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Old 08-22-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


I have a number of Firestorm 24V cordless tools. Can someone tell me how to test my batteries ?


Last edited by Larryh86GT; 09-06-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


If it is easy to open your battery pack, perhaps you could probe voltage for each cell. I assume nominal voltage should be around 1.2V. Maybe there is one or more cells that is obviously bad.

Have you checked the voltage of the entire pack?

Are the batteries old enough to not be surprised by a failure?

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Old 08-23-2013, 07:21 AM   #3
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
Have you checked the voltage of the entire pack?

Are the batteries old enough to not be surprised by a failure?
How do I check the voltage of the entire pack?

Last edited by Larryh86GT; 09-06-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:07 AM   #4
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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Originally Posted by Larryh86GT View Post
How do I check the voltage of the entire pack?

The batteries are getting old.
if you have a volt meter set to at least 30 volt or 50 volt don't know the scall on the meter , now with the leed's red and black, i beleve the spade to the bigest part of the battery is postive and the spade to the smallest part of the battery is neg, not touch the leed's to these spades and red the voltage, now the the needle goes to the left on the meter reverse the leed's, this voltage is with out a load on it so it will not tell you much, it is like a surface charge, you need to be set up with item's to do this , it's been a while sence i measured battery's , as far as repairing the charger, take it to a repair place, or replace it , if you can't measure battery voltage , i don't belive you should tackle the charger my 2 cent's, been in repair for 50 yrs leve someting to the pro's

Last edited by del schisler; 08-23-2013 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:07 AM   #5
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


Quote:
The batteries are getting old.
Perhaps, then, it is time for new ones. They don't last forever. While you might be able to identify and replace a bad cell, it is likely that the other cells are near the end of their life as well. Have you noticed that the batteries required more frequent charging as of late?

Quote:
if you can't measure battery voltage , i don't belive you should tackle the charger
I agree.

Learning to read voltages is a useful skill for the DIY person. Do a web search on AC and DC voltages and learn the difference. Search on electrical resistance (Ohms) and learn how to use such measurements for troubleshooting. Pick up a volt meter and learn to use one. They are quite handy (even essential) for basic house electrical and electronics troubleshooting and repair.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:18 PM   #6
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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Perhaps, then, it is time for new ones. They don't last forever.
Asking someone to walk me through the steps testing a battery. Replacement 24V chargers are a lot cheaper to replace - I'm not too concerned with that.

Last edited by Larryh86GT; 09-06-2013 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


A dead or defective battery would have nothing to do with the chargers dying.
Could be as simple as dirty or weak contacts where the battery makes contact with the charger.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #8
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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thus my asking someone to walk me through the steps testing a battery.
The steps of testing a battery, whether an individual cell, or a complete pack, are simple. Take your volt meter and probe the contacts. That is the easy part.

-can you get your pack apart without destroying it?
-can you find a source for replacement cells, exact size.
-can you solder?

My limited experience with such things is that while this can be done, success is not guaranteed. Then, you may find that another cell goes bad a month later. Unless you do this a lot, you would have to place a pretty low premium on your time to make this worth it.

Unfortunately, I cannot help with your specific packs. Only you can look at them and determine whether you think you can get them apart successfully. Once open, inspect the cells...do you think you have the skill to remove and replace a cell, once a bad one is identified.

For me, if I have an old pack and it is showing signs of failure, and I have gotten good use out of it, I replace the whole pack.

I don't mean to discourage trying...just suggesting that it is not a simple task, and has a high likelihood of failure.

Also, in case you were not aware, there are aftermarket replacement packs that can save a little money.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
The steps of testing a battery, whether an individual cell, or a complete pack, are simple. Take your volt meter and probe the contacts. That is the easy part.

-can you get your pack apart without destroying it?
-can you find a source for replacement cells, exact size.
-can you solder?

My limited experience with such things is that while this can be done, success is not guaranteed. Then, you may find that another cell goes bad a month later. Unless you do this a lot, you would have to place a pretty low premium on your time to make this worth it.

Unfortunately, I cannot help with your specific packs. Only you can look at them and determine whether you think you can get them apart successfully. Once open, inspect the cells...do you think you have the skill to remove and replace a cell, once a bad one is identified.

For me, if I have an old pack and it is showing signs of failure, and I have gotten good use out of it, I replace the whole pack.

I don't mean to discourage trying...just suggesting that it is not a simple task, and has a high likelihood of failure.

Also, in case you were not aware, there are aftermarket replacement packs that can save a little money.
I just want to do a test to determine if a battery as a whole is still good.

Last edited by Larryh86GT; 09-06-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


Quote:
I just want to do a test to determine if a battery as a whole is still good as I don't intend to open it up to inspect or attempt to repair the cells inside.
Measure, then, the voltage of the entire pack. I assume that the batteries are NiCd, but you should confirm this. I assume that this is a 20-cell pack. If I remember correctly, a discharged cell is around 1.1V. A full cell is over 1.2 Volts. The full pack, then should be at least 22 volts...higher if charged. If you see less than this, I would take this as a strong indication that you have a bad cell or more.

Unfortunately, this is only a gross test of one type of failure mode and not indicative of capacity. You can have full-voltage cells and still be near the end of life. A Voltage test is only an indication of a completely failed cell, at best. To measure capacity, I assume one has to apply a known load and measure time until discharged.

Still, measuring voltage is simple and quick enough that it is worth doing even if not conclusive.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:51 AM   #11
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


a bad battey cell wont do anything to a charger. most chargers will have a specific blinking pattern on the led light that will tell you if have a defective battery..

a bad battery wont make the charger go bad,, however if you have a defective charger it can effect hte battery

the best way to get a battery tested is to simply go into a tool service center that deals in that brand of tool, they have the gear for just this
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:51 PM   #12
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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Originally Posted by woodworkbykirk View Post
a bad battey cell wont do anything to a charger. most chargers will have a specific blinking pattern on the led light that will tell you if have a defective battery..

a bad battery wont make the charger go bad,, however if you have a defective charger it can effect hte battery

the best way to get a battery tested is to simply go into a tool service center that deals in that brand of tool, they have the gear for just this
If my charger had a blinking pattern that told me the battery was defective I would not have started this thread.

I prefer not to deal with shops if I can avoid it.

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Old 08-24-2013, 08:34 PM   #13
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


getting a repair shop to check a battery is free, all they have to do is put it on a tester.. now mind your talking about a cheap cordless tool, just replace the whole thing
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:21 AM   #14
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


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now mind your talking about a cheap cordless tool, just replace the whole thing
Thanks for your suggestion but I'll just keep my set running.

Last edited by Larryh86GT; 09-06-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
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How do I test a rechargeable battery?


It's entirely possible a cell within the pack is bad (or more than one). Search on repairing those packs. It can be done. One such example:
http://www.handymanclub.com/connect/...t/37148/afpg/2

The hard part about repairing battery packs is sometimes the cells have tabs welded to them, not just soldered. And there's not always enough room to do a repair without welding on new tabs. Trouble is the sort of spot welder that's necessary is usually a lot more expensive than new battery packs. So unless you're doing a lot of them, repeatedly, it's not very cost effective. That and you can ruin cells by overheating them if you attempt to solder them, some can even explode as a result. That and welded connections tend to be more secure and won't break as easily.

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