Its something that has happened to all of us no matter how careful we are. Simply leaving the lights on when you park your car is enough to make the charge drain completely from the battery, and leave it unable to start when you come back to it. Whether you have left your car on the driveway or in the supermarket car park, a dead battery means the same youre going nowhere. Thankfully, most people are sensible enough to have a set jumper cables or a jump starter in their car at all times, and this means that under circumstances where your battery is flat you can always get a charge to get the motor running from another motorist.
In the most simple of applications, a jump starter works by attaching a back up battery onto the electric starter of your car, and using the charge from the jump starter to get the initial spark into your engine to allow it to start when your battery is completely discharged.
In the past, many people relied on a simpler method of using a pair of wires with a crocodile clip at either end and attaching them to the battery of another car, but in the modern world, when you cannot rely on being able to find someone to help you, and even then, cannot guarantee that the power supply on their engine is compatible with yours, you really need a dedicated jump starter on hand to guarantee that you can get your motor running in an emergency. As a result, you typically need to spend a little more than previously on jump starters, but at least the latest models add some functionality, and are robust enough to last for years.
You can get a basic jump starter from as little as $70 from Red Hill Supply, and have a device that you can rely on in an emergency to give you a boost from another car in order to get yours started. Even basic jump starters include a few extra features, and for less than $80 you can get your hands on a convenient mini jump starter that also incorporates a flashlight and will boost a charge into a 12 volt battery system and get you back on the road.
By investing a little more in a jump starter, you can get plenty of added value in the form of extended functions. For a little more than $240 you can get yourself a jump starter that will give a charge to a 12-volt system. The 12-V Jump and Carry has a 2000 Amp peak flow of charge, and can also double as a trickle charger to top up your battery overnight. The Jump n Carry attaches directly onto the battery of your car, and includes a monitor dial to let you know how much of your charge you have.
More advanced models such as the K&K Jumpstart offer the flexibility of providing a charge to either a 12 or 24 volt system, so you only need one unit for two separate cars. They have the power to get the car started in an emergency, whatever your engine.
At the top end of the range of jump starters, there are advanced trolley mounted systems that are designed to provide a heavy duty and reliable power supply for the work shop. Such models will generally offer enough charge to get up to 50 or more cars started on a single charge, as well as providing an almost unlimited charging capability when connected to a mains supply.