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Pilot InstaBoost: Product Cheapnification in Full Effect

After rebuilding the battery clamps on the Pilot Instaboost jump starter, something on the back of the package caught my eye:

Pilot InstaBoost - clamp picture

Pilot InstaBoost – clamp picture

The un-modified joint on the as-delivered clamp has a plastic stud and nothing through the spring:

Battery Clamp - original joint

Battery Clamp – original joint

Compare the first picture with our modifications:

Battery Clamp - improved joint

Battery Clamp – improved joint

Looks like Pilot applied some cost reduction between taking the picture and shipping what we have now.

I bet they cheapnified something else, too. Something that cost them a lot more and the absence of which can’t be verified by most consumers…

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  1. #1 by madbodger on 2014-12-31 - 10:26

    Like what? Replacing the cables with 22ga solid aluminum wire instead of 4ga stranded copper?

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-12-31 - 10:34

      Yeah, that should work…

      The wire is actually The insulation claims the wires are 10 AWG and the strands in the crimps suggest they’re not fibbing. I’ll give ’em a pass. [grin]

      I’m impressed by the connectors. The main wires terminate in big brass pins-and-sockets with plenty of meat and the 12 V / 10 A (!) coaxial output connector has six outer contact fingers with a 3+ mm central pin.

      The build quality looks good on everything except those clamps.

  2. #3 by RL on 2014-12-31 - 10:38

    You can just about guarantee that the cable is CCA rather than solid copper, which is true for most jumper cables these days.

    • #4 by Ed on 2014-12-31 - 11:02

      Although I can’t get a picture without risk of the clamp biting the camera’s snout, the cut ends look like stranded, tinned copper, with a silvery outer surface around a coppery core in each strand.

      In fact, the main cables have many many many very fine strands, not the relatively coarse strands in the pad-to-pad straps inside the clamps, and are exceedingly limp and flexy. The insulation claims only 10 AWG 200 °C: they’re under-promising and over-delivering on the cables.

  3. #5 by hexley on 2014-12-31 - 13:06

    “Something that cost them a lot more and the absence of which can’t be verified by most consumers…”

    So what does your West Mountain Radio CBA II have to say about the battery capacity?

    • #6 by Ed on 2014-12-31 - 15:55

      Got it in one!

      It turns out to be a surprisingly complicated story that I haven’t quite figured out. More details to follow…