Thoughts needed on cordless tools

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BryanDP

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Years ago I was given a set of Black & Decker Firestorm 18V tools. I was pretty happy with them so I added to the set from time to time to the point that I now have just about every hand tool you can imagine including multiples of some tools. I'm not a daily or even weekly user of these tools so I have always been happy with the performance of them other than the batteries which don't seem to last very long at all. After maybe 6 months of intermittent use they won't hardly hold a charge anymore. I probably have a dozen or more of them now and they're all completely dead.

Recently I inherited a Porter Cable 20V drill with two lithium ion batteries and a charger. When I received it it probably hadn't been used in a couple of years and I was surprised to find that the battery still had a ton of juice in it. I've been using it off and on for some light duty screwing and the battery still hasn't run down. The other battery is charged and waiting but now I'm just curious to see how long it will run.

I got to looking at the differences between the two and other than name brands and a slight voltage difference the huge difference seems to be NiCad on the Black & Decker stuff versus Li-ion on the Porter Cable. I looked at replacement batteries for the Black & Decker and there are now Li-Ion replacement batteries. What is odd is that all the chargers - even the ones that come in a package with some Li-ion batteries - say they are for NiCad and NiMH but don't mention LI-ion.

That's the background, now my two questions.....

It would cost me about $1000 to start over with Porter Cable if I replaced all my Black & Decker tools or less than $150 to get four new Li-ion batteries and a couple of chargers to work with my Firestorm 18V tools. If I do the latter am I throwing good money after bad? Also, I suspect that the poor life I have gotten out of the B&D 18V NiCad batteries is because they get stored in my non-temperature controlled barn. If I go with Li-ion should I charge them up and then put them in the fridge (about 34 degrees) versus having them see a month or two a year of 120 barn temps?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have on this.

Bryan
 

TwoForFlinching

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Li-ion is also extremely good at keeping a charge in adverse conditions. Cold and heat affect them like any other battery, but not to the extent of ni-cad.

I'd buy new batteries if the tools don't have a ton of time on them, but I'd look on Amazon/Ebay for no-name li-ion replacements instead of B&D branded. Odds are, they're the exact same batteries.

People online like to talk about the "risks" of no-name batteries, but 10 years of heavy use in top-tier constantly working tools, zero issues in the forty-or-so I've bought and killed.
 

Dumpstick

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I agree. I have several Ryobi tools, and like them very much. I started with the NiCad batteries, mostly because that is what was available back then.

I've since switched over to Li-on batts, which are far superior.
The only complaint I have about the Li-on batteries is that they work until discharged. No slowdown of the tool, just a sudden stop.

If the tools you have are good, just get new Li-on batteries.
 

swampratt

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I agree just upgrade the batteries.
I have had a few NiCad rechargeable tools and they sadden me to the point I never wanted another cordless tool.
I will run a cord.
Then one day I got a B&D 20 V lithium cordless drill that was on sale for 30 bucks or something.
10 years later it still works perfectly and holds a charge not matter where i store it.

Trunk of the car in the shed or on the back porch that thing is always ready to go.
I do not have any other tools that are cordless except gas powered Stihl chain saws.
 

1mathom1

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I preserved some of my 18v Dewalt investment by getting an adapter that allows me to use 20v Li-on batteries. The tools work great, and the batteries are far better than the 18v.

In your case I would likely buy a battery to test before you jump all the way in.
I've got to do this. My DeWalt stuff is all 18v. Actual DeWalt 18v batteries are getting expensive and the no-name knock-offs don't last.
 

Dmc707

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I preserved some of my 18v Dewalt investment by getting an adapter that allows me to use 20v Li-on batteries. The tools work great, and the batteries are far better than the 18v.

In your case I would likely buy a battery to test before you jump all the way in.


I did this as well -- had a Dewalt recip saw, circular saw, hammer drill, regular drillo and 1/2" impact - all 18v - and my usage patterns are similar to the OP's. The saws and big impact dont see a lot of use but i like having them when i need them for sure

got some inexpensive adapters to take the modern 20v batteries and all is good now -- at least for the saws and impact. It adds some length to the overall package - and at least with the adapters i got from Amazon (not Dewalt brand) - they dont want to come out without a fight so i got enough for all these tools , rather than leaving them with the batteries

My mother gifted me a modern drill/impact combo for Christmas and i doubt i would ever go back to using the larger, heavier 18v tools for this application --- the new stuff is just too handy and i use the small impact more than anything else
 

Dmc707

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Pic of adapter on my circular saw

IMG_0738.jpeg
IMG_0737.jpeg
 

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