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Winter does to batteries the same thing it does to you: it makes them tired and lethargic.  Black & Decker’s marketing the new Simple Start as a relatively painless solution for when your trusty-last-summer battery leaves you stranded this winter — just plug it into the cigarette lighter for a little pick-me-up, then head off to Starbucks for one of your own.

It looks like it’d fit in the glove box — assuming it’s not crammed full of crap already.  Otherwise it’d fit nicely under a seat.   

Seriously, though, regardless of whether this particular unit turns you on or not, a jumper box can really make life simpler when it’s cold out.  Anything that keeps you from hiking home or running around a frozen parking lot trying not to bust your ass while you beg disinterested passers-by for a jump is good thing.

Street Pricing starts at $32.

Simple Start [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


5 Responses to Finds: Simple Start Vehicle Battery Booster

  1. Jason says:

    I’m surprised that something this small has the amps to turn over your car’s starter and can hold it’s charge for years on end. Sounds too good to be true.

  2. Myself says:

    It doesn’t turn over your car’s starter, it just recharges the main starting battery, which then does the grunt work. The directions say to plug it in and wait 10 minutes for charge to transfer.

    This will work if your starting battery would normally have the guts to start the car, but is partially drained. If it’s completely drained, this probably won’t be able to replace enough charge. If it’s fully charged and simply too cold to work up the amps, this won’t help.

    The larger jumpstarter packs with the big clamps are designed to directly power the starter, in parallel with the starting battery, to assist in situations where temperature has limited the battery’s output. This is not one of those.

  3. Rick says:

    Those larger jumpstarter packs saved my behind on more than one occasion.

    When my alternator went on my old ’98 Chevy Malibu as I was driving home – I got stranded about 2 miles from home. Luckily my mother-in-law was driving by and gave me a ride home and then I had my father-in-law drive me back to the car with one of those packs. I started the car and drove all of 500 feet before it dies again.. (I basically drove the car 8 miles on just the battery because the alternator was toast). So what I did was I hooked up the pack to the terminals, started the car, and instead of disconnecting the pack and driving, I just lay the pack down on the engine, and closed the hood as far as it would go. I got all the way home and was even able to back the car into the garage.

    The next time was when my battery died in the bimmer. I was able to get around town for a day until I had a chance to go pick up a new one.

    – Rick

  4. Roy Baker says:

    This is an interesting concept. I am an electronic Engineer who understands battery systems. Unlike units that provide the Amps to start the car from the unit and must be connected directly to the battery, this unit has a booster built into it which will force ALL the energy from the three internal 6V 3 Ah batteries into the car’s battery. This is why it takes a several minutes. I suspect It can only do this once. The unit can be charged from the cigarette lighter plug after the car starts as well as from AC. It is a clever way to provide a way to start a car from a small unit and from inside the car. It would not provide a solution for a car with a failed alternater as Rick described above

  5. Myself says:

    The Coleman Powermate unit (from Radio Shack) that I took apart had a simple boost converter and, I believe, ten NiCd cells for a nominal 12 volt pack. The lighter socket was connected straight to the batteries, and you could run small items (cell phone chargers, principally) from it directly.

    When you plugged its lighter plug into a running car, it would charge from the nominal 13.8v system, with a simple “LED turns green” indicator to show when it was fully charged. I think it was measuring the current across a blocking diode to determine this.

    When you plugged it into a non-running car, the less-than-13-v incoming voltage wouldn’t wake it up. You’d push a button, and a (charge-pump?) converter circuit would begin transferring charge from the internal batteries to the car’s electrical system, flashing the LED as it went. When the flashes turn into a steady glow, it’s given all it can give, and hopefully the car is ready to start.

    I wonder if anyone’s ever made a car starter with zinc-air batteries, or some other long-shelf-life primary chemistry. Do not puncture bag until ready to use! 🙂

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