Customer Reviews


167 Reviews
5 star:
 (75)
4 star:
 (35)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (16)
1 star:
 (31)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


1,031 of 1,055 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of misconceptions regarding these products.
I just wanted to clear up some common misconceptions regarding these jump-start/inverter/inflator products. I personally own 3 different types from 400 watts to 1500 watts and have done tons of research on them. I guess you could call it an unusual hobby I have. I blame the manufacturers for over hyping these units or just choosing not to inform consumers of their...
Published on April 14, 2008 by Michael O.

versus
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed
Bought this for jumping off my second vehicle which oftens goes several weeks without being driven and for powering small devices when camping. Worked fine for jumping off the vehicle; however, used the unit to power an electrically powered air mattress inflator and it did fine. Went to plug in the small fan and nothing. For whatever reason, the electrical outlets do not...
Published on June 2, 2007 by Edwin M. Sandel


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1,031 of 1,055 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of misconceptions regarding these products., April 14, 2008
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
I just wanted to clear up some common misconceptions regarding these jump-start/inverter/inflator products. I personally own 3 different types from 400 watts to 1500 watts and have done tons of research on them. I guess you could call it an unusual hobby I have. I blame the manufacturers for over hyping these units or just choosing not to inform consumers of their limitations.

THESE UNITS ARE NOT AS POWERFUL AS YOU THINK! Most people seem to be very disappointed by the amount of "juice" these put out.

--FRESHLY CHARGED this item will probably run a small TV/DVD combo continuously for around 2.5 hours. That's it. Also, you can't run a coffee maker, hair drier, microwave, refrigerator or heavy duty power tool off this. It's just not designed for that kind of use. Buy this to run a small TV, fan or laptop for a few hours, or to charge your cell phone. That's all it's designed for.

--You probably won't be able to jump start an 8 cylinder engine with this especially if it's an older car or has a totally dead battery. These units are mostly for 4 and 6 cylinder engines. They just don't have large enough batteries in them to turn over a big V-8.

--The air compressor is little more than a toy. All of these units have tiny, noisy compressors in them that will take 20 to 30 minutes to inflate a single full size 16" tire that is totally flat. And you will completely kill the battery just doing one tire like that. Plus you may damage the compressor by running it that long continuously because they heat up so much during use. You're better off taking your tire to a gas station!

THE UNIT WILL SELF-DISCHARGE JUST BY SITTING IN YOUR CAR! It will lose about 10 - 20% of it's charge PER MONTH. The hotter it is outside the faster it will self-discharge. PLUS YOU WILL EVENTUALLY DESTROY THE INTERNAL BATTERY BY LEAVING IT IN A PROLONGED DISCHARGED STATE! You can easily kill this device permanently by a process known as sulfation, in as little as one year, if you don't keep it charged. (This is what happened to my first unit, a Xantrex Power-Plus 400. It cost me about 1/2 the original cost of the unit to replace the battery!)

- To prevent this you need to either bring it in the house and recharge it about once a month (who's going to remember to do this?), or keep it plugged into the cigarette lighter at all times. Some people claim this can overcharge the battery, but I disagree. Your cars built-in voltage regulator should keep the unit topped off without doing any damage to it. Plus you know you always have a freshly 100% charged unit ready to go.

-You should immediately recharge it after each use. If you use it for a jumpstart or even to recharge your cellphone you should recharge the unit within a day or two. This practice will prevent harmful sulfation and prolong the life of the unit.

-These don't last forever. Just like your car battery eventually needs to be replaced so will the battery in this device. Expect about 100 full charge/discharge uses or 5 - 7 years, whichever comes first, before the battery in this will need to be replaced. Some of these jump-starters/inverters don't have user replaceable batteries so you may have to replace the whole unit anyway. You can usually find a reasonably priced replacement battery on e-Bay if you're handy enough to disassemble the unit and find out what size battery is inside. Based on the weight and size I would say the VEC026BD has a 20 Amp Hr battery inside it, but that is only a guess on my part and should be verified by disassembly.

