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Has anyone tried the Maxwell Ultracapacitor?

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I had Pittsburgh Power install one in September. It's December, I've been sitting home 3 days, with single digit temps. My truck won't start. I've charged the batteries and the ESM light was solid green. After 5 seconds of slooooowly cranking it's dead. contiued charging till solid green and still slooooowly turned over for a few seconds then dead.

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I've had mine for a year now and what a POS this thing has turned out to be!

It works great in everyday operation except for when I take a vacation. If the truck sits for a week, or longer, it will be dead and so will be the batteries - since it drains them to get recharged.

Have had problems with the + terminal being slightly loose and wouldn't turn the truck over at all so I have to pull off the side steps and fairing off to get to the battery box to "tighten" the terminal - not even a 1/4th of a turn!

Right after the FASS (which was costing me injectors) this is the most expensive mistake among all my truck upgrades.

One more thing - it sucks sitting in a shop for extra half hour, after a fuel filter change, because the thing has to recharge after cranking to get the prime back (pre-filled fuel filter, no manual primer pump on N14).

Next truck will not have it on and instead I'll get a much cheaper set of jumper cables.

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I was looking at that Maxwell until our Kenworth Dealer talked us out of buying one about 6 months ago and now this just reconfirms what the dealership was talking about. Thanks Jerzy

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When I change fuel filters I take the starter wire off the start post of the ESM and put it back to the positive post like it would have been originally. Then you can crank as much as you can to prime the engine. After it starts , you put the starter wire back onto the ESM start terminal.

I had issues for several months after I first installed the ESM where by every couple of weeks it seemed to me that the ESM was getting weaker. When I pushed the test light, it would show some kind of error. I held the button down for several seconds until the lights flashed to make it reset. then it was good for another week or so. Then in the summer I discovered I had two batteries boiling over. After I changed the batteries I have now gone over six months and the ESM has not had any errors. So in my case, bad batteries were the culprit.

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I've put in New batteries in November thinking maybe they didn't hold enough amps anymore, since they were 4 years old, but no change. The esm discharges when sitting. As for the battery cables...in my t2000 I have to unbolt both driver side steps and the fairing to get to the battery box - really not a good design.

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Hmm, hey! Check to see if there is a wire from your alternator going to the starter. That will cause the ESM to drain.

On my truck the output of the alternator was wired directly to the starter. I had to take it off the starter, add a length of wire to it so I could extend the alternator wire to the positive on the batteries.

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I'll take a look at it.

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I just put one in this last weekend.

I got it at Kenworth in Saskatoon for only $799.00

It weighs 21 lbs. I replaced one of the existing batteries and put this in it's place.

I had to disconnect the alternator wire off the starter and extend it directly to the batteries.

The starter wire pretty much lined right up, just had to move it over two inches to line up with the start terminal on the Maxwell.

Waited about 30 minutes for it to charge up the first time, got the solid green light and zoom. The engine wound over like it was 100 degrees out side, but it was only 2C (35F).

I have a 2013 WesternStar with a DD15, with Webasto cab and engine heaters. I wanted something so I could start the truck at -34. These new engines don't like to Idle very long.

Last winter I only ran the truck two nights when it was that cold, but I had to get up at 4:00 am to do regens as the alarms were going off. The Webasto's work great but it's hard to trust the batteries when it's that cold.

This morning it was -12C (10F) and the Maxwell worked fantastic.

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Up date on cold weather starting.

This morning it is -29C (-20F) at Camrose, Alberta.

I shut the truck off at 11:30 pm, had my Webasto bunk heater running all night.

The engine heater timer fired up at 05:30 this a.m.

At 07:20 I fired up the engine.

It wound over like it was kind of cold outside, but I didn't realize it was this cold out.

So far I'm very please with my purchase of the Maxwell ESM.

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Now that's a cold start! I'm happy to hear it really works.

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Still haven't been convinced it is that good of an investment. The Yamaha EF2000is portable generator that resides on the frame rail in it's own box with removable panels so that it can run in the enclosed box out of weather and secure from sticky fingers is a better return on my investment. I plug it into the shore power connection to the Xantrex inverter/charger and keep traditional batteries fully charged. I can also remove it from the box and use it for portable power around the home and property. Total weight of box and generator is maybe 75 lb. 1 gallon of gas powers it for 8-10 hrs. Total cost less than the Maxwell. As it is hooked up to the shore power connection on the truck, it is also powering the engine oil pan warmer at the same time, while still only using 1 gallon of gas for 8-10 hrs. It has started reliably at -25F. That is about as cold as anything I deal with.

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Car audio ultra caps are 1-5 farads. Maxwell start module is 3000 farads. Just a wee bit more storage capacity.

