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jumper cables vs. jumper packs


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Topic Originally Created on Tow411 by annettemcd in July of 2009:


I was just reading a thread about jump starts and many people mentioned jumper cables. We haven't used cables in years, but find jumper packs to be so much more convenient. You don't even need to park close to the disabled vehicle. You don't need to have external connections or pop your own hood. You can easily set up the jumper pack to charge while it is in the truck and/or trade out with a charged one in the shop. It is so easy to grab the jumper pack out of the truck, pop the hood of the disabled vehicle, set the pack on the top of the grill, radiator, bumper, or fender, connect it to the battery, and have someone try to start the disabled vehicle. If it is a big vehicle, try more than one pack, especially if responding with a small service vehicle instead of a tow truck. It works for us.

How many others are using jumper packs instead of jumper cables? Not a big issue, but just a question.




kyresqtow said:

Well I have had instances that the jumper pack would not start the car but hook up the jumper cables and away we go.... Jumper packs work on the smaller engines but I have yet to find one that would start a diesel with 2 dead batteries...


jerel said:

personally i use a jump pack much easier to use...on the larger vehicles i use jumper cables...all are trucks have cables in them just in case the jump boxes dont work... I like using the box in garages or car ports that the cables wont reach...now a days alot of the cars wont come out of park if there is now power to them and that is where the jump pack comes in handy....and we dont have to push the vehicle out of the garage just for a jump start.


Eds Towing r55_1559570275.gif said:

All of our trucks have both. The packs are convenient for sure. We keep spares to swap out in the shop if needed as we do with the impact batteries. One thing that helps with the pack is once the car starts, leave the pack on for a minute if you can. This is assuming that the system is charging of course but it will help to keep the pack charged up from use.


jefftow said:

Both here. I also use the jumper pack with a compressor. I also have the car charger for it. It helps to have one in the garage in case I need another. And Ed has a good point, cars charge at 80 or 100 amps, which is a lot more that an outlet.


paulie 417 said:

Annette, I started using jump packs this spring, I was wondering how thay worked in -25 to -35 temps Im sure where you are it get that cold. I see temps that cold at times.
Living Life in the Ditch!! C'ya
Paul Morin


letsplay2 said:

What brand of jump packs do you use?

I have had a couple of them and some don't last too long. We went back to placing the jump boxes on the tow trucks now. Don't have to worry about them being fully charged or even over charged and killing the battery early.


Silverhawk r53_1559570274.gif said:

Jump boxes are good for pull starting truck & trailers with dead batteries, also. Opens the fuel pump solenoid when the truck batteries won't. My cables are welding leads with 25 foot leads. Can reach anything, even batteries on reefers.


Mellville said:

jumper packs definitely, our trucks still have cables just in case the packs aren't enough or are dead but they see rare use. we get ours from Carolina Auto Supply, about 35-40 bucks each and tthey get frequent use and are replaced about every year or so.


spitz said:

Its said you shouldnt be jumping a vehicle with the donor's engine running as it "may" damage voltage sensitive circuits in the donor vehicles systems when the donee's engine starts... Runs the voltage reg. to the max to make up for the dead battery to compensate.. Never seen it happen yet but i don't want to be the statistic on that one.


twinbulls said:

I get the $50 jump box with air compressor at homedepot... works great !! and it last over a year .... I used to get the $200 boxes but when one of my guys lost it .. I feel $50 pain better.....
I do have jumper cables on all trucks dont remember when I used them last....
So far no one has lost the $50 box....and it paid for itself in about 3 days.....
I was just thinking of getting a few more for just incase.....And that little AC unit does better than I thought for pumping up tires....


Wreckerboy r53_1559570274.gif said:

I bought a jump pack from NAPA for almost $600 and will start truck tractor diesels, no problem. Kind of expensive, but J. B. Hunt calls us for lots of jumps, makes it quick and easy.




MTA415 said:

that doesn't apply to all vehicles. the owners manual is instrumental in this situation...



MidwayTowing said:

have both

mine s the blue one with the 50.00 replacement coupon....forgot the name..

new cables.. ye sIve had to use em also..


annettemcd said:

On the cold, we usually keep the jumper packs in the shop and rotate them in and out of the trucks. They are fine in the trucks in the winter when the pack is plugged in and the APU and the cab heaters are operating. Almost all of our jobs are stand-alone (not combined with other jobs), so if it is a jump-start or a jump-start/possible tow, the driver can just grab a jumper pack or two out of the shop on their way.

