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Made by Monkeys

These Jumper Cables Won't Get the Car Started

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JohnE
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Iron
Re: Cheap Booster (Jumper) Cables
JohnE   4/29/2013 6:12:41 PM
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Reminds me of the adage, "There is no such thing as a cheap wrench -- you can pay up front, or pay in bruised knuckles and stripped bolt heads.

electromotive
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Iron
Re: "THAT'S a jumper cable!"
electromotive   4/29/2013 5:36:28 PM
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Reminds me of a 220 volt plug strip I bought over in asia once. Out of curiosity I hacked it open and discovered unisulated wire no larger than 22 or smaller gauge wire bused along the receptacle poles. And people over there use these to run appliances! They would never get a UL rating over here.

tomintx
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Silver
Re: Fusible Link
tomintx   4/29/2013 5:14:06 PM
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Not sure how dangerous 22 AWG wire would be in jumper cables.  It would very quickly burn an open into the circuit, and then never conduct again.  "No SparK" would imply that the circuit were still conductive when you disconnected the clamp from the battery post.  That cable would have long ago ceased to have a complete connection.

Jumper cables are a particular interest to me - Living in Texas, where even a really good battery won't last more than 2-3 years, I have done more than my share of jumping cars (wife's + 2 kids' cars)  We also tend towards diesels in my family, so the cable weight is not the only thing that matters.  Those stupid little side posts, for some reason placed in close proximity to a substantial piece of steel, give me the heebie-jeebies every time I try to connect the positive cable.  It can be difficult to get a good connection capable of supporting more than a few amps.

I have a cool little DC ammeter that I can lay right onto the cable to see how much current is running, if I have a decent connection.


I have 4-5 sets of pretty decent cables that I bought at a club that rhymes with "Pam's"

JohnE
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Iron
"THAT'S a jumper cable!"
JohnE   4/29/2013 4:20:55 PM
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My jumper cables are long, very heavy, and a bit awkward and cumbersome to use, but they get the job done every time. One recent evening I was walking through the university parking structure after teaching my class when two damsels in distress inquired whether I had jumper cables. Paraphrasing Paul Hogan's Crocadile Dundee character, I pulled mine out of the boot of my car, saying, "THAT's a jumper cable!" I have always made sure my wife has high-quality jumper cables in her car and knows how to use them safely, and we have done a few jumper cable and flat tire change drills in our driveway.

Noor Khalsa
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Iron
Re: to defend *oot
Noor Khalsa   4/29/2013 4:02:18 PM
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Well, to be honest, I actually bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner from the site once, years ago. Works great. But they need a monkey filter for 'emergency kits' like this. Or we do.

Kirk McLoren
User Rank
Silver
Re: Cheap Booster (Jumper) Cables
Kirk McLoren   4/29/2013 3:57:32 PM
those jumper cables aren't for using, they are for selling.

3drob
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Platinum
Re: Fusible Link
3drob   4/26/2013 10:57:18 AM
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Spend $70 and get a "Jiffy Jump" or equivalent.  Keep it in your trunk and top it off every 3 months or so.  I've used mine for about 5-10 years now and it's never let me down (with lot's of jumps under its belt over that time). 

It has a load connect switch so you can connect it directly to the dead battery without worrying about a spark blowing your face off (not with the Jiffy Jump, but I've had batteries blow, not pleasant).

Rastaman
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Iron
Re: Fusible Link
Rastaman   4/24/2013 3:08:01 PM
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He stated that it had heavy plastic.  Very possible, the alligator clips were just crimped on to the plastic and not making contact with the flimsy wire.  I guess you get what you pay for.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cheap Booster (Jumper) Cables
William K.   4/24/2013 3:07:10 PM
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I have made a few sets of jumper cables for my own use, and the best wire seems to be a fairly fine stranded cable that I picked up someplace, similar to welding cable but only about 0.300" diameter, with conductors about 0.25 diameter. They work for cranking as well as for charging. And the way to avoid having a problem with cheap clamps is to run the wire up to the tips of the clamps so that the high resistance of the steel, clamp does not matter.

I have seen jumper cables that were made from solid aluminum wire, with polyethlene insulation, which might be adequate for one use. They had been abandoned in a parking lot, probably after one use.

Critic
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Platinum
Cheap Booster (Jumper) Cables
Critic   4/24/2013 10:32:57 AM
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There are several ways to make cheap booster cables:

 

1. Make up your own wire gauge.  Instead of using standard gauge wire diameter, invent your own standard.  For example, 4 AWG cable should have at least 0.204" conductor diameter, but you can invent a new standard, and call wire that is 0.040" diameter "4 gauge cable."  Beware of cable that it is not marked with a known wire-gauge standard, such as "AWG."

 

2. Make them very short.  Never mind that it will be inconvenient for the user.  Booster cables should be at least 15 feet long to be easy to use.

 

3. Use cheap clamps and don't pay attention to how the cables are attached to the clamps.

 

4. Use an impractically small cable diameter, because many consumers are ignorant and your profits will be huge until people figure out you are producing useless crap.

 

5. Don't use copper cable because it is expensive.

 

A good pair of booster cables should be 15 - 20 feet long, and made of 4 AWG (or larger, not likely larger) stranded copper cable.  If the cable diameter is less than this, in most cases, there will be too much voltage drop during (attempted) cranking.  Do the math:  0.26 milliohms per foot X 30 feet X 300 A = 2.3 V drop, excluding the clamps and connections.  Any more voltage drop than this, and the cranking voltage will drop well below 10 V, which is usually too low for good cranking.  With smaller-diameter cable, you can charge a battery, and wait until it is charged before cranking (if the battery will hold a charge).  Expect to pay more than $50 for a pair of useful booster cables, and more than $100 for a good pair.  If the price is under $50, be very suspicious.

 

 

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