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Outside of getting stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, attempting to start your car somewhere far from home and having a dead battery might be the next worse feeling. Couple that with freezing temperatures, it’s a recipe for a not-so-fun several hours waiting in a cold car.

While the larger, heavy and bulky battery “jump packs” have been around for some time, the Lithium-Ion pocket sized booster packs are relatively new, and they are quickly taking this field by storm. Coming in at less than a pound and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the first thing many people ask when looking at one is “How in the heck can that thing start my car?”

How Do Lithium Ion Jump Starters Work?

The short answer is – science. Lithium Ion batteries are light weight, compact, and they have the ability to pack a serious, long lasting charge, which makes them ideal for a battery jump pack that’s small in size and very convenient.

One such unit is the Duralast DL-800L, which packs 800 cranking amps into its small size, and a very ideal price-point at just over $100.00. The unit comes with the charging unit, which is encased in rubber for durability, has an illuminated LED screen that shows your charge percent, an attachable set of clamps, and carrying bag – which makes it very easy to stow away in a glove box, console, or inside the garage or home.

Using the DL-800L is simple. Once charged, simply plug in the cable assembly and turn the unit on with a switch on the side. The cables provide protection against reverse polarity, short circuit, and reverse charging. Once hooked up, you will then quickly see the blue LED screen illuminate and show you the available charge. Hook your clamps up properly to the battery or charging posts, the unit will auto-sense it’s hooked up, and will now be available to offer a boost. Crank your car as normal and disconnect the unit once the car is started. It’s that easy.

Testing the DL-800L

The positive cable of the C10 was disconnected, rendering the DL-800L as the only source of battery power for starting the vehicle. 

To test the DL-800L on our own, we wanted to run the booster through it’s paces in a worst-case environment. We used an old, but trusty 1985 Chevy C10 “squarebody” classic that had been through more than its share of miles and replacement parts over the years. To take it one step worse, we completely disconnected the positive lead of the battery (which had been converted to top post battery by its previous owner, for those closely paying attention!) in an attempt to see whether the DL-800L could start the truck on it’s own, with no additional battery help – and do it several times.

Once hooked up, to our amazement, the truck fired up with the first bump of the key better and faster than the old, tired battery had done. We then tried it a second time. A third time. A fourth. A fifth. All the way up to 6 times. Each time, a quick bump of the key and the truck was started. A quick look at the battery charge after 6 times? 98%. To say that the Dl-800L is solid battery insurance is an understatement.

The unit can be used around the home and garage for starting stubborn lawn equipment or powersports toys. It’s perfect for stowing it in the boat for emergency start-up if you’re out on the lake, or for extra insurance on camping and overland trips far away from home when you accidentally leave your stereo on in the truck all evening (been there, done that). The DL800L is perfect for stashing in the car as an emergency pack during winter, and saving yourself from very bad dead battery situations.

What’s even better is the DL800L is loaded with other great features – it contains a 2.4A USB port for fast charging of cell phones, tablets, and other small accessories. The unit also has a 3-mode LED light, which is perfect for those times you really need it. The best part of all though, is the size of the unit. Coming in at just 1 pound and the size of your hand, the unit is small, durable, and easy to stow, unlike the larger, clunkier jump packs of old. It’s a perfect addition for anything using a 12 volt battery for emergencies. No matter what kind of accessories you need, you can find them at AutoZone.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on AutoZone.com and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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