We usually try to avoid providing jump starts at really cold temperatures, like 40 below, because usually a jump will not be able to start a cold vehicle at those temperatures and if the owner has been trying long enough to drain the battery and then waited until the next day or so to call us, the battery might well be frozen and may explode. It usually makes more sense to just wait until it warms up to try to start the vehicle or to tow it to some place where it can be warmed up.



hmc7533 said:

We had days last winter that the windchill was down to these temps I keep the jump pack inside the cab of the truck on the floor on the passenger side. .(Heat blows on them) I also keep the cables there during the winter. I have found that most people try over and over to get the car started cranking the juice right out of the cells. If the car has not been driven in days I use the cables. And let it charge up awile before even trying to start the car. if its been just a few hours I grab the jump pack first.



kinda within this topic but does anybody remember those supposedly jump starters you would plug in the cigarette lighter supposed to start car ( i doubt they did) we dont do hardly any road service but alot of vehicles i go to tow if battery is dead its stuck in park i thought maybe those plug in the lighter things would be good to carry and easy to carry and just enough to activate the lock out if anyone knows what im talking about i looked on the internet cant find them


kstowman said:

we use the jump packs....had to replace the batteries in 2004, they are still going....the batteries cost about $50 if i remember right. we bought ours from the snap-on and mac tool companies.... for semi's, diesels, and bigger motor homes we use the good-all jump start units....they are the real deal....


kyresqtow said:

Jim most of the jump packs ( at least the ones I have bought) come with a plug to plug lead for just that type of ordeal.


kstowman said:

i haven't ever tried it for this application, we have a deal that hooks to a 9v battery that is supposed to help the vehicle's computer "remember" if you have the battery unhooked, it might provide just enough juice to get those pesky vehicles out of park as well.....i always just hook my pack directly to the battery or jump points to get them to neutral.....never have tried through the lighter.....


Muskegontowguy said:

AAA Mich sent out those Cig. lighter cords a few years back to power up Porsches so we could get the hood open to Jump as they have an Electric hood release


Matt Bartlett r54_1559570275.gif said:

Cables??? What are those???648.gif We use packs, but our service truck and Medium Duty have cables as well.


88towboy r53_1559570274.gif said:

just wondering if anyone now's that if you leave thejump box on the vehicle for a couple ofminute after you start it it will charge your box back up completley I worked for aaa for a while and did this never once had to charge my box and I would use it every day all day just thought some of you might like to know if you cont use your box all the time then it might need charged once in a while you can also charge one quikley if you hook it to your own battery for a minute if it does seem to be down and you cant easily get to vehicle with cables.




Spitz said:

Keep in mind with long cables you losing a lot of power simply because they are so long, its like trying to push water through a 30ft hose, it takes pressure to get enough power there. Had one instance were my cables just wouldnt do the trick, the pack had no troubles however.


Pro Max Towing said:

The best performing jump box for the money on the market is the JNC660 it will jump start a dead big block. It has a one time $50 total replacement garranty, you can sweep up what is ever left, mail it in with $50 and WA LA in about a week to week and a half you have a new unit. Also comes with the double ended cig. lighter attachment. A few people have questioned what this cord is for.
Well it has several purposes :
1) You can plug it into your jump pack and the disabled vehicle to get it out of park
2) You can plug it into your tow truck and it will charge the pack(slowly) when truck is running
3) It will also power up the power releases on those porsche units.



94bigtow said:

I guess I am a cave man still use cables looks like I will be buying a jump pack this weekend thanks for all your input and merry x mas Berk oroville towing


Supertower said:

I bought a jump pack @ Northern Tool and supply for $79. It has saved me from pushing many a car and is great when they won't go into neutual.
John Payette, Owner, Superior Wrecker Service, Serving Houston Since 1991
TRAA Level 1 & 2 Certified, Wreckmaster Level 2/3 Certified #95734
SWTO Certified & Region 5 Board Member


ricktowingvt said:

we are using the same three jump n carry packs we bought in the late 90s that we got from awdirect, WE have replace all the batteries once. interstate batteries stocks them and they are about $50.


@annettemcd @EdsTowing @JeffTow @paulie417 @silverhawk

@Spitz @MTA415 @Midway Towing @kstowman @Muskegontowguy

@Indy Matt @88towboy @Supertower @Jeff Poquette


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