first cordless tool - NiCad, NiMh or Li-Ion?

Hi all     as the title says really. I'm likely to be buying my first cordless power tool in the next few weeks. Likely to be a Combi Drill as part of my 'boarding the attic' project, but obviously it will be used in future for other jobs around the place. I'm aware of the differences in characteristics between Nicad, NiMH and Li-ion, but I'm wondering more about obsolescence rather than anything else. The Nicad tools seem to be being sold off as they are replaced with NiMH and Li-ion; how do you see this developing over the next few years?
Thanks J^n
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On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 08:27:40 +0000, The Night Tripper wrote:

Cadmium is quite likely (or is on the cards) to get banned like lead and mercury have been. So I'd avoid a NiCd based system. Li-ion has the best power to weight ratio but also a bigger price tag over NiMH.
Li-ion batteries also have some "smarts" inside them to protect the cells from over charging or excessive discharge (both rate and capacity). These smarts can get confused over the actual state of charge of the battery though that is normally reset by leaving on the charger for a day.
One problem I've encountered with my only Li-ion powered tool is that it can cut out if you make it work hard, ie try and take too much current from the battery. It resets straight away but is PITA, this is documented in the manual. The tool is a Lidl Li-ion screwdriver. I've not seen this reported for other Li-ion powered tools but as it's to protect the battery I wouldn't be surprised if it is a "feature" of them all.
TBH I'm not sure a combi drill is the best tool for your boarding project. I find a proper powered screwdriver is much more controlable than a drill/driver. Drill drivers have sod all torque at low speeds, so you have to squeeze the trigger harder to get the torque, which means if the bit slips or any stiction is over come the speed shoots up and the bit skates across your work at high speed damaging it or the screw is driven in far too fast and deep.
They aren't that good at drilling holes in anything remotely hard. Soft red bricks or "cinder" blocks are about the limit.
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Dave.




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On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 09:44:28 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

And Li-ion batteries suffer less from self-discharge so may be better for occaisional use than NiCd/NiMH.
I've found the NiCD batteries in my Bosch lasted a very short time before refusing to hold charge so I would be reluctant to buy another.
Hopefully Li-ion kit will come down in price soon.

Agreed. Get a mains SDS drill for drilling into hard materials.
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Hi Dave, and everyone else Thanks for your comments. I was a bit quick on the draw when I typed 'Combi Drill'; what I really meant was 'I'm thinking of buying a cordless XXX tool to assist me in this project, and in the future". You have reminded me that combi drill is not necessarily the tool I'd have most use of. I'm really thinking that preferably I'd have the use of two drills, to avoid changing between drill and countersink bit.
It might well be the case that a cordless screwdriver would be a better choice for me. I already have quite a decent (Makita) SDS drill, and a cheap but adequate B&Q variable speed drill for day to day use. So yeah, a cordless screwdriver probably fits the gap in my range better than a combi drill.
I see TMH has recommended the Makita TD20D, but this seems a bit more than I'm keen on paying. Also, since one of the points of using screws rather than nails for the boarding is to prevent stress on the plasterboard beneath, is an impact driver the right tool for this job? Any other recommendations in the 50 to 75 range?
Thanks J^n
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On Mon, 9 Nov 2009 13:23:22 -0800 (PST), jkn wrote:

As you have most other bases covered I'd say that the TD20D will fill a gap very well for you.

The don't bang down (like an SDS drill) they bang around.
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jkn wrote:

i got a shiny extension thingy at a birmingham exhibition for a tenner which has a clever springy thing in it which detects when it touches the plasterboard and stops it turning the screw any further ...
not sure if its useful or a gimmik...
[g]
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jkn wrote:

