Battery-free jump start with SuperCap capacitors

Maintenance-free, batteryless boosters for the car battery

The topic of jump-start assistance for cars and motorcycles has been on my mind for some time now and I keep coming across new aspects. The trigger was my own positive experience, which I wrote in my article "Jump start power bank in the test - it really works!"The many readers impressions that the article has, show me that there is a certain amount of interest in these products.

For this reason, I would like to present another category of jump starter devices that I only discovered yesterday when I was reading an interview from a manufacturer: jump start devices without a battery.

Battery-free jump start devices such as the MSB300A work with UltraCaps and can be charged in a few minutes with the residual voltage of the weak car battery (Photo: Amazon).

Battery-free jump start devices like the MSB300A work with UltraCaps and can be charged in a few minutes with the residual voltage of the weak car battery (Photo: Amazon).

Difference between jump start power banks and battery-free jump starters

While the jump-start power banks, one of which I use, are equipped with their own energy source (mostly lithium-ion cells) and therefore rely on regular charging, the battery-free jump start devices are powered by the residual voltage of the motorcycle or car battery .

It is sufficient if the car battery has a minimal residual voltage, because the UltraCap capacitors (also supercapacitors or ultracapacitors) collect the current even at a very low voltage level and then transfer it to the starter during the starting process.

Usual electrolytic capacitors do not have enough capacity for technical applications such as battery-free jump starters (Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol / Pixabay).

Usual electrolytic capacitors do not have enough capacity for technical applications such as battery-free jump starters (Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol / Pixabay).

Advantages and disadvantages of self-powered devices

[-] No start without residual voltage

The advantage of this technology is that you don't have to be careful to keep the jump starter in a charged state. A disadvantage is that with batteries without residual voltage you have no chance of starting the vehicle. However, since high-quality devices can be charged with a 5-volt USB power bank, the case that you are completely without electricity is relatively low.

[-] More weight with less power

Another disadvantage of the maintenance-free starting aids with capacitors is the poorer ratio between weight and maximum current. Even the devices with 300 A weigh well over a kilo. For motorcyclists on long journeys, devices with rechargeable batteries are the better choice. In this context I would go to the minimalist one Dino power pack 12V-400A guess that weighs just 800 grams and offers 400 A peak current.

The Westfalia MSB300A can also handle vans if the displacement is not too large (Photo: Amazon).

It can also handle transporters MSB300A from Westfalia, if the displacement is not too big (Photo: Amazon).

[-] Not for vehicles with large cubic capacity

This jump start technology is also not suitable for every cubic capacity. The product descriptions usually state that gasoline engines with a maximum displacement of 3 liters and diesel engines with a maximum displacement of 2 liters are supported.

Since it is not difficult for me to supply a jump start power bank with power every few months (you can even do this via the cigarette lighter socket if you are on a long car journey), I prefer this device category. My VW bus has a displacement of 2,5 liters (diesel) anyway and is therefore over the displacement limit.

[+] Longer durability and more starts

Since the capacitors can withstand significantly more charging cycles than a Li-Io battery, the durability and thus the number of possible start attempts is many times higher. The advantage has to be put into perspective, however, because if you are not working at the ADAC and helping 10 cars a day, a battery-powered device should last for many years.

In the WIkipedia diegram, you can see that the ultracap capacitors have a very high power density, while they score less in terms of energy density. This means that although they cannot store as much energy as a battery of the same weight, they can absorb and, above all, release an enormous amount of energy in a short time. And that is what is important when starting a diesel or gasoline engine (source: Wikimedia).

In the Wikipedia diagram you can see that the UltraCap capacitors have a very high power density, while they score less in terms of energy density. This means that although they cannot store as much energy as a battery of the same weight, they can absorb and, above all, release an enormous amount of energy in a short time. And that is what matters when starting a diesel or gasoline engine (source: Wikimedia).

Recommended models of jump starters without a battery

If you have decided to buy one of the devices without a battery, then I would like to spare you the research on Amazon and present the best starting aids with ultracapacitors here.

1. Recommendation: Westfalia Mobile Ultracap MSB300A

The maintenance-free starting aid MSB300A from Westfalia can be charged via the residual voltage of the car or motorcycle battery as well as via a 5-volt output from a USB power supply unit or a normal power bank. With the included adapter for the cigarette lighter you can even get a charge from another car. The peak current is 300 amperes, which makes the Ultracap jump starter without a battery suitable for gasoline engines up to 3 liters and diesel engines up to 2 liters. The jump starter also has a glow plug button - especially for diesel engines.

