18V battery powered tools

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Hi All,
I maintain & repair houses houses on a daily basis.
I've been using Dewalt cordless tools for many years and I like their tools. Unfortunately, I'm only getting about 2 years of useable life per battery. I'm really tired of the very high cost of replacement batteries.
Does anyone make a generic 18V battery that will fit Dewalt tools?
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anonymous wrote: ...

The local battery-packaging places can rebuild existing packs w/ equivalent or better cells than OEM; typically for 1/2-2/3rds the cost ime.
Not used any DW, all I have are red (Milwaukee). 2-yr lifetime seems quite low to me; I've one pair that are at least 8 that are seemingly as good as new still...
--
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dpb wrote: ...

... Another thought...the limited lifetime would make me suspect cheap charger(s) maybe.
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re: "Another thought...the limited lifetime would make me suspect cheap charger(s) maybe."
Wouldn't that mean the chargers supplied with the DW tools are actually detrimental to the batteries, assuming of course, that the OP is using the DW chargers that came with his DW tools?
Planned obsolescence on DW's part?
Are they purposely limiting the life of their batteries?
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

A) Possibly B) Unlikely (imo) C) See B)
What is more probable (again imo, keep reading :) ) is they're relatively inexpensive tools and one of the places manufacturers cut cost is in less sophisticated chargers. Of course, they may use less expensive batteries in the packs, too.
Milwaukee chargers (at least for the packs I've experience with) are processor-controlled and shut off when the pack is fully charged; that feature isn't present on some (many?) of the more inexpensive tools. There's also more sophisticated charging rate control and so on in some chargers as compared to others.
I've not researched DW; I'd expect their high end stuff is similar to M but I _think_ they have a fairly wide range of products in their lineup so if OP has less expensive group might be an issue.
Again, it was a thought of possible contributing cause...
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As far as I know, DW doesn't have high-end and low-end tools in the manner that I think you mean.
For example, they have "standard" drills and they have impact drills, but these are different tools, not high-vs-low end.
They have different lines of batteries (XR, XR2, XR+) but the chargers are all the same, at least within the 7.2 to 18V range. I can't speak to the 36V tools since I don't own any - yet. <g> The different batteries (XR, XR2, XR+) have different run time specs.
Yes, their chargers do shut off once the pack is fully charged. See here for info on their chargers as well as some charging "best- practices".
http://www.dewalt.com/us/articles/article_cordless.asp?Site=cordless&ID=702#4
My favorite charger is this one - it runs on the battery when not plugged in to an AC outlet and charges the battery when plugged in. I swap my batteries in and out to keep them exercised, typically running the device on the battery until the reception begins to weaken.
http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/tool_detail.asp?productID=8042
I often plug my GPS into the CD-player port and listen to MP3's. My kids use it with their iPods at picnics, camping, etc.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:
...

...
... OK, assuming OP's gear is in the same series and not something much earlier w/ less sophistication that should remove that as a likely culprit.
It leaves the other points of how to best handle/charge/use the battery packs addressed therein as things for OP to consider.
At this point I've no additional input; don't know that my Milwaukee reds would have lasted OP any longer than his yellow DeWalts lasted him, only that I've gotten significantly longer than 2-yr life from every pack I've had. As the brokers are required to say, "past results do not imply future performance". :) (Or known as $0.02, ymmv, etc., ...)
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On Wed, 1 Jul 2009 10:18:41 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I'm using three Dewalt 18V chargers and one Dewalt 36V charger.
I've started writing the date on batteries on the day I put them in service. I'm alarmed at the rate these 18V batteries are dying. I have not had any 36V volt batteries die yet but I've only got about 1.5 years on those so far.
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anonymous wrote: ...

... See other note above...
Still no real data/information to go on -- models would be good; what does DW indicate about charging cycles/battery life? Are these the "top of line" DW tools or a more modestly-priced tool?
I've no really current knowledge of what DW has out there now for cordless; all I have of the brand is a 10+ chopsaw and a 40+ circular saw (both of which I like very much; what current versions of the same are I also have no clue altho the chopsaws still superficially _look_ the same on the shelf.
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Estimate batteries are charged 75X per year.
The current tools were a combo 4 pack of XRP tools in a hardshell case. It does not appear to be current stock:
DC988 hammerdrill DC385 recip saw DC390 circle saw and a light
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anonymous wrote:

