Tool review: Jump-N-Carry jump starter -- Portable model packs a punch for quick battery boost
Portable battery jump starters are a mainstay of just about every shop, especially dealerships and fleet shops. The convenience of a portable battery pack is obvious, allowing a weak battery to be jump-start boosted quickly enough to allow an engine start for vehicles parked in storage lots or to rescue a stranded motorist.
In this article we’ll review the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry model JNC4000. This model (one of many offered by Clore) features 1,100 peak amps and 325 CCA (cold-cranking amps). Other models range up to a whopping 3,400 peak amps with 850 CCA and 2,000 peak amps with 925 CCA.
We opted to try out the JNC4000. Although all of the firm’s jump starters offer high quality, we wanted to try what we might call a smaller capacity “entry level” starter. If the JNC4000 passed muster, we can assume that the higher-rated models would fare even better.
Built to last
The unit weighs in at 18 pounds, light enough to easily carry across a huge parking lot but hefty enough to feel like a serious contender.
The molded carry handle is robust. Short of taking a saws-all to it, I can’t see the handle ever breaking in even abusive conditions. The #2 AWG positive and negative cables are 23 inches long (long enough to rest the starter in the engine bay and reach any battery location) and securely wrap/store onto the sides of the unit.
The unit’s battery employs Clore’s “Proformer” technology and is a sealed, non-spillable design, allowing the unit to be stored in any position.
A 12V DC power port is featured that comes in handy for maintaining electrical component memory while servicing a battery. By plugging the male/male adapter cable into the Jump-N-Carry and the vehicle’s 12V accessory port, the charger can be used to maintain memory in radio presets, phone, etc.
This 12-volt DC port also can be used to power 12V accessories (up to 12 amps) that feature a male plug (phone chargers, camera chargers, power drills, trolling motors, small refrigerators, etc.). When the Jump-N-Carry is used with a DC to AC power inverter, it can operate appliances normally powered by 120 Vac or 220 Vac. The recommended inverter for the portable power source is 400 watts maximum. The unit is equipped with an automatic rest circuit breaker which kicks out if the current exceeds 12 amps.
A twin-post male-pronged connection is located in a recessed pocket, placing the prongs out of harm’s way (a standard extension cord plugs into this for charging the unit). An easy-to-read voltmeter provides the charged status of the unit’s on-board battery. A charging/charged indicator light panel is located to the right of the voltmeter. A handy load tester button is located below and to the left of the voltmeter.
Once plugged into a charging source (120-volt AC or 12-volt DC), an amber charging light illuminates to indicate that charging is in progress. Once full charge is reached, a green indicator light illuminates (the unit may be left on charging mode continuously without damaging the unit).
You can also charge the Jump-N-Carry unit from the vehicle, however, you should frequently monitor the 12-volt charging process to make sure that the unit is not overcharged, which could damage the unit.
According to the instruction manual, suggested 12-volt charging times are as follows:
After jump starting 20 minutes
After using as portable power 2 hours
After high discharge conditions 5 hours
(NOTE: For optimum performance, don’t store the Jump-N-Carry unit in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and never attempt to charge or jump start a frozen battery).
Operating the Jump-N-Carry is pretty straightforward. Turn the vehicle ignition off before making your cable connections. Clamp the positive (red) clamp to the vehicle’s positive terminal and the negative (black) clamp to a good vehicle ground. Make sure that the unit’s cables are clear of any moving parts in the engine bay. Turn the vehicle’s ignition on and start the engine.
Clore notes that if the engine does not start within six seconds, allow the Jump-N-Carry to cool for three minutes before attempting to start the engine again. Once the engine starts, disconnect the negative clamp from ground and secure it to the unit’s storage holster, then disconnect the positive clamp and store onto the unit.
After fully charging the unit, we started playing with it. We jump started an engine where the battery showed only 5V, then jump started another after leaving the lights on overnight to discharge the battery, then proceeded to jump start another eight engines before the unit needed to be recharged.
Ambient temperatures ranged from 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 54 degrees F. After fully recharging again, we jump started another five low batteries (still had enough charge to continue, but we recharged anyway). In total, we jump started 19 batteries (a mix of same vehicles with varying states of battery condition and different vehicles with varying battery condition) with no operational issues whatsoever.
We didn’t expect any problems and we didn’t encounter any. The unit accepted recharging and performed properly in every case. The housing is very sturdy and the cable and clamp quality is pro-level. The gauge is easy to read and the cables and clamps store securely in their side saddles, time and time again. Although this model is a fairly basic unit, it performed flawlessly and we were very pleased with the results. In my opinion this is a very solid workhorse that you can depend on.
Repair service coupon
The Jump-N-Carry includes a repair service coupon. To quote the coupon: “Use it... abuse it. Heck, run over it with a semi-truck. No problem, we’ll take care of the unit. It doesn’t have to be assembled. Simply return your JNC4000 or JNC660 (or all of its parts, properly and safely packaged), along with this coupon and your original sale receipt. We will either recondition the unit or replace it with a refurbished unit and return it, all for a fee of just $85.” That’s not a bad deal at all. ●
8735 Rosehill Rd., Suite 220
Lenexa, KS 66215
To read the entire May/June 2014 issue of Auto Service Professional, see our digital version by clicking here.