Rechargable batteries

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Yeah, this has been visited time and time again. BUT times change.
I am looking to repair/replace a Makita 2.6 Ah 12 volt battery. Visiting PrimeCell I am looking at a rebuild price of $47 + $7 s&h plus at least $7 for me to ship to them. Expense, about $61.
Oddly, you can buy completely new with as high or higher amp ratings for about the same price or less. I am looking at Battery Barn and can get a new 12 volt increased amp to 3.0 for $60 shipped. The new battery has a 1 year warranty as opposed to many rebuilds that warrant the rebuild any where from 30-90 days.
Similarly Batterybank has the battery new for $48 plus $6 for the first pound, or $54 shipped. They are out of my battery until the middle of March.
IT seems a no brainer to go new. Although this is not genuine Makita, neither is the rebuild.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
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I would try to find out the maker of the little "C" cell batteries in the "new" not original batteries would be. (You know your batteries are just several individual units daisy chained together, right?) I have opened up batteries that lasted a long time like in an old DeWalt, and they were Panasonic. They were cycled and used to death before playing out in three years. They seem to be pretty good.
Opening up lousy batteries on lousy tools, I found that they had names like "Mr. Cheer" and "Sunrise" and "Powerful".
Before this guy got big, he gave me a great education on batteries and how they are assembled, and how blessed we are to not know what crap might be under the plastic.
http://www.voltmanbatteries.com /
I have found him to have the best price and the best product. Note - you only ship one way, so you can put it in a priority mail flat rate box and ship it up there cheap.
As always, just my 0.02.
If uncomfortable to with a rebuild, get a knockoff. If the folks have a good reputation, buy it with your American Express so you will have someone on your side if it fails. Also, you could check with AE to see if they will double the manufacturer's warranty. Since it is new (even though not OEM), they might.
Robert
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wrote:

Too Late! ;~) I ordered from abatterypack.com. Thay do have a 30 day money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty.

Oh boy.

Yeah, what I ordered is a knock off. Better warranty and cheaper than any rebuild that I ran across. Thanks for the thoughts and link Robert.

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Damn Leon... waited less than two hours for a reply before pulling the trigger?
Needin' that battery for anything else?
;^)
Robert
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My finger was awful itchy. I had been surfing for 2 days to save $20. I thought that if I was making a terrible mistake some one would have hollered. Any way thanks again Robert. Do I need it now. Heck no. But If I don't get it now the other one that I marked as questionable would probably poop out after it realized that it was my only one. ;~)
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wrote:

Have you done one of their 3300 rebuilds? Sounds juicy but wondering if more han 2x price is worth it?
Mark
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No, not yet. I might... but they didn't have those last time I needed batteries.
I can tell you one thing, though. I am not going to buy any more lithium ion batteried tools until they quit making NiCad.
I have had two different tools using the LI batteries and they both sucked. My NiCads will stay charged for quite a while in the truck tool box until I need them. I just rotate around on the job as the one in the drill always has a little juice left in it. I keep the second battery (or alternate) charged and ready. When the power fades, the battery in the tool goes in the charger and the one in reserve goes in the drill.
But with my Lithium Ion stuff, both drill batteries go dead or show significant drain in just a few days, even when sitting. I know the advantage of the LI battery is that you can top them off at any time, they keep their power in use longer, etc.
I don't come home after a long day and think to myself, "hey - you should go dig out the drill batteries and top them off in case you need them tomorrow." If I was going to fool with that crap I would go back to corded.
My old 18v DeWalt drill batteries would stay charged in the truck for a month. My super Makita LI batteries on my 14v won't hold a good charge for half that time.
I guess if I was working in a shop the Makitas setup would be good as I would plunk the batteries down on the charger every night.
When I get in home late, tired, hungry, with material tied over the tool box onto the headache rack so I can't get the lid up, the last thing I want to do is untie material, off load it in the front yard, get the friggin' drill, charger, etc. out and set it up to charge overnight.
No thanks.
Robert
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wrote:

