Dewalt Cordless Drill battery life - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Dewalt Cordless Drill battery life

So I have this 14.4V Dewalt drill. Almost every time I go to use it, the battery is nearly dead. I do not use it constantly, but it doesn't sit for 6 months, either. Now, this also includes the XRP battery, lasts a little longer, but still......
This drill was $99 at HD, and came with a light, (which runs down the battery even faster), 2 batteries, and a contractor's bag. We have all heard to the difference in the drills between the big box stores and the tool suppliers, but does the same thing go for the batteries?

Does anyone have a recommendation on a preferably Dewalt drill, with the best run times? Thanks.
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post #2 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 11:43 AM
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Your drill is probably using NiCad batteries.

The NiCad's have a life whether or not they are used, sad to say.

If you want longer run times and longer life, you need to be looking at a drill which uses LiIon batteries.

I had a Bosch NiCad drill, several years old and like your DeWalt not used often. The batteries started to not keep a charge.

I replaced with a LiIon Bosch drill. These generate more power, so the battery and tool are lighter. Even my wife likes to use the new drill, due to be smaller size.
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post #3 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, they are NiCad. I was going to add that the drill is not too old, but I bought it in 2006-ish. Maybe that's old for a drill nowadays? Like I said, it doesn't sit for wicked long periods of time. All the batteries were charged up not more than 3 weeks ago, and this morning, 2 of them were at the ends of their charges, right from the start.......I'll look into LithiumIon.....
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post #4 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
Yeah, they are NiCad. I was going to add that the drill is not too old, but I bought it in 2006-ish. Maybe that's old for a drill nowadays? Like I said, it doesn't sit for wicked long periods of time. All the batteries were charged up not more than 3 weeks ago, and this morning, 2 of them were at the ends of their charges, right from the start.......I'll look into LithiumIon.....
I think my NiCad Bosch was about the same age. Sad to say we did good to get 6 years out of NiCad. Anything over 3 seems to be good. The drills are still strong. The problem is the replacement batteries cost more than a new drill and batteries. I do not understand why, but it is the case.

The internal chemical structure of the NiCad batteries changes with time or multiple charging. It is complicated to get optimal use out of NiCad's.
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post #5 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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So I looked at the Dewalt 20X LiIon drills this afternoon. $269 for the drill w/2 batteries. Additional batteries are $80, I think. Looks good. Maybe the wife will approve......
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post #6 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 06:12 PM
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I've had good success with the Bosch 12v. I got 2 for $99 with 2 batteries. Light an great in the shop.
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post #7 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
So I looked at the Dewalt 20X LiIon drills this afternoon. $269 for the drill w/2 batteries. Additional batteries are $80, I think. Looks good. Maybe the wife will approve......
I am finding the LiIon batteries to be more powerful, like 3fingers, I went from 14.4V NiCad to 12V LiIon and I am not feeling to have dropped in power.

So take a look at several voltages. Lower volts is fewer cells in the batteries so less expensive.
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post #8 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 06:32 PM
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Make sure you remove the battery from the drill when not in use, and don't over charge them.
Done that with mine and its lasted for several years with no issues.

When it's rustic......it's rustic
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post #9 of 35 Old 09-22-2012, 09:08 PM
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Batteries

The biggest killer of rechargable batteries is heat. Using them till they heat up, leaving them in the charger too long till they get hot, even the summer heat in the shop (if it gets hot) can shorten thier lifespan.

I made a simple little timer/recepticle that I used at work that would run for an hour and shut off. My batteries lasted for three years or more even being stored in the back of the box truck where the summer time heat build up on the weekend was unbeleivable.

Gene
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post #10 of 35 Old 09-23-2012, 04:49 AM
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I recently bought two Dewalt drills.

I believe the batteries are
Nicad.

In the charging instructions they recommend "reconditioning" the batteries by charging them for eight hours. I've been doing this consistently with great results.

Also, don't run your batts all the way down. When your tool starts to bog put the batt in the charger.

Keep your batteries out of the sun.

Double check your manual to confirm that this procedure applies to your tools.

Jeff

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #11 of 35 Old 09-23-2012, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
Yeah, they are NiCad. I was going to add that the drill is not too old, but I bought it in 2006-ish. Maybe that's old for a drill nowadays? Like I said, it doesn't sit for wicked long periods of time. All the batteries were charged up not more than 3 weeks ago, and this morning, 2 of them were at the ends of their charges, right from the start.......I'll look into LithiumIon.....
Six (6) year old NiCad batteries are on their last legs.

Does not matter the application of the batteries.

