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Author Topic: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts  (Read 213 times)

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Mike McDonald

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Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« on: November 07, 2019, 06:38:25 AM »

Hi all,
I am considering purchasing a lithium ion portable battery jump starter to keep on the boat. I have an M25XP engine (liters ?), and want to make sure the jump starter has plenty of power for multiple starts. The advertised specs are often stated using different measures, which adds to the confusion. I would love to hear some feedback from some of you who have a much better understanding of this technology than I have. Thanks.
Mike......
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Mike McDonald
1987 / #0396  / M25xp
"Irish Diplomacy"
Pultneyville Yacht Club
Lake Ontario

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 07:42:25 AM »

I have a harbor freight 5 in 1 ďjump startĒ battery. I have used it to start a car, so I would think it
would start the little boat motor easily. I keep it on the boat for emergencies. I have used it to power led
Xmas lites on the boat as I cruise the harbor for a couple hours at the holidays. I have used it to power
110 led lites when on a mooring. Used it to charge iPads. Not a perfect solution, but itís nice to know
you can get going in a pinch.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 09:59:08 AM »

Mike,

I would look at the specs for a group 27 marine battery and compare the cranking amps and reserve capacity to what the jump starter has.

I too have a HF jump starter but found that they simply donít last. The first one I returned within the extended warranty - it would not hold a charge. It was a 3 in 1, the store said the 4 in 1s are better but get many returns- but I just went with a replacement. The lead acid batteries (gel?) are so crappy that I basically need to keep it on a constant a trickle charge in order to have it available if I need it (I have an AC outlet in the van.). One jump start on a lawn tractor battery this week and the charge status was showing orange, not green. Itís one of those horror freight items that IME that warrants caution.
Recommend you get an extended warranty on any LiIon one so you can put it thru itís paces over a season (and then hope it lasts beyond a year.)
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
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Ron Hill

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 02:12:24 PM »

Mike : I too thought of a "jumpstart" battery as a backup- just in case.  However, it was impossible to tell the status of the backup?? -- especially when it just sits there waiting to be used!! 
Instead I went to a Honda 1KW and have used it MANY times especially at anchor/on a mooring). But never for a jump start, but it was there incase I ever needed it!   :thumb:

A thought
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 04:48:14 PM by Ron Hill »
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mainesail

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 02:49:45 PM »

My advice would be to stick with a standard AGM "Jump Pack", not one of the LiPo jump packs.

In our shop we have now tested & owned a fair number of them, far too many, and none of them have met their claims and all have failed to start diesel engines with actual "dead" batteries. 

One of these, a NOCO claimed 1000A and it could barely muster a peak in-rush of 162A (Fluke 376). When I used a standard AGM battery jump pack the peak in-rush, on the same dead bank, after being tried with the LiPo pack, was measured at 367A. The peak on one of them lasted for a maximum of about 0.75 seconds before the voltage began plummeting. Why? They simply lack Ah capacity..

I honestly don't know how these companies get away with the claims they make and their complete denial of OHM's law? Think about the claims of 600A - 1000A on 10GA wire? Really??

We also had the leads got so hot they physically de-soldered themselves from the PCB. For a car they are marginal at best for a boat with a diesel, glow plugs and big dead batteries, save your money and get an AGM based jump pack with at least a 20Ah to 30Ah battery.

I have posted this on another form before:

These little jump packs are entertaining for the size, and the price they have come down to, but...

I bought a Noco GB-30 for the shop, it failed to start 3 boats so I quickly returned it before the 30 days expired. I then bought the Noco GB-40 it too failed to start boats with dead batteries. I have since tried others and they all failed and some failed DANGEROUSLY by physically de-soldering themselves. Today we have two NOCO GB150's. They are MASSIVE and yet they still can't start some boats.

With the smaller NOCO's, the physical capacity of the battery is simply too small to jump large marine batteries at low states of charge. I unscrewed and opened up the NOCO GB-40, which claims 1000A (peak), and inside I found a 2150mAh battery which equates to just 2.15 Ah.

This is considerably smaller than the battery that powers my iPad which is 7,340 mAh or 7.340 Ah. I have gone back to using my AGM based jump pack, which is 22Ah. Whene we added the NOCO GB150's they were much better, but not perfect, and very expensive.

If more of these lithium jump packs can get upwards of 15-20Ah +, with larger 200C cables, they may become more worthwhile on boats. Unfortunately the smaller NOCO's were nowhere near that and as far as I am concerned, nothing more than a misleading scam with bogus specs. I physically tested them with with Fluke equipment and they were so far from the marketing claims that it's not even laughable.

On top of the misleading claims the soldering inside the Noco is horrific and the relay that passes all the current is rated at 70A.... A 70A relay to pass 1000A does not even pass the straight faced test... A friend who is also a marine electrician bought a no-name Chinese jump pack off Amazon and on the first use the cables got so hot that they unsoldered from the unit. We bought a different Chinese model and the same thing happened. This is because a 10GA or 8GA wire can not handle 200A+ without getting very hot. The connectors used for passing all this 600A to 1000A of claimed current come out of the RC hobby industry for powering RC cars. They were never designed to handle the starting current of a, truck or boat engine...

Also be very wary of how the mAh rating (1000mAh is 1 Ah) is derived. For example is it a 30C, 10C, 2C discharge or a 0.2C discharge to earn that mAh rating? These batteries are often asked to supply a 30C plus load (30X Ah capacity) and on diesels often in excess of 40C... Even a massive 12,000 mAh jump pack battery (12Ah my NOCO GB-40 was 2.15 Ah's) delivering 400A is a 33C load or 33X its Ah capacity.