I saw a 4.0 amp battery rebuild being offered.
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wrote:

That's pretty weird. Li-ion batteries are known for holding their charges for long periods - the shelf life is measured in years. NiCad and NiMH both lose about 1 or 2 percent of their charge per day. http://www.energizer.com/learning-center/Pages/battery-comparison.aspx
I recently pickes up some Makita Li-ion tools and do notice that they drain more quickly in use, but they don't drain at all just sitting there.
Battery technology has been a bottleneck for a long time, but there does seem to be some interesting developments on the horizon: http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2008/january9/nanowire-010908.html
R
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http://www.energizer.com/learning-center/Pages/battery-comparison.aspx
Note that they make NO claims as to the charge holding of the lithium battery, only that it is lighter, and holds the charge for a long time. The chart also make a clear delineation when referring to rechargeable batteries like the NiMH battery you reference for the 1 -2% loss of charge. The lithium battery has no such reference.

That last damn drill was such a disappointment I wanted to beat it to pieces with a hammer. I have no tolerance for tools that don't work. I got the drill because I liked the feel, and that is certainly important when you used it primarily as a screw driver.
But what they stress when you buy a lithium powered tool is the fact that the lithium batteries don't develop a memory. That is their claim to fame, the fact that you can top them off at will. I didn't know until this second machine that the fault was the inherent fault of the batteries and me not understanding their shortcomings.
Check this out it is the most comprehensive look at a lot of researching I did when trying to return my Makita:
http://tinyurl.com/2ev5x2
I didn't know they had a much more limited life cycle than NiCads when I popped for $240 for the Makita drill/driver. I didn't know that they performed best in cooler weather - I live in a heat zone, and wouldn't care to guess how hot it gets in the tool box every day. Or on a an asphalt shingle roof, etc.
They work best when you store them at about a half charge. How would you know that?
You aren't supposed to run the batteries all the way down. That means when it won't drive that last screw and suddenly stops, you are the one that gets screwed. Without a damn meter on the battery, how are you supposed to know until the tool bogs down that you are low on juice? By then it is too late.
Worse, it says in that document (and I have read it elsewhere) that lithiums respond best to slow trickle charges. So that means every time I plug it in to the quick charger I am contributing to its shorter life. Great.
Look at those charts for ideas of diminishing performance, even under great conditions.
Nope.. not for me. I was burned once, and although I am sure they will get the technology where it needs to be, they aren't there yet.

Soon I hope - before I need another cordless tool!
Robert
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wrote:

Robert,
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wrote:

Whooops, hit send by accident on that last one, Your post is all too familiar to us. That said, we have had a little better results with Li than you it seems. I only have a couple tools using them (bosch Idrive and impactor) and they have held charge for a long time and worked fine. Our primary cordless' however are a bunch of makita 12v and 14.4v impact drivers running NiMH batteries. My only complaint with the NiMH is they dont perform well in extreme cold which hurts in the winter. We also take pretty good care of them as I have read alot about NiMH not wanting to be deeply drained a lot (swap at first sign of slowdown), and that they like an overnight charge periodically. This hasnt been a problem for us so far. We are only about a year or so back into cordless as we quit on them all together for about 10 years or so. I got real sick of paying 3-4 hundred dollars a year for batteries when extension cords are all over every job and free. When I finally quit on cordless I wondered why I hadnt done it earlier. The power, no batteries, far outweight the issues of stringing a cord. With the new compact impacts however the tables have again turned. I dont know what I would do without the half dozen impacts laying around the job. They are just astounding the work they will do and how long they run.
Anyway, I was always thinking of getting some of the 3.0ah NiMH batteries from makita for these impacts but now I am thinking about rebuilding a couple of the dead ones with the 3300 option on that site. Will let you know if I do.
Mark
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regarding the lithium ion batteries. The cell used in the dewalt lithium ion is made by a123 company. According to the electric radio control plane guys, the a123 cell kicks ass. Another way of saying that it takes a high rate of discharge - can take the high charge too and still have a good # of cycles before you have to replace them. Now as to self discharge- that I don't know. They are in such demand that the rc guys will often buy the 36v dewalt pack and cannibalize them for the cells. Pat
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wrote:

