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Micro Start Jump Box - Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on June 27, 2014
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Photographers: Pete Trasborg

Hi guys! Even with the new guy running Jp, I still get to do this column! It wasn’t a sure thing there for a while, and I thought they might actually finally tell me to take a hike. I mean, I like hiking and all so that would have been fine with me, but somehow “take a hike” also means “we don’t want you to work for us anymore.” I don’t really understand how that works but I’m told that’s true.

This time it all started on a call with West Coast Batteries. A while ago they told me they’d soon have vehicle-starting lithium ion batteries, and you know how much I like lithium. Oh right, so anyway, I was on the phone with West Coast and they told me about this new thing they had. They called it a jumper box. I don’t know about you guys, but when I hear “jumper box” I think of the 3-foot-tall box on wheels that plugs into a wall outlet and buzzes when you try to jump a Jeep. So you can imagine my confusion when they told me the whole kit could fit under the seat of a Jeep.

In addition to the jump start capabilities, the LED flashlight has a solid-on mode and two blinking SOS modes. Down the side of the box is a 19-volt, 3.5-amp laptop charging port; the five-bar power indicator; the power button; a 5-volt, 2-amp USB port; a 12-volt, 8-amp output; and the 12-volt, 1-amp input for charging the black box. The carrying case includes wires for all the output ports as well as eight different adapters for laptop charging and eight more adapters for cell phone charging. The case measures 10x7x2 inches.

As it turns out, this thing is the world’s smallest jump starter at 6 by 3 by 1 inches. Made by Antigravity Batteries, it is called the Micro-Star and it comes in its own carrying case with a whole bunch of accessories. It is packed with a monster lithium ion battery (whoo-hoo!), features a flashlight, several charging ports, a blue LED power level indicator, and of course, alligator-clipped jumper wires. It can charge off of household AC power or off of 12 V DC power with the two included charge wires.

Over the course of four long days, in addition to jump starting that JK twice, we were able to recharge Trasborg’s Samsung S4 Active from 5-percent battery to 100-percent while streaming Pandora over Bluetooth to a mobile boombox at camp while grilling. We recharged an iPhone 4S from half power to full, and we were able to extend the life of this laptop. Normally this laptop lasts for only 11⁄2 hours on battery power while watching movies or surfing the web. On the Micro-Start we were able to use it for almost six hours. After all of that, the Micro-Start was still showing three bars of battery power left. I would have liked to kept jump-starting Jeeps but I couldn’t find any more dead ones.

While the charging stuff and accessories are all well and good, I didn’t think it would jumpstart a Jeep, much less the 15-20 Jeeps the instructions say it will. West Coast Batteries told me to test it and tell you guys how it does no matter how it does. So, I got to take it out camping. I’m glad I did because Trasborg killed the JK he was driving on two different mornings with his fridge, and we got to use it on a hike to some waterfalls to keep the laptop going too.

Of course, Joy wouldn’t be caught dead camping, and Maria didn’t want to go on a hike, and it was kind of hard for me to take pictures and play with the Micro-Start at the same time. So I got my friend Kayla to play with it while I shot pictures. Here’s how it did in the week or so I messed around with it. All on one charge.

The Micro-Start has a 200-amp starting current rating and a 400-amp peak current rating. I’m used to four-number amperage ratings so I didn’t think it was going to be enough. The first test of the Micro-Start was early one morning. Everyone in camp left, the Jeep was dead, there was no cell signal, and our only hope was this little black box. Nothing like a trial by fire, but you’d probably be this happy after it worked and the Jeep started. Trasborg actually did the happy dance that first morning. We played around with the flashlight a bit that night. The next morning, was the same story with no happy dance. It jumped the dead JK again and the power indicator was between four and five bars (full) of power.


West Coast Batteries
Corona, CA 92879

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