Product review: Stanley 500 amp jump starter auto product reviews
Stanley J5C09CA Jump Starter. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

For many Canadians, the arrival of February brings thoughts of spring, even if in most parts of the country those thoughts are fancifully premature. Nonetheless, retailers are busy moving out winter gear, as store aisles become populated with garden tools and fertilizer.

In other words, deals may be had.

For instance, the Stanley 500-amp jump starter with compressor that I bought in November, 2011 (model J5C09CA), is now reduced in some stores by 25 per cent. The resulting $59.98 is a great price for such a versatile unit that may still have utility this winter, and will come in handy throughout the year.

The main purpose of a jump starter is to start a vehicle with a dead (or insufficiently charged) battery. You won’t need to use cables to connect one vehicle to another with a jump starter like this.

At 500 amps, the J5C09CA is mid-pack among jump starters; there are lots with less power, and several with more. But a fully charged 500-amp unit will get most stranded vehicles started, including motorcycles, cars and small trucks, as long as all other systems are functional.

Connecting the J5C09CA is straightforward, but if the clamps are connected improperly, the unit will sound an alarm so you can reverse the cables before switching it on.

It’s also fairly easy to move around; well-balanced with a rubberized grip on top, and compact enough to store inconspicuously.

Product review: Stanley 500 amp jump starter auto product reviews
Stanley J5C09CA Jump Starter. Click image to enlarge

However, the Stanley J5C09CA is a multi-tasker, which is why this model is particularly useful. It also features a 120-PSI compressor that will inflate all vehicle tires, trailer tires and recreation items (soccer balls, basketballs, etc), the hose for which fits into a pocket at the rear. A built-in air pressure gauge is also supplied.

This jump starter also functions as a 12-volt power supply for accessories equipped with a male outlet plug that are rated under five amps, and a USB charging port for your cell phone or laptop computer is also a handy feature. There is no 110-volt (household) outlet, however, which some similar units supply.

Although the Stanley J5C09CA is delivered in a partially charged state, you must fully charge it before using for the first time (24 hours is required, according to page six of the instruction manual, but 40 hours are suggested on page four. It should be recharged every 30 days for optimum performance). To charge, you plug a standard extension cord into the built-in charger and use normal household current. According to the manual, the unit cannot be overcharged using this method, and the absence of a separate external AC adapter is actually a good thing, as these adapters often get lost and can easily be damaged.

This jump starter can also be charged using 12-volts DC with a supplied adapter, enabling you to charge the J5C09CA from a 12-volt powerpoint in your vehicle. You simply plug one end into the 12V powerpoint, and the other into the J5C09CA’s 12V DC receptacle, charging for a maximum of six hours.

In addition to charging, starting and inflating, this Stanley device also features an attached LED trouble or “emergency” light that pivots 270 degrees, and a set of adapter nozzles for the compressor hose if you’re not using it on a tire.

I used this jump starter twice this winter (my son left the dome light on in his car, and it slowly depleted the battery; and once to help out a neighbour), but it’s a useful household device for the full year, and is easy to use and maintain.

The Stanley J5C09CA is warranteed for one year. It’s available in major automotive retailers and department stores such as Wal Mart and Canadian Tire.

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