It can be oh so frustrating when your portable lithium battery jump starter stops working. You rely on your jump starter to get you out of a jam, but no one wants to shell out the money on a new one if they don’t have to.
Chances are that you can repair your portable jump starter, depending on the problem. Here’s how to fix your portable jump starter.
How Long Should a Jump Starter Last?
If it is kept dry and it hasn’t been banged around inside the trunk, the average portable jump starter should last between 6 and 10 years.
Making sure that your jump starter is stored in a dry location that doesn’t get too hot will help to extend the life of your jump starter.
You should also recharge the device every 3 months if you haven’t used it during that time.
More tips on extending the life of your jump starter at the end of this article.
How to Repair a Portable Jump Starter
Gather some basic tools, including:
- A pocketknife or small, sharp utility knife
- A basic tool kit that includes a screwdriver, pliers, and a few wrenches
- A soldering gun (you may not need this, but keep it close by in case you do)
- Electronics cleaner
Step 1- Test the Charger
If the unit won’t turn on, try charging it for a full 24 hours. If it still does not turn on, double-check the charging cable or adapter. Try another adapter or charging cable to ensure that this is not the problem. If the unit still will not turn on, move to Step 2.
Step 2- Inspect the Device
Look closely under a bright light and inspect the external housing. If you see any cracked, melted, warped, or broken pieces, the unit most likely sustained enough damage that it will not be repairable. If everything appears to be in good condition, move on to Step 3.
Step 3- Remove the Housing
Use a small bowl to store all the screws, nuts, and bolts you will have when you remove the external housing pieces.
Some units do not have external screws that you can see. You can make some shallow cuts along a seam and use a flat head screwdriver to pry the housing apart. Be careful not to cut too deeply or to pry too hard as you might break an internal part.
Step 4- Inspect the Internal Wiring
Visually look at all the internal wiring inside the unit. See if any connections are loose or corroded. Replace any wires that appear to be damaged or corroded and tighten all connections.
Step 5- Inspect the Connector Jack
In some instances, the connector jack becomes corroded, burned, or melted. If it is severely damaged, replace it.
Step 6- Replace the Battery Cells
If everything appears to be in good working order, the battery cells themselves are most likely worn out. Write down the name, model, and the serial number of the device and take the old cells to an electronics store. Most lithium battery cells are readily available. Replace them in the unit and solder them in place if required.
Step 7- Reassemble the Casing
If you had to cut the casing, you will need to glue or tape the casing to hold it in place. Otherwise, reassemble the casing and check that the unit will charge again. Most batteries will take a full 24 hours to charge completely the first time they are used.
Tips for Extending the Life of a Portable Jump Starter
- Store the jump starter in a place with moderate temps whenever possible. Between 50 degrees and 70 degrees is perfect
- Remember that jump starters have limits too. Most will call for 6 seconds of engine cranking and then letting the jump starter rest for 3-5 minutes before you try jumping the battery again.
- Keep the unit fully charged. If you don’t use it, put a reminder on your phone to charge the unit every 3 months. Lithium batteries do not have memories, so you can’t hurt it by charging it more frequently.
- Once you have successfully jump-started a battery, remove the connectors as soon as possible. Charging systems in a car use much higher voltage than what the unit is made for. Disconnecting it quickly can prevent the unit from damage.