George
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post #12 of 35 Old 09-23-2012, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, I recall reading in my manual that the charger can't overcharge the battery. I believe it also says that you can recharge them at any point without hurting them.

Either way, I think I've had it with niCads.
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post #13 of 35 Old 09-23-2012, 09:26 AM
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The LiIon and NicCad chargers are different.

LiIon is not supposed to have a "memory" effect so the batteries do not have to be run down.

My drill has three little LED lights which are meant to show the amount of charge. When only 1 light is illuminated, I get the fresh battery.

The LiIon chargers are more sophisticated. They are meant to turn off completely when the battery is fully charged. Just to be safe, I remove my batteries once they are charged. They keep a charge better than NiCads when just sitting ready for use.

Only time will tell if we will get more years out the the LiIon, but I am appreciating the present performance. Like you, I hope I can avoid buying any more NiCad tools.
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post #14 of 35 Old 09-24-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
So I looked at the Dewalt 20X LiIon drills this afternoon. $269 for the drill w/2 batteries. Additional batteries are $80, I think. Looks good. Maybe the wife will approve......
I looked at the "Brush less" version of the DeWalt drill. The display was w/o battery installed. I don't know what to say other than *H*E*E*V*Y*. It seemed to be as heavy as one of my XRP DeWalt drills with the smaller 18v battery installed. I would suggest considering the 12v LiIon models, they are great drills and drivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwood View Post
The biggest killer of rechargable batteries is heat. Using them till they heat up, leaving them in the charger too long till they get hot,
I have to disagree about the charger issue. I bought two DeWalt 18 V XRP drills when they first came out. I think that it was around the time that I retired in 2003. The batteries are either in the drill or the charger. This has been going on for at least 8 or 9 years. I have not noticed any degradation of the batteries. It is important to note that DeWalt states that their XRP chargers are designed to hold the batteries at a full charge indefinitely.

Use the right tool for the job.

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post #15 of 35 Old 09-24-2012, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, the one I'm looking at is from the LiIon line, not the brushless line.
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post #16 of 35 Old 09-24-2012, 08:58 PM
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I have an 18V DeWalt that is 16 years old. I just replaced the 2 batteries that came with it about a year and a half ago. They are NiCa batteries at leat the ones I have now are. I dunno what the old ones were but I assume the same. 14 years from 2 batteries is pretty good in my book!!

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post #17 of 35 Old 09-24-2012, 09:17 PM
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Rrich and Gwood are both right, but for different reasons.

Heat is the enemy of NiCad's. Heat changes the chemical structure of the cells and this change cannot be reversed.

Not all chargers are the same.

Some chargers continue to try and charge the battery as long as it sits in the charger.

Some more sophisticated chargers monitor the charge rate, heat and whether the battery is charged and turn the charger off.

So many models, so many ways to cut costs, so many different observations.

It is possible to have a sophisticated charger which will allow the battery to sit in the charger for a long period.

I recently purchased a Craigs List cordless tool, and the charger was as dumb as proverbial dirt. If the battery was left in this charger, it would be constantly charged with resulting heat, and resulting degradation of the battery life.

NiCad batteries have a finite life. If you are getting more than 3 years out of you NiCad's, you are doing very well. Thus does not mean all cells will last more than 3 years.
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post #18 of 35 Old 09-26-2012, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
So many models, so many ways to cut costs, so many different observations.
This right here is probably the center of the issue. And, one of the questions in my original post. Does HD make Dewalt, (or any of the others), send the cheap batteries and chargers with the kits they get, to cut costs? Would I bet better going to a tool supply place to get the drill?

One of the things I hear repeatedly, is the big box store drills have plastic gears, the tool supply places don't. But Dewalt says SPECIFICALLY on their site that these new 20X LiIon drills have metal gears. Now, would that include ones sold to HD? Very hard to track down facts on this subject........
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post #19 of 35 Old 09-26-2012, 05:32 PM
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we had a problem like that once. we put the battery in the flashlight and left it on all night. next day charged it up and it was good from then on. we had to do that with a couple of them.
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post #20 of 35 Old 09-26-2012, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
This right here is probably the center of the issue. And, one of the questions in my original post. Does HD make Dewalt, (or any of the others), send the cheap batteries and chargers with the kits they get, to cut costs? Would I bet better going to a tool supply place to get the drill?

One of the things I hear repeatedly, is the big box store drills have plastic gears, the tool supply places don't. But Dewalt says SPECIFICALLY on their site that these new 20X LiIon drills have metal gears. Now, would that include ones sold to HD? Very hard to track down facts on this subject........
They do not make different tools to sell to different places.

G
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