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Posted: 10/26/2010 3:23:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 3:24:59 PM EDT by CJan_NH]
As always, thanks for looking

Between my workshop at home and my workroom at the office I have a fairly large collection of portable power tools-both corded and cordless. The vast majority of the cordless tools are Dewalts, and most of them run the standard XRP (Ni-Cd) 18v battery pack. The only Lithium Ion battery packs I own are an 18v hammer drill and a handful of 12v Milwaukee tools-everything else is Ni-Cd.

My question is this: What do you guys do to keep your batteries up to par for when you need them? While the obvious answer is "use them", I have more battery packs than I can reasonably use for a weekend project. I have a pair of dual chargers at work and another pair at home-but that only solves half of the problem. Even when working on a larger project like building a deck, shed, or addition there's no way I can cycle through and exercise/discharge all of them-even with a couple of guys using them.

Any ideas? Cordless tool batteries are expensive, and the last thing I want is to have a couple of dozen packs laying around that won't hold a charge because it's been so long since I've used them.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.

Some Dewalt batteries from my home workshop:
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 3:26:13 PM EDT
I would like to know this too, as I have a Ryobi cordless drill and two 18 volt batteries. Whichever one is not on the charger seems to drain really fast even when not in use at all! Are the lithium ion batteries really better for this reason?
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 3:41:42 PM EDT
I may be wrong according to what the battery people say etc etc but i still think it's a crapshoot as to if it even matters or not.

My home battery's (mostly dewalt) don't get charged discharged with much regularity / pattern on the other hand the ones we use at work (mostly dewalt) constantly see use.
What i would call premature battery failure rate seems to be about the same to me.......
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 3:47:26 PM EDT
some here cannibalize the good cells out of the battery and build a working battery out of 2 bad ones. others zap them with an auto charger. they say this restores them to like new condition. i have never tried these ideas but am told they work.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 3:56:33 PM EDT
I have to many Dewalt 18 volt tools to try to change them now. Radios, right angle grinders, jig saws, drills, hammer drills, circular saws, sawzalls, etc
to late for me to update to a newer version of battery life. I think Dewalt has turned to shit lately but I'm in to late to change now.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:09:11 PM EDT
i only have one battery, but like you guys i know that letting it sit there and not get used is bad. i discharge it a few times a month by attaching it to the worklight and letting it run out then pluggin it back in. you guys with the twenty is one theory have a harder time managing all those batteries, but i would go with a worklight routine. my cordless tools were a gift from my wife that i just dont use that much. i have the same ones with cords also. when shes looking or i only need a few minutes of use, i use them.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:21:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 4:39:01 PM EDT by CJan_NH]
Originally Posted By momar:
I have to many Dewalt 18 volt tools to try to change them now. Radios, right angle grinders, jig saws, drills, hammer drills, circular saws, sawzalls, etc
to late for me to update to a newer version of battery life. I think Dewalt has turned to shit lately but I'm in to late to change now.

I'm in exactly the same boat as you Momar. A few years ago I standardized on Dewalt cordless tools when possible for commonality with batteries, chargers, and spare parts. The same Dewalt motor brushes, for example, are used in several different tools.

Originally Posted By OverScoped:
when shes looking or i only need a few minutes of use, i use them.

I know exactly how you feel OverScoped

A couple years ago my wife bought me a (Dewalt) cordless Roto-Zip tool for cutting holes in drywall. It was a very thoughtful gift, but how often do you need to cut holes in drywall? I don't want her to feel bad, so I've found several "alternative" ways to use the tool i.e. tile cutter/trimmer, mini plunge router etc...
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:28:03 PM EDT
I hooked a cig lighter plug to a bad battery, not as portable but it keeps running.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:42:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 6:26:12 PM EDT by blacksuit]
I too have the Ryobi 18 volt drill/driver/radio/saw.... I just wait until the battery goes dead, through a charged one on what I need, then charge the dead one... Only have 4 batteries but try and swap them out... Not to hijack the thread but for the money you can not beat the Ryobi 18 volt tool set
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:48:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 4:48:44 PM EDT by CJan_NH]
Originally Posted By blacksuit:
Not to hijack the thread but for the money you can not beat the Ryobi 18 volt tool set

Hijack away, my brother

How much does the Ryobi set cost? Christmas is coming, and my wife and I are racking our brains trying to come up with something useful for her Dad. His power tools are corded and older than I am...

Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:22:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 5:24:51 PM EDT by jeffsenpai]
The starter set with 2 batteries is not too much, I think it was about $80 on sale when i got it. What is neat is that you can usually find the individual 18v tools on ebay by themselves for very cheap prices. I paid $14 for the 18v saw and it is pretty good for the small tasks I use it for. Pretty versatile battery system.

something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Factory-Reconditioned-Ryobi-ZRP824-18-Volt-Starter/dp/B0015IXMLK/ref=sr_1_41?ie=UTF8&qid=1288142629&sr=8-41
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:25:26 PM EDT
I have simply embraced electrical cords. They always work as long as I got juice or gas for a genny.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:35:41 PM EDT
I prefer electric tools that plug in.

My wife bought me a Dewalt Recip saw that was cordless last year for Christmas and I never even opened the extra battery. I thought I would put it to more use than I have but I just don't use it that much.

I have a B&D 18v drill that one of the batteries doesn't seem to hold a charge very long, either. You're better off buying a new drill set than a new battery.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:49:00 PM EDT
To answer your question CJan. I numbered my batteries so that if one gave me trouble then I could recognize it. The other thing I do is set up the light and let the light drain a battery every now and then.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:55:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mattfoley:
I have simply embraced electrical cords. They always work as long as I got juice or gas for a genny.


Yea dragging a 100 foot power cord behind you every where you go is great. Corded tools have their place..but i go cordless when ever i can. I have some dewalt batteries that are going on 4 years old now some got used every day and charged atleast once or twice a day. some still hold a good charge... others are no good if left unused for more then a day.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:20:42 PM EDT
i can throw .02 cents in here.

I currently work for my fathers millwork instillation company. We used to have strictly dewalt drills, and impacts. Due to battery wear out we switched to makita 18vlt lithium-ion 2 years ago. for those of you who need serious drills or have the money, these are the cats meow. Run for a long time, light on the end (more useful than you would think!!!), and charge in 15 MINUTES!!!! we charge them every other morning and they show no signs of capacity loss.

for those who need dewalt tools, you can replace the old NiCAD batteries with lithium as they wear out, or buy rebuild kits for your batteries.


Mr Windy's Battery

this is my dads best friend who got into this as a hobby for his company and now does it part time. hes not a member here but he is a really good guy and will help you out any way he can. he knows his shit, and it will make your batteries good as new, but again its a temporary fix to a permanent problem.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:29:56 PM EDT
I just use them until the won't hold a charge then send for new cells to rebuild them. 14V dewalts cost $35.oo to rebuild. The cells come welded in the proper shape and are simple to replace.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:39:31 PM EDT
I have had my Ryobi 18 volt set for 2 years now or close to it. What I love about This Ryobi cordless set is that you can go buy a 2 pack of batteries for $60.00. Now I am not saying that Ryobi is better or as good as Dewalt, but go and try to buy a new 18 volt dewalt battery and see how much it cost. For the around the house handyman Ryobi is perfect.


http://www.ryobitools.com/catalog/18v_oneplus#/overview


http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardware-Power-Tools/Ryobi/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xhmZarfeZ1awZ1z140i3/R-100545591/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:53:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 7:04:04 PM EDT by CJan_NH]
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
To answer your question CJan. I numbered my batteries so that if one gave me trouble then I could recognize it. The other thing I do is set up the light and let the light drain a battery every now and then.

Thanks brother-looks like I've got some work to do.

By the way, you cost me $150 this morning...





