My grandfather tells me all sorts of tales surrounding the vehicles of his time. Driving his model T ford through the sand dunes north of Perth (all developed land now!), or push starting the thing with his 4 mates who used to ride on the back, with only a 6 volt torch battery to power the ignition.
Oh how times have changed. Agreeably; it’s more comfortable than the model T was, but with that things can get a little complicated. For instance; if your battery dies a long way from anywhere, you’re stuck if you don’t have a jump starter. Thankfully, the old jump starter pack has evolved with the times too; you no longer have to haul a bulky battery pack around in your boot on the off chance that you might break down. if your battery dies a long way from anywhere, you’re stuck if you don’t have a jump starter. Thankfully, the old jump starter pack has evolved with the times too; you no longer have to haul a bulky battery pack around in your boot on the off chance that you might break down.
The Calibre Mini Jump Start is incredibly small. At 158mm long and 85mm wide, it’s only slightly larger than your average smartphone these days. It feels and looks quite nicely built too, with just enough flex in its casing to avoid feeling like a lucky dip from the 2 dollar store. They rate this thing to 330 cold cranking amps, which should be enough to kick over engines up to 2500cc – or pretty much any motorcycle.
Of course, if it was just a jump starter, that would be pretty boring. Just like if your phone only made phonecalls (was that ever even a thing?). That’s why it’s got a 2.0 amp USB on the front to charge your devices, and an LED light on the side – so you can get your car going in the dark before the boogey-man comes and gets you. I made a point to test the phone charging capability of the jump starter of course, and gained almost 3 charges on my Samsung Galaxy S6 – from empty to full. That’s not too bad, but there are dedicated USB charging packs on the market that perform better.
But how about jump starting? Well, the battery in my 50cc moped is totally cactus, so I hooked up the jump start, put it in dead battery mode and gave it a boot. The moped sprang to life quickly, and I proceeded to see how many times it would start before saying no more. I never reached the point where the jump starter went flat. Not before getting bored and moving onto something more substantial. My 1987 Subaru L Series is a 1.8 litre petrol, so I disconnected the battery on that and hooked it directly to the jump starter. Nothing happened. It seems you can’t fool this thing and start a vehicle with no battery in it. So in the name of good product research, I turned on my interior light and went to bed. Sure enough, the old girl wouldn’t start in the morning and the jump starter fired it up like there was nothing wrong.
So to wrap it up, should you get one? For emergency situations, or people like me who constantly leave their lights on; absolutely. You can leave it plugged in to your cigarette socket and keep it charged and ready, and it’ll sure be handy for charging your electronic devices if you need that little extra to get you through the day. It’s small enough to hide under a seat or in a glove-box, and has a nice little bag to tuck it away in. However, if you’re jump starting vehicles every day, or hoping to use it in a workshop environment you’re going to be disappointed. The drawback is the battery size, it’ll deliver the kick you need, but only enough to jumpstart one vehicle before going back on the charger. Interested? View the product online or in store at Supercheap Auto.