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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, a happy Independence Day to all of you. We're having friends and family over to grill burgers on the deck and to swim in the pool, except that it's going to storm, and we'll all be squeezed inside the house instead.

Anyway.

A few days ago I took my jumper cables out of my Volt to loan to an erstwhile relative, and when he gave them back, I suddenly thought, why am I carrying these around in my Volt? Can you even jump-start a Volt? Would I even dare to try that? And although I know it's theoretically possible to jump-start another car from the Volt's 12 volt battery, I'm not sure I'd really want to do that, even though I printed out some instructions on how to do it and carry them in the envelope with the registration and proof of insurance.

So: do you carry jumper cables in your Volt, and if so, why?
 

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I carry a small li ion battery jumper. The Volt doesn’t need all the juice an ice car does to start it just needs enough 12v power to boot the computer which then taps the main battery. The Achilles’ heel of the Volt is it’s 12 v battery system. So yes I would recommend that you have some back up so that if the 12 V becomes low you can still boot the car up.

There is a connection under the hood that you can tap into to jump the car.

I haven’t had to use my jumper on the Volt but I have had to use it to help other people who were stranded.


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If the Volt's 12v battery is dead you can use the terminals under the hood. If you're jump starting a ICE car you should use the terminals in the back.
 

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Jumper cables are so you can start your car, not so you can jump some one else's (although that could be done). I carry a lithium pack (small) that is good for 20 starts of an ICE when my battery was older (now changed) but still keep it under the front seat so it's there if I need it for mine or some one else. No sense keeping it at home, it weighs nothing.
 

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The drivers manual coverage seems to explain when you jump start a Volt, the jump is intended to wake up the Volt’s electronics, after which the Volt uses the power from the high-voltage battery to charge its 12-volt battery, i.e., you’re not using the other car’s battery to crank over a starter motor. I think I’ve even read of someone jump starting their Volt using a gadget powered by only a couple of D cells - for the Volt, you don’t need the cranking power you do need for an ICE starter motor.

To be clear, the Volt’s 12-volt battery is located in the rear cargo area. If it’s your Volt that needs to be jump started, use the remote battery terminals located under the front hood. To jump start another vehicle, connect the jumper cables to the battery terminals located in the rear cargo area. Trying to jump start another vehicle by using the remote terminals under the front hood, according to the manual, could cause a fuse to overload in the Volt.

On the flip side, when the other car needs a jump, the cables are first connected to the Volt’s 12-volt battery in the rear cargo area, and then the Volt is turned on, allowing the high-voltage battery to maintain the charge in the Volt’s 12-volt battery while it is providing power to the other’s car’s starting system.

As for jump starting a Volt, locating terminals for such use under the hood does make it easier to wake up the Volt’s electronics when a dead 12-volt battery prevents you from unlatching the cargo hatch. Perhaps those under hood circuits might also serve to isolate the other car’s battery from a direct connection to the Volt’s 12-volt battery at the point in time when the Volt’s high-voltage battery has been awakened and has begun to charge its own battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate these helpful replies. Would anyone care to recommend a specific brand small lithium-ion 12v jump-starter appropriate for the Volt?
 

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I appreciate these helpful replies. Would anyone care to recommend a specific brand small lithium-ion 12v jump-starter appropriate for the Volt?
Something like this

NOCO Boost Sport GB20 400 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter for up to 4L Gasoline Engines https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015TKPT1A/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_nIKhDbWZP709R

Or this

Bolt Power N02 1200 Amp Peak 12-Volt Car Battery Jump Starter for Light-Duty / Heavy-Duty Trucks, SUV, Compact / Mid-Size Cars, Motorcycle with Quick Charge 3.0 Portable Charger Power Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074XFLJS5/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_gLKhDbK6Q2DNP


I have one of each brand. Both have worked for me although I’ve used them to jump gas cars (which require more starting power) not the Volt.

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I appreciate these helpful replies. Would anyone care to recommend a specific brand small lithium-ion 12v jump-starter appropriate for the Volt?
Since you don't need a lot of amperage, any of them will do. I just happened to buy one that was on sale on the Canadian Tire flyer. I'm sure you can find similar deals locally.
 

