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Thread: Batteries for drills and other hand tools

  1. #1
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    Batteries for drills and other hand tools

    The batteries on my Makita drill and impact drivers are getting tired (not bad after about 5 years). I kept the name of some forum folks who did the refurbish for a reasonable price, but I cannot track down the people, their web site, nor their eBay store.

    Replacement batteries cost from $36 to over $100. Rebuild services cost $50-$60 (14.4 volts). The $36 replacement is so much cheaper than everyone else, that I wonder if it is too good to be true - perhaps just cheap components. But I have found multiple vendors of new batteries in the $60-70 range - basically the cost of a rebuild.

    One idea is to rebuild getting the newest battery technology in the old case.

    Another idea is to buy a low to mid price replacement, and just add it to the mix of batteries needing charging - continue to use the old batteries which work fine, but just need charging more often.

    Suggestions?
    Favorite vendors?
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  2. #2
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    Regarding going to the newest battery technology, you're likely to need a new charger to handle the new technology. I have a number of DeWalt 18V cordless tools and the batteries have done very well - at least the last set of replacements I bought. I've thought about upgrading to the 18V lithium batteries but the 18V battery and charger combo is pretty expensive. It would make the tools a lot lighter, however.

    Mike
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    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    This is one site that rebuilds the batteries, I have not had any rebuilt by them. but they sound good
    There is a video that shows how they rebuild them, You can even buy the individual cells and do the rebuild yourself.

    Link
    Last edited by Dan Mooney; 12-28-2012 at 04:52 AM.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Plesums View Post
    The batteries on my Makita drill and impact drivers are getting tired (not bad after about 5 years). I kept the name of some forum folks who did the refurbish for a reasonable price, but I cannot track down the people, their web site, nor their eBay store...
    I've had good luck with these guys. I've used them three or four times. Fair pricing, and fast turn-around.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
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    MTO that Jim D mentions did well for me. At that time I could up the quality of the cell and still come in below the cost of new ones with less oomph. It seems that ship has sailed but, the batteries have lasted as well as any others. It seems a shame to dump a good drill motor just because the battery technology has changed. Unfortunately, I picked up a pair of lithium units a few years ago and have become quite used to having the tool ready to go whenever I pick it up. The holding power makes charging a few and far between activity so I sent all but one of my non-lithiums down the highway when the batteries started to go again. Seems that I too cannot let go of a good drill motor even though the battery technology is dying.

    [Disclaimer: the following comments are based on drill/drivers like I use in my shop. I am not a professional and do not run them for hours during a workday]. I loved my Makita and DeWalt units from times gone by and their batteries lasted years and years. I switched to Ridgid (yes, Ridgid) for the lithium units and they have replaced the batteries once for free so far under their LSA. Before nearly everything became Wal-Mart quality I used to think of Ridgid as a cheap alternative. The pair I bought awhile back became my go-to tools so, I picked up the $99 kit at HD just before Christmas. You can grab an extra drill motor for about $70. For drilling and driving needs in the shop, they are compact, powerful (enough) and hold a charge for weeks if not months. Having three to choose from also mitigates any work stoppage due to battery charge requirements.

    I also have a few corded drill that I use for higher speed applications like pocket holes or rough work like framing, masonry, etc. For day to day work in the shop and free batteries for life, these little guys suit me well. Oh, and I love that they have a regular 3/8" chuck as opposed to that 1/4" hex version that is so popular; different strokes .

    P.s. I'm not associated in any way. Just reporting my experiences.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-28-2012 at 03:19 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Regarding going to the newest battery technology, you're likely to need a new charger to handle the new technology. ...
    Mike
    I am currently on NiMH technology (2.6 AH) rather than NiCad (2.0 AH or less) and was not thinking of going to Lithium technology which would require a new charger (and a new fire insurance policy). My current charger is variable voltage (for different Makita tools) with 2.6 amps output at 14.4 volts.

    The comments I have heard are that the newer NiMH batteries hold their charge longer and have higher capacity. I have seen capacities of 3.3 AH for NiMH batteries from Voltman (suggested by Dan) and 3.8 AH for NiMH from MTO (suggested by Jim) - this is the "new" technology I was looking for, unless you think that would be a problem. Although lithium batteries are lighter, the buzz I have heard are the the NiMH batteries have a larger amp-hour capacity.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  7. #7
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    charlie from what i have heard a draw back on lith-ion is they die now not slowly, have used them and the weight factor is nice.. as for MTO batteries i have attempted to get some off to them and every time i start the batteries revive them selves enough to halt my shipment.. so they know that MTO is gonna make them work but when they arent looking one day they are gonna get sent yet//
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  8. #8
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    Jason at MTO is very nice to talk to. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Like Larry, I've come close, but not sent any in yet. I've got 2 drills, different voltages, 2 batteries each. One of each will not charge. Issue I have is my chargers are fast chargers and I'll have to reduce the charge rate by adding resistors to them with the new batteries. I'm thinking of getting a new set of drills, same voltage, maybe a drill driver and an impact driver, and start over. I tried to register these two Ridgids for the LSA, but had waited too long after purchasing them to do it. Thought it was automatic when I got the drills, just realized it wasn't too late. I love the drills, just not sure I want to invest almost 150 bucks to rebuild 2 batteries. Jim.
    Last edited by Jim O'Dell; 12-28-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I guess it's my age, but the last large project I had to do with my 18V drill/driver was difficult because of the weight of the drills (and batteries). I decided I wanted to get some light weight drill/drivers and posted on SawMill Creek. The advice was to get an impact driver so I went with the DeWalt 12V drill/impact driver combo - I found it at a "special price" on Amazon (I think it was $135). I really like the impact driver for driving screws - much better than a regular drill/driver. I bought some hex shaft drill bits so I rarely use the drill. Also, the weight is really good - lithium batteries - much lighter than the 18V units.

    Once you try an impact driver, you'll never want to go back to driving screws with a drill.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    ...Once you try an impact driver, you'll never want to go back to driving screws with a drill...
    Seconded. Also, after carrying a 12v lithium Milwaukee drill daily in a toolbelt for nearly a year installing artwork, I'm sold on the lighter weight (and on how long they hold a charge). I don't expect to buy any more cordless tools that aren't lithium powered.
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