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Author Topic: Cordless drill batteries.....  (Read 4922 times)
ChuckMC8
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« on: May 06, 2006, 07:43:25 AM »

 I have had several Ryobi 14.4 cordless drills (I am a sloooww learner), actually, I bouhgt the first one and received the second as a gift. Anyway, the batteries crap out on them and then the batteries cost more than than the drill (Preach on brother!)
    So, one of the batteries of my current set had taken a dump.
 I was looking online for a replacement battery and saw several sellers listing a "repair guide" for fixing battery packs.
Anyone had any luck repairing them, and if so, what is the proceedure?
Thanks
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Ace
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2006, 07:55:58 AM »

Well not being knowledgeable in this field and really don't know if this works since I have never tried it but a guy told me once that if you put the drill battery in a zip lock bag and freeze it overnight, take it out and bring it to room temperature, you could then charge it normally and it will supposedly charge up and work as new.

Again, I was only told this by a source that I know is not a specialist in this field but does claim to have done it with success! Does it really work? I have no clue so your guess is as good as mine!

Ace
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GeorgeMyers
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2006, 08:15:37 AM »

I have put tools with dead batteries (would not charge) on the shelf for a year or two, taken them out and recharged them, and they worked reasonably will for a while.

George Myers
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boogiethecat
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2006, 08:30:25 AM »

If they are Nicads, quite often they can be "saved" if you charge them with a NASTY high current, like 30-40 amps, just long enough to get them shower-water hot.  Then you short them out until they're discharged.
Then you do it again a while later when they've cooled down, and finally you recharge them.
You do this on the individual cells, one at a time, which means you have to take the battery pack apart.  If you try it with the pack intact, you're going to be reverse-charging some cells in the process which usually results in a small (if you're lucky) "boom".  There's also usually a curent limiting fuse inside the pack which is a second reason you can't do it with the pack unopened...
Basically that's what the "$12 how-to-save" booklet from ebay and others will tell you...

What happens internally is that they "crap out" because theoretically little sharp pointed crystals grow thru the battery electrode plates and short them out.  The high current charge and discharge cycle actually "burns" the points off, the short is removed and the batteries work again.  This "theory" might actually be all wrong, but I've personally refurbished many a Nicad in my days using this technuque, and however it works, it works well..  WARNING, doing this gets the battery cells pretty hot and you definitely risk venting  or an explosion in the worst case.  Don't do it unless you're a little bit crazy and have the right equipment... although there are other ways, a variable voltage power supply that puts out 0-12 volts or so at 30-40 amps is pretty much a requirement... and be aware that when you short a Nicad out, you're going to get a LOT of current.
A c-sized nicad cell can easily make a screwdriver turn red hot if shorted to it... so be prepared for a lot of current and don't burn things (or yourself) !!!

If they are Nimh batteries, there's not much you can do.  BUT in the case of either Nicad or Nimh batteries, it's probably safest to just replace them.  Another option would be to take the plastic housing apart and replace the actual cells- I'll bet you'll find similar individual cells at places like radio shack major electronics stores, and if you do the job yourself it will be a lot less than buying a new pack.  BUT this will likely involve soldering wires to your new cells, which could also be problematic if you're not familiar with doing this.  The way they are "supposed" to be hooked together is with spot welding that doesn't heat the battery in the process.
Soldering is possible but you have to know what you're doing, and get in and out VERY quickly.  Not recommended for beginners.

Um... I hope I've helped... sometimes where there's a will there's a way, but sometimes that 'way" takes too much experience to do it right, and it's better to head to the recycler with the dead ones.

Two more ideas... (1) ebay usually has a lot of chinese replacement batteries and I've found them to be quite good although physically they tend to be poorly packaged
(2) you might call around and find a place that will assemble a new pack for you with the proper spot welding procedure.  There use to be a place called "tauber Electronics" which was really good at stuff like that- they specialized in batteries, but they got sold a couple of years ago and have now disappeared. But there are others like them if you look around...
« Last Edit: May 06, 2006, 08:36:24 AM by boogiethecat » Logged

1962 Crown
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2006, 02:00:42 PM »

I've found the cheapest source of replacement batteries is to simply wait for the periodic sale on your drill, and buy a new drill and two battery set (I think I paid $65 for my most recent one...12v Ryobi). That's nearly as cheap as the ebay batteries ($19+$10 shipping each) for brand-name product, with a charger and drill.

Oh, I never ever ever buy a cordless product that doesn't include multiple batteries. That's walking into the add-on battery trap.

It's actually handy to have multiple drills around sometimes (avoid changing bits constantly), and as long as I have at least one spare battery among the bunch I'm good to go. When you have two dead batteries, you package em up with a drill and sell them at your next garage sale or on ebay, "as-is".
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Dale MC8
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2006, 02:14:31 PM »

A couple of years ago I made the switch to DeWalt 18V cordless tools.

