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by Ed Evans, 21st November 2016

Flat batteries cause inconvenience and delay. But not if you have an instant starter to hand. Ed Evans tests

We’ve all been there, on a cold winter morning when the frost was the last straw for an ageing battery. Turn the key, hear a click or a tired groan from the starter motor, and it’s a case of calling the garage or hooking up the battery charger and drinking tea for the next hour. But an almost pocket-sized jump starter will have a Land Rover running again instantly. I tried the Lithium 300A Compact Jump Starter from Ring Automotive on my Td5 110 Defender. But first, I fitted a battery that I knew was shot, fully discharged, so that when I turned the Defender’s key there was no click, no ignition lamps, nothing.

I connected the jump starter leads to the Defender’s battery cable terminals, switched the device on, turned the Defender’s key and the Td5 fired up instantly. I then drove a few miles to my workshop where I knew my 300Tdi Discovery was immobilised by a depleted battery, switched the Defender off, hooked up the jump starter to the Discovery, and away she went on the first turn of the key. The Defender’s battery was still dead, but the jump starter had enough juice to re-start the Td5 again. That’s three 2.5-litre diesels fired up on just one charge of the jump starter’s internal lithium battery. The makers claim it will start three 3.0-litre petrol engines, so it’s done even better, given the diesels’ higher compression. For a nudge under £130, the jump starter is worth keeping in the garage at home, or in the vehicle. It will certainly get you to work on time or away on a driving trip, and you can take the starter pack with you for another jump in case the vehicle charging system doesn’t fully charge the battery en route. Recharging the Jump Starter’s own lithium phosphate power pack is said to take six hours using the mains charger supplied. But that’s a full charge.

Our test unit was fully recharged in 30 minutes after those three engine starts. There’s also a DC charging lead supplied so the unit can be kept topped up from a vehicle’s 12-volt outlet. The jump starter also has a USB connection for charging handheld electronic devices, plus a torch light to enable confusion-free jump starts in the dark. My only criticisms are that the polarity symbols on the case for connecting the leads are difficult to see (though a warning lamp will let you know if the unit is connected incorrectly), and longer leads would allow more freedom to position the unit when connected to the battery, though they are long enough.

^ The jump leads are well insulated and have good clamping force to produce a good connection.

^ The starter, leads, accessories and instruction manual all pack away into a handy carry bag.

Product details: Compact Jump Starter Lithium 300A Ring Automotive Ltd Model number RPP950 www.ringautomotive.com

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