Mobile jump starter box Jump Starter ULTRACAP MSB300A car battery
  • You can rely 100% on this mobile start-up aid - even in an emergency - because you do not need any outside help ...
  • The jump start box is suitable for gasoline engines up to 3 liters and diesel engines up to 2 liters
  • State-of-the-art ultracapacitors in the mobile jump-start box store the energy and are immediately charged from the remaining energy ...

2. Recommendation: GYS Startronic 800

The battery booster from GYS called Startronic 800 advertises a peak current of 800 amps. The product description also states that the jump starter can be used to start ALL cars that are equipped with a 12 volt battery - regardless of whether it is diesel or petrol. I think this is a bold statement, but the device has been rated well by customers because it fulfills its purpose. The GYS Startronic can be charged either via the battery terminals, the cigarette lighter or via a micro-USB port.

GYS 026735 Booster without battery STARTRONIC 800
  • Protective functions: - Short-circuit protection - Reverse polarity protection - Protection against deeply discharged batteries
  • Battery-free technology. - ready for use after years without use. - Ready for use in extreme temperatures ...
  • 3 options for pre-charging: - with a 12V replacement battery in 2 minutes - via the cigarette lighter socket (12V / 10A) in 3 ...

3. Recommendation: M + S Booster 400A

The jump start M + S booster offers a maximum current of 400 amperes and should therefore be at least as powerful as the Westfalia device. I still put it in third place because some customers had complaints and one of them even reported that M + S jumpstart smoked when connecting to the car batteries. This can only happen with a defective device that can then be exchanged.

The positive 5-star ratings and the fact that there are no other recommendable capacitor jump start devices made me name the M + S Booster here despite the problem reports.

M + S battery-free jump starter 400A, battery booster with ultra capacitors for over 10.000 ...
  • THE CAR DOESN'T START, IT DOESN'T WORK: The mains-independent jump starter is your helper in an emergency when the car ...
  • POWERFUL & UNIVERSAL: The vehicle jump starter for cars, motorcycles, quads, vans and skid steer loaders is a ...
  • BATTERY-FREE AUTOSTART: The instant jump starter with super capacitors uses the remaining voltage when empty ...

I couldn't find any other devices that were rated outstandingly good. If someone has a tip that I have overlooked or overlooked, they are welcome to send it to me using the comment function.

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

8 comments

  1. Werner says:

    In the report of a user of the M + S device who smoked, you should clarify whether he has switched the poles. Then too strong short-circuit currents arise.
    AND: Attention: If the user has a BMW, it is easy to mix up the poles, since BMW is the only manufacturer to use the red cable for the negative pole, not for the positive pole, as is common in electrical engineering!

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Werner! Really now? BMW makes the cable to the negative pole red ??? And we will soon make the earthing in the house black and and and ... not good if everyone brings their own design ideas and implements them. :(

      • Jürgen says:

        Hi all,

        I don't know which BMW Werner is writing about, but all (older) BMWs that I have driven or still drive (E24, E36, E39, E38) all had a red cable for the positive pole of the battery.
        For the German version of the vehicles, the statement is incorrect, at least across the board.

        Regards
        Jürgen

      • Bernd Seegers says:

        The instructions for my old EUFAB Power Pack from 2006 already indicate that you should pay attention to the polarity of your vehicle, as there are both (a) "negatively grounded" and (b) "positively grounded" systems. The color coding of the battery poles is not interchanged, they are just wired differently.
        Accordingly, on the one hand (a) the black negative pole of the battery and in the other case (b) the red positive pole is connected to the vehicle chassis.

        • Jens Kleinholz says:

          Ah understand! But then the black cable would still have to be connected to the minus and the red cable to the plus.

  2. Jürgen says:

    Hi all,

    the reference to the polarity is certainly justified, the chance of calling such a vehicle your own is probably rather slim, but not impossible ;-).
    According to my research, only "very old" English or American vehicles had the positive pole connected to the chassis (20s-60s). Everything that I have moved or seen on Italian, French or German vehicles so far (back to the 60s) has connected the ground pole to the chassis.
    I do not know whether cable colors were already subject to standardization (e.g. DIN72551) at this time.

    Regards
    Jürgen

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Jurgen! Thanks to you for the details. I think it definitely makes sense to have a look how it's wired in your own car. Before you do a short one, which then leads to a cable fire or something.

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