I was just about to purchase my new set of DeWalt power tools from Costco (great price...forever guarantee) but I just went to homedepot.com and they just introduced the first Lithium-Ion battery powered cordless tools! What does everyone think?
Likewise, Makita got complacent, and lost a market it once "owned".
That's quite true, first cordless drill I ever owned was a Makita, I wouldn't buy another now. Also,
Now if everybody had interchangeable batteries....that would be something to crow about!
Indeed it would be, but I can't really see that happening anytime soon. One point I'd like to make about batteries for these drills, I wish that the cost of replacing a worn out battery pack wasn't as high as what it is. I've stored my old drills away because the cost of getting the batteries replaced or repacked was more than the price of a new tool. Meanwhile you are left with a tool you can't use or sell just because the battery pack gave up the ghost. GRRR I only use cordless tools when working outdoors anyway, or there is no power supply nearby.
I found out the hard way that with very little work Dewalt and Milwaukee batteries could be fixed. On the batteries I've fixed, just take out the screws and look for either a shorted connection or a loose connection. Break out the solder gun and a couple of minutes later you done. The batteries come with a self-sticking metal strip to tie the batteries in series, I do not know were to get the replacements for these. If anyone knows please post. Thanks Sparks30
There are certainly any number of companies that will rebuild battery packs below what the manufacturer charges for a new pack.
If you want to do the work yourself, the individual cells can be bought at plenty of places. They are not inexpensive. Figure $4.50 and up PER battery depending on what kind of batteries you have now. Sanyo and Panasonic are the big names in the rechargeable battery business. Just a quick look turned up a site that sells individual cells: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0097p?MANUFACTURER=SAN&FVSEARCH=CELL+++
My gut reaction is that you're going to pay a lot for a fancy battery may not pay for itself with increased productivity. For some guys the lighter weight and increased battery life will be worth the additional cost.
My limited understanding of the technology is that it’s not quite as simple as taking out the NiCd or NiMH battery cells and replacing them with lithium ion cells. Lithium ion batteries have a different “power curve” than NiCd or NiMH so there’s additional layer of electronics in the battery that essentially shuts off the battery (and obviously the tool) at a certain level of discharge. Which could really suck if you’re 20ft. up on a ladder and two turns short of fully driving a screw. Milwaukee deals with this by adding a “fuel gauge” to the battery pack.
While their low weight and small size make them ideal for cellphones and laptops, lithium-ion haven't been suited for cordless drills and other things that draw a lot of current. It used to be that li-ion was very delicate, easilyt destroyed by short-circuit or overcharge and hampered by a very high internal resistance. These shortcomings have now been overcome with new robust high drain cells, but only at the price of a much lower energy density. This diminishes the advantage over NiCD or NiMH.