You can pick up the TD020DSE for around 50 if you shop around. Try E Bay. Quite a few people here have them & like them.
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I have a 10-year old B&D electric screwdriver which is NiCD based, and it's been superb. Long shelf life, very powerful (alarming the first time I used it and snapped a steel screw).
The NiCDs finally died this year, and it took a bit of hunting to find replacement 2/3rds length C cells (just about everywhere was "no longer stocked", but eventually I found "until stocks exhausted"). They cost more that a replacement screwdriver, but I really got to like this old B&D unit, and so went with replacement batteries.
Last week, the gearbox suddenly jammed, and I thought that would be the end of it. Carefully took the planetary gearbox apart, cleaned off the grease which had gone solid, regreased, and it's fine again.
The jamming was due to the over-thick grease, and a very clever part of the gearbox, which it took me a while to work out what it did. There were 6 rollers which fitted between the output shaft and the body of the tool, but the shaft had gradual indentations around it which caused the rollers to jam the shaft against the tool body, stopping rotation. Anyway, after some playing, I worked out that the rollers jam the shaft if you try turning the shaft by hand, but allow free rotation if the shaft is being driven from the other end by the motor. This allows you to use the tool as a manual screwdriver, by locking the shaft when you are forcing rotation rather than the motor. It works in both directions (otherwise it could simply have been a ratchet). Looking back, I realise this stopped working perhaps a year ago; when turning the screwdriver manually, you could hear some rotation of the gears. Now that I've cleaned and regreased it all, it works as it originally did, locking the shaft solid when you use it as a manual screwdriver in either direction. All quite clever.
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Andrew Gabriel
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Either cheap or 100, but I wouldn't spend more:
Happy Shopper 14V drill/driver for cheap (20 ish) Not the best, but probably the best "performance / price" deal
Makita multi-batterr NiCd bumper packs for 100 from Screwfix (and a few others) You get enough batteries to last until you've broken it, and build quality to make that a long time away.
Li-ions for 150+ You get something that works no better than the 100 drill, and lasts about the same which ought to be a time when lithium based batteries (maybe Li-Po by then) are cheaper.
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For boarding the lot in one go you want 2 batteries and not a slow charge, making all but the cheapie ok, though even those are still quite usable. Using PB screws will reduce the battery drain.
Nicd, Nimh and li-ion drills can all do what you want, so I see no reason to spend unnecessarily on liion.
You'd probably find that with a dozen screws for practice you could do the job fine with a 2 speed geared mains drill too, so you might not need to get anything. For general purpose use nicd is more than good enough.
NT
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On Mon, 9 Nov 2009 05:44:40 -0800 (PST), NT wrote:

If going for a mains drill go for an SDS, more than enough torque at low speed and far more useful for other tasks. The draw back might be having to have a conventional chuck into the SDS chuck for screw driver bits, there might to much slop thgus making it less than easy to control. I don't think you can get SDS shanked screwdriver bits.
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The Night Tripper wrote:

I'm in the process of upgrading my Makita NiCd stuff to NiMh because the NiCd's are starting to fail - to be fair after 3 years of fairly heavy use.
The way I see it NiCd will die out fairly soon because of the Green issues - and the tree huggers always get their way in the end.
I reckon we will end up with NiMh being the entry level battery and Li-Ion being the top of the range.
Its the chargers that are likely to cause the problem. Don't know about other makes, but the Makita chargers that came with the NiCd stuff will also charge NiMh but not Li-Ion. Also NiCd & NiMh are interchangeable in the tools, but Li-Ions are not.
Especially for DIY use I'd be happy buying a Makita with NiCd's on one of the many good deals that are around, on the basis that I could upgrade to NiMh in the future & use the same charger.
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On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 13:53:15 GMT, "The Medway Handyman"

They are in the Ryobi One+ range. There are often some good deals on them at Ryobi Direct as well. www.ryobi-direct.com For diy use they are more than adequate, I've several of the One+ tools and they have stood up well to a good hammering.
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Old Git wrote:

Interesting. They aren't on Makita, wonder what happens with Bosch & DeWalt?
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NiCd & L-Ion are good for DIY - they hold a good charge for several weeks. NiMH is good for trade - leave them any length of time and they will be flat.
Suggestion-1 Screwfix still do a Dewalt 18V with twin batteries for 100. It has a 13mm chuck, good high rpm (1900rpm, better than 1300rpm anyway with many bits), decent power.
Suggestion-2 Ebay often carry factory-refurb Makita 12V drill/driver with 2-3x 1.3Ah batteries for about 50 on auction. When the batteries get tired buy a generic 2.0Ah to replace each.
The problem with cheap "DIY-targetted" cordless tools is the batteries are 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah, which seem to have quite a steep discharge after a while such that you want a fresh battery before it has fully discharged. Not like the older 1990s batteries which seem better.
A generic 2.0Ah battery can be really good in that respect, it just keeps on going. The 3.0Ah NiMH with a 130 tool are very good because they really DO keep on going - but self-discharge.
Forget a combi, they tend to be heavier for little gain.
6-8-10mm holes? Cordless drill/driver with Bosch Multi-Bits (no hammer, just drill away).
Numerous 6-8-10-24mm holes? SDS, however for most DIYers the above bits render SDS unnecessary.
22-152mm holes? Diamond core drill such as Sparky (130) Makita (85 used to 230 new).
A good SDS can of course do a good job as a diamond core drill - needs a good clutch, high wattage, lots of torque. SDS need to step up to the plate against the Bosch Multi-Bits and become a better diamond core drill - most are good, but they need the low-speed torque (how about a proper 2-speed gearbox?).
If you google and do want a twin 2.6Ah NiMH you can probably find a Makita for about 109-129, they crop up every now and then. Very good, very powerful, think they may even have 13mm chucks - small are a PITA.
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