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I sent of an email to Maxwell asking for more info on the start module, this is what I got back a very informative reply. hope it is of some use to anybody thinking about getting the ESM. I priced it from Beaver trucks in Winnipeg they are quoting $2000 so I will be phoning Kenworth in Sask in the morning!!

Thank you for your interest our Ultracapacitor Engine Start Module (ESM). Maxwell Technologies, Inc., is the designer and manufacturer of the ESM. It is distributed through all the Truck OEM parts programs and is available through any OEM truck dealer. Although it is available through all dealerships, not all may be stocking it yet it is new to some of the programs. I’ve attached some additional product information for additional review.

Pricing is all over the board between the dealerships ranging from as low of $950US to $1149US. The lower pricing has been offered by some dealers who took advantage of an earlier price special and have stock at a lower acquisition. We encourage all fleets and owner operators to contact all the dealers in your area to get them to bid for your business. No matter whom you buy it from, you will be getting the 4 year warranty, so it pays to get the best price.

If when contacting your local dealerships for the Maxwell ESM … Freightliner, Kenworth, Peterbilt, International, Western Star and Volvo/MACK dealers… please provide the part # ESM12300031 and the parts salesperson should be able to look it up in their system and provide a quote. Pana-Pacific is handling the distribution for Maxwell to the truck dealers so it falls under the Pana Electronics program which also will be helpful to mention to the parts people.

I’m not sure which part of Canada you reside in, but I can say quite a few Canadian Owner Operators have been purchasing the Maxwell ESM through Idaho dealers.

Simon

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Allan who did you deal with in parts at Kenworth Sask when buying the ESM? I spoke to parts on friday they had no idea what I was talking about and said there have never sold one??

Cheers Simon

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Gee, it was sitting right at the end of an aisle facing the parts counter for at least a month that I know of, so they were staring right at them every day. I don't normally deal there so I'm not familiar with the guys name. He was there both times on a Saturday. Kind of a heavy set guy, maybe thirty years old. He said they have sold all kinds of them for use in the handicap buses, cause they can't idle when loading at the schools.

I already sent the receipt off to my accountants. Call again on a Saturday morning. Tell him it was the big blue battery that he was staring at a month ago. If I get a chance to swing in there I'll get his name for you.

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Thanks for the info Allan I will call them back and see if I get somebody else on the phone. if not I will try and get a load that way and pop in. I have a couple questions.

If for some reason the batteries are dead and the ESM has no power in it to start the truck, Can you jump start the truck by using jump leads from another trucks batteries to the ESM directly? Or if you cant how should it be done?

Can you jump start other trucks by connecting to the ESM?? or is there too much power coming from it to quickly..?

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They do not recommend jump starting it directly on the starter side / ESM start terminal. You can do it on the battery side, and just wait for the ESM to give you a green light.

I don't know about using it to jump another truck. A capacitor has zero internal resistance, therefore it could dump it's entire charge in a nano-second if for example the dead truck had a short somewhere, causing some spectacular fire works. So I would just connect the other vehicle to your batteries as per normal.

If for some reason you batteries were dead, and after getting a boost for some time you realize that the ESM has a fault, you could just move your starter wire off the ESM start terminal and place it on the positive terminal, and you would be able to start off the batteries only. Effectively bypassing the ESM.

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Just installed one in a 98 Sterling, 12.7 for my friend. Purchased it from my local Peterbilt dealer, $750.00. Very easy to install, just ran a new wire for the trucks electronics. 13 degrees out yesterday morning and it started better than if it had new batteries and was plugged in. I'm going to install them in both of my Pete's.

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Are you talking about the Engine Start Module? I heard about it a couple days ago from Alex Deborski on the Freewheelin' show. I am very interested in it, but it is such a new product I can't find much about it. I called the phone number on Maxwell Technologies website for Pana-Pacific in Fresno,CA (the closest location to me) and talked to them a little. I asked how much it cost, they could not give me a price, said I had to call my local Freightliner dealer. I asked how much it weighed, is it lighter than a battery, they did not know how much it weighed. That is all I know for know.

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Yes thats the one. If they work as advertised and can be combined with a set of AGM batteries for hotel loads, it could be an ideal combination.

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I totally agree. Do you know pricing of the ESM?

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I'm still trying to find a dealer. Called the sales department and haven't had my call returned.

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I am interested in something like this to supplement my batteries, however, I can't justify the price tag.

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Works great!

Just don't fully deplete the ESM while the batteries are in a low voltage condition because the ESM can only recharge back up the same level as the batteries are after you fully deplete the ESM with several start up cycles.

It is a great option to having 2 battery banks with 7 AGM deep cycles for truck hotel loads as 1 bank and the Maxwell ESM as the isolated 2 bank for truck starting.

