Dewalt NiCad to Lithium Ion

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Steve_Honeycutt

Chat Administartor
Steve
Corporate Member
I was thinking of upgrading my 18 volt NiCad drill, sawzall, and light to lithium ion.

http://www.google.com/products/cata...=ek-zTsKJG8OgtgfJ5vXbAw&sqi=2&ved=0CHAQ8wIwAg#

I use my tools sporadically and lithium ion seems to fit my style better than the NiCad. I have to replace my current NiCad batteries anyway since they will not hold a charge. Has anyone made this switch? Is there anything that I should know before making the plunge?

Steve
 

Ben325e

New User
Ben
Just make sure you don't mix the chargers and batteries and you should be okey dokey. The listing you post says its compatible with all Dewalt 18v tools.

I'm totally sold on Lithium ion tools.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
I liked my Lithium Ions until the batteries died. They cannot be rebuilt. The other issue I have with them is that they give 100% of their charge up until the last. This is OK for most applications, but I refuse to use the flashlight. I don't want to go under a house or into an attic & have the light just up & die without a little warning.
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
I liked my Lithium Ions until the batteries died. They cannot be rebuilt. The other issue I have with them is that they give 100% of their charge up until the last. This is OK for most applications, but I refuse to use the flashlight. I don't want to go under a house or into an attic & have the light just up & die without a little warning.

Actually, with Lithium Ion batteries you really want to keep the batteries 100% topped up between uses any how. Lithium Ion batteries thrive on shallow charge-discharge cycles (just the opposite of NiCd) but have a short service life if repeatedly deep-discharged (again, the opposite of NiCd). So, with Lithium Ion batteries you will want to regularly top off the batteries at the end of day, preferably well before they are anywhere near dead. Since they do not self-discharge anywhere near as aggressively as NiCd batteries, this means that they will still be at nearly full charge the next time you need them -- even if it is several *months* later.

Since the batteries will always be at, or very near, full charge, you really don't need to be too fearful of the flashlight going dark anytime soon. In the event you run the flashlight so long that you do run the battery dead then the solution is to swap the dead flashlight battery for your drill/saw/etc. battery and make a strategic exit. In the event that your flashlight and drill batteries are not compatible, a small pocket-sized penlight (esp. if a bright LED) will provide plenty of backup light to make your exit and swap your discharged battery(s) for a fully charged battery(s).

Even so, if you pay attention you will usually get 1-2 minutes of warning before the Lithium Ion batteries cut out (it is actually a protective circuit that cuts the power to prevent irreversible damage). The light (or tool) will begin to dim (or lose power) by about 10-20% in the minute or two before the protection circuit cuts the battery out.

I dare say, I'm much more sensitive to your concern than most as my sense of balance is primarily visually based (so much so that I look like a drunkard trying to walk in a tall building on a windy day -- since the swaying means that vertical and horizontal references no longer correspond to plumb and level -- I can not even stand for more than a moment without light). Because of this I keep a very small pocket flashlight on me at all times (about 3/8" diameter and 2-1/2" long) on my keychain -- just enough light to get out of most any bind safely.

By extension of the above, however, users who regularly and repeatably run their batteries until dead will typically suffer premature battery failure (i.e. short service life) with Lithium Ion batteries and are actually better served with traditinoal NiCd or NiMH batteries. Those who, like myself, tend to have frequent shallow charge-discharge cycles will most greatly benefit from Lithium Ion technology because this is where Lithium Ion batteries truly shine. The shallow charge-discharge cycles greatly extend the expected service life of a Lithium Ion battery.

HTH
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
Glad to know all that, Ethan, since I went out today & bought ANOTHER Lithium Ion 18v Makita Impact Driver. Didn't wanna get the combo because I had a good drill from a previous set. The impact driver was starting to sound a little crazy. I'll keep the batteries freshened up more on this one, but when I get to using it a lot the chargers can't keep up.
BTW, the cost of the driver, charger & 2 batteries was not much more than buying just 2 replacement batteries.
Go figure
 

Ben325e

New User
Ben
Ethan, are you feeling okay? I don't remember you ever putting up a post that long without bold,italics,or underlining!

