The car won’t start. You are out on a lonely country road and all of a sudden your car won’t start. There is no hope for a kind stranger to come driving by and have a pair of jumper cables in his or her car. But hope isn’t lost if you are like the Boy Scouts and come prepared.
There is a bit of a risk using the lithium battery jump starters. If you are not careful you can have them explode or catch fire. A batteryless jump starter may be safer and even easier to use. Especially if you make it yourself.
To learn more about this jump start option just continue to read our article. It lets you know that you do not have to depend on the kindness of strangers when your vehicle won’t start. Take a few moments to see if these devices are perfect for you and your travel plans.
There are many ways and materials you can use to make your own jump starter. Your engine size and starting power will help you refine those elements and help guide you to the right options and methods.
If you go the standard battery route, you will need to have a spare battery that uses the same chemistry as your car battery. It does not have to have the same weight. Next, use some high-current connectors and the right gauge of wires.
Solder the connectors to the heavy gauge wires making sure you keep the polarity of the connectors straight. A battery clamp with built-in diodes will prevent connection issues when you get the polarity mixed up.
Next, connect the wires to the proper battery terminals then check for any exposed wires or connections. When you find those cover them with liquid tape. It is a good insulator and protects your connections.
At this stage, you should have two sets of wires. One set is attached to the battery and the other set is attached to the positive and negative clamps. At the ends of both sets will be your connectors. When you need power just put the two ends together and attach the clamps to your car battery.
Then start your car. You should be on your way in no time and without any help from people you do not know.
There are all sorts of tricks of the automotive trade. Jump starting batteries are not excluded from having their own bag of tricks. One of these is just a simple length of fairly thick rope and a tire jack.
If you have a manual transmission, all you need to do is jack up one tire. Then when it is in position you wrap the rope around the tire. The rope should be no more than 8 to 10 feet long and the car needs to be in neutral and with the key is in the on position.
Once you wrap the rope around the tire, you just give it a steady, hard, and fast pull. Of course, the engine will have to be one of the smaller sizes to get this to work right.
Another option would be to string a few AA batteries together. All you will need is about 10 to 12 of these batteries and the wire to string them together. Then solder the batteries together but do not overheat them or they will degrade and defeat your effort.
It may take about 10 minutes to pass enough of a charge to your car battery but you should get enough for one crank. Make sure that one crank counts. One final homemade option comes from your power tools.
If you have a cordless 12-volt drill, you take the battery out and place two screws, one on each battery connector. Use electrician’s tape to secure the screws in place. Make sure the connection is tight.
Next, attach your jumper cables to each battery, making sure negative is to negative and positive is to positive. Wait about 5 to 10 minutes for the battery to charge and start your engine.
There are many pre-built battery jump boxes you can buy. Some fit right inside the glove box of your car and stay handy when you need them. Most of these options come with lithium batteries and those batteries carry a lot of power.
All you have to do is plug in the clamps, then attach them to the right terminals and start your car. But if you do not have the money for one of these devices, you can always build your own.
All you will need is a good power source and the right wiring, clamps, and box materials. The option described earlier, simply used a little bag to hold the power supply and the wires needed. The box container does not have to be huge.
If you get a small 12-volt battery, you won’t need a large case to hold all the equipment in. The box should fit in your trunk with ease and not take up a lot of space.
You are free to use the safest materials possible and you should take extra precautions so that the wires do not cross on you and short out your battery box. Always double-check to make sure you have positive to positive and negative to negative when you make your connections... all of them.
The other thing you will need to worry about will be sparking. It may not be possible to match the pre-built battery boxes as they have the technology to prevent sparks. Check with knowledgeable electricians to see what is available to prevent sparks on your DIY battery box.
This option is not that much different from the battery box described near the beginning of this article or the AA battery trick described shortly thereafter. You would need to string enough lithium batteries together to get enough power to jump the car battery.
Then you would need heavy gauge wiring to make sure nothing shorts out when you turn the key. Once you are wired in, you can attach the clamps to your dead battery and wait a minute or two before trying the engine. You may need to wait a little longer than that to make sure the car battery receives enough power to turn over.
The toughest part of this task would be the soldering of all the wire connectors to make the string of lithium batteries you would need. Some people find that too much of a task to do especially when you are in a hurry.
In using this option, you may have to be somewhat proficient at handling electricity and creating electrical devices. The technology of this option includes using supercapacitor technology. If you are not familiar with this technology it may be best to avoid trying it.
What the supercapacitor does is use whatever power is left in your battery and boost it up to the point where you can start your engine. No battery is required, just the right components to make this work.
You will still need the positive and negative clamps you find on jumper cables and make sure they are not reversed when you hook up this batteryless jump starter. Once you build it, you should be able to use it on both gas and diesel engines.
You won’t need a lot of power to get your engine running when using this method.
As you already know this option will use whatever low voltage is left in your car battery and give it a boost so you have power to crank your engine. the key to using this option would be to not disconnect the battery. You can leave it in place as the supercapacitor knows when to discharge and when to charge.
You can try to build your own but it has been said that if you are just trying to give enough power to a dead battery to restart your motor, then this is overkill. But if you still want to do this, you need 8 alkaline batteries and place them permanently across the capacitor.
The batteries may only last you a year but that gives you enough time to either build a new one or buy a pre-built battery starter from a good store.
There seem to be very few household items that will jump start or help jump start your car. The first item is good if your battery terminals are corroded and interfering with the battery’s operation.
When you see the corrosion all you have to do is go to your nearest store and buy a can of regular coke. Then when you get back to your car, pour a little over the terminals. You will not need a lot of coke.
Let the different acids do their work and they will eat up that corrosion cleaning your battery so you have a better connection. Just make sure that when you get home, you give the terminals and the battery a good cleaning as they will get a bit sticky from this solution.
Earlier, we gave you three household items you can use to jump start your battery after you clean your terminals. We won't go into all the details again but one good trick is the rope around the tire option. That is if you have the strength to pull hard and steady.
Next, you can use AA batteries and if you give the batteries enough time they will transfer enough power to your car battery and give you about 1 crank attempt. The key is to use enough AA batteries.
Finally, and probably the best option is your cordless drill. Those come with 12-volt batteries so they are perfect to use on your 12-volt car battery. The key is to make sure you get the right screws and tape them well to the drill’s battery terminals.
Once you do that, you just hook up your cables like you would a normal jump start and give the battery about 5 minutes to charge your car battery before trying to turn your engine over.
Some people want to DIY their own battery jump starter. That is fine as it is their time and money. But as we did our research, many others felt that doing it yourself was more of a waste of time.
One reason is that you may not have all the components needed to make a good, reliable homemade battery jump box. The expense for all the components may not be justifiable. They suggested going out and buying one and there are good reasons why that is the better option.
One, these jump starters were made by professionals and they can handle the job. Two, there are a lot of built-in safety systems your DIY model will not have. Three, it is cheaper to buy these days than build your own.
These pre-built options are made in such quantities that the purchase prices are very reasonable. Finally, they have the power to jump start your dead battery quicker than your DIY model can.
Building your own battery box or jump start can be fulfilling but it may not be practical. It takes some electrical knowledge and you need to be comfortable working with electrical parts. But it is a constructive project that may come in handy and keep you powered up when your battery dies at the wrong moment.
Buy or build? It is your choice.