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Since you don't need a lot of amperage, any of them will do. I just happened to buy one that was on sale on the Canadian Tire flyer. I'm sure you can find similar deals locally.
Yes if buying just as a backup for the Volt any jumper should do. I bought a battery less capacitor in fact for this.

Rezervo Mini Batteryless Pocket Jump Starter with Ultracapacitor Technology RZ-300mini https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GK4PKKD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ciMhDbQEPVQ9Q




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I gave away my heavy duty jumper cables years ago. For many years I carried a relatively large and heavy 12V lead-acid battery jump starter pack in my vehicles. When I purchased my Volt I also purchased a Bolt Power jump starter from Amazon. I later picked up a second jump starter when Woot.com had an offer for a Red Fuel jump starter for under $20. I have not yet needed to jump start my Volt with these small lithium battery jump starters. Check Amazon for more recent offerings. Recently batteryless jump starters have appeared. These rely on an ultracapacitor instead of a battery. The benefit of the ultracapacitor is that it is not affected by low temperatures. A lithium battery loses capacity as the temperature drops below freezing. In extreme cold weather you would have to allow the jump starter to warm to room temperature before being able to use the jump starter. Also, never attempt to charge a lithium battery that is colder than 32F as this will permanently damage the battery cell(s).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, everybody, for all the good advice. I have ordered a small jump-starter. I went for a Li-ion battery type, as opposed to a battery-less capacitor type because I live in the south. And the jump-starter I've ordered is small enough so that if it's too cold to work, I can always warm it up in my pants (brrrr!) first. BTW, I was wondering, is there any way to actually test the thing without first disconnecting the Volt's 12-v battery? (Which I am not at all likely to do.....)

Also curious about: do the door locks take their power from the Volt's big battery or the 12-v battery? Probably the latter. In which case the door must be unlocked mechanically if the 12-v battery dies, presumably. I couldn't find anything about this in the manual.
 

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Also curious about: do the door locks take their power from the Volt's big battery or the 12-v battery? Probably the latter. In which case the door must be unlocked mechanically if the 12-v battery dies, presumably. I couldn't find anything about this in the manual.
The door locks operate from the 12V. The 12V doesn't die suddenly but gradually. You'll likely notice some strange behavior before the battery gets too low (in my case the compass stopped showing direction, just a few dashes). When I happened to measure voltage it was down to 11.9V and I changed battery next day (happened to be on sale that week). All through this time (several months) it never failed to start or unlock doors.
 

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Thanks, everybody, for all the good advice. I have ordered a small jump-starter. I went for a Li-ion battery type, as opposed to a battery-less capacitor type because I live in the south. And the jump-starter I've ordered is small enough so that if it's too cold to work, I can always warm it up in my pants (brrrr!) first. BTW, I was wondering, is there any way to actually test the thing without first disconnecting the Volt's 12-v battery? (Which I am not at all likely to do.....)

Also curious about: do the door locks take their power from the Volt's big battery or the 12-v battery? Probably the latter. In which case the door must be unlocked mechanically if the 12-v battery dies, presumably. I couldn't find anything about this in the manual.
In the event your 12V battery fails you will need to use the emergency key located inside the key fob to unlock the driver's door so you can open the door, release the hood latch, open the hood and access the jump start terminals located near the fire wall on the driver's side.

Here is a link to a short instructional video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9K3mjXbE-Q&feature=youtu.be&t=44s

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for fully charging the jump starter pack when it arrives. Charge every 4 - 6 months thereafter if it has not otherwise been used. My Bolt Power has LED indicators for state of charge, the Red Fuel jump starter has a digital readout that shows the state of charge. I just charged the Red Fuel to 90% as it was showing 60% SOC when I checked it. I leave the Red Fuel in my Volt when I go on a trip or leave the Volt at the airport. Otherwise I leave the jump starter at home in the summer time as the summer heat can't be good for the jump starter battery. Check on YouTube for a tutorial on how to use your jump starter pack or a similar model jump starter pack (many different models/brands of jump starter packs are assembled in the same factories overseas.)
 
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