For the money I'm not super-impressed with this unit. I just bought the Xantrex PowerPack 600 on sale from Amazon for $100 delivered. The 600 has a more powerful battery and can run larger appliances longer than the B&D. It usually goes for $130 but even at that price it's worth the premium over the B&D.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you to maximize the usefulness and life of your jump-start inverter, and to give you an idea of what to expect when you purchase one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


121 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Electromate 400, November 10, 2006
By 
Craig Thomson (Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
I just purchased the electromate 400 a few days ago ....I charged it overnight then tested it on a few things. Obviously it will jump start a car since it is basically built around a car battery.

It ran my large box fan just fine. Also worked great when I plugged lamps into it.

I tried using it to brew coffee using my Mr.Coffee but apparently the amps being drawn by the water heating and also heating the hotplate under the pot was too much for it and it would just shut down after a few seconds every time I tried it. Too bad ! I suspect if you have a newer coffee maker with the insulated pot and no heated hotplate you might do just fine.

One thing I could not find much info on before I purchased it was just how long will it power ordinary household items during a power outage ?

To test this...with the electromate fully charged, I plugged a 13" color tv with a built in DVD player into the electromate, put a DVD movie in...and checked the clock. It kept the TV powered and the movie playing for just a few minutes under 3 hours. Not bad. This is a well built unit...seems very sturdy...but is a bit heavy so don't plan on taking it backpacking. I'd recommend it highly to anyone looking for a way to keep some of the small conveniences going during a power outage.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed, June 2, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
Bought this for jumping off my second vehicle which oftens goes several weeks without being driven and for powering small devices when camping. Worked fine for jumping off the vehicle; however, used the unit to power an electrically powered air mattress inflator and it did fine. Went to plug in the small fan and nothing. For whatever reason, the electrical outlets do not work now. Tried everything.

Follow up:
Just received my second unit. Charged it 24 hours. Plugged in regular size box fan and the unit's electrical outlet status light starts blinking green and shuts down after less than 2 minutes. Plugged in a small desk top fan and the same thing. Even plugged just my answering machine in and the same thing. Black and Decker must have issued a bad batch since most other reviews are positive.

Amazon has been truly amazing. They shipped the replacement model which I received three business days after filing for a return and even had UPS pick up the original one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jump starter, August 10, 2006
By 
Ducky (Western PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
Perhaps too heavy to carry in your car all the time, but I did take it on vacation, and sure enough, I left a dome light on long enough to kill my battery. This had plenty enough power to get my car started. The 120 volt was used to power a trouble light at home, on a rewiring project. It sure beat trying to work with a flashlight. I have not tried the inflator. I bought this with some camping use in mind, but haven't got to go camping yet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love It...I have found many uses for this unit!, January 5, 2009
By 
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
While this may not be the most powerful backup power unit and it is a bit heavy (but a cool and practical design) I have found so many uses for it and well worth the $100 I paid for it. I'm kind of a tool girl and buy stuff even though I don't think I will need it. I was so wrong with this one.

I purchased my original unit in AUG, 2007. I immediately took it on a dry camping trip just cuz it was a group trip and we all like to show off our stuff. I won! On that trip, I was able to air up my mattress and keep a florescent drop light on for one of the party nights then recharged it off of a friend's portable generators.

I do craft shows and like to take samples. I was able to run a large crock pot with this unit, keeping my chili warm for hours, turning it on and off through the period of time I expected to need it and the chili remained at a "food safe" temperature.

At a most inconvenient time, the battery in my 1999 5 Liter V8 Ford Explorer died and I used this unit it to jump my truck several times a day for 3-4 day without recharging.

I have used it to top off my tire when I had a slow leak and needed to hold over until I could get it fixed. (Pretty large tires)

Most recently when Hurricane Ike was coming in during the early AM hours, I knew my power was going down. I fulled charged the unit and plugged the wireless router and modem into it so I could watch the live broadcast of the storm coming on shore on the laptop. It held over until almost daylight and I felt like striking up the generator.

