Dewalt 18V battery repair hoax?

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I think my DeWalt 18V batteries are on their last legs. The drill still works okay, but when ripping 2x4's into 2x2's with the circ-saw, I get about done with one before the saw doesn't want to go anymore. Maybe it's the saw, but me-thinks it's the batteries since they're about 5 years old. Anyway, looking on ebay for new batteries since HD wants $80 apiece, I see several people selling "How to repair your old battery packs - like new performance" guides. These claim to be able to repair old batteries, specifically for tools, for either nothing, or at most $2.00. I know a little about electronics and battery chemistry, and I'm pretty sure that when NiCD batteries die, its the chemistry inside that's the cause. Without putting in new cells, I don't think there's much you can do and new cells cost a lot more than $2.00 (at least the amount I'd need for an 18V pack). Just curious if anyone has tried to repair batteries on your own, and if so what was the result and what did it cost?
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If you got a Batteries Plus store around you may want to give them a shot. I inquired there one time and it seems they were about 60% of new cost to rebuild your old with new batteries in your case. This is the reason though that I have replaced my last two drills. It only cost about 30% more to just buy an entire new drill with batteries, charger, and case. Joe

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On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 15:59:39 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No, you cant really repair a Nicad cell. If its shorted, you can try to blow the whisker out thats punctured the internal insulator but it usually doesnt work, and if it does, it usually comes right back. If the cells are reversed polatiry, you can try to jump them with a good cell and that sometimes brings them back, but again, it usually doesnt last for long. And if the cells are just leaky and self discharge overnight, well, nothing you can do there.
The local Farm & Fleet store is currently selling two 18V batteries for $110, which is a bit better than $80 for one. Home Depot has had this deal in the past too.
Also, when rebuilding the packs, the Dewalt packs use 2 AmpHour cells, the cheaper cells that some rebuilders use, and even the similar Black & Decker 18V packs, are only 1 AH so you have to be careful.
-dickm
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I've done a few experiments, and the "blow the whiskers" trick usually works to a certain extent, but I wouldn't expect it to be particularly effective or longlasting on an oldish NiCd cell.
Eg: if the cell is leaking, this _might_ make it work for a while, but you can betcha not for long.
But on a reasonably new battery that mischarged for some reason might just come back to operation for the rest of its normal expected lifetime. If the cell is a year or two old, it can't hurt to try. 5 years? Probably not.
The $13.95 (or whatever it is) set of instructions sold on eBay (and elsewhere) are exactly that. Whisker zapping. With the usual "our customers say" bullcrap.
Rebuilding the pack can sometimes be a good option. I had a Dewalt (but rebranded) 12V pack that said it was 1.7AH rebuilt. With 2.2AH cells. Works better/more capacity than even brand-new Dewalt XRP packs. Whisker zapping wouldn't have accomplished that. Obviously.
Remember these tools are usually made with the cheapest cells they can get away with that meet their performance/marketing goals.
A battery rebuilder is aiming at a professional market with very demanding requirements, doesn't suffer from the same "make it as cheap as possible!" pricing pressures, and it makes a big difference to their survival if the battery doesn't perform - they rely on repeat business.
So they'll probably be installing much better cells than the tool had originally.
You pay more for the better quality obviously. Depending on what you need the tool for, it may be the best choice. Or it might be a waste.
[Which reminds me I have to get another one of those rebranded packs rebuilt. I keep thinking I should double check whether my charger is compatible with NiMH. Even with AA, I'd get more capacity (2.7AH), but SC cells are around 4-5AH. And it'd be lighter... 12V external pack made with NiMH C's. 10AH. And it'd _still_ be lighter. Whoo! ;-) Ah heck, just use a car battery ;-)]
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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wrote:

I've yet to see that trick last a whole three cycles.
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On Nov 13, 6:59 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do you have a B&D repair shop near you? They might have a better price.
A few (many?) years ago I took a couple of 3 YO 12V Dewalt batteries and the charger in to see if they would test them for me. They said the charger was fine but the batteries were shot. They offered me this: Buy one, and they'd give me one. Who could argue?
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There is no repair for the batteries. Some chargers do have a special cycle for the older batteries to help squeeze a little more life out of them, but it is not that much.
It is possible to rebuild the battery with new cells. Some places will do this for you or you can buy the cells and do it yourself if you are rather handy at such things.
You may want to consider buying new batteries and consider non-DeWalt brands to save money and maybe getting some higher capacity batteries.
Now having said that, also take a good look at your tools. Are they getting close to the end of their life? is there a better model out there. Often buying a new tool is little more than buying the batteries that come with it. Some times it is even less. Most battery operated tools are not designed for long life and should be considered expendable.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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wrote:

I agree with your upgrade vs. replace the batteries concept.
When my second set of 12V Dewalt batteries started to go bad, the drill was also getting a bit tired. Since the 18 Volts were available, along with a number of standalone tools that would take the same batteries, I decide to upgrade.
I was at a volunteer function, building some ramps for a Soap Box Derby race when the clutch on my 12V started to slip. That was all the incentive I needed to trash it. I asked everyone to step back and tossed the drill as high as I could and let it come down on the blacktop. The battery popped out. I put it back in and started the drill. Once again, I tossed the drill as high as I could and let it come down on the blacktop. The battery popped out. I put it back in and started the drill.
OK, time to get serious. I duct taped the battery into the drill and tossed it again. It took 3 tries with the battery taped in before there was significant enough damage that the drill wouldn't work anymore.
Gotta love a well made tool.
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The charger I'm using is one of those that automatically enters a "renewal cycle" once the full charge is complete. The batteries are just about 5-6 years old, so I guess I should just be happy I've gotten this much out of them. I see now on eBay new batteries for about $40, so maybe I'll just get one of these. I read up on rebuilding my own, and it looks like the NiCAD cells will cost me about $32-$35 after shipping and all, and while they'll likely have a little higher mA, it's just not worth it to me for the extra $5 for a new one.
Also, my tools are still pretty good. 18V is plenty for all my applications, and they are built like tanks. I've dropped em more times than I'll admit and they never stop for a second.
One question tho - you mentioned "non-dewalt brands" for batteries - do you know of any that are compatible with Dewalt tools?
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On Wed, 14 Nov 2007 06:20:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Some older Black and Decker packs are compatible with Dewalt except for a plastic "key" on the case. I dont recall if the Firestorm batteries fall in this category or not. All you had to do was file off this key and the pack would plug into the Dewalt charger.
Off course you then had a crappier, lower capacity battery than the original Dewalt so you really never wanted to do this. But in an emergency, it worked fine.
-dickm
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I have a Mastercraft 12V hammer drill (Mastercraft is Canadian Tire brand, it was a rebadged B&D I think), that has batteries that will work directly in the regular 12V Dewalts, but the capacity is lower (1.7AH).
The Mastercraft batteries expose the shell of one cell, and the charger also contacts it (three leads in total).
The mastercraft charger will not charge Dewalt batteries, but Dewalt batteries _do_ fit. The Dewalt charger will charge both, no mods needed to the mastercrafts.
I believe the mastercraft batteries are B&D Firestorm packs. I seem to remember the same charger/battery interoperating quirk.

Alternate vendors aren't necessarily bad.
Check out http://www.global-batteries.ca/index.php/cPath/5_97
This sells compatibles for many portable drill lines. The above link is just for Dewalt. It has a variety of 12V Dewalt packs from 1.5AH to 3AH. Dewalt XRPs are only 2 or 2.2AH I think. The 3AH pack is NiMH, not NiCd. 3AH for $42 - about half of what a new 2 (2.2?) AH XRP costs at places like Home Depot.
Global batteries is one of several names for the same outfit. This is one of the Canadian versions. There are US specific versions.
They ship out of California, but I think is HQ'd in Hong Kong.
I have purchased a lithium laptop battery and a number of NiMH cells from these guys. Have been quite pleased with the service and the batteries themselves. Delivery is quite quick, and shipping costs are quite reasonable considering it's transborder.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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It is WAY past time for standardization of battery power packs. No reason for each company to have its own footprint which excludes using any other battery than the one they sell.
If battery footprints were standardized by voltage (all 12 v, all 18 v. etc) than there would be after-market companies making and selling these packs. Some might be good, some might be lousy, but we would soon find out which was which and overall, the price would come considerably.
Of course, few companies want this competition, so this is a long way off.
Bob-tx
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Look around, there are aftermarket suppliers for many different battery types.
I saw one site that listed about 10 different Dewalt 12V packs, all the way from 1.7AH to 3AH.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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There are many good rebuilders also. I've used www.primecell.com Had to 14.4 packs upgraded for more power for $86 including shipping.
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wrote:

Excellent information on this site and they upgrade the AH for the battery. They just need the case... I'll be sending them two oldies.
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At first you said:
No reason for each company to have its own footprint which excludes using any other battery than the one they sell.
Then you posted the reason:
Of course, few companies want this competition, so this is a long way off.
;-)
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2 batteries - $120 New drill kit - $279
New drill kit is over double the price of 2 new batteries
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Dewalt-18V-battery-repair-hoax-266094-.htm longman wrote: The Battery Resurrection process you talk about can bring a battery back to life, so it can be charged again, by zapping the internal cell shorts. If someone expects the battery to become like a new one then they will be disappointed in most cases. Because batteries are expensive, it is worth trying to Resurrect them - some can give really good service. Battery rebuilding is a good option, but it can cost close to a new battery. A new universal battery is available that will run any brand tool at any voltage called the Rambo Battery. I really like that you can use super high power NiMH cells on a NiCad only tool or even on a Li-ion tool. It is the most universal cordless tool battery I've ever seen. For your circular saw problem of not enough power, there is a Rambo Battery that will allow you to put 3 batteries on 1 bandoleer and you can use high power cells and even over voltage the saw and it will just keep cutting until you get tired out. Just do a search for rambobattery
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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On 7/1/2011 3:38 PM, longman wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Dewalt-18V-battery-repair-hoax-266094-.htm
circular saw, recip saw and fluorescent lamp. After a few weeks, I happened on a special at Lowe's. For about $25 more than I paid for the batteries (and I did get a good price from an ebay store), I could have bought 2 batteries, a drill and a charger. I could just kick myself. You can always use another drill .......... Oh well, maybe in 3 to 5 years, I'll find a similar deal.
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this is just a cloth belt(bandolier style) holding individual cells that you wire to suit your tool,and use one of your dead battery packs as the "adapter". you have to buy the belt,and buy the separate cells. It turns your cordless tool into a corded tool.
the balance of your tool will also be altered.
A method of converting an old battery pack into one that can be easily reopened(screw fasteners) and individual cells replaced(without soldering or welding) by the end user would be far better.
BTW,for an 18V pack,you could replace all the old cells with five 18650 2500mAH Li-ion cells and have a lighter pack,but you'd need to make a custom smartcharger for the new battery chemistry.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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