Had no idea they made a full-size cordless impact wrench. I've got the smaller version with the 1/4" hex chuck, as well as the full-size corded version.

Thanks for your input guys! I'm going to check into the rebuild kits as needed, and I'll run the Ryobi set by Mrs CJan to see what she thinks.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 7:57:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By CJan_NH:
My question is this: What do you guys do to keep your batteries up to par for when you need them? While the obvious answer is "use them"


You don't have to use them - You just have to recharge them on a frequent basis.

Most NiCads self-discharge very quickly, so they need to be recharged every few weeks. If you allow them to completely self-discharge, they tend to permanently lose some capacity.

BTW, the higher-voltage battery packs (i.e., 18 volts) are more prone to failure than their lower-voltage counterparts (i.e., 9 volts). Twice as many cells connected in series = twice as high a chance of one cell failing (thus rendering the entire pack useless).
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 8:16:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 10:45:29 PM EDT by PA22-400]
Originally Posted By CJan_NH:
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
To answer your question CJan. I numbered my batteries so that if one gave me trouble then I could recognize it. The other thing I do is set up the light and let the light drain a battery every now and then.

Thanks brother-looks like I've got some work to do.

By the way, you cost me $150 this morning...




Had no idea they made a full-size cordless impact wrench. I've got the smaller version with the 1/4" hex chuck, as well as the full-size corded version.

Thanks for your input guys! I'm going to check into the rebuild kits as needed, and I'll run the Ryobi set by Mrs CJan to see what she thinks.




I first posted this pic about 2.5 years ago


That is JR1 busting off the lug nuts on the pickup we had

I guess I should be happy you got away from that shopping experience so cheap. Hope that you really enjoy using it.

I do not have any ill will toward any brand. Just about 3 years ago I got to see the black Friday ads.
There were the cordless tools on sale and MA picked the DeWalt set, so I have been getting DeWalt since.

ETA I do understand that this site can introduce a fellow to good equipment.
This site introduced me to Nalgene water bottles, but I might have accidentally the whole thing


there are still some colors that I do not have though
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 9:10:32 PM EDT
You should do some research on the internet about storing Ni-Cd and Li-Ion batteries.

Its late and I don’t really want to get to much into nor am I confident in my ability to make sense right now but some info to get you started: Li-Ion batteries hate heat. If you are not going to be using them for an extended period of time you should store them in a zip lock bag (to prevent moister from getting to them) in the freezer and at 70% charge. In that best case scenario you will have a capacity loss of about 2% (not discharge rate) per year. If they stay in at room temperature then they will lose about 10% of their capacity per year. If say you store them outside in your garage were it stays around 100F at full charge then you can expect to have a capacity loss of about 20-30% per year! So the second year you own that battery back the max charge the battery back will ever be at is 70% and then 40% and so on. So it really does pay to take care of them. If you can’t tell how far charged your Li-ion batteries are then give them a full charge and then put them in the freeze. However NEVER store Li-Ion batteries completely discharged.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 10:39:00 AM EDT
Last winter I bought one of the dewalt radios that can also charge batteries. This one has an input for an mp3 player and was on sale and my home radio had died.

I cycle my dewalt batteries with the radio. I plug it in and use it for music and once the battery is charged I unplug the radio and let the battery play the music.

I swap batteries around every few weeks to a month I guess.

I bought several packs of dewalt batteries back when they were on sale in a 2 battery package for around 80 or 90 bucks.

I bought a couple of the 9 cordless tool packs on sale to get started on cordless tools so I am set on dewalt for a long time. Place had them on closeout for some reason.

As these older batteries die off I will replace with the lithium ion batteries.

But for right now I have about 6 batteries wandering around the house and car and my uncle has 6 as well.

I sold some of the extra tools to my uncle and he uses them all the time.

Corded tools are fine for some stuff but for small jobs around the house I like cordless. For doing projects at the hunting shack it is simpler to have a cordless setup than to take the generator with you and have to listen to the generator as well.