I do chili cook-offs and have one of those blowup nylon/poly decor things like folks put in their yards at Christmas, a little smaller though. I can plug that into the unit and it runs for hours and I have power if I need it for a blender or something else like that.

I run a large chile garden and take this with me when I work in it for the day. Instead of running the truck radio or long, long extension cords out to the field, I just plug my radio into the unit.

My home and garage were burglarized this year and my original unit was stolen. It was one of the first things I replaced because I just think it's a good thing to have around.

This is by far a very amateur and non-technical review but I do hope that it does let someone know that this is just one of those things you think you will never need and you will be surprised at all of the ways you could use it. Sure, it would be nice it it ran for a longer period of time and it did not weigh as much as it does (but the handle is very comfortable, even when lifting it up onto the under-hood to jump your battery) the Electromate has managed to make the list of Hurricane Preparedness down here.

BTW, I would have never gotten the one with the radio instead of the air compressor...just plug the radio into this while you air up the inner tubes for the river!

I hope my info helps!
Beth in Texas
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jumpstarter / Inflator, November 4, 2006
By 
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
The Black and Decker VEC026BD 400 Electromate Jumpstarter / Inflator has been handy for me in the couple of months I have owned it. I have used it several times to jumpstart cars and my riding lawn mower, as well as to inflate tires. It works very well, and is highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as pictured or described, August 23, 2010
By 
anonymous (Bedford, NH USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
The B&D Electromate 400 is pictured and described as having 2 AC and 2 DC outlets. The device has been cheapened and actually only has 1 AC and 1 DC outlet. I am very disappointed in this misrepresentation. Additionally, the item can not be returned to Amazon as it is classified as "hazardous".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This thing saved my day!, December 11, 2007
By 
Leah G (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
I bought this jump starter to give to my husband for Christmas. However, today I made the mistake of letting my kids watch the DVD player in our minivan while I cleaned out the car. After about 20 minutes, I went to start the car and the engine would not turn over. We are new in town, I don't know anyone, my husband was 2 counties away, and I had to go pick up my daughter at kindergarten w/in 10 minutes. I could have called AAA, but I decided to unwrap the jump starter and give it a try, first. I was very nervous, as I had never tried to jump a car before, but the instructions were very easy. I was able to hook up the cables and start the car in less than 2-3 minutes. The battery still had a small charge--the interior lights were working, for ex., so I'm sure that helped. But this thing saved me from waiting forever for AAA, begging someone from my husband's office to pick up my daughter, and listening to my toddler scream for the duration. I am beyond thrilled, and am going to buy another for my husband, because this one's mine!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Let Me Down When Tornadoes Came, May 29, 2011
By 
Hans G. Schantz (Huntsville, AL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
I bought the Black and Decker Electromate 400 Power Station for my wife when our girls developed the bad habit of flipping on interior lights in her van and draining her battery. I would have just bought an extra battery and a trickle charger, but I thought the Electromate Power Station would come in handy in an emergency. It worked great for a few months. Then I left it on charge so it would be ready in case of emergency. When tornadoes swept through Northern Alabama and the power was out, I turned to my Electromate Power Station to keep my cell phone charged. It failed. Somehow the battery was totally drained, despite having been plugged into the wall up until the power outage. I'm disappointed to have wasted my money on a piece of emergency equipment that failed me when I needed it the most.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DON"T BUY BLACK AND DECKER, May 26, 2009
This review is from: Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor (Automotive)
Nice unit, nice features - BUT no parts or service is available.

After a few years of very light household duty, the air impeller on this model failed. After two year warranty expires, B&D offers NO customer service except to offer to sell you a new unit.

If you are content with a two year lifecycle - buy it. If you think you getting a premium product from a company that cares about customer service, you will be as disappointed as I am.

Note the positive reviews tend to be from new owners. I felt the same way when the product was new. But the quality isn't there over time, nor is customer service.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.