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I have a Civic which I don't drive often and mostly sits in my building's underground parking.

The battery has again discharged on me. While I have jumper cables and know how to use them, I have to sit around until someone walks by and is willing to help me out.

To be able to fix this, and future cases, on my own, I was looking at LiOn battery jump starters, like say a GOOLOO 800A or NOCO Genius GB40. They seem like just the solution, but, for pretty much all brands and models, not just these two, no matter how high the average rating, there is always a very sizable set of 1 Star reviews which basically say some variation of:

It worked fine at first but now it won't charge anymore and is useless.

These devices start at $80 and go up from there. Is there a systemic problem with them, where they just are not fit for purpose and are just a bad idea? I am worried that the high reviews are from people who only used them once or even never used them. It doesn't help my trust either that some have gimmicks attached like pumps to inflate air mattresses.

My use case is not prioritized to a device that needs to hold a charge for a long time and that I can keep in the trunk to boost the battery. It is important however that the capacity to get charged, then boost the car right after, lasts for 2-5 years at least.

Is this category of battery boosters just useless in general and should I instead look for a device where I unhook the battery, bring it up to my apartment and recharge it using some mains-to-battery charger? What are those called?

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"What are those called?"

You are thinking of a battery tender. You can typically find them for under $50 (€46). They are sometimes refereed to as trickle chargers.

I have never used either devices, but I think that in your case, the battery tender would be the better solution.

A battery tender helps maintain the charge on your battery over a long period of time. They are most often used to maintain motorcycle batteries during winter months, because motorcycle batteries tend to discharge quicker than car batteries.

If your parking garage has electrical outlets, you wouldn't even need to bring the battery into your house. You could park near one of the electrical outlets, connect the battery tender to your car battery, leave the device under your hood (so no one steals it), and run an extension cord to the electrical outlet.

Note: Most car batteries should be able to last a couple months without going bad. The fact that your battery is dying after a couple weeks may be a sign that it is beginning to go bad. Most mechanics or auto part stores will probably test the condition of your battery for free. Just something to keep in mind.

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  • I am also aware of the trickle charger category. Are they just used to keep batteries charged over long periods of time or can they be used to relatively quickly (say 2-3 hours) recharge a discharged battery? BTW, I think I might have left the line on the last time, not entirely sure. It is nearing the 5 yr mark for this particular battery so you may well be right that it is getting old. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Feb 23 at 21:21
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica It would probably depend on the device, but I don't think they are typically used to re-charge a battery in 2-3 hours. – Sam Feb 23 at 21:27
  • a trickle charger can stay connected for a long time and it will keep the battery charged they are not used to charge an empty battery,do you have a power outlet where you park.@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica – trond hansen Feb 23 at 21:29
  • @trondhansen It's a common area, so no, can't leave electronics out just nearby. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Feb 23 at 21:43
  • There are plenty of smart chargers that will charge a battery fairly rapidly, at 8-10A, then switch to a trickle mode for maintaining charge level. The little "Battery Tender" style trickle chargers only put out 100mA or so, they will bring a discharged battery up over a couple of days, but aren't intended for charging, just maintaining an already charged battery. – Phil G Feb 24 at 17:39
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A capacitor jump starter is the new standard in boosters. They have no internal battery to maintain and use the remaining charge in your battery to charge up and start your engine. They can also be charged from a mains plug.

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  • The energy density of ultracapacitors is still tiny compared to Li or lead-acid batteries. Their only advantage is that they have a far lower internal resistance than the depleted battery that you can charge them from, so you get a higher starting current, but only for a moment. – Phil G Feb 24 at 17:29
  • They are also some of the most expensive types, by far, and, at least on one youtube I watched, the only capacitor booster tested was by far the worst performer out of the 7-8 others. Sorry, I am looking for information beyond what's in written up on the tech feature sheet, most particularly durability and effectiveness. Also, the top model on Google searches in Canada leads to Amazon.ca, with a page for a discontinued model, hardly a good sign. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Feb 25 at 18:35
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When you have no option to keep your car battery topped up during storage.

Your best option is to bring the car battery inside yor house to charge it there,You will need to charge the battery about once every month but this is if your battery is good.

If your battery have started to go bad it is best to put on a trickle charger and have this connected the whole time while the battery is in storage.

A battery that is discharged will go bad in a short time.

The second best option is to get a start booster and to keep this charged at all times so it is ready for use.

The pro with start boosters are they are light so you can easily bring it with you for use or to charge it,and they will last for many years if you keep them charged.

To compare the different types you can take a look here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN8A2nIMUWA the person making this video is not sponsored by the manufacturers so i think it is his real experiences of the products.

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