plugged in for several days, even when you’re nowhere near a plug. Remember, this gadget’s primary mission is to jump-start a dead car’s battery – which requires serious juice. Keeping your phone or iPad juiced is easy work. The built-in flashlight (normal white and red/strobe) is pretty cool, too.

The “smart jumper” system has short-circuit and overload protection; if the alligator clamps aren’t hooked up properly, you’ll get a red light and No Go. If everything’s connected right, you’ll see green – and good to go.jumping

I was doubtful about the prospects of such a small bugger packing much punch, so I decided to give it a real test. I hooked it up to a gimpy battery that was having trouble turning over the massive 7.5 liter V8 in my 40-year-old muscle car (’76 Pontiac Trans Am). Bestek only claims 5 liters’ worth of starting capacity (3 liters, if it’s a diesel).

It started.

I’m impressed.

The cost is about $60, depending where you buy. Here’s the listing on Amazon.

I only recommend stuff I personally use and can vouch for – like the Valentine 1 radar detector (it saved me from yet another Encounter of the Porcine Kind yesterday) Amsoil (it’s all I use) and now this little sucker.

Check it out!

PS: Thanks to all for another month not in the red. We just made it (yesterday), a slide into home if ever there was one! A new batch of EPautos magnets went out with yesterday’s mail.  

Please remember, EPautos.com depends on you to keep the wheels turning! The control freaks (Clovers) hate us. Goo-guhl blackballed us.

Will you help us?

 EPautos stickers – new design, larger and magnetic! – are free to those who send in $10 or more to support the site.

Our donate button is here.

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  1. FYI the link to Amazon that you provided goes to an item that Amazon says they “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”

    A quick search on the item outside of Amazon led to the Bestek site where the item doesn’t quite look the same as what Amazon had.

    So I searched on Amazon, and I found this working link instead that matches what Bestek has on their site?


  2. about 15 years ago some company was selling a small jump starter battery for cars that was about the size of two decks of playing cards, you attached it to your car battery and it stayed charged, and if the car battery went dead, you opened the hood , flipped a switch on the tiny battery and it would start the car.

    no idea what the name was, cost was about $80 at the time.
    my dad was a Game Warden/Park Ranger and had one installed on his truck,

  3. Dambit…what’s all this nonsense about Gear ?

    I wanna talk about Cops and techniques on how to beat ’em! Damb sumbritches are outta control and gotdandruff we need to beat ’em…together!

    OK, I feel better after venting…y’all carry on.

    (Glad to hear ya missed the electronic SAM “missile” fired at ya Eric…keep that Valentine plugged in! I’m not far from you and I tend to use “electronics” too around here…skrew the Va law against detectors!)

    • Hi CA,

      Those SOBs are milking my name and this web site to hawk their products.

      It pisses me off to end, but there’s not much I can do about it.

      • Thanks for the response Eric,

        I was wondering if you could start your own brand and sell things through Amazon. For example, the epauto battery is virtually identical to one I bought last year by an outfit named DBPOWER. I think a Chinese OEM makes things and rebrands them for various distributors or re-sellers throughout the world. Same is true of many other useful gadgets. Maybe there’s an opportunity there for you. Of course, you’d have to come up with a new brand name 😉 I know I’d buy something you recommended without hesitation. Still thinking about the Chevy Volt you reviewed. Very impressive design.

        • Thanks, Bob!

          Of course, I’m a writer and redneck intellectual by trade and inclination. Selling stuff just isn’t my thing.

  4. Eric, Amazon has something called an Amazon Affiliate program. It is a special link where if someone clicks on the link from your website, and buys the product, you get a certain percentage (depending on the product). So if a product is good enough for you to recommend, then use an Amazon Affiliate link to supplement the site’s income. You can do this for all of your old posts too, for the products you recommend.



    • Hi Brandon,

      Yeah, I tried that a while back. It’s not worth the effort. Like all the “pay per click” ads and “affiliate” things. It’s just like Google Adsense, which led the way to the ass-raping of everyone who used to earn a living as a writer or publisher.

      • I didn’t know Eric. This passive income stuff is pretty new to me, so obviously I’ve never tried it myself. They all like to make it sound so easy. But I guess if it were easy everyone would be doing it (which I thought most bloggers were, not to call your website a blog). I learn more and more about those realizations as time goes on.

        • Hi Brandon,

          They way it used to work, advertisers bought space. They paid for the visibility, for the access to a newspaper or magazine’s readers. Rates were based on circulation (readership) which was a quantifiable (and valuable) thing. A successful publication had lots of readers; advertisers paid to reach these readers.

          Then came Google.

          Now, the advertisers – working through Google – demand free space, free visibility. To put their name and product/service before the eyes of the readers without paying a cent for it.

          Only if when someone “clicks” on the ad does the publisher get paid. And then gets paid very little.

          Doesn’t matter that tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of people have seen the ad. Or eventually buy the product as a result.

          The publisher only gets paid for the “click.”

          It’s obscene.

          An ad that used to bring in thousands of dollars now brings in maybe $50 a month, if you’re lucky.

          And Google gets away with it because Google dominates the Internet. Virtually every advertiser advertises through Google – the oily middleman – rather than doing a deal directly with the publisher.

          Google is a maggot feasting on corpses.

          How bad is it?

          EPautos has a readership in the six figures – about the same as my old outfit, The Washington Times. But the Times employed several hundred people, including a full-time editorial page staff and a roster of reporters and copy editors and graphic designers.

          I am barely able to employ myself. Forget a staff, even a part-time tech support person.

          The “pay for click” (Google) thing has destroyed publishing as a means to make a living for the people who produce the stuff that gets published. All part of the general circling of the drain.

          When everything’s “free,” there’s not much left to go around.

          • The irony is that the digital age was supposed to make us free. Instead, it has enabled Big Brother to be everywhere in a way Orwell could barely dream of. It also turns out that the so-called anti-monopolistic nature of the Internet is a crock of crap. Mega Digital works exactly the same as Mega Steel and other old-fashioned monopolies.

            Meet the new boss/same as the old boss.

            Not by the way, thank you for the article on the battery boosters. Intriguing.


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