Popular subject around here lately, and I too have contemplated the festool cordless. I dont have a lot of trouble with tools disapearing as I keep a pretty close eye on stuff and our guys are very honest. That said, they dont treat tools like I do. I have a real hard time with them running the NiMH down to dead and actually trying to get the last turn or two by holding the trigger and cranking the drill like a screwdriver. I cant tell you the rants I have had over that. It just boils down to laziness. The second I open the cordless box I plug in all the chargers and get the low batteries in there. That never happens unless I do it, hehe. For that reason if I were to buy a festool it would be mine and mine only.
If festool came out with an impact I would probably cave immediately, Mark
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One of my cordless drills is a 3 year old Bosch and one battery has kakked. I went to a local rebuilder here that I know (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) and he said that the going rate in the industry for a rebuild is $4.50 per cell. So, a 12v with 10 cells would run $45.00 and the replacement cells would have a greater mah rating. Since the CDN dollar is about at par with the US dollar I'd guess the rate should be similar in the US (add shipping costs if the rebuilder's not local).
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wrote:

My experience with the Makita NiMH differs somewhat. I get the same experience, in essence, that I get with AA NiMH batteries for flash units and cameras: they work well for a week, whether heavy or intermittent; if they are left sitting for two weeks, the batteries are drained enough to need recharging (without ANY use). The self- discharge features is a royal PITA when you're handling a couple dozen batteries. I'm about to toss the drill the batteries go in, and put the charger up on eBay. Actually, I guess, the drill is OK, but I don't have any NiCads and see no reason to buy them when I have two DeWalt and one Bosch drill, plus a whole bunch of Ryobi LiOn gear.
Another factor: almost every NiMH battery I've used was shot at between two and three years of age, would no longer hold a charge longer than a couple hours, if that long.
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Charlie, I cant say much about the NiMH and the 2-3 year thing as these drills are right at that age. The oldest are probably three and the youngest are 1.5-2. Could be approaching immenent colapse!! Heh. I have had one battery tank so far but I attributed it (perhaps wrongly) to the guys not maintaining them well. I also dont have the problem of them draining when sitting that I can recall but we also use these drills daily so other than on rare occassion they dont sit for long periods and are regularly charged. I could imagine one or two batteries sitting for a couple days at the most and that would be rare.
My conclusion from all of this is that the whole thing relies greatly on how they are used, maintained, and environment. The same battery technology that sucks for one may work well for another. Its not very comforting to think that so much research would be needed to buy a consumer market product but with heavy users thats always the norm. What kills me, is that one of my longest living cordless' was a PC 19.2 Network kit with a 1/2" drill and a saw. That thing ran with the factory batteries for probably 4-5 years. Then they started to drop off. With batteries at 100.00 pop you could just about buy a new drill/charger/2 battery kit for the cost of the two new batteries. Then you are stuck with three tools and only two batteries. A whole slew of contemplation and decision making follow. Thats what opted me to get out of the cordless in the first place. The more I think of it I may just start leaning back that way hehe.
If you opt to sell your Makita NiMH let me know what models and what you have and I may save you the ebay post.
Mark
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Yes. For a pro, the NiMH may be OK, except for the shorter lifespan...and that may not hold true with every battery.
You probably wouldn't want the drill I have: it's the 12 volt, a bit light for contracting, but, IMO, nearly ideal for a woodworking shop. Hell, I did an article on that subject years ago, and I see no reason to change my opinion, especially with better batteries on the market now. For 95.9%, or more, of woodworking, and 100% of hobbby woodworking, 12 volts is sufficient. All day, every day, 18 volts and up--I haven't checked recently, but something in the back of my mind is clicking off "48 volts" or something close to that for a top end these days. The woodworking exceptions are for cabinet installers, with maybe 18 volts needed there to keep going all day on big jobs.
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One thing that this thread caused me to do was to read up on some of the battery technologies. More than the comment I posted above about them being a "work in progress", they are very much a rapidly changing technology. Apparently, we are stuck with the current offerings only because of price constraints.

