Is there away to test a jump starter pack?

I bought one (Super Start portable) a week ago and it came all charged up - there is a button on it which will cause one of three lights to go on: not-charged or partly-charged or fully-charged. Mine showed full right out of the box - without me having had to charge it up at all. (instructions say the first charge should be 36 hours)

I called the store and manufacturer to ask if they charge them up before putting them on the shelves as a convenience to the customer. Both said they didn’t do that so I’m assuming that it was done by someone who brought it back after charging it.

I’m wondering if maybe the reason he/she brought it back is because it didn’t work. Does anyone know a way to test it wihout having a dead battery? Thanks - Ed

They are charged at the factory and have a fairly long shelf life…I suppose you could test it with a standard automotive battery tester…

You just need a volt meter. Place the clamps apart, turn the unit on and measure the voltage at the clamps. If it measures 13.5-14.5 volts it’s fully charged.


Yes, but that wouldn’t prove that it could provide enough current to jump start anything. For that you would need a load test.

The ones I bought all had instructions that said you need to discharge some 2-3 times and recharge to get full power.
I have found if you discharge some every 2-3 months then recharge they last a lot longer.

Sounds like an expensive trunk decoration you will seldom if ever use…

You’re correct! But they asked if it was fully charged. They didn’t ask what it was capable of doing. And for that you would need to put it under a load as from a load tester. My battery pack has voltage indicator to test the state of charge. And if it falls into 12.5 volt range, it goes into the yellow zone, and that’s when you recharge it.


Actually, as I read it, the OP’s question is “I’m wondering if maybe the reason he/she brought it back is because it didn’t work. Does anyone know a way to test it wihout having a dead battery?”

For a light line or drivability mechanic these jump boxes were indespensible, but I would go through one about every year. Maybe I just had money to burn but they were so important I wanted two good ones at all times.Lost one to a customer I lent it to and another I accidently left in a car,or course it was not returned. I guess I cant say the all the issues were of a technical type.

Most new batteries will test well for at least a year without a charge. You don’t have to charge a new battery at the factory. Once you put the acid in, the battery will be fully charged. You don’t have to install the electricity, the battery makes it on demand. When you use the battery, you change the chemistry of the acid and the plates. When you recharge it, the chemistry goes back to the way it was.

They want YOU to plug it in to insure that it gets charged. 36 hours is just insurance to make sure it works for you when you need it. The charging system isn’t made to charge too fast and probably cuts off long before 36 hours on a new jump starter. Try not to overthink it.

“For that you would need a load test.” - Tardis

So you’re saying that there is no way to test whether or not the jump-starter is defective except by using it to jump start a car with a dead battery? I’m assuming that’s what a “load test” implies. Thanks.

The one I bought was $60 and it’s about the same to get a jump around here. If you don’t have a second car it seems like a good deal to me. In my case the car wouldn’t start with a relatively new battery, and for no reason apparent to me – I didn’t leave the lights on and it was about 45 degrees out.

Many auto stores and shops have load testers for batteries and alternators. (It’s not something that you would buy, but something that you would have to talk them into testing your jump pack with.)

I can’t tell you how to test it. I can tell you that I would figure it out rather than trusting the lights. Here’s why - I have a Vector battery charger (the “smart” kind with multiple settings & auto everything).

The lights came all screwed up. I’d set it to charge, and it would behave well (as if it was charging) but the light for “fully charged” would come on. Then it would charge for a while and the light would change to fault. I’d test at that point and find a fully charged and functional battery. Then I purposely failed to ground it and turned it on - the light then went to charging (or whatever it says). It turns out that the lights were simply installed in the wrong order.

(rest of the story: Stupidly enough I called them. They sent me an RMA and I returned it and they “fixed” it - again installing the lights in the wrong order. I gave up, took a marker an relabeled the lights. It works fine - as long as you don’t follow their labels).

Thanks tardis.

I’m not sure but i think you misunderstood my question cigroller. I am not wondering whether or not the jump starter pack is really charged. I’m pretty sure it is charged up not only because the indicator light shows it is fully charged, but also because it has a built in flashlight which is shining very brightly right now. … I’m wondering whether or not it is defective as far as actually being able to jump start a car because it seems to have been returned to the store by a previous customer.

How to test a jump battery without test equipment? A DISCONNECTED battery is, nearly, equivalent to a DEAD battery. Attach the jumper cables to the battery cables of your car (to maintain power to the car computers’ memories). Remove the car’s battery cables (with the jumper cables attached to the battery cable terminals) from their posts. Start your car. Shut the engine off and restart, shut off and restart, shutoff and restart. How well it starts, and how many times it restarts, until it won’t start the engine, is an indication of how well the jumper battery works.

I wonder how many people buy those and either never use it, or find it is not up to the task if they do need it compared to the number who actuarially use it?

And I wonder how many people actually maintain the charge so when you need it it is available…

I use my Simplicity lawn tractor as my “portable” jump start at my home.

“Mine showed full right out of the box”

And well it should.

These things contain a small lead-acid battery.
They should be maintained like any other lead-acid bat for maximum life.

  1. Keep it fully charged. Charge when bought new. Charge as soon as possible after using.
  2. Recharge every 2-3 months. Every month if kept in a hot trunk.
  3. If in doubt, charge it!