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#4611679 - 12/22/17 09:01 PM supercapacitor jump starter
spackard Offline

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 1653
Loc: CA
I first heard about these a few weeks ago. Since, I've been looking into the pros and cons.
The principle is a vendor chains together 6 2.7V multi-hundred farad supercapacitors, a DC-DC boost circuit, and some battery cables, to make a jump starter pack.
The supercapacitors have very low internal resistance so they can discharge at very high current, enough to easily turn a starter motor.
The more cleaver thing is if you have a "dead" battery you use some of what is still in the dead battery to charge the supercapacitors. Seems they'll charge up at a 10A rate for a couple of minutes, get up to about 15V, then you switch from charge to jump mode and start the car.

A simple one, claiming 300A: ($99 refurbished)

A more advanced one, claiming 700A, having a meter that tells you the internal impedance of your car battery (which should be of interest to JHZR2): ($120 new)

A variation of this style, having an internal Li-Ion battery, for the case where the car battery is really dead as a doornail, the capacitors can charge from the internal battery: ($157.29 new)

Schumacher markets a DSR-108 and a DSR-109, still within the consumer budget.

Here's an OzCharge, 500A, on Amazon, for $245.99

Then, for heavy/fleet use, Chicago Pneumatic markets two models, starting at $1500 (guess)

Once you know about these you can search for videos of people using them.

Seems the pros are:
- Not carrying around Li-Ion batteries in the trunk (no vent with flame issues)
- A better idea, for the frequent user. Very high discharge rates are hard on Li-Ion batteries.

Seems the cons are:
- Higher cost
- I see shelf life of capacitors are 10 years, so I don't know how long the jump pack will really last.
- Linear voltage discharge of caps vs. flat voltage discharge of Li-Ion batteries mean you have to buy bigger capacitors, so enough voltage will be there to continue to turn over engine.
- If you only need a few jumps in 5 years, the Li-Ion jump packs are probably good enough, as long as you don't cheap-out too much
- Heavier and much lower energy density than Li-Ion batteries.

An unknown is you're supposed to balance-charge the capacitors, same as Li-Ion batteries, when they're hooked in series. Maybe that doesn't matter much to a very occasional-use jump pack. It seems to matter to a frequent-use supercapacitor bank that's used for other things, like for a stop-start circuit, or regenerative braking.

#4611719 - 12/22/17 10:14 PM Re: supercapacitor jump starter [Re: spackard]
JimPghPA Offline

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 3791
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
I wonder what the freezing temperature is for the super-capacitors. In other words how cold is too cold for this type of jump-starter.
Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


#4611728 - 12/22/17 10:26 PM Re: supercapacitor jump starter [Re: spackard]
spackard Offline

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 1653
Loc: CA
The units claim low temp is what they are good at. -40(C or F, they're the same) is the low working range.
I've looked at some data sheets and the caps are better at low temps than Li-Ion batteries.

#4611901 - 12/23/17 07:29 AM Re: supercapacitor jump starter [Re: spackard]
JHZR2 Offline

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41242
Loc: New Jersey
Shelf life is voltage dependent. Keep it below may and life may go up. Keep it nearly discharged and it could be a very long time.

I do prefer this to the liability of a fly by night Li-ion battery kept in a hot car for years. But the total energy and discharge character may be an issue.

#4611967 - 12/23/17 09:04 AM Re: supercapacitor jump starter [Re: spackard]
jonnied1 Offline

Registered: 10/16/16
Posts: 106
Loc: WV
This is the wave of the future!

#4611978 - 12/23/17 09:14 AM Re: supercapacitor jump starter [Re: spackard]
WhizkidTN Offline

Registered: 12/05/16
Posts: 442
Loc: E. Tennessee
As a EE, I'm HIGHLY skeptical of all claims of the little "jump starters" whose real effectiveness is related to the car battery's actual condition. Starting a car takes hundreds of amperes. A badly discharged battery or a completely dead battery I just don't believe will allow a car to start with one of these toys hooked up to it. BUT, I've not spend much time looking into them so YMMV.

Another reason I have AAA for the me and the wife!
His: '12 Kia Optima SX - 2.0L GDI Twin-Scroll Turbo (69K)
>C. Edge 0W-40, Fram XG
Her's: '14 Nissan Rogue SL AWD - 2.5L NA (61K)
>C. Edge 0W-20, Fram XG