I wanted a few extra batteries and found a pack of one for about $89 and a pack of two for about $99 at Lowe's or some such.

Non-Rocket-Scientist choice. When I commented on this pricing to the clerk he told me that at the start of the Christmas Season all stores/dealers received ONE pallet of the two-packs and when they were gone, they were gone.

Just a FYI way too late or way too early for most dealers. I did find a couple two-packs later in the year at a small plumbing supply store out in the boonies for about $109.

Dale MC8
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2006, 02:29:07 PM »

Chuck,

A lot of good suggestions.

We used to buy Ryobi's for the field personnel, but found out just like you that the batteries are junk.

And that the replacement costs exceed the equipment value.

We have since gone to Dewalt 18v and our pleased so far.(4 years)  FYI- we buy hundreds of units per year.

Sometimes I have found you can discharge them until dead, let them sit, discharge again, repeat and you can get them back.

The key I have found is two batteries and run them until there dead to train there charge memory.

Good luck and let us know if the freezer thing works.

Cliff
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2006, 05:44:06 PM »

My experience with DeWalt is the opposite of some of you.  My batteries went bad in about a year.  I have been told it was because that they got frozen in the unheated shop in the winter.

Conversely, my Makita just keeps going and I use the heck out of it.  It is several years old (over 10) and sits in the same cold shop and just keep going.

It will be interesting to see what the freezing treatment does for the resurrection.  My guess is that it will not work, based on what I have been told about the DeWalt
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Jim Shepherd
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Ace
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2006, 07:58:11 PM »

Hey fellow bus nuts, keep in mind that I said "I NEVER tried the freeze method" and I'm only stating what I was told and that was from someone that I KNOW is not a battery pro. If it works, great, but if not, then don't blame, or in this case FLAME me! LOL Maybe I should have never even mentioned it!

Ace

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pvcces
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2006, 08:36:51 PM »

We have some Ryobis and we had batteries getting weak, so we looked for and found high capacity cells on eBay. Then, I took ours apart and rebuilt it. It cost quite a bit, but I was thinking that the increase in capacity would be worth it.

It turned out that it was a good guess. The new pack charges just fine, never goes dead when just sitting and it seems like I just can't run it down.

There wasn't any real cheap solution, but there was a GOOD one!

Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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Fred Mc
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2006, 02:10:43 PM »

My delwat 12 v needed a nerw battery and it was going to cost $89 Can. I got a new 18 v Home Depot Chinese special for $39 Can with 2 batteries. I don't think it is as good a drill but when it craps out I;ll just buy another. I have a number of Dewlat products and am NOT impressed with any of them.

Fred Mc.
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Dallas
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2006, 02:46:06 PM »

Just for a point of information,
Dewalt 18V and B&D 18V are interchangeable.
The 14.4V are a little bit different, but if I recall correctly, to make the B&D work in the Dewalt, all you need to do is snap off one tab on the battery.

Dallas
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JohnEd
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2006, 06:56:58 PM »

FLORIDACRACKER wins!

I remarked to a friend that I NEVER get any life out of my batteries.  I bought his drills for him at H. Freight as a favor.  He had bought one and was so tickled that he now has four.  I asked how many he had bought in the last 3 years.  "None", was the answer.  He owns Ron"s hitch and tow here in Eugene, Or. and he uses the things constantly.  I couldn't believe it.  Turns out he runs them FLAT before he recharges them and that is the secret.  Silly me, I buy one and kill it and buy another.  I screwed up by not fully discharging them and, oh yea, I leave them in the charger when not in use.  Ron told me the max charge time is two hours and the instructions say that anything over a few hours will destroy the battery.  I read my instructions after all these years and you'll never guess what.  I answered "yea, but, 2 weeks shouldn't bother them".  Mine won't even hold a charge over nite.

If you can't afford a low bat, get two drills with bats.  Way cheaper.

John
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2006, 03:41:16 PM »

Sorry Guys, leys keep the personal bashing off the board!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 03:40:02 AM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2006, 08:13:52 PM »

Hi Guys
For what it is worth, I was looking at the summer sale catalog from Grizzlys today. They have 2 Dewalt 18 volt batteries for $98 plus shipping OR $179 each buying singles. http://www.grizzly.com volume 18 number 1.

