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Powerstation PSX3 Jumpstarter - Air Compressor, DC Outlet Review

by Prabhat Chowdhury Date Added: Thursday 12 November, 2020
Review on 12-NOV-2020. I bought Power Station PSX3 - Jump Starter with Tire inflator about 7 years ago. Used it for 6 years with great success. Inflated tires of 2 cars once or twice every year and jump started 3 or 4 times - worked very well every time. After using I was recharging to full. I did not know that the unit says, recharge once in every month, which I noticed 2 days ago. Just before the pandemic, around December 2019 tried to inflate tires. How I brought the PSX3 into as good as a new unit, keep reading.
In August 2020, as usual I recharged my PSX3 till the green LED came on. Then when tried to inflate the tires, it failed – compressor did not come on. Then tried to recharge. The red LED kept on blinking thereafter. Then we decided to throw the PSX3 away at our curb side, which is a normally practice, to be picked up by some people who wants it.
I was hesitant to throw it away since it gave us very good service (6 Yrs of service). So I kept it in our garage without throwing it. After recharging to full, I tested the voltage and was about 9V. Then after about 30 min, reduced to 2.6V, which indicated that it is not holding charge. I thought that if I can put a new battery, everything should work. About August 2020, I started looking into YouTube videos and thought of recovering the battery by hydrating with distilled water only. After 3 days of dehydrating the battery, found that only one cell of the battery was generating Hydrogen gas (seen from constant release of bubbles; done outside the house in open air) and others were releasing only few bubbles. Then I could feel that the surface (side walls) of the battery was wavy, meaning the cells are already locked up due to drying in Arizona hot weather and not recharging the battery every month. I did not want to go for flushing the battery and adding sulfuric acid solution, since I had no way of disposing the flushed out contaminated fluid. I decided to buy a new battery to replace the existing one.
Then I got the specification of the existing battery: 6FM-18 12V-18Ah/20HR Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) battery. The 6FM-18 is important (related to the dimension and the location and type of terminal posts) and also the 18AH is important (a must, do not go for 17AH) when buying a replacement Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) battery for replacement. I bought a new battery from APX and installed on 28-OCT-2020. It had a charge of 15.2V before charging it. Then recharged the new battery (the initial recharging) till the green LED lit indicating “Full charge” (measured 16.6V or a bit higher) and ran the compressor without connecting to a tire - just for a test. IMP: when testing the Air Compressor without connecting to a tire, leave the tip of the compressor Air hose in its plastic storage compartment present on the unit’s side wall, the way it should remain when we are not using the unit. Otherwise, when the compressor runs, it will bust the hose and may injure.
The Compressor started right away. Tested all other features except for jumping a dead car battery. Then on 29-OCT-2020 inflated 4 tires very successfully raising tire pressure from 20 PSI to 30 PSI without recharging again since first recharge on the day of installation. When in August 2020 I had opened the unit to find out the Battery specifications and initial troubleshooting, I had noticed that the gears of the Air compressor components were very dry and thought of lubricating them since that time. However, forgot to lubricate them during battery replacement.
Challenges:
That happened because it was very difficult to overcome the challenges of accommodating the new battery in PSX3’s battery compartment, which was slightly (1/8th in) taller than the original battery and also the +ve and -ve pole locations were a bit further away from the side walls as compared to the original one. I made adjustments and succeeded in making the connections and placing the new battery securely in its battery compartment. Finally during reassembling, I faced another challenge that is its inter-locking features (which of course is a fantastic safeguard and structural integrity feature). It took two tries to make things right.
On 31-OCT-2020, opened the unit again and applied grease to the gears and other components of the Air Compressor. Remember to choose grease, if applying grease, which should not melt and flow due to high temp and should not dry up due to various reasons. The following day inflated my Spare Tire (only) and raised the pressure from 35 PSI to 60 PSI just in 2-3 minutes. So far I have not jumped any dead battery because I replaced my car batteries when the unit went dead in DEC 2019. After battery replacement the unit is working like new, or even better. I am very happy now. One will need a Multi-meter to do all these DIY activities. One must be very careful and wear safety eye protection. Would not recommend recovering the dead battery because the cost of a new battery is $35 included shipping from APEX. Replacement battery is also available in Amazon, eBay, Battery Plus, Home Depot, etc.
Recommend to pay attention to the dimension (length, width, height, location and type of terminal posts) to match with the existing one when ordering replacement battery. Must keep the Jumper in OFF position; disconnect the unit from the wall when not charging and while measuring voltage. Stay away from the gears because it is strong enough to shear off your fingers, if the compressor is activated!!! Recommend going through DIY videos and gain sufficient knowledge to safely do the project. Take photographs as you open the unit depicting the connections of wires. Wrong connections may result in series injury. Wrong lubrication on the Air compressor components may dry up and make the piston stuck in place rendering inoperable. After removing the screws (there are plenty of them), jar open the two halves of the unit since there are wires going from one half to the other.
I would recommend the unit; however, it appears that it is not available. I have already filled air into 4 tires just yesterday (11-NOV-2020) in our second car raising the pressures from 22 PSI to 30 PSI giving 5 minutes gap (or as recommended by PSX3) between each tire air filling - worked very well and recharged to full in 3 hours at 3:40 PM on 11-NOV-2020 after filling air. Voltage measured at 5:47 PM: 16.93V DC at 73 deg F. Voltage measure 17.16V (DC) at 8AM on 12-NOV-2020; at 68 deg F (not connected to wall since last recharge.
Please note that even if the battery full LED is lit, if most of the battery cells are dead, it will not be able to jump start a car battery when you need it. I learned it the hard way after using the unit for 6 years. Only after the unit failed, from my investigation of voltage drop using a Multi-meter indicated that when most of the cells of the battery are dead, just with only one cell active, there is not enough energy/juice to turn on the Air compressor of jump start a dead car battery. Note: It is important to test to see that the charging adapter in the unit is good and it was not the cause of the failure of the original battery.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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