Review: NOCO Genius Boost GB70 Portable Jump Starter
+ Jump Starter FAQs
We’ve been travelling full-time for a while now. And some places we get to are really remote. We might not see anyone for days.
So you’d think a portable jump starter would be an essential item, right?
Wrong. For reasons unknown, I delayed the purchase. Luckily, we haven’t needed a jump start. Although, we’ve encountered others who have. Unfortunately we couldn’t help them.
- + Jump Starter FAQs
- What’s in The Package?
- Why a 12V Portable Jump Starter for a 24V Truck?
- Charging the NOCO Genius
- A Charger for Devices
- LED Flashlight
- Portable Jump Starter
- In Summary
- FAQs – Common Questions About Portable Jump Starters
- How do portable jump starters work?
- How is a portable jump starter charged?
- What’s the best car battery jump starter?
- What size portable jump starter do I need?
- Should you always keep jumper cables in your car?
- Do those portable jump starter battery packs really work?
- What’s the difference between a portable car battery charger and a portable car battery jump starter?
We can now. We’ve just bought a portable jump starter (2 actually)… a NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 to be precise.
So what did we get?
What’s in The Package?
It all comes in a neat box. You’ll get:
- The GB70 charger unit. The battery clamps are permanently wired to the unit.
- A USB to micro-USB charging cable for charging the unit from a standard 2.1A USB outlet.
- A cable and adaptor plug, which can be used to charge the unit from a lighter socket or to charge devices from the unit.
- A built-in LED flashlight that has a flashing emergency mode.
The GB70 is a big beast. It’s designed to start up to 8 litre petrol and 6 litre diesel engines. With a peak current draw of 2,000A this monster should start anything we encounter pretty easily. At over 200mm long, 150mm wide and 65mm high and about 2.5kg, it’s a big unit.
And the battery clamps have jaws a saltwater crocodile would be proud to call their own.
It’s for 12V lead-acid batteries only and despite its size, can be used to start vehicles with much smaller batteries. After all, the vehicle will only draw what current it needs.
Why a 12V Portable Jump Starter for a 24V Truck?
This might seem illogical at first. However, we wanted something we could use on any vehicle.
After talking with a couple of blokes from Isuzu, they assured me they regularly use these 12V units to start 24V trucks. You see, two things are most likely to happen.
The most likely is a cell will break down in one of our 2 starter batteries… especially since they spend most of their lives being pounded to death over corrugations and rough roads.
In this case, we’ll connect the NOCO Genius to the dead battery.
The other scenario? When someone approaches us with that slightly embarrassed hangdog look, asking if we have a portable jump starter. Now we can help them.
This has happened plenty of times, including being flagged down by a serial killer on an outback Western Australian road… okay, you need to watch the video!
And of course, there’s always a chance we’ll accidentally drain both batteries. In this case, we actually have a second Noco Genius GB70 for our 24V system.
You can buy a 24V-rated Noco Genius, but it’s massively over-rated for what we need… and it costs a fortune. Plus two 12V jump starters are more versatile as well.
Charging the NOCO Genius
The NOCO Genius has a lithium battery. This can be charged in two ways. The first is to use the supplied USB to micro USB cable and plug it into any 2.1A USB outlet.
Our unit was about 50% charged out of the box. We charged it using a 2.1A USB socket in our cab. It took a couple of hours to fully charge via the USB cable.
At first, the micro-USB charging input looks ridiculously tiny when compared to the size of the portable battery charger. We were sceptical whether it would charge, but it does the job perfectly fine.
The second is to use the supplied cable to plug into a lighter socket. We haven’t tried this, but have no reason to suspect it wouldn’t work.
Strangely, there’s no option to charge the unit from 240VAC. I assume NOCO have decided nearly every vehicle has a 12V lighter socket (our truck only has a 24V socket) and/or a 2.1A USB outlet in their vehicle.
If you keep it in your garage or workshop, simply use a USB to 240VAC adapter plug.
A Charger for Devices
The NOCO can also be used as a charger for your devices. You can plug in a USB cable to charge any of the zillion electronic devices we all carry now.
Or use the supplied cable with its clever reversible plugs. Connect the supplied lighter socket to the cable and plug in any device with a male lighter plug. Clever!
On one end is a 400 lumen LED flashlight, which could double as a lightbar. Only joking, though it’s super-bright on the highest setting. There’s 3 modes of varying brilliance, 2 emergency flashing modes and one strobe mode.
The flashlight could be useful if you’re trying to jumpstart a vehicle in the dark. However, the unit isn’t exactly small and lightweight. So you wouldn’t use this as your go-to flashlight around the campsite.
Portable Jump Starter
Clearly the NOCO Genius is a battery jump starter, this is its primary role. And it works, every time. We used it to start a petrol car over a dozen times in one week, yet the charge hardly dropped.
It’s so simple to use… connect the clamps to the battery terminals, press the On button and start the vehicle.
There’s also a manual override button you can use to charge a completely dead battery. The User Manual explains how to use this mode. This is a “get out of jail” mode and should be used with caution. Nonetheless, the function is available if you’re really stuck.
