Cordless Drill Battery vs. H.F. Brands

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I have a 12V Porter Cable cordless drill and 2 re-chargeable batteries. I'd say the unit is approx. 6-8 years old and it has performed well. The batteries are going kapoot but I use the tool so seldom anymore that I don't warrant a new drill. I checked for batteries online and the cheapest I found them were $53 + s&t, putting them around $60. http://www.realdealtools.com/product_info.php?products_idI9
I got to wondering about the quality of the Harbor Freight brands (not Makita or DeWalt) of cordless drills, primarily due to their low prices. I realize that for the most part one gets what they pay for, but do these $20-$100 drills have much quality to them? http://tinyurl.com/2n3eep
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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I am guessing that the really cheap units contain really small batteries. i.e. no real capacity to keep going for a long time. Does anyone have any experience on this.
There are people out there that rebuild old tool batteries with new "improved" cells. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=rebuild+tool+batteries
Bob
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Hasn't been my experience with HF battery tools and I've bought a lot of their stuff lately. Doing my part to support the China trade imbalance.
HF products tend to not be leading edge, so you won't see a lithium powered Hitachi equivilent.
In my experience, the chucks on their drills aren't quite as good as a quality brand. They don't guide the bit as well when tightening and loosen up while using.
Their drill bits are crap. They may be titanium coated at the molecular level, but they don't clear sawdust while drilling very well. They also don't seem to be very sharp to begin with. OTOH, you can buy a box of 50 and toss them after the job when they cost less than $10 on sale.
Their saws are fine. In fact, I really like my 12" compound chop saw.
Grinders and other hand tools are fine. I wouldn't buy production equipment there, but for household usethey work fine.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
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Get a Ryobi from Home Depot. They're cheap and work really well. you can buy replacement batteries 2 for ~30 bucks. I've had mine for a couple years now, and it performs very well. You can buy a whole new drill with 2 batteries for about the price of one replacement battery for a Dewalt or Makita.
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TH wrote:

My father would agree with your opinion, he now has two sets of the Ryobi tools, (he is a professional licensed contractor) he has owned and used Porter Cable, Makita,etc He loves the cheaper Ryobi kits and has owned them for almost two years now.
Clark...
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Don\'t you have Google in your part of the world?



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wrote:

Or go to a pawn shop and get a Milwaukee for under $100 and get a quality unit. I have a Ryobi hammer/drill and the gears were so soft that using the hammer portion once loosened the shaft from the gears. I can not even get the chuck off to replace the gear. It is cheaper to replace the whole drill. Forget Dewalt as the clutch is useless. The minimum setting drives deck screws all the way through the boards!
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Did you use cardboard for your deck?
I've been useing DeWalt drills for years and have never even set a clutch to it's minimum setting. I can't imagine what I would possible use it for, except maybe cardboard.
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One gotta wonder.

I've been using my 12V DW fairly heavily for 12 years or more, and I've yet to _use_ the clutch.
Whafor?
Don't need it, even for drywall (and my consistency in not breaking the paper is no worse than "proper" dimpler bits in professional drywall guns).
I occasionally experiment with the clutch - it does work just fine and as consistently as one should. But I always revert back.
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Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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On 23 Oct, 08:47, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

I have, on very, very rare occasions, used the clutch when driving screws or bolts into something I did not want to take *any* chance on damaging/stripping. I've used the clutch to barely snug the fasteners and then went back and finished the job by hand. Think about those particle board computer desks for example. I've put a few together for friends and used the clutch to set the plastic dowels and some of the screws. I'm all about power tools. :-)
However, even in those cases, I can't imagine using the clutch at it's minimum setting. If Mike has been driving screws through wood at the minimum setting on a Dewalt, there is something else wrong.

