*Roadside Emergencies*
By: GreyLocke
05 May 2003

We all by now, keep a BOB in our BOV. Presumably our BOV is well maintained, and we know how to do emergency surgery on it if we need to. But what about something simple? Like a flat tire, or a dead battery? Does your spare have air? Do you even have a proper fitting spare tire, in good usable condition? Do you have the proper tools to change a tire quickly and easily? I donít mean the manufacturer's idea of a lug wrench, and a jack. I mean do you have a real, lug wrench and jack? You left your parking lights on, and didnít discover it, until you got out of the store or off work, and your battery was dead. Do you have jumper cables? Even if you do, is there someone around who will actually stop and give your vehicle a jump? Without jumping you that isÖ 8{)= Since I work about 140 miles away from home, I was concerned about what my wife would do if something like that happened to her. So I started to put together a small kit for her Mini-van. First part was a means to jump start her vehicle, without having to rely on someone else, hence the portable jump box, I just bought her.

Fig. 1

Here is the jump box; I keep in my truck next to hers for comparison.

Fig. 2

The jump box I use has the same 900 amp rating as the one I just bought her, but mine doesnít have a built in air compressor with gauge, and 3 additional power outlets. What mine does have is a circuit, that warns if the cables are hooked up incorrectly, and a main power switch, so that even if itís hooked up wrong, no power is going through the cables, until the switch is turned on. Itís the round knob on the back of the unit in Fig 4.

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

However, the unit I got my wife, does have some extra geegaws, which make me a little more comfortable about her being able to take care of herself. You see 4 switches at the top of the unit. The one on the far right is for main power; the one immediately to the left is for the 2 lights on the unit, which are very bright. Continuing to the left we have the switch for the compressor, which is rated, for 260 psi, the 4th switch is for the 3 accessory sockets. The cables are ALWAYS live, once the main power switch is thrown. Iím thinking about doing some rewiring, after I tear mine apart and possibly hijack a circuit, from Radio Shack.

Fig. 5

You see the pressure gauge on the front; you do not need to turn off the compressor to check the pressure, although to get more accurate pressure, I would. Directly above the first accessory socket on the left is the recharging jack. The jump box comes with a cigarette lighter adapter, or a transformer, which plugs into the wall, (fig. 8) next to the recharge jack is the power meter, showing the state of charge. It only works when the main power switch is on. There is no test button, which my smaller unit has. Underneath the meter is the main fuse which is rated for 15 amps, if this fuse blows, make sure them main power switch is off before you replace it. To remove the cables from the housing you have to push them up into the housing, and lift them away at the bottom, and then pull them out.

Fig. 6

On the back there is a small-compartmented storage area, where the car charger, transformer, and compressor adapters reside.

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

The next picture shows how this works with my wife roadside kit. From left to right, Jump Box, 2-ton Hydraulic Jack, 4-way Tire Iron, 12-volt Impact Wrench. With this, setup, my wife can jump start her van, change a tire, and make it back home, without having to rely on someone who might be of evil intent.

Fig. 9

The Last Picture is what I carry in the bed of my truck; itís not everything I carry, as I donít have a way to secure my tools, other than putting them behind my seat. From left to right, 5 gal gas can, 6 gal gas can, 5 qts of oil behind the 1 gal, of windshield wash, 7 gal, portable air tank, 3 gal coolant, (50/50 mix), 5 gal gas can, 4-way tire iron, sitting on top of 105mm shell crate, containing 1 2-ton come-along, 1 4-ton come-along, 1 camp axe, 1 machete, 2 mill-bastard files, 2 funnels, (1 long, 1 short) 3 emergency folding reflecting triangles, 1 16 foot 10-ton tow strap, 1 east german e-tool, 1 US Tri-fold e-tool, in front of the box is some hand-cleaner, towards the front of the picture on the left is a 2-ton hydraulic jack, the gray rocket ammo case on the right hold 2 3-ton jack stands, and a 12-volt trouble light. There is more behind my seat, but I just finished packing it nicely, so Iíll leave that for another article. 8{)=

Fig. 10

Oh, the half-cinder block makes a good wheel chock, or just something to sit on so I donít get muddier than I have to. You may not see them very well, but the gas cans and the air tank have a tie-down strap running through their (sp?) handles and there are 3 more straps, including one ratcheting strap in the bed of my truck. You never know when youíll need to tie something down.

Ps. MY wife and I both carry jumper cables as well as the jump boxes. I also carry a tire plugging kit in my truck and just bought one for my wifeís van, Iím showing her how to use it tomorrow.

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