:gar-Bi
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Ethan, are you feeling okay? I don't remember you ever putting up a post that long without bold,italics,or underlining!

:gar-Bi

Thanks for the chuckle... though it hurts right now! I've been a bit under the weather with a cold for the past week, so maybe there is something to your observation... :rolf:
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Glad to know all that, Ethan, since I went out today & bought ANOTHER Lithium Ion 18v Makita Impact Driver. Didn't wanna get the combo because I had a good drill from a previous set. The impact driver was starting to sound a little crazy. I'll keep the batteries freshened up more on this one, but when I get to using it a lot the chargers can't keep up.
BTW, the cost of the driver, charger & 2 batteries was not much more than buying just 2 replacement batteries.
Go figure

I have a feeling that we *all* share the same pet peeve with respect to replacement battery costs. Sometimes it actually *is* cheaper to buy a whole new kit than to by 2 or 3 new batteries and it absolutely torments (emphasis for Ben's entertainment :wink_smil) me -- I just can't justify buying a new kit when my existing tools are still in excellent condition -- just that much more waste to wind up in our landfills!

And then when a battery pack is finally discontinued -- but your tool is still perfectly good -- you have to go that extra mile to invest in custom battery rebuilds. One of these days I'll have to build a mini spot welder so that I can build my own custom battery packs.

My chargers can usually keep up with me... especially as *slow* as I am ... nonetheless I have no less than 4 chargers so that I can charge up to 4 batteries in 40-80 minutes (depending upon capacity and depth of discharge). Multiple chargers makes it real easy to top everything off at the end of the day while also ensuring that my rundown batteries will usually get topped off before I run out of fresh batteries.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
I dare say, I'm much more sensitive to your concern than most as my sense of balance is primarily visually based (so much so that I look like a drunkard trying to walk in a tall building on a windy day -- since the swaying means that vertical and horizontal references no longer correspond to plumb and level -- I can not even stand for more than a moment without light). Because of this I keep a very small pocket flashlight on me at all times (about 3/8" diameter and 2-1/2" long) on my keychain -- just enough light to get out of most any bind safely.



HTH
Makes it fun when you shampoo hair in the shower doesn't it:rotflm:? Been there, done it. Actually it isn't fun, but rather frustrating to not know which direction you are facing until you open your eyes. Even more fun is to sit down in recliner, close your eyes, and feel like you are agitating like a washing machine, even though chair is actually still. To reference balance, I touch objects as I walk. The extra input helps.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
My oldest set was a Hitachi NiCad 14.4v. I had 3 batteries rebuilt by Interstate Batteries (they have a store ~3 miles from my home). It took 6 weeks to get them back & they couldn't do anything about broken cases (my fault for dropping them off ladders). After getting them back, I let one of the 2 chargers I had for this particular battery get 'damp'. Plugged in a battery & heard a 'pop' & smelled smoke. Scratch one charger. :BangHead: I'll just hafta delegate this set to the shop and for backup.
Now that I know that Li-Ions aren't to be fully discharged I'll be more careful with them.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I have several 18v Dewalt tools, all nicad batts. However, Neighbor bought a set lately with the Lithiums, and they work well in my tools also.

As for the chargers, usually there is a paper insert with any Dewalt battery that has a chart showing which model chargers are good for which model batteries (voltage wise as well as Lithium/Nicad, etc.)

Go
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
FYI to anyone with Ni-cad batteries, Interstate Batteries can rebuild any battery that has a screw together case. Cost is less than new and carries a 1 year warranty.
One caveat: If the case is broken when you give it to them, it won't be healed up when you get it back.
 

kommon_sense

New User
Tavaris
I've got a few of the nicds and a single lithium battery. So far, I'm happy. Use it in a variety of tools, hammer drill, flashlight, and 1/2" impact. One nice thing about the lithiums is that they are nearly 1lb lighter than the 18v nicds. Makes a difference if you have a lot of work to do.

If you can wait, hold off a bit. Amazon usually has some good deals on dewalt tools/batteries on black friday, and leading up to Christmas.
 
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