This time around, we go to the mailbag and to our social media outlets to address the most commonly asked questions. We receive a great deal of feedback over the course of a week or month, through our web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter feed and more. Questions come from customers with various levels of expertise and from a multitude of countries around the globe. So, in the spirit of “for every one question asked, there are hundreds who have the same question, but haven’t yet asked the question,” here goes.

“Which jump starter/how much power do I need to start my _______?” 

This seemingly simple question clocks in at number one most months. Unfortunately it is not as simple as it seems, but we can provide basic guidelines to help point potential customers in the right direction. First, what types of vehicles do you need to start?  Second, how often will the jump starter be used? A few times per year, per month, per week or per day?

If you plan to start passenger vehicles and smaller items (lawn tractors, ATVs, motorcycles), one of our single battery models is more than sufficient to meet your needs. Then, it is simply a question of starting frequency (see below). If you plan to start a variety of vehicles, such as a combination of passenger vehicles, buses delivery trucks, tractors and/or earthmoving equipment, we would suggest moving up to one of our higher capacity units, such as the ES6000 or JNC950. If you plan to service over-the-road vehicles or very large implements, we recommend moving to a roll-around unit, such as the HT1224.

After identifying the types of vehicles you plan to start, you should determine the expected usage level. For occasional use jump starting, more basic models such as the CS1000 or CS2000 should meet your passenger vehicle starting needs. If you expect to be using your jump starter weekly, it may make sense to step up to a JNC300XL or a ES2500. Once you are in the “per day” range, we would recommend that you consider a JNC660/ES5000 level product, which would meet even the most demanding passenger vehicle starting needs. Moving up from that class of product would only be necessary if you were starting larger vehicles, as noted above.

“How often should I recharge my jump starter? Can it be left connected to the charger?” 

Recommended recharge frequency is really based on your usage pattern. We recommend that you charge the jump starter after every use. We realize that this is not always realistic. In heavy usage environments, we suggest that you recharge nightly. In situations where the jump starter is used less frequently, we recommend recharging every 90 days. Also, we recommend charging the unit upon initial purchase, prior to first using the product. We get many questions related to this, such as “The unit appears to be fully charged, is this still necessary?” Yes. This is the best practice and ensures that you are starting out with the unit in an optimal state of charge.

Whether the unit can be indefinitely connected to an AC supply is going to be unit-dependent. In most cases, our jump starters are equipped with automatic charging circuitry that allow them to be plugged in for extended periods without adverse effect or the risk of overcharging the unit. Some models, though, do not have this feature, so you do need to be sure you understand the charging requirements of your specific model. Consult your owner’s manual for charging details.

How should my jump starter be stored?  Can it be in the truck of my vehicle?

Clore Automotive handheld jump starters are powered by sealed AGM lead acid batteries, which impacts a variety of storage-related questions. Since it is a battery-powered product, the ideal storage temperature is 68˚F (20˚C). That said, it is fine to store them in a variety of temperatures, but is the unit is exposed to extreme temperatures, its state of charge should be monitored more frequently.

Another common thread of questions in this area concerns physical orientation and location during storage. Because we use a non-spillable sealed AGM battery, the unit can be stored in any orientation without adverse effect. It can, and often is, stored in the trunk of customer vehicles, which is fine to do. We recommend that you secure the unit so that it does not crash around in the trunk and that the clamps/cables are properly stored, such as returned to their holsters or with their Grip GuardsTM correctly in place.

When testing or charging, how do I identify if it is an AGM or Gel Cell battery?

This is a tricky question and one that we get very often. Technicians have cited examples to us of batteries with no markings or insufficient markings that make it extremely difficult to identify battery construction. More recently, battery manufacturers have done a better job of clearly labeling batteries to avoid this issue. In cases where the battery’s construction is in doubt, we recommend reviewing the manufacturer’s specifications (what type of battery was originally installed in the vehicle?).

How long will it take to charge my battery using Model ____ battery charger?

There are many factors that will impact the answer to this question, but here are few things to consider. First, what is the battery capacity in Amp Hours or Reserve Minutes? Second, how discharged do you expect your battery to be when it’s time to charge?

If your battery is rated in Amp Hours, these calculations are relatively easy. Simply take the Amp Hour rating of the battery times the expected battery % of charge when you expect to need to charge it divided by the charge rate of the charger. So, a 60 Amp Hour battery at 70% State of Charge needs to gain back 30% of its charge, or 18 Amp Hours (60*.3). If the charger you were considering had a 10 Amp charge rate, it would take approximately 2 hours (18/10) to return it to full charge. If the charger model had a 20 Amp charge rate, the time to charge would be about half as much, or 1 hour.

If your battery is rated in Reserve Minutes, as is the case with most starting batteries, you need to convert to Amp Hours. There are a variety of opinions regarding the best way to make this conversion, but we use the following formula:  (RM/2) +15.5 = Amp Hours. So, for a battery rated at 80 Reserve Minutes, the calculation is:  (80/2) +15.5 = 55.5 Amp Hours. Then, proceed as shown in the paragraph above to determine expected charge time.

We hope that this review of common issues/question has proven helpful for you. As always, we are here to help you make the most our of our products or help you determine which of our products is right for you. Click here to submit a question via our Support Desk or call 800.328.2921 to speak to our Technical Service team.