I have used some of the other cordless tools out there and I know some of the stuff outdoes some of my specific dewalt tools, but when I was looking for tools a few years ago I did some reading and shopping on prices and stuff.

The 9 piece cordless tool set on closeout was a heck of a deal and only came with a couple batteries but I got a house and seperate car charger for the batteries. I lived with 2 batteries until I ran into lowes selling 2 18 volt xrp dewalt batteries for 80 or 90 bucks, figure 100 or less out the door for 2 batteries. I bought several packs because my uncle also needed batteries and we were not willing to pay 80 or 90 bucks for one battery.

For what we do, working on our homes and relative's homes and what not, the dewalt tools have held up fine.

I have a friend who does construction and stuff constantly and he tears up dewalt xrp hammer drills all the time. He still likes them but he is always trying out different stuff.

I was very happy to see dewalt make the lithium ion battery work in the older tools. I have not worn out any of my tools and none are sloppy or close to wearing out from what I can tell.

Anyway, I found a way to use the batteries with the dewalt radio and I like it since I always have a fresh battery or two sitting beside it.

I also like being able to take the radio and have 8 hours of music using batteries that I already own instead of buying d rechargable batteries or something.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 2:23:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2010 3:10:27 PM EDT by CLICKBANGBANG]
Originally Posted By CJan_NH:
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
To answer your question CJan. I numbered my batteries so that if one gave me trouble then I could recognize it. The other thing I do is set up the light and let the light drain a battery every now and then.

Thanks brother-looks like I've got some work to do.

By the way, you cost me $150 this morning...

http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/public/F9xu-WkPYNv6ZAArYEpMJavo4A3HVmlfWXVpyL6N63cvZ8ODuG­LsDjwEBcMX6gmqj_yiHgsPu1pmB57VmSlxw3syr6zZ45afv2jntcDuXJ8ePhM­s7HEs5yzgZlpJlepFuZ43Md9e0-Lz_qPsUjMJFa5gQDZQzA



Had no idea they made a full-size cordless impact wrench. I've got the smaller version with the 1/4" hex chuck, as well as the full-size corded version.

Thanks for your input guys! I'm going to check into the rebuild kits as needed, and I'll run the Ryobi set by Mrs CJan to see what she thinks.


This is a great impact wrench! I have two of them. They are both on jobs every day and are used each day setting up equipment. You'll be very happy with it. It is very strong but does need a full charger to operate at max torque ratings. They are built pretty tuff because the monkeys that work for me haven't been able to brake the impact wrenches yet. They have found many ways to brake everything else that I own.

A few quick tips.–– If you are impacting anything structural or torque sensitive, check it by hand or with the proper torque wrench. When the battery is at full to 1/2 power, it will run fine at full torque ratings. But at 1/2 to 3/4 dead, it will sound and seem to be running fine but only giving 1/4 the impacting strength. So wheel lugs, vehicle/ trailer suspension and structural tie bolts, and anything to do with overhead and personal lifting NEED TO BE HAND TORQUE CHECKED. Run the nuts and bolts off and back on, but don't assume it is tight enough. A week charge holding battery, or a partial dead battery will not be tight enough.

Second thing is the electrical connections between the battery and impact wrench inside the handle are the weak link. The impact wrench have a spit sandwich squeeze (<not technical term) brass post and the battery a flat pole. When the battery is pushed in any way but strait in, the battery poles bang the wrench sandwich post. Eventually the wrench post get bent and can brake off. This goes for most of the 18v DeWalt power tools. Check them out and fix as needed. Most off the time you can catch it before it becomes a problem, and just bend them back into place with needle nose pliers. A little die electric grease on the post doesn't hurt ether.

Lastly the old batteries that are non lithium can be rebuilt for much cheaper than new. Not many people know this but the batteries that DeWalt supplies in the kits, are not the best battery. They are designed to outlast the warranty and thats about it. They don't hold the best strongest charge ether. Maybe to sell more after tool sale batteries or to push the more expensive ion lithium batteries. The rebuilds that companies like Batteries Plus build are much better than the stocker batteries. They hold a charge stronger longer and even though aren't running the new technology, are as strong as the DeWalt lithiums. I just got five batteries back from being rebuilt and they are already in the field being used like new.

