Inflate tires with your Micro-start

I make no secret of my continually renewed admiration for Antigravity Batteries’ Micro-Start XP-1 and XP-10 battery pack/jump-start kits. The half-dozen or so of them scattered among the Overland Expo training team have been used and abused beyond reason, and they continue to function. We’ve started everything from motorcycles to 460-cubic-inch gasoline engines to turbodiesels. We’ve hooked three in series and produced excellent field welds (much to the horror of company president Scott Schafer). We make sure one is in any vehicle we’re driving.

Motorcyclists have begun carrying the smaller XP-3 and XP-5 Mini, freeing them as well from the tyranny of jumper cables or the need for a good Samaritan if caught with a discharged battery. Now Antigravity has come up with a cunning little air compressor, about the size of a sandwich, that can either be powered from a Micro-Start battery or plugged into a standard cigarette lighter socket.

I expected it to perform as well as the company’s other products, and it did: A quick test on Roseann’s R80 G/S took the front Continental 90/90-21 tire from 8 PSI to 35 PSI in two minutes flat, and the compressor didn’t even get warm doing so. The inflation hose is only about three inches long, so the pump simply hangs off its screw-on chuck. A dedicated 18-inch cord connects it to a Micro-Start power source (I used our XP-1); the ten-foot cigarette-lighter cord is long enough to reach into a vehicle or to another motorcycle.

Of course, since this is a Micro-Start product, there's by now a certain assumption we'll abuse it. So I left the compressor hooked up to the power pack and connected it to a 235/85 16 BFG AT KO2 on our Tacoma. Ambient temperature was 95ºF. The tire was at 20 PSI; 16 minutes and 30 seconds later it had reached its nominal 40 PSI, and the compressor, while quite warm to the touch, was still buzzing away happily. The power pack still showed three of five status lights. So, while I certainly wouldn't use this as a primary compressor for a four-wheeled vehicle, in a pinch it would suffice.

What more can I say, except I hope the manufacturer edits the features list on the box. The tire inflator is yet another excellent offering from Antigravity Batteries. And at $25 it is a bargain.