Weego 44: Gizmo Guy: Chargers that pack the power you need

Gizmo Guy: Chargers that pack the power you need

If you've ever had your car battery die, or your phone run out of juice at a sports event or concert, you'll get a charge out of two brand-new gadgets - locally sourced - that Gizmo Guy is surveying this week.

I go, you go, Weego! Even if the Weego Portable Power Jump Starter 44 hadn't been designed in our backyard - Westampton, N.J. - I'd be celebrating it loudly as the "Swiss Army Knife of Power Chargers." The thing's not just super versatile, it's also unusually safe to use.

Newest and smartest in the Weego line of portable lithium ion jump starters, portable battery packs and accessories, the Jump Starter 44 fits in a back pocket and weighs less than a pound. Yet the thing packs enough wallop (a fast throughput, 12,000mAh battery) to jump-start a gas engine as massive as 6.4 liters or restore life to a truck or boat with a diesel engine upwards of 3.2 liters.

Far better still, the Weego-developed "Smarty Clamps" cable system that connects to and jump-starts that dead battery is foolproof, a far cry (and trust me, I have) from the use-at-your-own- peril jumper cables one normally connects from a live battery to a dead one. A special in-line, circuit sensing/indicator box stands guard in the middle of the cable. So it's impossible to set off sparks that can blow things up, do damage to a vehicle's electrical and computer systems, and yourself, if you accidentally reverse the plus/minus polarity or tap the clamps together.

That's just the beginning of the Jump Starter 44's charms. Never have you seen so many ports packed on one battery for plugging in and charging devices. A USB connector has the smarts to recognize and properly feed 5-, 9-, and 12-volt products, such as phones and tablets, using another safe sensor system dubbed "Detect-O-Matic." The 12,000mAH pack also sports a 12-volt port, to work with some of the smaller stuff (like a tire pump) you'd normally plug into a car's cigarette-lighter socket. Plus, there's a 19-volt, 3.5-amp port for laptops (PCs, not Macs), and a bright 500-lumen LED light that can run for 14 hours in pulsing "SOS" or 24-plus hours in full-on form. A great comfort when you're digging under the hood on a dark and stormy night. (And did we mention, the device is splash- and dustproof-rated, too?)

The Weego backstory is interesting, too. First emerging in 2014, the company is a spin-off of Paris Corp. - a spawned-in-Philly, 50-plus-years maker of paper products (business forms and securitized doctor's scrip pads). CEO Gerry Toscani ventured into the battery-pack business as a diversification strategy.

"We're still profitable, but everybody's using less paper," he said recently. And while "not particularly a gadget guy," the idea of getting a really good charge on interested him personally. "I'm a boater and have a little farm and four kids. In all that, dead batteries are a way of life and a pain in the neck. So when I found this tech, I immediately saw the potential." Toscani initially looked to partner with existing battery marketers, "but after a year I realized they didn't know any more than I did, so why not do this myself? I can hire the talent, the expertise, and be almost on the same par, but I control my own destiny."

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