Battery memory on NiCad cordless drill

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I have a Panasonic 12v (NiCads) cordless drill/driver with 2 batteries and it seems to me that the batteries aren't holding a charge very well. They are around 3-4 years old, lightly used. They seem to charge too quickly. If I leave them in the charger after the charger shows them as fully charged and let them trickle charge, will that top them up? I haven't been doing that.
Is this a loss of capacity of the batteries? Is there some way I can restore the capacity of the batteries? Any experience with these? Thanks for any ideas, info, suggestions, etc.
Dan
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The traditional way to erase battery memory is to deep-cycle the battery. For a drill/driver, I would use it until the thing hardly turns at all, then find a way of clamping the trigger down so as to completely drain the battery. You want to get it as close to 0VDC as possible. After that, fully charge the unit and see if the memory has been erased.

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That is very good advice, providing your goal is to kill the cells entirely. You should not completely discharge NiCd batteries. Read http://www.repairfaq.org/ELE/F_NiCd_Battery.html#NICDBATTERY_005 for a reasonably technical discussion of this and other properties of NiCds.
todd
wrote:

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True.

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What the hell do I know? I've only been successfully doing this for years. Must be a fluke. At least I gave some advice that can actually work instead of just shooting down someone's advice.

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I have two drills, a Makita and a Sears. The Makita is over 10 years old with the original two Batteries, the Sears is about 6 years old with the same two batteries. I always let the drill run down to where it stops turning or pretty close to stopping before recharging. Who knows, but it worked for me. I didn't do this at first, and after about 2 years one of the Makita batteries stopped holding a charge. From something I read on the internet (what the hell, it was worth a try) I took the 12 volts from my car battery charger and quickly touched it on the baterry contacts a couple times, sure enough the battery started working again, and it still works 8 years later! Regardless, I will make sure my next drill uses Nimh batteries.
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The new standard is lithium batteries.
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Jim Yanik
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ToMh wrote:

Next time you're in Home Despot or the like check out the 36v lithium-ion deWalts.
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--John
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:Regardless, I will make sure my next drill uses Nimh :batteries.
I got the NiCads because the drill came cheaper that way. It's true that NiMH will have greater capacity. They say that the modern NiCads don't have the memory effect, but I don't know if that's categorically true. However, something to consider is the fact that NiMH will self-discharge at a significantly higher rate than NiCads. For me, that's a very important factor because most of the energy drain on my cordless drill batteries is from sitting around, not from use. I think I'll stick with NiCads for that reason.
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Dan_Musicant wrote:

If you are letting the thing sit around a lot, get lithium batteries. The self-discharge of NiMH is overstated by many - they do discharge faster than NiCd, but not outrageously so. Li Ion, OTOH, will stay charged for long periods. However, the life of a Li battery is more closely tied to state of charge than to number of charge/discharge cycles. If it sits around fully charged a lot, it will not last as long as if it's allowed to sit around partially charged.
Mike
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wrote:

Do NiMH short out or fail if self-discharged,like NiCds? If not,then they can be stored,then simply charged up before use,-without needing to buy new packs.
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Jim Yanik
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: wrote: :> :>:Regardless, I will make sure my next drill uses Nimh :>:batteries. :> :> I got the NiCads because the drill came cheaper that way. It's true that :> NiMH will have greater capacity. They say that the modern NiCads don't :> have the memory effect, but I don't know if that's categorically true. :> However, something to consider is the fact that NiMH will self-discharge :> at a significantly higher rate than NiCads. For me, that's a very :> important factor because most of the energy drain on my cordless drill :> batteries is from sitting around, not from use. I think I'll stick with :> NiCads for that reason. :> : :Do NiMH short out or fail if self-discharged,like NiCds? :If not,then they can be stored,then simply charged up before use,-without :needing to buy new packs.
I think Lion rechargables isn't practical for me. To answer Jim's question, I think that Lion's will fail, charged or discharged. The life expectancy isn't really (AFAIK) more than 2 years. So, in that category, NiCads and NiMHs have Lion truly beat. Lion's life expectancy can be significantly increased by storing them refrigerated, preferrably around 40% charged. Not terribly practical for a cordless drill, but that's what I do with my digicam batteries. Even so, I don't expect them to last more than 3 years in my refrigerator... will see.
If the Lion's lasted more than a couple of years they would be a possible option. Add to that the fact that they are pretty expensive (I haven't priced them against the others but I imagine they are significantly more expensive) and they are 3rd on the list of rechargable drill batteries for me.
Dan
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"memory effect" is pretty much a myth for multicell nicads used in cordless power tools. Letting the batteries fully discharge is also potentially harmful to the battery. When all the cells are fully discharged, it becomes possible for one or more of them to go into a reversed polarity state. Once this happens that cell becomes permanently useless. For a good quality cordless tool with a "smart" charger (most any DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, etc.) the best place to keep a battery is in a plugged-in charger. For cheaper cordless tools (like Harbor Freight's) with a "dumb" charger, remove the battery after the recommended charging time.
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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snipped-for-privacy@fellspt.charm.net wrote:

I'd say it's an inevitable consequence of the fact that individual cells cannot be fully balanced for all charging parameters when assembled into a battery of cells.
The only way of ensuring maximum life from such a battery (where individual cells aren't accessible) is to do the occasional "equalization" charge, overcharging at a trickle rate until the weakest cell (the one which leaks the most charge) has had time to come up to full charge.
John
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wrote:

Long/joined twistie ties, tie wrap, string are a few ways.
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To kill your batteries
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Wonderful advice for ruining a NiCad battery Never pull a battery down below 1 VDC per cell, So assume 10VDC for a 12V battery.
Andrew Williams wrote:

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Andrew williams, a Nicad Drill is dead, needing recharge, just when it slows down. You recommend to do, what you do, with no knowledge why you do it.
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wrote:

Four years is past the maximum life of a nicad even you you have only used them lightly.
If you love that drill a lot, you can order new batteries and solder them in.
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Maybe my 10-year-old nicads never read the book :-)
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