Most manufacturers will state that the life of batteries in terms of
the number of charging and discharging cycles. I remember reading from
somewhere that rechargeable batteries has a shelf life even when the
batteries are not used.
For e.g., when the batteries are not being used, they will still be
"dead" say after 24 months or so. I also heard that for infreqently
used rechargeable batteries, it is necessary to store them at a very
low temperature (about 10 deg. C) in order to to prolong the shelf
I intend to buy a cordless screw driver mainly for use in driving
screws on cabinets, walls etc. And I will use it only about 3 to 4
times per year. And if the batteries really have shelf life, it would
not be econimcal. Would it be better to get the corded tool instead?
Battery technology keeps changing. My experience tells me that current
batteries are good for maybe 3-8 years total time if treated well.
In your case I would suggest making a plan to recharge them on a
schedule maybe every two or three months. Letting them totally discharge is
I use almost all corded tools, having tired of batteries dying at the
worst possible time......
usually their capacity just gets less over time accelerating near end
of life, about 3 years for most battery packs today.
comanys should be required to make them accept standard cells for easy
supposed lifespan. If you use them once in a while, or don't deep-cycle
them, expect them to die young. I have exactly one rechargable tool at
home, a 24v drill that I bought on sale (and on impulse) and like for small
jobs, but realistically I almost never work far from an outlet. At work, I
am Mama to about 100 rechargable walkie-talkies (real ones, like cops use),
and I only get 2-3 years out of the batteries, because I can't get the users
to deep-cycle them. When they are at their desks, they leave them in the
charger, and the battery exercisor can only do so much once they stop
holding a charge. And these are fancy supposedly memory-resistant batteries,
about 60 bucks a piece. If I ever replace this analog system with a trunked
digital, I'm gonna hang a dozen gang chargers on the wall by the coffee pot
or something, so they can't help but drain them.
But having said that- rechargeables are a whole lot better than they were 20
years ago. In an earlier life, I took pictures, and had several rechargable
flashes. Under occasional use, they all died in a year or so. My current
grab-first camera is a digital, and it holds a charge unused for at least a
month, where the old stuff would drain down in a couple days.
My first Makita 9.6V stick lasted 10 years when used daily,6095DW
drill,light usage,but daily,charged when drill speed began to drop.The next
stick only lasted a couple of years because it got very infrequent use.
Batteries have improved, but they will still deteriorate over time. Keeping
them cold is not going to help in the long run. In your situation, it is
difficult to monetarily justify a cordless tool knowing you will never get
full value of the batteries. If you get three to four years out of them,
you'd be about average, longer is a big plus. Only you can put a value on
the convenience of cordless.
After my Makita 7V went bad I bought the 9.6V Makita the batteries
seemed last at best 2 years I did use it a lot. After that I bought a Dewalt
14V they said the batteries could be charged about 1200 times. well I'm a
little over two years no where near 1200 and they charge but don't last
long. So hear I am again $50 for each battery or a whole new set up. I also
think Dewalt tools are way over rated. But now I just read about a new
design drill. what's deferent it has a electrical type cord attached to it,
then that hooks into a central power supply ( they do make extra length
cords you can add to it) The good part is you never have to charge it and
they say it should last over 20 years and best of all there actually
I'll check out primecell. I know there is a couple places in Sac. that
rebuild batteries also. A telephone with a cord I bet it's the same CO.
making the drills. The possibilities are endless, modern science always
used to be that one needed a longer and longer cord, but the new
design uses a copper ring around the earth and a fixed length wire
with a contact that slides across the ring. To complete the circuit,
they use a "space ground" which is the astronomic equivalent of an
That's an understatement. Dewalt tools always have been and always
will be overpriced Black and Decker junk. As a construction
electrician, I remember when Dewalt first came out, guys were buying
them right and left because they weighed less and cost less than
Milwaukee (who ruled the market at the time, IMHO, still does). Now I
don't see them very often on jobsites. A couple of years ago I even
saw a guy with 4 Dewalt cordless drills trying to get ONE to work.
To the OP, the old adage, "use it or lose it" applies to cordless
tools, even quality ones. I had a Milwaukee 9.6 volt cordless drill
that the original two batteries, charged per manufacturer's
instructions, used almost daily, lasted for 10 years. I even changed
out the chuck to 1/2" and used 4" holesaws. They were still working
well past the specified limitations until I suffered a rotator cuff
injury and couldn't work for 6 months. The Batteries had to be
replaced. I bought new batteries, which remained trouble free with
almost daily use until I sold that drill 3 years later in good
condition. IMHO, there is something to be said for a quality tool.
