OK - my favorite old drill cordless just died. I will give the old
girl a Viking's funeral one day. It was supposed to be a POS that
did just the dirty work, but wound up being so reliable it became my
"go to" drill. I bought it for a song, and it wound up lasting 7
years under constant use.
So, off to buy a new cordless. A little research here, more on the
net, etc. Li is the rage. And according the the Milwaukee regioinal
rep, it will be the mandate within the year. He told me they will
cease manufacturing other types of batteries for DIY and "pro" grade
tools within 12 months. I have since verified this with the tool
dept. manager at my favorite HD.
No reason to buy a dead technology, right? So no more NiCads. And
with HD having their sale on all drills at 15% off with the return of
a dead drill, that seemed a logical place to start.
What an eyeful. I wanted 2 - 3 Ah rated batteries for uninterrupted
use. Since I do a lot of repairs, I may have to drill a bunch of
screw holes immediately followed by driving the holes full of screws.
I don't think I should have to replace the battery on a drill except
once a day, so the closer to 3 Ah I got the better off I felt I would
Enter the DIY/semi pro niche. With only one exception, all the drills
I looked at had >> 1.5 Ah rated << batteries. I was floored. Why? I
asked if I could get a model with a 3 Ah battery, and was told some
models don't offer one. DeWalt does, at an extra cost of $99.
Makita had a 3 Ah battery, and it was $99 as well, but sold out. It
will NOT be replaced as Makita will be selling a double pack of 1.5 Ah
batteries for $129.
The counter to my incredulous remarks was "they may be half the power,
but they only take 15 minutes to charge! SO WHAT!! If I am replacing
siding on a 2nd story roof, or on my back drilling a hole in some hard
to reach place, in a hot attack working, etc., what do I care about
how little time it takes to recharge?
So a little research on the 'net was in order. Seems like many "pros"
have had a lot of problem with this new slimline version of the LI
drills and tools. I think just about any comparison between tools and
their corresponding performance using these tools would be accurate as
Ridgid, DeWalt and Milwaukee all use A123 brand Li batteries, and I
think Makita does as well.
Before I am corrected, I know that DeWalt has taken steps to get away
from these batteries >in their compact series batteries< and has or
will be moving to Sony to cut costs. As is usual though, it cuts
performance as well:
So to put this into perspective for those that like visual aids
compared to the written word, here is a vid that graphically shows the
difference between a 1.5 and 3 Ah battery performance. Remember, same
cell mfg, same technology.
Note that the 3 Ah battery drilled 37 1/2 holes, compared to FIVE
holes (are you kidding me... FIVE holes... they should rebrand that
tool as Fischer Price !!) from the 1.5 Ah batteried drill. There is
plenty more empirical evidence available to show this is NOT unusual,
or even out of the norm. I would care if it drilled ten holes, I
would still be saying, "that's it ?!?!".
I found out years ago that it isn't as simple as "since one battery is
half the size of the other it will last only half as long". There is
complicated engineering going in inside the battery that spreads the
drain and generated heat out over the amount of cells in the battery.
More cells = more usable life by a factor of X. (No engineering
patter needed here, those that are interested can easily find
countless posts by the EE wonks on this simple protocol).
So why would I intentionally buy a tool that performs poorly? I
won't. At least not now. In the future, I may not have a choice. I
am thinking that the manufacturer's saw a marketing opportunity based
on the 15 minute recharge time and beating that horse for all they
Good for them! We get screwed with poorly performing tools at high
I recently, last summer, received out of the blue a Bosch Li 18 volt impact
driver. I still don't know who sent it to me and it was sent to me. It was
not suppose to go to any one else.
Swingman and I worked a few loooong hot days near Austin back in July and
August. Between the 2 of us we used his DeWalt 18 volt drill, my Makita 12
volt 2.6 impact, and the Bosch with the 18 volt 1.3 amp battery. I will
say that the Bosch did keep up in run time with the Makita which had double
the amp rating and 2/3's the voltage. They all basically lasted all day.
I really did not notice any additional grunt out of the 18 volt impact over
the 12 volt impact, they really appeared to be about equal in power. That
really did not surprise me. I was surprised that it lasted as long if not
longer than the Makita, I guess the 50% higher voltage accounted for that.
Most all of the Li batteries that I have read about include a gas gauge to
indicate how much of a charge the battery has. That is good especially when
used in situations that you mentioned and don't happen to have your 300'
extension cord tagging along to power the charger resting in your tool belt.
MY BOSCH battery has no such charge indicator. Additionally when the Li
battery decides to be empty, it is empty. It gives you the warning that it
is about to be completely depleted when it slows down half way through
driving "a" 2" screw. It does not completely drive the screw, it just slows
down and stops, on that screw. That's it. With the NiMH you typically get
a warning several screws before depletion.
I do like the Li battery more however, it is lighter weight and charges
faster, easier to carry a charged spare in my tool belt on those occasions
when I might be down inside a wall inside an attic. The gas gauge would be
a must have for me in those situations but when you get the tool for free
there is that saying about a gift horse that comes to mind.
Which impact do I reach for? I still prefer the Makita.