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I have never seen a engine turn over so fast with a maxwell esm

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I bought mine thru the CIT kenworth network of IL they do not stock them, but had mine in a week, $830. If you run more than 50% interstate you do not pay sales tax. I love the unit, I have let my truck sit for a week with fridge, and freezer both on and truck fired better than before I installed the ESM worth the money if you want peace of mind.

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My company installed 2 on 2 international s with Cummings engines and with 9 and 10 months melted and burned up the starter has any body heard of that happening. I heard the esm was going to be a good thing but now our company is gun shy about trying them ever again please advise I have a email into maxwell with no response as of yet

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After two years of having the ESM my starter failed. But in my case I think it's a Detroit problem as there is three of us with newer Western Stars and all three had to change our starters this past fall, but I'm the only one with the Maxwell.

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The Russians first developed this technology several years ago so they could start their T-64 tanks in the winter at -40 without any other aids. It's a sound concept. A Canadian distributor in Calgary was selling these a couple of years ago, they were a little over $4,000 at that time. Heard the Maxwell is closer to $1,000.

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I think installing an ESM in a truck is a great idea but whats the difference between what Maxwell makes and say... a super capacitor for a large competition class car audio set up and a relay or something to make the power only go one way?

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This is a truly self-contained module, making the installation easy and simple for any mechanic. This is also an ULTRA capacitor... which means it holds significantly more power than any car audio capacitor.

A car audio super capacitor doesn't hold enough power to start an engine, requires extensive soldering skills and it's very difficult to install. People who install the competition-class car audio systems have a LOT of time on their hands... something truckers don't have.

Also, by leveraging the existing battery boxes on your truck, the installation of the ESM is significantly safer than the installation of a car audio capacitor, and reduces the risk of fire and/or electrocution through the use of proper grounding techniques.

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The biggest audio super cap I saw was 100farads and it was as big as a truck battery but that is not even close to the ammount of power the ESM claims to have. Do truck engines on avarage really need that much power to crank up?

Looks like my next audio project, I'm using an ESM instead of those cheep audio capacitors... Guess ya get what ya pay for. ;)

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A quick update on my ESM I have had it in the truck for around 6 weeks. Its starts the truck extremely well. First morning after fitting it I had fuel issues the ESM had enough power to turn over the truck 5-8 times with at least 5 second bursts before running out of charge. Once that happened it was very easy and quick to reconect the cable coming of the starter on to a battery+ terminal bearing in mind it was minus 44 at the time. Fuel issues fixed batteries wouldnt start the truck hooked up to the ESM which was fully charged by this time and whoomph away she went as if it was a summers day. Next issue I have had, truck sitting plugged in at the depot, turned off, temp dropped to minus 49. The plug in stopped working during the night (fuse tripped) and engine heater didnt start either!! nope no power to start the truck, the starter turned over for 5 seconds with very little power, tried a second time nothing ESM out of charge. batteries were dead although there was enough power in the battery to charge the ESM in about 5mins,even though when I tried starting the truck with the batteries, there wasnt enough power to turn over the starter at all, then tried jump starting with a heavy duty truck starter no joy either. Not surprising at that low temp that the truck wouldnt start especially with the block heater ultimately having no power going to it. Electrical plug in was fixed, pluged in the truck left it for 7 hrs and at minus 43 the truck fired up no problem at all. I like the way my truck starts so well in such low temps, even as low as minus 37 truck starts very easily. Yes its an expensive upgrade but at the temperatures we are seeing this winter well worth it.

Simon

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Amazing. It's been installed for a year. Starter never hesitates, even in cold weather. The "Frankentruck" in our fleet (the oldest truck, it's the one we experiment with) has a DOC '03 original build ISX - DOC's are a little harder to crank usually, more resistance (the newer ISX's, & the rebuild kits, are all Single Overhead Cam - better fuel efficiency, less weight, easier starting). This truck acts as a bit of a spare &, when left for a few weeks without a start, the thing still starts INSTANTLY & effortlessly.

Worth EVERY penny. For real.

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...btw: we're in western Canada - it can get pretty %#*@ cold up here.

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I had Pittsburgh Power install one in September. It's December, I've been sitting home 3 days, with single digit temps. My truck won't start. I've charged the batteries and the ESM light was solid green. After 5 seconds of slooooowly cranking it's dead. contiued charging till solid green and still slooooowly turned over for a few seconds then dead.

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That's about as little long as the Maxwell will crank an engine. If your truck is that stiff it needs either synthetic oil or at least some kind of supplemental heating.

I use both synthetic and a Webasto engine heater. -23 last week and it fires right up. The Webasto gets the coolant up to about 130.

This past weekend it got down to -25F , still started fine this morning.

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Kelly Crozon will be eternally grateful.
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