Paying $80 for one Milwaukee battery may seem a lot, but compared to
buying 3 or 4 $20 Ryobi's in the same time period, where's the
Batteries differ. LiIon hold charge for a long time on the shelf, but
they also slowly self-destruct whether they are used or not. They will
have much less capacity in 2 or 3 years even if you only use them a few
times a year.
NiMH are more robust, in that they can last many years if treated well.
They do self-discharge at a faster rate, so if you only use the battery
3 times a year expect to have to charge it *before* using it. NiMH can
also be charged in well under an hour, while LiIon takes an hour or two.
Corded tools have more power and run forever without recharging
batteries. But if you're working where there is no 120 VAC, cordless is
better than the alternatives (gas generator, big battery and inverter).
If you do get a cordless screwdriver, try to get one with an
interchangeable battery pack instead of an internal battery. This lets
you (a) replace the battery easily when the battery dies, and (b) have
more than one battery so you don't run out of power at a bad time.
For those who care to learn something from alt.home.repair:
Refrigerating batteries doesn't help much
You may have heard that keeping batteries in the refrigerator will help them
keep their charge. Is that true? According to Consumer Reports, the answer
is "not really". They compared 432 Duracell AA, C, and D batteries in a
refrigerator with some at room temperature. After 2.5 years, refrigerated
AA's had kept their charge perfectly, but the unrefrigerated batteries lost
only <4% of their charge. (The unrefrigerated C's & D's lost only 10%.) So
while it's true that refrigeration helps, the savings is negligible and not
worth it, unless you live in a hot climate without air conditioning...
Does putting batteries in the refrigerator actually help them keep their
charge or charge them better?
A. There is no need to store your batteries in the refrigerator or freezer,
says Keith Schapp, a spokesman for Eveready Battery Co. in St. Louis.
Decades ago, when battery technology was not as good and when few houses had
air conditioning, people could extend the shelf life of batteries by keeping
``Heat and moisture are a battery's worst enemies,'' says Schapp. In cool
refrigerators, the chemical reactions that cause a battery to lose power
take place much more slowly.
Keeping batteries in a fridge will extend the shelf life -- but only
minutely, says Schapp, ``and most batteries now have a shelf life of five
years now, so it's not necessary to keep them in the fridge.''
The ideal storage conditions are a dry, cool place. About 70 degrees is
ideal, Schapp says.
Now, if you are set on keeping your batteries in the fridge or freezer, make
sure to store them in a tightly-sealed plastic bag. The bag will keep
moisture away from the batteries. And allow them return to room temperature
for 24 hours before using them. This will prevent any problems that could be
caused by putting frozen batteries into a device that generates heat when it
is on. Extreme cold has a negligible effect on batteries, says Schapp.
"How to Care for Your Batteries"
By Bryan Noonan
July 24, 2002
Caring for your batteries can be a confusing process. One conventional
myth circulating about battery care is that you should store your batteries
in the refrigerator to maximize your battery life. This is not entirely
Caring for your batteries is actually quite simple. You can get the
most from your batteries by following these simple rules:
1.. Don't overheat. Do not attempt to charge non-rechargeable
batteries. This will overheat them and could cause a fire. Keep batteries
out of hot places, like your car. Your car can be an oven, and baking your
batteries shortens their life.
2.. Store properly. Keep your batteries in a cool, dry place. The
refrigerator is cool, but not dry. You could store your batteries in the
refrigerator and maximize their life by using a silica gel to keep the
batteries dry. This however, is an expensive and inconvenient option.
3.. Don't short the connections. Keep your batteries organized. Don't
let the ends touch the wrong thing or you'll short the battery.
4.. Don't mix and match. Use the same chemistry and brand. Never mix
rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries.
5.. Properly dispose of used batteries. Go to www.RBRC.org to find
the recycling location nearest you.
Following these simple steps will end up saving you money and hassle
in the long run.
Does it help to store batteries in refrigerator?
Not really. Batteries should be stored in a dry location at room
temperature. There is a minimal benefit to storing them at a lower
temperature, but generally it is not recommended since the high humidity
levels inside of the refrigerator can cause the battery cell container to
rust. If you currently have batteries stored in a refrigerator, be sure to
allow them to warm up to room temperature before using them in your device
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