That's because NiMH loses voltage as it loses charge, but Li-ion
maintains a steadier voltage and then dies. It's really just a
voltage reading of the battery.
My cameras are like that. They have a 3 position battery status
indicator, which loosely translate to full, you need a new battery,
and you will never actually see this unless you happen to be looking
right at it in the 2 seconds it shows before the camera dies.
I have 2 digital cameras, both Fuji but one used Li the other 4 AA
rechargable NiMH they both give the same warning and they both die just as
quickly. BUT the Li holds a charge just setting for weeks much much much
much much, did I mention much, longer.
There are "low self-discharge" NiMH batteries, most commonly under the
name "eneloop" by Sanyo. They give up some capacity but they hold
their charge very well, so in typical usage they last much longer. I
use them in one of my cameras and my flash which doesn't get used
often. They are the only AA rechargables I will use now. The camera
that runs on the AAs will hang around on that middle battery status
for a good while.
Just so you know, I am not trying to butt heads with you. OK. ;~)
And just so you know, I am not doubting any thing you are saying here.
The NiMh batteries that I have/had been using were PowerX brand, with a 2700
mAh capacity. They are currently a couple of years old. Thay never held
a charge for many days at all if they had been used after charging. Once
used they would last for 100 + shots but the following day they would be
dead. I use a Maha charger and always had an extra set in the charger. The
first 2 sets that I purchased back around 2002 lasted about 5 years.
As for both Fuji S602z and the S100fs, both quickly quit shooting soon after
the battery indicator starts to go down. With the 601 it was about 3 pics.
With the S100fs it is more like 30 pics but I have shot in excess of 250
pics on a single Li battery.
My reason for going with the PowerX was that that battery has always been at
the top of everyones review. I bought them through Thomas Dist.
Give the eneloops a try next time, some info from the manufacturer:
I go months between recharges, and I have a backup set that is sitting
around since the last battery change. These two sets have been in
rotation since Jan 2006. If I have an important event I will do a
discharge/recharge cycle on a set the day before just to be sure, old
habits, but for the most part it's not something I even have to think
Last fall, I purchased a DeWalt 36 volt drill set, and it included
2 batteries and a "smart" recharger. The batteries were Lithium
Ion and the smart recharger's instructions said to leave the spare
battery in the charger and the charger would take care of
everything, including "conditioning." The drill was incredible
and would almost twist your arm off if it got stuck.
The odd thing was that as a (now) homeowner, I almost never ran
the battery down. The spare battery was switched out perhaps once
every couple months and the drill seemed to almost be the equal of
a corded one. It served the purpose I got it for well, but after
I had an older DeWalt 18v repaired and got new XL batteries for
it, I gave the 36v one to my son, who can get more use out of it.
FWIW, they really seem to have their act together, IMHO.
Be honest. The weight of the thing wore you down every time didn't it?
I bought a DeWalt 18 volt tool package two years ago. My best buddy is
always complaining about the weight of the drill. Considered buying a
higher voltage package at the time, but decided it was overkill for my
needs and am glad I didn't buy one. Even my arm gets tired after a
time when using it and I pride myself on my arm strength.
The 18v is my default package. I have the 18v hammer drill,
sawzall, jigsaw, light and circular saw. IMHO, it's the best
non-corded universal combination of power, weight and utility.
The 36v incarnation wasn't that different in weight, since it was
LiOn rather than NiMH. What I wanted was one battery pack that
would service all my tools.
Well, then you're a stronger man than I. But in my defense, I'm rarely
in the position to use my body weight leaning over something to assist
with that drilling and I'm often drilling with my arms raised above
chest height. It also makes it a pain in the ass to ensure the drill
bit is going in perpendicular.
Rechargable Lithium (not to be confused with Lithium batteries that
aren't rechargable) can be damaged by extreme discharge, so most of them
contain circuitry to shut down the battery when the voltage drops below a
certain point. They also have a tendency to lose capacity whether you
use them or not, so that means after several years they won't hold a
charge worth anything.
LiON batteries are just another option (and should not be the only one)
in the battery game. They've got some serious drawbacks that need
addressed before switching over completely.
"There is no single development, in either technology or management
technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude
Snipped for bandwidth.
I think there is a real issue with Li-ion batteries that are allowed
to be kept in the shop or truck/car...
Li-Ion can't handle being hot or cold. Battery failure.
Last Christmas (less than 12 months) I got a Li-ion ratchet (needed for speed in
the shop) and a 'triangular' palm screw driver. Both Skill.
The driver is on the top of my desk here in my office. It works today.
The ratchet - which I needed on my sheet metal shear crapped out before spring.
<clipped for brevity>
I just took my Makita drill, using an 18V 1.5Ah Li battery, to a scrap
2x6. It drilled 49 (that's forty-nine) one-half diameter inch holes on
one charge. (The battery petered out half way through hole #50).
That's almost half again as many as the DeWalt drill with 3Ah battery in
your linked video.
Just for fun:
Here's a YouTube video showing that Makita drills really rock:
Here's proof, though, that DeWalt drills are built tough:
Milwaukee and DeWalt compete for torque:
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