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Ok so Milwaukee is a good choice
What abt Makita as well tho?
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if you read carefully,you will find that the HF drills only have one speed range,maybe a max of 900 rpm.One I saw only had 500 rpm max.
If I were you,I'd just get my P-C packs rebulit by a reputable rebuilder. then you retain your present drill and have a quality tool,not some HF junk.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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That's true and something I really miss. I had an early 12v B&D drill and always used the screw/drill speed shift as well as the screw clutch. The HF drills don't have either of these and top out too slow on the variable trigger.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
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Manster wrote:

Surprisingly the drill that you referenced (ITEM 44849-1VGA) is actually a pretty decent drill for home use. The chuck works well and the battery holds a good charge. The weak point is the bushings/bearings in the main drive. They will eventually wear out if used a lot, but again they are great for home use. I have three (yes, three) of this exact model that I use regularly for everything from hanging pictures to building 800+ feet of fence. Although I have wore out a drill or two, the batteries have always remained good and thus make great extras.
Don
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IGot2P wrote:

I concur. I bought one of those for under $20 about three years ago and it's certainly a usable home tool.
But, its chief attribute to me is that it's a great "loaner", so I don't have to worry about friends and family borrowing and abusing my DeWalt and not returning it until I've asked them six times. <G>
Jeff
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Would regular lubeing of the bearings prevent the problem?
Bob
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the batteries would hold only a 20-30 minute charge. A friend told me that essentially the battery pack contains more conventional rechargable batteries - ie. If you have a battery pack that opens (clips or screws), it will likely contain 2 or 4 smaller batteries. You can likely find replacements for the 2 or 4 batteries quite inexpensively from an online dealer.
Worth checking before paying big bucks.
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Except for the (very recent) LiIon tool batteries, you will find a bunch of NiCd or NiMH cells in series in the pack. The cells are 1.2 V each, so you can easily calculate the number of cells without opening the pack from the voltage: 12 V is 10 cells, 18 V is 15 cells, etc.
The connections between cells are welded straps. If you don't have the appropriate welding equipment, you *can* buy cells that have solder tabs welded to the cells, and then connect those in series via suitable heavy wire. You probably can't solder directly to cells without solder tabs, as the cells get too hot before the solder melts which damages the seals and the cells leak. (If you have a high-wattage iron and you're really good at quick soldering, you might succeed, but good luck).
You're generally better to take the pack to a battery rebuilder who has the welding equipment and a supply of the nickel strap material, and who will rebuild the pack for you for little more than the cost of the cells alone in the quantity that you would be buying.
    Dave
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The batteries in most tools (including DW) are "SubC" form factor. They're a bit smaller than C cells. You _can_ get them online, but it's more a specialty item. The more retail-oriented battery sites don't carry them.

It's possible to solder SubCs with a soldering gun (like a Weller), but you have to preheat the tip for at least a minute or two first. Better to use an iron similar to what stained-glass people use - big beefy thing around 300W.
Yes, you have to be quick.
You need to abrade the contact points first - a dremel with a sanding drum is best/fastest, but you can do it with (emory preferably) sandpaper.
The other difficulty is what you use for strap. I use #18 guage stranded wire, with the strands spread flat. However, that still usually leaves a lump, which can make getting the batteries to fit properly a bit of a pain.
Next time I'm going to experiment with some copper tape (still soldered).
Caution: while 18ga wire can take nearly 100A before melting, a single fully charged NiCad SubC battery _can_ melt the wire if you short it accidentally. Newly charged/fresh NiCads can push a _lot_ of current.

The one I deal with seems to do the rebuild (at least for a 10 cell DW pack) for just the cost of the batteries.
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Chris Lewis,

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materials that are commonly used by model railroaders- they have a tin plated sheet that can easily br cut with a old scissors- like 8 thou thick- used em for my rebuilds using salvaged surplus cell and they work fine for contact strips. alternatively if you are good with some needle nose pliers you can break the old strips loose about half the time and reuse them. takes some wiggling and torquing to the batt at the same time allpy some pull(rolling) on the pliers. Pat- who has also frozen a cell to solder with a gun -dunno what the freezing does to the longevity of the cell though. Pat
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I was thinking of that too, but I wanted to make do with what I had. The copper tape is also on hand ;-)

I usually end up mangling them beyond useability.

I've seen it suggested. I don't think it does any harm to the cell, and give you a few extra seconds soldering...
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