Definitely number the batteries. I go a step further and put the active duty date on them (purchase or rebuild date). Helps with figuring which are loosing charge fast and need to be rebuilt. Also put your name on them. It is funny to have a buddy end up with all your batteries at the end of a work day. Actually it is not that funny. They are expensive. Put your name on your batteries/ tools. And contractors are notorious for stealing DeWalt tools/ batteries. All labeling on mine go between the battery and tool. When they are put together you can't see the badging. But that keeps the print label from getting scratched and worn off.

Top off charge the batteries every other month. If you miss a month it won't kill anything. Just don't drain a battery using it and charge/ drain/ charge/ drain. As said before the batteries and chargers don't like heat. If the battery is hot when you are done using it, don't charge it right away. Let it cool for awhile and then through it on. Also don't put the charger in the sun when charging. If the chargers/ batteries get too hot, it will throw a fast light blinking code and won't charge. Black chargers, black batteries, and sun on a hot day is no go. Advantages to having a pile-O-batteries.

Last time I tried counting (for small hand power tool insurance purposes), I had 9 cordless drills, seven skill saws, six sawzalls, four jiggies, three radios, three angle grinders, two impact wrenches, two roto hammers, two roto zips, and seven metric shit tons of batteries and chargers. I can't count all the flash lights or the dead DeWalt tool bone/ spare parts pile. I'm in construction/ demolition and the guys are ruff on stuff that is not theirs. DeWalt radio + 1/8 Ipod jack for the garage radio win.

Insurance is good. Shopping mall we are working in was set on fire last week last week and a bit of stuff was flooded. Fire collapsed the roof and broke a water main. That and the fire department pumping water in. Some stuff got really wet and smokey. More work though. :) You might check to see if you home owners insurance covers your tools for fire/ flood/ theft. I may show you what happened to those impact wrenches if you would like.....

EDIT––- Board. So here you go with proof insurance pics-

Water from the second story found a electrical cored hole through the pan deck concrete right above this trash hopper. It has a few tools you can from see from the previous nights work that are a little wet. Everything in it was put under water. There was a little hole in the hopper that drained it down to this water level point. Most expensive tools lost were two Metabo $340 concrete grinders......




Link Posted: 10/27/2010 6:09:39 PM EDT
I have one of these to help keep batteries in top form:



The RYOBI® 6-Port SuperCharger™ keeps DIYers and pros ready to work on projects with fully charged batteries at all times. The Intelliport™ Technology is EnergyStar® efficient, maximizes battery life and charges batteries only when necessary. This is the first charger where it is recommended to leave your batteries on the charger without damaging the cells. The wall mount system creates a great home storage option and the convenient carrying handle allows for easy transport. The SuperCharger™ charges all ONE+™ batteries for maximum efficiency. [BATTERIES SOLD SEPARATELY.]

Link Posted: 10/27/2010 8:12:16 PM EDT
sell some of the extras? like you said, its too many to realistically use and those things could bring in some cash rather than sit dieing.

i'll never buy ni-cd again.
Link Posted: 10/28/2010 4:49:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By CJan_NH:
My question is this: What do you guys do to keep your batteries up to par for when you need them? While the obvious answer is "use them"


You don't have to use them - You just have to recharge them on a frequent basis.

Most NiCads self-discharge very quickly, so they need to be recharged every few weeks. If you allow them to completely self-discharge, they tend to permanently lose some capacity.

BTW, the higher-voltage battery packs (i.e., 18 volts) are more prone to failure than their lower-voltage counterparts (i.e., 9 volts). Twice as many cells connected in series = twice as high a chance of one cell failing (thus rendering the entire pack useless).


Thanks for the explanation. Now I can work some maintenance into my schedule.
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