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Battery Jumper Cables tips

koda2000

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This is something I see all the time, so I think it's worth mentioning...

It's smart to keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle, if not your your sake to help someone else. If you go to the auto parts store (or Walmart, for example) you'll see several different grades of jumper cables at various price points. Do yourself a favor and do not skimp on this purchase. Cheap, thin-gauge cables are next to worthless when you need them. Rather than carrying the amperage load from the good battery to a dead battery they just get hot. The clamps on cheap cables also don't grip tight enough either, adding to the problem. When buying jumper cables, look for the thickest gauge wire you can find with the largest, strongest clamos. They may cost twice the price of the cheap set, but they work sooo much better and (unless you lend them to someone who doesn't return them) will last you a lifetime.

Tip: When attaching jumper cables, put the positive lead on the dead battery's positive post, but do not attach the negative lead to the battery's negative terminal. instead attach the negative cable to the engine block, away from the battery. Dead batteries give off an explosive gas. Connecting the jumper cables will create spark, which can cause an explosion and cover you and your vehicle in battery acid. Personally I make the final jumper cable connection on the vehicle with the good battery so as to not get any spark near the dead battery.

FYI, The lower the gauge number the thicker the cable. I'd recommend a minimum of 2 gauge, which can be had for $40-$50. 1 gauge is even better. 4 gauge and 6 gauge cables are junk.
 
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swshawaii

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Great info koda, especially with the cold weather. Love being called a "knight in shining armor" for carrying jumper cables. ;)

Only better chick magnet is walking a cute puppy on the beach. :cool: LOL
 
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96Green

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Even better, and safer, is a jumper pack. I've got one of these and it has saved my bacon on several occasions, not to mention helping out friends and neighbors.
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J_C

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Not sure if I'd call a jumper pack all that much safer. They can still create a spark that ignites hydrogen fumes and those as pictured have Li-Ion cells in them which if defective, or the charging circuit, or aging in a vehicle subject to hot and cold weather, could fail and result in a fire when you're not even around to catch it or while driving.

I just don't trust storing any Li-Ion powered device in a vehicle, let alone one where I don't know if they're using quality, major manufacturer Li-Ion cells in it.

I've had no problem using 4ga and 6ga cables, but come to think of it mine are so old that they're probably all copper. Today you have to assume you need a lower gauge to make up for the fact that they're a higher resistance copper clad aluminum wire, unless specifically stated to be solid copper.
 
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shucker1

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The Cables I carry are actually 20 Ft and made out of welding leads with the clamp ends brazed on.

When jumping someone else off I either do the hook up myself or let the other guy connect first.

I've seen lots of times where the "other guy" hooked up backwards and then "Fried" the "Good Guys" electrical system from the reverse polarity!

Always Remember: "This Machine Has No Brain, Please Use Your Own!"
:)
 
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96Green

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Not sure if I'd call a jumper pack all that much safer. They can still create a spark that ignites hydrogen fumes and those as pictured have Li-Ion cells in them which if defective, or the charging circuit, or aging in a vehicle subject to hot and cold weather, could fail and result in a fire when you're not even around to catch it or while driving.

I just don't trust storing any Li-Ion powered device in a vehicle, let alone one where I don't know if they're using quality, major manufacturer Li-Ion cells in it.

While these are all valid points, I'd like to point out the following:
1) I don't store in either of my cars, simply taking it with me when I may need it (long trip, having battery issues, etc...)
2) As for the spark issue, with the one I have, you connect the leads to the battery, and THEN plug them into a shrouded socket on the pack, so, there is no spark near the battery.
 
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