Product Review: DieHard Compact Jump Starter & Smart Charger

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The folks at DieHard reached out to us with a proposal: test out a few of their latest products, and then arrange a giveaway that honda-tech forum members can enter to win some free gear! Sounds pretty slick, huh?

Let’s back up a bit, and first talk about what the DieHard brand is all about. Introduced in 1967 by the Sears brand, the original DieHard was revolution in automotive batteries. The case was designed in such a way that it allowed more internal storage. This meant that the battery could contain more battery acid and lead plates, offering more starting power, and greater longevity. Since then, the company has grown to be the preeminent battery supplier in the industry.

So, here is what the team at DieHard to sent to us:

honda-tech.com product review DieHard compact jump starter battery charger maintainer

On the left is the DieHard Smart Charger tool, and on the right is a compact portable jump starter. Both of these tools have some useful features and nods to the 21st century car owner.

Let’s start with the Smart Charger.

It’s pretty on the nose as to what this tool does: it charges and maintains battery voltage. It’s “smart” in more ways than one. First off, it automatically detects what kind of battery it’s hooked up to, so as not to cause any damage to the battery. It can also automatically flip from charging to maintaining the battery, from there it has a “floating” mode so that it can maintain the optimum amount of battery charge.

The other “smart” feature is actually pretty slick. If you look at the unit, you will see a familiar blue pictograph: the charger is WiFi capable. DieHard has a handy little app that you can download, and then monitor your car’s charging system remotely. This is a nod to people who may be storing their car over the winter and don’t want to brave the cold to check in on their ride. I played with the app for a few minutes and found it intuitive to use.

The second tool is one that everyone should have.

While the charger and maintainer is handy for someone with an older vehicle, or someone who is storing their car, this compact jump starter is a lifesaver for all motorists. This compact jump starter is exactly what it sounds like: this little battery pack (approximately  6″x 3″x 1″) has enough juice to jump start your car. Included in the package is a compact pair of jumper cables, and an adapter to plug into the battery back. This means you no longer need another car to rescue you if your battery goes flat. It has enough juice to supposedly jump over 20 cars in a row off a full charge. After one use, it went from 100% power remaining to 96% on my own personal test, so I have no reason to doubt their claims. The battery pack is especially slick, because it also has two USB ports to charge your phone or other devices. It’s a no-brainer to stash this in the glovebox for emergency use.

Funnily enough, I wish I had this exact tool a few days prior to this. I was at a track event, and I was using my FA5 Civic Si as a support car. So, all day, I was in and out of the car, using it to charge my camera batteries, phone and anything that my friends needed charged.. At the end of the day, the inevitable happened and the battery had gone flat. As it was the end of the event, people had already begun to pack up and leave. I had to flag passersby down and ask if they had jumper cables. Fortunately, I found someone with cables. If I hadn’t, it would have been a long day, indeed.

If I had this battery pack in my car, I would have been covered two-fold. It could have charged my electronic devices in the first place, instead of relying on my car’s 12v socket. And then, even if my battery had gone flat for some reason, this jumper tool could have saved my butt, hassle-free.

Written testimony is one thing, how does it work in the real world?

Here is a video I shot that shows me un-boxing both of these tools live-time. The goal was to see how easily I could figure them out and make them work. Both tools were incredibly intuitive, and that’s coming from a guy who thinks electricity is magic. I’m a dummy, if I can have these tools un-boxed and working in minutes, so can you.

Many thanks to DieHard for sending these two useful tools our way. To our readers, stay tuned for details on the product giveaway. Both of these tools are invaluable, and will make our giveaway winners very happy, indeed.

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