I think your thoughts are reflected more on the job site than you think, Charlie. There has been a shift in the way cordless drills are looked at on job. Most of us used to buy the cordless drills based on battery size because the larger battery sized drills were the only ones that could deliver the torque needed to drive longer screws.
But as batteries and drill motors have gotten better in their cycle times, and they deliver more power for longer times, lighter drills are more and more what I see on the job. I don't know anyone that is pleased to haul around a 19.2 - 24 volt drill anymore. Even in light commercial, you just don't need that much power all day long, and it is no fun to wag all that weight around. For all day use, I like my 14.4s, and the all have a lot of torque these days.
It wasn't that many years ago (12-15?) that most your 14.4 drills would bore both 2 1/8 lock holes in a door. When I hung a door that had to be bored and mortised, I always took my corded drill with me as I knew I wouldn't finish with the cordless unless I had another battery, and I didn't want to burn the battery by draining it all at once by drilling a couple of large holes.
Got the DeWalt 18v, and problems were over. It waltzed through the holes, including the plunger and strike holes with no sign of fading. Imagine my surprise when the next drill I bought, a 14.4 did the same thing and delivered the same torque.

Even when I do cabinet installs, the 14.4 works fine for me, and is less bulky if I need to screw jambs together. I have not replaced the old 18v drill, and probably won't.
A big push is on to get contractors up to 36 volt tools. Why, I don't know. If I need to have a tool run all day, I wouldn't consider a 36 volt tool. They are massive, huge tools. If I needed that much power for an extended period I would be back at corded. I can see those tools being considered special need tools, but not anything else. The case that the 36v drill/saw combo fits in looks like a steamer trunk to me.
And as another comment, (Mark - your thoughts?) I don't like the battery powered saws except for a few things. They will make a reasonable amount of cuts and are for light work only. I had an 18v recip saw, and it was a total waste of time. It didn't make an hour in a kitchen demo cutting through beams and headers. It was returned.
As for the circular saws, they can be pretty handy, and I actually like them for light duty. My problem with them is that they are not accurate cutters, most being sleeved bearings to cut down on the friction to save battery life. To me they feel like a $39 Skil saw when you use them, and the wandering cuts they make after a using them for a few months makes it worse.
They also have a tendency for premature death if you are cutting material that has a lot of glue, knots, or is old and dry. Worse, they lose their blade speed as they drain, making chip out a real problem. They still have a place, though.
I laugh a little when I think of the manufacturers pushing the tools they think will sell, without much R&D. Maybe even tools that were good in theory, but lousy in execution.
Remember the battery powered PC routers? What a joke. I saw the tool at "demo days" or some such promo at WC, and the shiny new PC rep told me that PC was moving more and more to battery powered tools, and he could see a time in the near future where the "charger would replace the extension cord" for power. Yeah, right.
Do they even make that battery powered router anymore?
Robert
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wrote:

We have never owned a cordless sawzall. The only ones I have used have been others that were handy to grab and the second I pull the trigger I usually put them down. I could see where they may be handy but those times are so few and far between that packing another tool/case around isnt worth it to us. Every one I have ever run feels like it could shatter to a million pieces in your hands at any time.

The only one I have ever used was the PC 19.2 I mentioned. It was pretty impressive when new. The specs said it would cross cut something like 200 2x4's on a single charge and it sure seemed like it would when it was new. It doesnt operate like that any more even with new batteries. Its real handy for cutting off lookouts on a roof or trimming rafter tails. Light, and so on. If they werent so damn expensive I would buy a corded PC trim saw but man those are high.

They are still available as far as I know. I see those guys on the router workshop using them every weekend. Nothing I would have a need for and I cant say I would use one that often when I am in the shop.
Mark
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