What is the Peukert of these jump packs at 33 X Ah capacity? Our NOCO GB40 claimed a peak amperage of 1000A (400A cranking). At 400A (through a 70A relay) that is a 186C load or 186 X the 2.15 Ah capacity of the NOCO GB-40. What is the Peukert of that 2.15Ah battery at 186C????? Anyone who tells you lithium has no Peukert effect just does not understand battery chemistry.

The key is that most of these packs rely on your battery not being completely dead or much smaller than a marine bank. Interestingly enough, they will actually start a motor without the batteries in place easier, so be wary of those misleading videos. The reason for this is the jump pack is not wasting precious starting current/capacity charging your dead battery first, reaching voltage equilibrium, before you hit the key. Believe it or not removing the dead battery from the equation can actually make it easier on the jump pack so don't be fooled by that sort of marketing spin....

The Peukert effect exists, even for Lithium-Ion batteries.. For a diesel with glow plugs, and a large dead battery, they may or may not start the motor. If the battery is below about 10V good luck, especially if you also need glow...

Unfortunately the snake oil did not work, for what we needed portable jump packs to do. Being a marine electrician I get to jump boats on a regular basis and these little Li-Ion packs generally fail miserably. Granted our NOCO GB150 is better but still far from perfect.

We still keep the AGM jump packs as back up. If you start seeing 15-20+Ah lithium jump packs, from legitimate companies, with 6GA+ cables then they may be a decent value, if they don't melt.. With 10GA wires, 70A relays and miniature batteries, with no real data to back up the mAh rating claim I suggest using caution.

Also keep in mind that a "reserve bank" can do double duty as start and house loads. You can get one for less than $100.00. A Li-Ion jump pack is certainly not going to provide emergency house power and may not even start your motor if necessary..

Bottom line: Design your on-board DC system correctly with proper isolation and redundancy, and there is no need to carry any jump pack.

I also posted this when I got our first NOCO GB150:


So my saga of Li-Ion booster packs continues and I've not yet decided whether or not I will keep this one or not. I gave it a pretty hard first test. Please understand my use for these is not typical use for how they were designed.



Because it's winter, and I am not jumping too many boats, I purposely discharged the 12V battery on my wife's antique Mercedes 240D to 6.54V and attempted to start the car. This car is a 2.4L 4 cylinder diesel and the GB150 claims it will start 10L engines easily.  Her car also has glow plugs and arguably needs a bit of cranking at nearly 40 years old and a quarter million miles. Sometimes, when cold, two or three rounds of glow (diesels don't like cold), is required to get going. 

Guess what....??? The car did not start before I completely wiped out the GB150. The cars battery is now re-charging and the $400.00 NOCO may get boxed up and be returned. EDIT: I wound up keeping it..

Why NOCO would only stick 8Ah of capacity in this HUGE booster is beyond me. When I called tech support I was told many guys with diesels buy two of them. Ah, okay, that's about $750.00...?? This thing should easily fit 25+ Ah of Li-Ion cells and not add much to the weight.

I will say this, the new GB150 is quite well built, perhaps they learned along the way. The GB150 is now using 200C (392F) 4 AWG silicone wire. Silicone wire of this quality is expensive! I know, because we use it when building custom alternators...... It needs that type of wire to deliver the kind of impulse current that it claims.

While my test above was pretty abusive, it is not to say these things won't start cars or trucks with smaller banks and no glow plugs. My use case, as a marine electrician, is clearly much more abusive on these things than the general population. I do understand why they get many glowing reviews and that is because most are not expecting what I am from them. Boat diesels, connected to large battery banks, are simply not the same as a gasoline car engine with a diminutive cranking battery.

The optimal way to use these packs is to jump the smallest battery on-board eg: the "start battery", not the large house bank. Of course many owners are looking to get rid of the second abnk and replace it with one of these. I would not advise doing that.

We also work on power boats where the start batteries are often also house or very large 8D's. I don't want to have to physically disconnect batteries, not very easy on some boats, just to do the jump.

These days I see a lot of folks deciding to forego a reserve/start bank in favor of a Li-Ion jump pack. After our trials and tribulations I would urge strong caution on this. Many boaters fail to recognize that a reserve/start battery is also reserve house power.. It should be thought of not just for emergency starting but also to run the entire boat should the house bank malfunction or short internally. There are members of this forum who've had a house bank catastrophic failure happen to them.

Be forewarned that a Li-Ion jump pack may not always work and certainly does not have the capacity to run/power the boat in an emergency. There is not a lot of Ah capacity in these things and some times not enough to be connected to a large depleted bank, then do glow, then start the motor before that capacity is wiped out attaining voltage parity.

Even this massive fairly well built GB150, with 8Ah, could not start my wife's 2.4L Mercedes, in winter, with the small starting battery at 6.5V.

« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 02:58:04 PM by mainesail »
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Mike McDonald

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 07:11:42 AM »

Wow! Lotís of good information. I really was a little concerned about the manufacturer claims, but considered the option a a last resort fall back. I currently have 2 banks, start and house. I wasnít considering changing that, just adding another level of backup. Based on Main Sailís testing and experience, it sounds like it would likely be a waste of money. My existing system probably provides enough redundancy. Thanks so much for very detailed response. I canít say enough for the incredible support from the members of this forum! Very much appreciated!
Mike....
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Mike McDonald
1987 / #0396  / M25xp
"Irish Diplomacy"
Pultneyville Yacht Club
Lake Ontario

KWKloeber

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Re: Lithium Ion Jump Start Battery Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 05:04:39 PM »

Test of jump starters, including on a large diesel.
The HF is great, unless you want to turn over an engine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN8A2nIMUWA
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain
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