Voltage of Battery Operated Tools


I recall when they first came out they were six volts and had no power at all. My first tool had 9 volts, and did a fair job, until one day when the battery literally exploded when I was drilling into a piece of angle iron. My next was a 12 volt, and I used that one for years, and it had decent power. Finally the batteries died and cost more than a new tool. I bought an 18volt drill and it had no power at all, the 12volt one had been far superior. I returned the 18v drill and bought a 24 volt one which I still have, and it works quite well, except it seems the battery life is short, and needs to be charged far too often. Now I see they have some 36volt tools. When will this end? Will they keep raising the voltage for infinity? Why dont they just make a 120volt tool, which can be used on both battery and as a plug in, and be done with it. I never understood why they did not make ALL these tools so they could also run on AC while being charged. Just use the charger as the power source while charging the battery too. If there's anything I hate, it's when the daylight is getting short, and my battery goes dead, when I only have a few more screws to put in. Most of the time there's an outlet nearby, but instead I have to get out my corded drill, drag out extension cords, and put in the bit. A lot of hassle when they could have just made the cordless tool ALSO corded.
These days, I normally just use a corded tool if there is AC power nearby. That eliminates a lot of stress and annoyances. I only use the cordless tools when there is no power. Yea, I know someone will say that I need two or more batteries. Well, my old 12 volt one had 2 batteries and that was a definite improvement, but still it took longer to charge them than it took to wear down the "spare" battery. On my present 24volt tool, a spare battery costs more than I paid for the tool itself, so I just fight with the ONE battery and cus a lot. The F-Word has become my best friend whenever I use a cordless tool....
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On 8/6/2010 2:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

To get the voltage, you need more batteries. Offhand, even with lithium batteries you'd need nearly 40 of them in series to get 120 volts. It's amperage that counts anyway for power. FYI. Ever broken open a 9 volt battery. You'll find 6 little 1.5 volt ones in a series.
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

I swear when my next battery poops out, I'm gonna carve open the case, scoop out the slime, and put an AC power supply in the resulting void.
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Easier to go to Harbor Freight, and by corded tools on sale.
I had a Sears 12 volt drill for a couple years. I kept planning to wire it to a lamp cord and cigarette lighter plug so I could run it off a 12 volt battery jumper pack. Never quite got around to it, and finally pitched out the drill.
I have same problem as the OP. My Harbor Freight 12 vot drill keeps on running, and the 18 volter I got off Ebay is nearly worthless. My Makita is good, but one of the batteries went wimpy. Someday I've got to send it to www.primecell.com for rebuilding.
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

I bought my last rechargeable tool about 20 years ago. If I don't use a battery every day, I have to worry about self-discharge. Also, my battery may need replacement sooner than if it were used heavily. My maintenance costs could be more than the heavy user's, and I may not save any time.
Good screwdrivers, a hand drill, a bit brace, and a corded drill may let me work faster than a rechargeable drill/screwdriver, and they're always ready. A neighbor uses rechargeable tools whenever possible. It's a lazy but slow way to work.
He got good service out of three drills with NiMH batteries and automatic chargers. When some of the cells shorted, he bought a 24V NiCad drill. To store a certain amount of energy, NiCads are bigger than NiMH or Lithium, but modern NiCads have two important advantages for power tools. They put up with overcharging pretty well, and they can supply larger currents. Larger currents mean fewer cells are necessary for the same power. A battery pack with fewer cells should have a longer service life, other factors being equal.
The NiCad drill came with an extra battery. The second day he had it, the battery began to fade as we drilled. The fewer cells there are, the easier facing is to detect. For the sake of his battery, it was time to switch, but he didn't. To me, that's pouring money down the drain.
The 3-hour charger has no automatic shutoff. NiCads may tolerate overcharging, but it tends to cause chemical deterioration. Several times, he has put a battery on the charger before leaving town for a week or two. I've unplugged it for him, but I can't do it every time. Another owner might get much better service from his batteries than I expect him to get.
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wrote:

I never understood why ALL of them dont have automatic shutoffs. We have everything hi-tech these days, yet we're supposed to "baby sit" our batteries. I normally shove them in the charger at the end of the work day and the next day they are fully charged. But actually they are overcharged every day. Yea, I suppose I could get a lamp timer to plug the charger into, and probably should, but why cant they just make the chargers shut off when the battery reaches full charge. That should be a fairly simple circuit that measures the battery for full voltage and current, and shuts off the charger. Why dont they do this? Of course, we all know they want to sell replacement (overpriced) battery packs.
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On Aug 11, 1:21am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

They do. All of my chargers shut off after a charge. Only *really* cheap tools will overcharge batteries, anymore.
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On Aug 6, 1:07pm, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

120v so you wouldnt mind a giant 10lb battery pack, I can do all I need with 12-18v and enjoy the lighter weight of 12v. 120v plug in is a real good idea, you could diy it with an old pack and the right transformer. Rigid has a lifetime warranty on the tool and batteries, next time look into ridgid, ive been happy with them I have 5 of their cordless since 07. Rebuilding packs is cheaper then factory new ones
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

If you want to run your DC drill off of 120VAC, your charger won't work. You are going to need a very large transformer and rectifiers. Same as a 10 amp automobile battery charger isn't going to have the current to crank the engine, but over time it will charge the battery and that will be able to crank the engine.
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