...
See answer in subthread above to DerbyDad...in short, if following "best practices" as someone else notes, seems short lifetime to me but I've no firm solution nor would my experience be certain to translate to yours.
The DW site info seems to contradict the hypothesis of a fundamentally weak concept; one could always, I suppose, question the implementation as opposed to someone else's. No data or reason to think it so, though.
--
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I haved used PRIMECELL.COM thewy do a excellent job. Rebuild for 18 volt pack is under 50 bucks and you will likely see 3 times the capacity:)\\\\
anyhow this is from their website./.........
Please notice that we do not offer new battery packs for cordless power tools. We specialize in rebuilding and upgrading your existing equipment for superior performance. The battery you send to us is the battery that will be serviced and returned to you. Our upgrades may be used with any of the chargers sold for use with the original battery. FOR ANY BRAND NAME - Price is based on Battery Voltage.
Drills, Hammer Drills, Screw Drivers, Saws, Wrenches, Nail Guns, Grease Guns, Sanders, Grass Trimmers, Lights, Grinders, All Other Cordless Tools and test equipment. For Ace, Aeg, Amstron, Battery Barn, Blue Point, Bobs Tools, Builders World, Cox, Chicago Pneumatic, Disston, Duracraft, Eureka, Fromm, Black and Decker, B&D, Bosch, Craftsman, Delta, DeWalt, Festool, Grainger, Grizzly, Hilti, Hitachi, Hoover, Jepson, Lincoln, Mac Tools, Master Mechanic, Max USA, Metabo, Miller, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter Cable, Panasonic, Proto Zip, Paslode, Premium Gold, Puckett, Ramset Redhead, Roto, Ryobi, Skil, Singer, Signode, Snap On, Senco, Sun, Shop Vac, Tajima, Tanaha, Tillman, Tough Test, Ultralast, US Power, Wahl, WEN, Wirsbo Cordless Power Tool Batteries - we make them work like they should.
We do not offer new tool battery packs. Our quotes are for rebuilding your old battery pack. (It must be sent to us.)
If you are considering the purchase of new battery packs from the original manufacturer.. remember this: If your tool is 5 years old... it is likely that the existing replacement packs are also 5 years old. They stopped making the battery packs... when they released the new model, and the gadgets that go with it.. If you do not care about the gadgets that draw most customers into the "buy a new one" trap - then you are our intended customer. Our purpose is to provide improved performance... for use by those who require only the best. It is not our intention to compete with low cost replacement batteries. Remember that the poor quality battery problem will continue... it is sold to you along with the new gadgets and doo-dads. If you do not require more than a casual use of your cordless tools, then you should probably search for the lowest price.
Others claim that batteries without screws cannot be rebuilt - NOT TRUE - WE REBUILD BATTERIES WITH SEALED CASES.
When rebuilding your old battery - we only use factory fresh cells, that exceed the original specifications. There have been considerable increases in the capacity of all rechargeable cells, and they continue to improve every day. Your power tool has never had it so good. Battery packs for cordless tools may be viewed as three categories.
They are typically graded by voltage and capacity. The voltage indicates how many 1.2 Volt cells are used. (10 cells = 12 V). The mAh or AH refers to how much energy can be stored. (2.1 AH is the same as 2100mAh etc) The higher the number, the better the ability to provide continued use without recharging. The physical size of the cells, and if they are NiCd or NiMh ... determine what can be used as a replacement. Battery capacity measurements are based upon finished product testing with top quality cells. Often times cells may be marked with capacity ratings that are misleading - some perform better - others less - we test to make sure.
Standard capacity packs: They are usually sold in pairs, in kits with do-everything attachments. They were made at minimum cost, with small size cells, that provide little operating time. These batteries often spend more time in the charger, than they do in the tools. The batteries are usually only 1.0 AH cells, we rebuild them with the highest available capacity. (depending of the model the upgrade can be 1.3 AH or higher. The result is usually a 25 to 35% increase in run time.
Extra, XR or Maxi etc. battery packs. These are large capacity NiCd packs, they are usually 1500 to 1700. We only replace these with 2.1 to 2.4 AH cells for a 40% increase in run time.
NIMH -Maximum capacity packs: NiMh batteries are usually available in two battery sizes. Small packs were 1.5 AH and large battery packs were 2.2 AH to 2.6 AH We rebuild the small case with 2.1 AH and the larger packs are improved to 3.3 AH. Either rebuild usually adds 50% more run time.
Our price to rebuild Tool Batteries is based on the voltage and cell type (NiCd or NiMh). FOR ANY BRAND NAME. The brand name or model number does not change the price.
"Think Better than New." (not cheaper than new) Our rebuilds are designed to be superior in capacity, and of the highest possible quality, for use with your existing equipment. We do not offer poor performance for cheap prices.
Click here to see what magazines are reporting about PRIMECELL rebuild service.
Make it easy .. A printer friendly order form is available for download at this web address: http://www.primecell.com/PDF/OF062808-BT-2PG Download the file and use it to send your batteries for quotation or rebuild.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prices for rebuilding cordless power tool batteries (including performance upgrades) are listed below:
Locate the voltage of your cordless Power Tool Battery Brand name is not important.
Identify chemistry -- Read the markings on the battery to determine if it is NiCd or NiMh.
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bob haller wrote:

...
I don't know these folks in particular and if you've had good luck with them, that's good; I won't argue that.
But the above quote makes me extremely suspicious--it's simply untrue for most vendors unless they completely shift battery pack designs which few do because of compatibility.
Milwaukee has used the "slide-on" design "since forever"--it's certainly not true they've not manufactured a new battery pack in nearly 15 years; in fact they replaced under warranty a whole series of 18V packs owing to a possible problem w/ the internal venting mechanism within the last year or so for a tool of over 5-yr's age at the time. Manufacturing dates will be on the packs.
I get really leery really quickly of any outfit with such obvious nonsense as a sales tactic.
--
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This is not an endorsement, since I've never tried PrimeCell. This is nothing more than a slightly different interpretation of what they are saying.
I *think* what they may mean is that if I have a 5 year old 18V drill and they are now selling 36V drills, then they aren't making any more 18V packs. If I want to buy a replacement 18V pack, I'm going to get one that is as old as my original one.
Now, that's not saying that it's going to be as bad as the one I've been discharging/charging for 5 years, but it's not going to contain batteries with newer technology.
In other words PrimeCell appears to be claiming that the original manufacturer is going to give me 2004 technology, while they'll put 2009 technology in my 2004 case.
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DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

...
But that simply isn't true--manufacturers aren't ceasing to make 18V (or most other voltages, either) product, they're simply adding other models.
Milwaukee has three: 12, 18 and 28, they have quit the 14.4 DeWalt still has five choices in current product: 24, 18, 14.4, 12, 9.6
I'm sure the others all similar--there's not a market for only one size fits all.
It's ludicrous to think they had all the possible number of battery packs they ever expected to sell for a complete product line built at or shortly after the same time the line was introduced, even if the voltage is dropped as was the 14.4 by Milwaukee. The packs are still available and I'm quite certain if you were to order one it would have a quite recent date of manufacture--it's simply not economical to maintain any more inventory in storage than needed for near-term demand.
At some point, eventually they will discontinue them when demand for new packs diminishes to the point of it being uneconomical to keep them in stock, but that won't happen until a very high percentage of all the existing 14.4 tools in existence have ceased to be used and I would expect that to be quite some time yet to come.
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DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

Sorta' overlooked this part, sorry...
The part of what they may do may be so; I don't think the other portion is necessarily true, however...Milwaukee has Li-ion replacement packs in the same form factors as the originals and I've already noted they sent out an upgraded pack design for everybody on registration of a new design some 3-5 years past the original design time.
Maybe they mean something that's so but I think it's overblown at a best interpretation from their standpoint and and blatantly wrong at worst.
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On Wed, 1 Jul 2009 13:03:15 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

The exact way I read it.
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Oren wrote:

That's reading something into it that it does _not_ say--what it specifically claims is that the packs were built and are aged...
"If you are considering the purchase of new battery packs from the original manufacturer.. remember this: If your tool is 5 years old... it is likely that the existing replacement packs are also 5 years old. They stopped making the battery packs..."
Not "the manufacturers may still be using the battery type of five years ago" but "the _EXISTING_REPLACEMENT_PACKS_ARE_ also 5 years old".
That's a pretty d--d explicit claim that is bogus backed up by the dates of manufacturer of OEM-supplied packs I have in hand.
Of course they included the typical pitchman "out" of adding the "it is likely" that allows them to weasel out of it being an out-and-out lie; it's always possible there's _some_ discontinued niche product out there _somewhere_ for which it's true the only remaining replacement supply is old, but that's relying on the nuance of the Clinton-esque "depends on what the mean of is is". Again, sure, it's just ad-talk but doesn't give me a warm fuzzy that they're on the up-and-up if they need such hyperbole to sell product.
Again, if they've done well, good; maybe satisfied customers could suggest they tone they claims down to something more realistic.
And, of course, the obligatory $0.02, etc., ...
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Ya know, one day someone will build a drill that runs on 120 volts.
TDD
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wrote:

I can say this, battery capacity design etc has improved tremendously over the last few years. vfound after looking at replacing battery in some GPS units among others
primecell installs brand new latest design high capacity cells.
many companies build for a cheap price point with low capacity cells, or high capacity cells in a 5 year old design that are now low capacity in comparison with new premium cells of today.
manufactuers have zero incentive to improve battery packs for old units.
try some primecell rebuilds like I did and you will be amazed
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