If nothing else, we now have peace of mind when travelling remotely. There’s nothing worse than turning the key and nothing happens, especially when you’re a long way from help.
With the NOCO Genius Boost we can get ourselves out of trouble, and help the occasional stranded driver (or serial killer!) as well. A worthwhile investment.
FAQs – Common Questions About Portable Jump Starters
How do portable jump starters work?
Portable jump starters come with their own internal battery. They’re designed to provide a high current for a short amount of time, just like your car’s starting battery.
You simply connect the two clamps to the battery terminals, red to positive and black to negative. Press the On button on the jump starter, then start your vehicle.
Once the car starts, switch the portable jump starter off, disconnect the (red) positive clamp then disconnect the (black) negative clamp.
Note, they won’t charge your battery. They are designed only to provide the high current a car needs for starting.
- How do I use a portable jump starter?
- How do I jump start a car without cables?
How is a portable jump starter charged?
The jump starter’s internal battery needs to be kept charged, so it’s ready for use. They’re charged using a mains (240VAC) plug or a USB plug, depending on the model.
How long does a portable jump starter stay charged before you have to charge it again?
A high quality portable jump starter will maintain its charge indefinitely. As a guide, if you haven’t used it for 6 months then check the charge level.
To give you an idea, the NOCO range will only lose 1 – 2% of its battery power per month if it’s not used. Look for a similar specification when buying.
What’s the best car battery jump starter?
The best portable jump starter is one that’s large enough to start your car! ☺️ See below for more details on how to size a jump starter. Generally, the more you pay the higher the quality.
Features to look for:
- Spark-proof. This is important, as lead-acid batteries (used in most vehicles) can give off explosive gases.
- Reverse polarity protection. This means if you connect the clamps to the wrong terminals, the jump starter will show a fault light and will not operate.
- Rechargeable from USB and 12V ports. Being rechargeable from mains power is also useful, but not necessary if it’s rechargeable from USB ports.
- Has an LED flashlight. This is priceless when you’re caught with a flat battery at night. And being LED, it won’t use much power. A flashing strobe function is also useful in an emergency. For example, if you’re broken down in a dangerous position at night, you can use this to warn other traffic.
- Has the ability to charge devices like phones from a USB outlet.
- Has a manual override feature which allows you to start batteries below 2 volts.
- Is lightweight and portable.
- What’s the best portable car battery charger?
What size portable jump starter do I need?
The best way is to look at the top of your battery and find the Cold Cranking Amps rating, or CCA. It will have “CCA xxx” somewhere on the battery’s label (xxx will be a number).
If not, have a look in the Electrical Specifications section of the vehicle’s Owners Manual or call your vehicle dealer or a battery sales outlet.
The CCA increases as the engine size increases, and diesel engines need a larger CCA rating than a petrol engine for the same engine size.
Also consider whether you might want something bigger than you need, in case you buy a larger vehicle in the future.
Once you’ve decided what CCA rating you need, choose a portable jump starter with a higher rating. This way, you can be sure it will start your car. Confusingly, the jump starter will be rated in Amps.
Say your battery’s rated at CCA 540. In this case, a portable jump starter rated at higher than 540A will be okay.
- How do you determine which portable battery jump starter to get for your car for emergencies?
- Which Noco Genius do I need?
Should you always keep jumper cables in your car?
Yes, you should always keep jumper cables or a portable jump starter in your car. Batteries have a tendency to fail at the least convenient moment… on a cold, rainy night in a deserted carpark or when you’re running late for that important meeting.
Should you buy jumper cables (also known as jumper leads) or a portable jump starter? The downside of jumper leads is you need a second vehicle to act as the starting vehicle.
Another consideration… many people are loathe to connect jumper leads to their vehicle, because jump starting has been known to damage the electronics in modern cars.
However, if you have a portable jump starter, then you’ll be self-contained. You don’t need someone to help you.
Do those portable jump starter battery packs really work?
Most definitely… if you buy a quality unit. We’ve used ours dozens of times now and it has worked faultlessly every time.
We did have a set of jumper leads, but wouldn’t even consider going back to them now. The portable jump starters are so quick and easy to use, plus they have a whole lot of safety features.
No more concerns about connecting them wrongly, accidentally causing dangerous sparks or damaging the vehicle’s delicate electronics. Plus, you get a whole lot of extra features… USB charging for your devices, a flashlight and emergency strobe, and no more messy tangles of jumper cables taking up storage space.
What’s the difference between a portable car battery charger and a portable car battery jump starter?
A car battery charger slowly restores charge to a flat battery. It uses low current to gradually charge the battery. This can take several hours.
Battery chargers runs through several charging stages, optimising the charge in the battery. When finished the battery will be fully charged (assuming the battery’s not faulty).
A portable car battery starter is simply a small charger you can easily pick up and carry with you.
A portable jump starter does not charge your flat battery. It simply provides the high level of current needed to start your car. The jump starter is designed to provide short bursts of very high current.
Note: If you want to know more about portable battery chargers, go here.
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Note: We purchased our NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starters at retail price. We have no affiliation with NOCO.