Ed. Note: We have hundreds of new subscribers each month. As a result, some of our older articles likely have never been seen by a majority of our current audience. So, we thought that, occasionally, we would circle back to some old favorites, refreshed of course for the realities of today. This article, in its original form, was first published way back in 2010. If you’ve been with us long enough for this to be a repeat, we thank you profusely.
Have you ever replaced your battery only to find that you have lost all of your electronic presets, such as radio settings or power seat settings? This can be a great inconvenience, as you attempt to put the electronic genie back in the bottle. But, on today’s sophisticated vehicles, such inconvenience is the best of a number of bad outcomes. For instance, a battery disconnection, whether for service or replacement, can cause the vehicle’s primary control electronics to reset, creating odd behavior upon restart and can even disrupt vehicle operation for longer periods, as the vehicle relearns your driving habits. Sometimes, it can be so disruptive that it requires a trip to the dealer or a service shop for a computer relearn.
There exists a simple solution to this problem, which is to connect a secondary power source to the vehicle while the starting battery (the vehicle’s primary power source) is disconnected. Without a doubt, the most convenient and readily available option to perform this task is a portable jump starter. Of course, you’ll need a safe and convenient way to connect the jump starter to the vehicle when performing this task, but this also is readily available, as we’ll discuss below.
For years, most jump starters have been equipped with a DC-DC power cable designed for connection to a vehicle’s DC power port (cigarette lighter-style outlet). But, modern vehicles typically cut power to DC power ports when the vehicle key is in the OFF position. As a result, the DC power port has been rendered largely useless as a facilitator of vehicle power system backup.
Enter the OBDII port. All modern passenger vehicles are equipped with an OBDII port, used to conveniently access, control and update vehicle electronic systems. The OBDII port, unlike a typical DC power port, is a continuously ON conduit to the vehicle’s electrical system and serves as an excellent facilitator of vehicle power system backup.
An OBDII-equipped connector cable can be used to hook a jump starter up to a vehicle during battery service or replacement. The Vehicle Memory Saver Connector from SOLAR, Model No. ESA30, turns any jump starter with a DC power port into a memory saver. It serves as an interface connector between a jump starter’s DC power port and a vehicle’s OBDII port. An LED on the ESA30 confirms a proper connection has been made to the OBD II port, allowing safe removal of the vehicle’s battery.
Most Jump-N-Carry and Booster PAC lead acid jump starter models feature a traditional DC power port, so they make an ideal backup power source for use with the ESA30 Memory Saver Connector. In addition, our Jump-N-Carry lithium jump starter models JNC325 and JNC345 feature a pin jack DC power port and include a female DC port adapter which can be used in conjunction with the ESA30 for this purpose. So, either way you go, we’ve got you covered.
Things to remember when using the ESA30 for backup when removing/replacing the starting battery:
- Always wear protective eyewear and protective clothing when working around a vehicle battery.
- A memory saver connector should be used only when a vehicle is turned OFF. Never use this type of product in conjunction with a jump starter when the vehicle is turned on.
- Always remember that when the vehicle’s battery is removed and a memory saver connector is used to connect the vehicle’s OBDII port to a power source, the vehicle’s battery connection cables / hardware are live. Care must be taken to secure the positive battery cable/hardware to prevent arcing, damage or injury! We recommend using a bootie or other non-conductive protective device to prevent the battery positive cable from inadvertently contacting vehicle components or a vehicle ground.
- Vehicle systems often cycle after the vehicle is turned off. Such cycling places demands on the vehicle’s electrical system that could disrupt or damage the memory saver connector or the OBDII port. Before connecting a secondary power source using the ESA30 Memory Saver Connector, turn the vehicle’s key to the OFF position and wait for 15-25 minutes. Doing so will ensure that all vehicle cycling is completed and that the vehicle is truly OFF. Then, take care not to inadvertently cause the vehicle to “wake up.”
Starting with a quality jump starter, using the ESA30 and remembering the tips above, you can easily and safely change out your battery for replacement or remove your battery as part of a repair or maintenance application, without the usual downfalls associated with disconnecting the starting battery. Of course, there are other ways to accomplish the same result, but we’d say that the method outlined here is the optimal method.
Smart and Easy Battery Service from SOLAR
Have you ever encountered a difficult battery replacement task? Did you use a power backup solution? If so, was it successful? Or, have you ever done a replacement without a power backup solution and the had issues with your vehicle? We’d love to hear about it. Please share your experience in the comments below.