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Jump Start Boxes

Mod Details
PremiumNo Difficulty Mod ID1654 For450 Fortwo451 Fortwo452 Roadster453 Fortwo/Forfour454 Forfour Link Copy to Clipboard

Jumper Cables

In the good old days when everything was black and white, your only option for jump starting your car was a long set of unwieldily cables and a willing participant who owns a functioning car who was either there or willing to travel to you.

That’s all well and good if you have all of those things but people rarely do. The other issue is the location of the battery in the fortwo 450 and 451. The battery is awkward to get to at the best of times but pulling the rescue car up close enough is tricky AF due to the standard location of “normal” car batteries in relation to the smart. Normally the battery under the bonnet of the rescue car is over on the nearside but if you pull that side up to a RHD smart, you can’t open the door.

In other words, it’s a logistical ball-ache. The good thing about jumper cables is that they are cheap.

SLA Boost Box

In the 1970’s, some boffin realised that it was possible to just put a sealed lead acid battery in a box with short jumper cables. Basically it’s just a small car battery in a plastic shell. Fairly heavy, bulky and not exactly cheap but a damn sight easier to use than juggling a rescue car into position.

These units began to evolve as lead acid battery technology got better. These units started adding features such as a torch, air compressor and safety features like reverse polarity detection etc. Because of the battery, they needed to be charged regularly which really only made them ideal to be stored at home.

The upside to these is that the car would start immediately as it’s just like jump starting from a different car. The other bonus is there are no battery voltage fluctuations like you’d get from another car, especially if their alternator was failing and letting AC current through.

Lithium Boost Boxes

In 1980, John Goodenough (yes, seriously) began perfecting the lithium ion battery. By the 1990’s, they had become so popular that they were powering the first generation of slim-line laptops. It was about 20 years later, people realised the potential of these batteries and the 1st lithium-ion powered booster boxes appeared. Like most things, they started off expensive but came down in price as technology advanced and the Chinese companies did their copying.

They have a lot of upsides. They are cheap, small, light, easy to use and easy to charge. The main issues can be quality of construction, quality of the batteries (Chinese companies are liars when it comes to battery capacities) and the fact that you have to connect this to the battery, turn it on and wait for a specified amount of time before trying to start the car. They are usually charged over USB and depending on the model, you should get at least 4 starts before it’s dead.

Currently, the Hilka version has a lot of positive reviews.

Ultra Capacitor Boost Boxes

In 1992, Maxwell Labs created the 1st ultra capacitor. They were expensive then and they aren’t exactly cheap now but these units use a clever method of providing power to start the car. To start a car, it needs a massive surge of power. Amperage is more important than voltage which is perfect for ultra capacitors since they can discharge all of their power in a split second. The problem is that capacitors don’t hold power for very long. If you charged an ultra capacitor up, it would be flat in about 20 minutes so obviously no good for carrying around in the car with you.

These units connect to your flat battery and charge the ultra capacitors in parallel (separately). This means your battery only needs to have 5 volts to charge them all up in less than 5 minutes. When you are ready to start the car, the capacitors connect in series (connected in a line) to multiply the voltage to 15 volts. The more expensive units will charge several ultra capacitors in parallel and then reconnect them in series and parallel which boosts both voltage and amperage. Perfect for large capacity engines.

Hybrid Boost Boxes

These are quite rare. They are a a combination of batteries and capacitors. The battery holds the main charge and it’s used to keep the capacitors charged and ready for use. I made my own using a lithium phosphate battery used in radio controlled cars and Maxwell ultra capacitors. I made a custom printed circuit board and created a small block with the capacitors on 1 side and the battery on the other.