Recently on a road trip I was battling a dying battery, needed a jump, and purchased a Micro Start XP-3 PPS (or Personal Power Supply) from Antigravity Batteries. This post is a brief review of my impressions.
My K1200S has always taken special battery care. I believe the alternator is undersized even without any owner-added accessories. Thus any extended low-rev operation, such as in city traffic, is guaranteed to drain the battery, particularly if you have your heated grips on or any other accessories running. And in my experience the BMW AGM batteries seem fragile, failing after only 1-2 years. I have been through several. My charging methods may also play a part, as I use a battery tender in the garage to compensate for the above and for storage drain.
So on a recent trip to Laguna Seca I found myself unable to start the bike. This was after a long slow ride to the track on a crowded access road, which drained an already failing battery. When I went to start my bike at the track, I was sad to hear the dreaded “whir… click… silence” as the big four turned partially over before coming to a stop.
Fortunately, Antigravity Batteries had a booth at the event and I purchased one of their two models of portable power supplies.
Each version starts with the same basic functionality: The smaller version, the XP-3, is a small, lightweight lithium battery with alligator clips for jumpstarting a vehicle (with a claimed 200 amp delivery), a USB port delivering 5v for fast-charging portable electronics. Lastly, there is a very bright LED flashlight feature with thee modes: Solid, flashing, and an SOS pattern.
The larger version, the XP-1, is the same but a little larger, and adds additional power ports for other types of devices, additional corresponding connectors, and a carrying case.
I opted for the smaller version (the XP-3), because my devices are all USB capable and I wanted portability over all, so the extra stuff was unnecessary.
Both are made in USA. Correction: Antigravity replies: “Our regular Antigravity Batteries are made in the USA, but the Micro-Start was made overseas. We had to because no one in the USA could help us with the circuit board and battery cells we needed to make it function as intended.”
The Micro-Start comes with an AC adapter for charging, a cigarette adapter also for charging, a short jumper cable with alligator clips on one end and a heavy duty plug on the other, and a nifty USB cable with three male outputs: Mini-USB, Micro-USB, and an Apple 30-Pin iPod connector.
Fortunately the K1200S battery is super-easy to get to. It took all of two minutes to open up the battery cover and connect the jumper cable to the micro-start and then to the battery. The alligator clips are small for portability but plenty large enough for the purpose, and they fit well on the terminals.
Upon hitting the start button, the starter cranked like I’ve never heard it before, and the engine turned over quickly before firing right up. The Micro-Start instructions say to not leave it connected for more than 30 seconds after you start the engine, so I removed it quickly and put it away. The whole process took just a couple of minutes and was quite anti-climactic. I used it several more times in the following days before I was able to replace my failing battery, and it worked like a charm each time.
The battery indicator on the Micro-Start didn’t budge from the full position after this little workout. The Antigravity guys assured me that despite its small size it would provide enough juice to jump start a large V8 engine multiple times, and based on my experiences I’d be optimistic on this claim.
I have used the Micro-Start to charge my iPhone several times. I didn’t time it specifically, but it provides an extremely rapid charge that had my empty phone at 50% before I knew it. Note that no lightning cable is provided but any such USB cable will work, including a handy little micro-USB to lightning adapter I have.
A full charge of my iPhone 4s dropped the charge level of the Micro-Start device by one dot.
Charging it up
Charging the Micro-Start is straightforward. The AC adapter has an LED indicating operation, and the lights on the device itself flash slowly as it charges up to let you know how it’s doing.
I haven’t tried charging from a 12v system.
In storage, the charge on a lithium battery lasts a very long time without discharge worries. Add to this the small size and low weight, and the Micro-Start makes for a very small device that can be forgotten in a glove box for a while and still pack a strong punch when needed.
So far I’m very impressed, so much that I purchased one of Antigravity’s’ lithium motorcycle batteries from the same booth the next day. The Micro-Start saved me some headaches and seems well made, and I will definitely keep it on hand for peace of mind in the future.
Here’s a gallery of all the photos: