By Purkeys | Dec 22, 2014



When the idea for Purkeys’ Lightning in a Box jumpstart machine was developed in the late 1990s, the goal was to resolve the issues fleets faced with other types of jumpstart machines. Previous machines lacked the power to perform multiple jumpstarts in a very short period of time and could potentially cause damage to vehicles and injure technicians.

In the 1990’s Russian engineers began developing supercapacitors capable of starting engines in extreme cold temperatures. This technology was seen as the answer Purkeys was looking for because it could provide the power needed to jumpstart multiple vehicles.  In the late 1990’s Chief Creative Engineer Bruce Purkey traveled to Russia to bring some of them back.

While these supercapacitors had a tremendous amount of initial energy, they couldn’t sustain the power level necessary to complete the jumpstart. As a result, Purkeys changed their approach and moved to using both a supercapacitor and a battery to power the jumpstart machine. It was at this time that Lightning in a Box was born. The supercapacitor was able to supply the initial burst of energy, while the AGM battery supplied the long-term energy.

In the early 2000s, four AGM batteries became the power source for the machine due to the supercapacitor’s high costs. These high charge, self-contained batteries are capable of supplying both long-term power and the initial surge. It was also at this time that Purkeys Chief Engineer Dale Henningson joined the team. Henningson added a module equipped with safety features, such as reverse polarity hookup, which prevents current from flowing if the clamps are hooked up incorrectly.

Today, Purkeys’ Lightning in a Box is able to jumpstart a vehicle in seconds with almost 40,000 watts of power. It reduces the time it takes to jumpstart a vehicle and is programmed with safety features to protect the unit, vehicle and operators. The evolution of this machine shows Purkeys’ attention to detail and ability to improve their innovations as technology advances.