Caravan Guard Gear Guide: Jump starters

Published in Motorhoming Top Tips on   - 10 Comments

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  1. Tony Bowring says:

    I can only agree with Terry Royle, I also had a flat Boxer battery, called the man from the breakdown ‘experts’ who jumped the vehicle also using the wrong earth, but by shear fluke the vehicle started and all was ok. Doing a bit of my homework, I discovered the small earth bolt (lower right hand side of engine compartment). I have now purchased a power plus jump starter from Phantom for peace of mind. However, I hope I never have to use it as the jump cables look to be on the short side. The instructions with the unit make good reading as they are in rough translated Chinese and refer to charging my ‘phonie’.

  2. Barry sprules says:

    When I tried to start my new Peugeot I was greeted with all manner of warning lights but the helpful AA man realised the battery was low and I felt rather foolish. I had mistakingly thought that having my Elddis plugged into the 240v mains would automatically charge the engine battery! Silly me but Motorhomes were completely new to me. Anyway he sold me a brilliant piece of kit in the form of their 1.5amp trickle charger/battery maintainer which now has a connector permanently wired to the battery with the connector under the passenger seat. Shame this advice is not in the manufacture’s handbook – I have many things missing from this which is disappointing

  3. Terry Royle says:

    Beware jump starting Peugeot Boxers, last year I let my battery go flat and when I went to jump start it I connected the +ve to the tag under the bonnet and then looked for a nice clean earth. Unfortunately the bracket I connected to was the wiper mounting and when I tried starting The engine turned over but would not run. I had blown the ECU as the current had gone through the wiper. The garage replaced the ECU and then fitted the label saying use this only bolt to earth which Peugeot had issued as a note to garages. A very costly mistake on my part but apparently not uncommon!

  4. gary hobman says:

    I am of the ‘old school’ and have been around vehicles and aircraft maintenance all my life. Clive’s article on jump starts was particularly illuminating and quite pertinent to modern electrical/electronic vehicle systems. I had no idea that the old fashioned jump start has the potentiontial to cause such havok. One is never too old to learn, and save money in the process – Thanks Clive!

  5. DaveP says:

    I once had my starter battery go flat (interior light left on !) but the leisure battery was fine. I used a battery charger on the starter battery but is there an easy way I could have used the leisure battery to get going quickly, other than swapping over the terminals (which probably wouldn’t reach) ? I’m wondering if there is some sort of switch which can be fitted and left in place until needed. Or what about just connecting jump leads between the batteries – is that risking side effects ?

  6. martin stagg says:

    they all look good,but arn’t solar panels ,even small ones meant to be very efficient.

  7. Clive1 says:

    An interesting discussion topic, and an insight into the new style ultra compact jump-packs
    I last year purchased the older style “big lump” booster pack, and although I have never needed it myself as yet, I have been able to help motorcyclists, car owners and indeed motorhomers, on various occasions.
    Being a motor mechanic by trade I also carry very very substantial jumper leads self made 16 feet long and using electric welding cable, and really heavy duty clamps, The “toy sized jumper leads at around £10 in motor shops are a waste of your tenner, as they are totally inadequate for the job and will simply overheat and not spin over your engine.
    It is important to follow the power pack instructions, connect to battery switch on, and then turn on vehicle ignition and leave for a few 2-3 minutes, this allows some equalisation of voltage to take place from the power pack into your vehicle battery, after that few minutes operate the van’s starter and “bingo” you are in business.
    Although I still carry the extra long H/D jumper leads I will not lend them out WHY ??
    Because, if you are old school (pre booster pack era) you would normally connect up jumper leads from the donor vehicle to the sick van battery, start up the engine on the donor vehicle, increase the revs to boost alternator output, then give the thumbs up to spin up the starter on the flat battery van.
    DANGER!! DANGER !! The electronics world has moved on, and if the van battery is very low, or completely flat when the donor vehicle’s engine is revved up a little, and the flat van’s ignition is switched on to try a start, the electrics on the running engine senses a voltage drop, and increases the alternator output to maximum, which can be around 14.5 to 15 volts, the sensitive electronics on BOTH vehicles can be damaged as they react badly to voltage spikes, and 14.5 + volts can “blow” all sorts of controllers including the vehicle computer “brain”
    DON’T RISK IT, we are speaking lots and lots of £££ to put that kind of damage right.
    Be sensible and avoid taking the chance even if a helpful volunteer offers you his vehicle and jump leads to help you out.
    We all really need a modern jump pack unit.
    Hope this helps some of you avoid an expensive mistake
    Clive 1

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