How to Charge A Jump Starter Pack
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How to Charge A Jump Starter Pack

A battery jump starter is an invaluable tool to have with you when you are traveling or commuting.  For a small price you can piece of mind that if your battery dies, you can get it going again. However, the battery jump starter is another battery that needs to be charged; from time to time.

So how do you charge a battery jump starter pack? First and foremost, check the manufacturer’s recommended instructions. 

However, the primary way to charge a jump starter pack is you use an AC outlet to charge your unit.  Simply, plug the unit into the wall and allow it to charge; just like charging your cell phone or tablet.

Regularly charging your jump starter pack will contribute to the life expectancy of the unit. Read here for the benefits of keeping a maintenance routine for your jump starter.

Use the AC adapter (aka cigarette lighter) in your car. 

Many jump starting units will come with an option to attach it to your cigarette lighter or power plug in your vehicle.  This works great…if your battery isn’t already dead. But it is an option. Some battery jump starters do so much more than simply jump your battery.  So keeping it charged, through the cigarette lighter or a power plug is a viable option. 

The sun

That’s right using solar power to re-charge your battery jump starter. While this may seem to be an excellent option, the technology is not quite there yet.  These units are big and bulky and not as portable as you will need them to be. This may not be the most reliable way to charge your battery jump starter.  

However,  there are many options for a solar-powered battery trickle charger.  This will not get you out of a sticky situation in a hurry, but you will be able to charge your battery more slowly.

Keep in mind, that your jump starter is primarily meant to jump your battery; in an emergency situation.  Granted, they have morphed into becoming a multi-purpose tool, but the key thing they are meant to do is jump your battery when it is dead.

With that in mind, it is good to check the power levels on your battery jump starter at least once a month.  Most newer units have indicators telling you how much charge is left. Just remember to keep an eye on it. A battery jump starter pack is basically just a battery itself, so it needs to be maintained like any other electronic device.

You no doubt have a calendar app on your phone.  Why not set a reminder once a month to bring your charger in and plug it into the wall.  Then you can have peace of mind that you will be good to go in case of an emergency.

How long does it take to charge a jump starter?

Well, this depends on several factors.  First, what are you using to recharge the battery; is it a USB charger or a wall outlet.  Second, how many amps is your jump starter? Third, and perhaps most importantly, what does the manufacturer recommend?

On average, based on research, the average recharge time for a battery jump starter is around 3 hours. However, this varies greatly on how many amps your jump starter is and what you are using to charge it with. 

This is based on plugging the jump starter into a wall outlet and charging it conventionally.  Some jump starters come with a quick charge and it still takes at least three hours to charge.

If you are using a USB charger and charging the jump starter from your vehicle’s cigarette lighter it will take longer.  For instance, the NOCO GB 40 400 amp jump starter, takes up to 12 hours to charge using a USB.  

Now, this number depends on how much amperage your USB is rated for, and again it may vary depending on the type of jump starter you are using. For instance, if your USB is rated for 0.5 amps; it will take approximately 12 hours to charge.  However, if you have a 2 amp USB charger, the charge time is reduced to 3 hours; in the case of the NOCO GB 40.  

Now the big determining factor is how many amps your jump starter actually is rated for.  In the example above the 400 amp jump starter takes about 3 hours to charge. In the case of the NOCO the 2000 AMP (GB 70) jump starter has a charge time of 2-3 hours, using the 12V fast charge.   Another 2000 AMP charging takes five hours to recharge.

As a non-commercial user of a jump starter you are looking at:

  • For a 400 amp jump starter around 3 hours of charge
  • For a 2000 amp jump starter typically around 5 hours

These are average times.  What really, really matters is the manufacturer’s recommended charge time; which will vary from model to model.  Most jump starters have over-charging protection; in this case, I plug it in before I go to bed and don’t worry about it.  Unplug in the morning and you are ready to go.

Do Jump Starters Come Fully Charged?

Although, It is very tempting to take your shiny new jump starter right out of the box and place it in your car so you are ready to go.  This is not the thing to do. Your new jump starter is only partially charged; it does not carry a full charge and may not help you if you need a jump.  

The best thing to do is to take the jump starter out of the box and read the directions on first-time use.  Most likely you will be instructed to charge up the jump starter to full capacity. See above on how to do this.

This initial charge will take longer than usual. From my research it was anywhere from 12 hours to up to 72 hours ( 3 DAYS!), to complete that initial charge.  To note, that 3 day charge time was for a jump starter with an air compressor.

To sum up, no your battery jump starter does not come fully charged.  The manufacturer can not ship the unit with a fully charged battery. When you purchase a new one you will need to give it an initial charge according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Does a jump starter have to be fully charged?

Well, this is an interesting question because once you use the jump starter or if it has been sitting for some time; it is no longer fully charged.  The answer is ‘no’; the jump starter does not need to be fully charged to work.  However, you need to do your best to keep an adequate charge on it, because if it does get too low, it will not do what it is supposed to do.

Some battery jump starters claim that you are able to jump-start your car up to 20 times on a single charge. (If you need to jump-start your car that many times; get a new battery).  Others recommend charging it back to capacity after a single-use.  

I have used my jump starter five or six times on a single charge when I was traveling before, however, I wouldn’t recommend that, especially if you are on a long trip. I was traveling from Florida to New Jersey and my battery died somewhere in Georgia.  Every time I stopped I had to jump-start my truck until I replaced the battery in New Jersey.

Ever time you use your jump starter, it takes a little bit out of energy out of the battery.  You also, need to keep in mind other things you may be charging with your jump starter. Jumpstarters are able to charge multiple devices, all of which put a drain on the jump starters battery.

In addition to using the jump starter, non-use also puts a drain on the battery.  Think of your jump-starter like any other electronic device. If you leave it alone, the battery will eventually die.  

That is why it is recommended to check the jump starter every 4-6 weeks and throw it back on its charger.  This way if you do need it, your jump starter will be ready to go.

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