One of the most common problems any driver may encounter is an unexpectedly "dead" battery. Headlights not switched off in time, a solid battery age or a long stay in the cold - and already the weakened battery vainly tries to crank the starter.

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Wire strands and cross-sectional area

The conductive element of the starter wire is the strands hidden under the insulation jacket. Most often they are made of copper - this is the most optimal material both in terms of cost and in terms of its characteristics. Copper has an affordable price and a fairly low resistance, that is, it weakly interferes with the passage of electric current and, accordingly, minimizes voltage losses.

When buying starter wire, it is not possible to determine the number and diameter of the cores: you can check the manufacturer's stated characteristics only by cutting the insulating sheath. To determine the cross-sectional area of cigarette jumper cables, it is necessary to multiply the cross-sectional area of each core by their number. In turn, the cross-sectional area of the core is found by a simple formula for calculating the area of the circle: by multiplying the number π (~3.14) by the square of their diameter and dividing by 4, we get the result.

For example, having found under the insulation 300 wires with a diameter of 0.3 mm each, we obtain that the total cross-section of the wire is: 300×0.3×0.3×3.14: 4 = 21.2 mm².

However, you probably will not have to do the math - conscientious manufacturers immediately indicate all the necessary information on the packaging or on the cable itself.
When choosing high-quality starting cables, you should choose cables with a cross-sectional area of at least 12 mm², or better - from 16 mm² and above. Such a cable will easily pass the necessary current with minimum losses - which means that it is guaranteed to help a dead battery.

Inrush current

Car jumper cables can only withstand a certain amount of amperes flowing through them, and this parameter is usually specified by the manufacturer. For modern cars, the absolute minimum is 200 A, and it is better to look for wires that can provide a maximum current of 400 A and above.

It is worth remembering that the current that the wire will withstand depends directly on the diameter of the wires, their number in the wire and, accordingly, the cross-sectional area. Therefore, you should understand - if an unscrupulous manufacturer has used thin, "liquid" conductors and their number is woefully small - such a wire is unlikely to withstand even 200 A, not to mention the often exaggerated 300-400 A or more.

Starting wire length

The most common wire sets on sale are 2 to 5 meters long. Despite the fact that it seems right to choose the longest possible wire for a guaranteed connection of two batteries, you should not forget about the laws of physics: the longer the cable through which current flows, the greater the voltage loss and the higher the resistance - and therefore the lower the efficiency.

On the other hand, it is not always possible to drive up close to the hood of the damaged battery, which is especially important in urban areas (narrow streets, multi-level parking lots and busy parking lots). Therefore, for jumper cables discharged battery from another battery optimal length will be from 3 to 4 m, such as a set of starting cables Carfort (maximum current of 500 A, length 4 m), and to restore the battery at home from a special charger enough cable length of 2.5 m.

Wire insulation

An important indicator of workmanship: First, as mentioned above, do not be fooled by the thick layer of rubber. It may hide underneath a thin bundle of wires, which will not be able to conduct the necessary current to start the starter. Secondly, the insulating material must be strong, not tan in the cold and remain flexible even at low temperatures. Therefore, high-quality wires use frost-resistant insulation that can withstand as low as -40°C without losing its elasticity.

"Crocodiles" for wires

The main working part of the starting leads are the toothed grips (also known as "crocodiles") with which the battery terminals are "clamped" according to their polarity.

Quality crocodiles have the following features:

  • The material is either all-copper or a combined composition of steel with copper teeth. In cheap wires, the prongs are often made of different metals and coated with a thin copper coating. Obviously, the performance of such a wire will be minimal.
  • "Grip" - Alligators should grip battery terminals as tightly and tenaciously as possible. The higher the contact area, the better.
  • The connection of the wire to the handle of the alligators. It is recommended to choose models in which the cable is connected to the clamp by soldering - this will extend the life of the wires and prevent the risk of breaking them.
  • The presence of insulation on the handles: rubber seals will reduce heat and prevent the wire from sparking under high loads.

It is undesirable to buy starting wires, whose "crocodiles" do not meet the above recommendations - the effectiveness of the jumper cable may be insufficient to start the engine.

Tips and advices on YouTube

How to Properly Jump Start a Car