Rob
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Nusa
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2006, 03:03:52 AM »



I don't misrepresent them. But there's always someone willing to pay 10 bucks even with crap batteries. Maybe they're willing to rebuild the batteries. Maybe they'll tear the drill apart and use the motor in a robotics project.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 03:48:11 AM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. » Logged
josephgranzier
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2006, 07:00:05 AM »

We have given up on the battery powered products for the most part,when considering the replacemnet cost of the battery, the constant recharging, the hassle of low speed , inconsistant power - it's just more efficient to get out the cord and have all the power you need. I bought two drills - both ryobi- 3/8 variable speed and 1/2'' hammer drill for undr $100. If they walk off the job, it doesn't kill me. Further my guys aren't pulling out and draging three chargers ,6-7 batteries and forgettin to replace the down batteries, what's charged etc etc.
 Finally we had been working late one night ,it's 2:30 am we have been there since 2:00 pm - we had 2 more holes to drill through a block wall (monting security cameras) all the drills had died and we ended up going to the truck pulling the cords and setting up the 1/2 drill , climb the ladder and zipped right through the block. A lot of frayed nerves by that time , turns out I wasn't overseeing the 2 "knuckle heads " and they had been taking 10-15min per hole -changing a battery for each hole - aghhhhhhhh I was done w/ battery powered equipment.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2006, 11:41:47 AM »

I started with a 12v dewalt. Loved it. I now have 'standardized' on the 18v. When I need batteries, I'll buy a new tool with 2 bats & another charger.

I think the biggest problem with the batteries is the charger. I had a charger go bad & it ruined 2 batteries before we figgured out what was going on.

I read somewhere that the battery pac is made of a bunch of lower voltage cells seriesd & paralleled together. If the pack is discharged too far, a weak cell could reverse polarity & drain the rest of the pack just sitting on the shelf. I don't know if that is true.

I did read the boring details of the owners manual & it said to stop using the battery at the first sign of loosing power & recharge it. I also have the 'smart' charger - for whatever that means. It said to occasionally leave the batteries in the charger overnight to tune them up. I do & have had no problems. Occasionally I'll find a dud, so I began date marking all my batts when I get them. So far the date doesn't matter.

YMMV, so experiment & stick with what works for you.
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2006, 05:05:39 PM »

Kyle, I hope you kept the battery pacs and charger. If you did take it too a Dewalt Store and if the charger is on  "the  list"  and it probobly is they will replace the batterys and charger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 I gotta disagree with the DeWalt fans also. After many batteries (2 destroyed by defective charger) I gave up and went with 18 volt Ryobi. I am very satisfied, the only difference I see is the DeWalt gripped the bits better.  My best friend got tired of buying expesive Dewalt replacement batteries and went with the 19 volt cCraftsman, he is also glad he made the switch.
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2006, 05:22:24 PM »

We have a shop here in town that sells all kinds of batteries from watch cells up to truck batteries.  They will rebuild battery packs VERY reasonably.  What they do is open the battery pack, weld on new jumper wires to new cells and then close the battery up.  Ihave had a battery pack rebuilt for a radio for little more than the cost of the cells.

You might want to look for a place like this where you are.  The name of the shop is BATTERIES PLUS.  I am not affiliated with them in any way. Grin
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Nusa
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2006, 07:06:30 PM »

More recently, I took one of my dead 12V batteries, removed the guts, and wired in a nice long curly-cord with an automotive plug on the end (from a broken hand-held searchlight I had lying around). Now if I don't have a charged battery, I have an adapter that lets me plug my drill into my truck (there's a jack in the bed) or into a portable powersource/jump battery instead. Only a good idea if you have some 12V stuff lying around.
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belfert
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2006, 08:28:05 PM »

We have a shop here in town that sells all kinds of batteries from watch cells up to truck batteries.  They will rebuild battery packs VERY reasonably.  What they do is open the battery pack, weld on new jumper wires to new cells and then close the battery up.  Ihave had a battery pack rebuilt for a radio for little more than the cost of the cells.

You might want to look for a place like this where you are.  The name of the shop is BATTERIES PLUS.  I am not affiliated with them in any way. Grin

My friend used to work at an Interstate Batteries retail store.  They also rebuilt cordless batteries, but he said the price wasn't cost effective unless the battery was no longer made.  He claimed it is cheaper to buy a new battery.  Maybe Interstate is just expensive.

Primecell (www.primecell.com) is huge in the cordless battery rebuilding business.  They charge $48 to rebuild an 18 volt battery or $72 to upgrade with high capacity cells.  12 volts are $33/$47.

Brian Elfert

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NewbeeMC9
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2006, 08:31:00 PM »

Interesting note,  I'm not sure about presently, but a few years ago, Dewalt, Craftsman, and Ryobi drills were all made at the Ryobi plant in nearby Pickens, SC  I new a buyer who was telling me that the Ryobi had metal gears at that time while the Dewalt had plastic gears and cost much more.  They weren't all made equally but similarly.

I have a Ryobi that came with two batteries and a Light.  I they stayed on there utilities and whe one died I would change out and put the dead one on the Charger.  They lasted about five years before crapping out.  Good drill & light though.

FWIW
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