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I purchased nearly a full set of 19.2 cordless tools over 10 years ago and have been very satisfied untill 3or4 years ago when I had to replace worn out batteries. I have 4 NiCd's I purchased 4/12 that won't hold a shelf charge for much over 2 weeks. I have 2 lithium-Ion batteries that came with tools that have been problematic since they were new. I went back to the store and was told I wasn't charging the properly. I have a good set of tools but cannot use them because I have no way to power them. I am about ready to retire them to the trash. Any better suggestions.:(
 

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Doing This Way Too Long
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Batteries are always an ongoing expense. That's the price you pay for cordless tools. I have to buy about a dozen Makita LI batteries every year as they only last that long at best. Hate it but it's just another expense. Bought six hilti impacts this year. Expensive up front but two year warranty will hopefully offset the initial costs. Have had issues with them but so far Hilti has been superb about honoring the warranty.
 

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Home Performance
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+1. Batteries are always going to go bad. Buy a good brand, and keep them out of the cold... I've noticed that the smaller Li-on batteries go dead after a year like clockwork, but the larger ones seem to go longer... And when I say larger, I don't mean voltage, but the physically larger 3.0ah units vs the 1.5 or whatever the smaller ones are.
 

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Roofmaster
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Ni Cad Batteries suck. They develop dendrites that short out the cells.
Go Lithium Ion Next time, and buy a good brand, like Bosch.

Stuffing 16 1.2V cells into a drill battery overheats the cells in the middle of the pack when charging, causing them to fail.

Hint: A 14.4 Volt Drill battery lasts twice as long as an 18 or 19.2 volt battery, it is lighter, and it develops as much torque if it is a good make.

To my way of thinking, there is a definite cut off point where cordless no longer makes any sense. They are fine for some things, and ludicrous for others, but people keep buying them, even when you can buy a small generator relatively cheap, and buy AC tools for a song. Go figure.

I think its a my wang is bigger than yours thing. Pretty soon we will see a big Dewalt pod on the trunk of cars.

:thumbup:
 

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Doing This Way Too Long
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I think its a my wang is bigger than yours thing. Pretty soon we will see a big Dewalt pod on the trunk of cars.

:thumbup:
You must be right. Couldn't be that some of us aren't going to string 15 cords all over the roof. Yep, all about showing off for me. Nothing to do with efficiency. :whistling2::whistling2:

Saws, sawzalls, rotary hammers, peanut grinders corded is the best way to go. Cordless are nice to have for special situations. Drills, impact drivers and riveters, cordless is definitely most productive and best way to go. Except for their controversy with their batteries, Makita is supreme for their cordless tools amongst the contractor grade tools. Even the 3.0 which is all we ever use only last a year at best but we use and abuse the hell out of them. I used a friend's milwaukee set once and they really seemed decent but I've never bought any.
 

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journeyman carpenter
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ive owned just about every pro grade brand of cordless tool.. the ones ive had to most issues with were ridgid and milwaukee which have the same parent company. the batteries went stale very early on

ive gotten amazing life out of my bosch impact drivers and makita drills.. my first bosch drill lasted 4 years, the 2nd was 3 years until the trigger burnt out on it. both these were nicads. now i have both makita and bosch lith ion sets, the makita lxt line is more powerful and if i want to add another tool to my collection they have 50 some odd bare tools that all run off the same battery
 

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Roofmaster
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Yeah Old, I see what you mean if you are talking residential steep roofing, where you use air more than anything else, and extension cords on the roof are a real hazard. On low slope roofing, I see guys drilling with a battery hammer drill and I cringe at the loss of production. On a recent project, I told one of the guys that I could drill 4 holes to his one with my Hilti TE-12S. "Put your money where your mouth is" was the answer. Fine I said, 50 bucks on it, and Ill bring it in. I was wrong. I drilled 6 holes to his one. I bought lunch with the 50 bucks. He ordered (6) TE12S's :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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I'm Your Huckleberry
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Batteries are always an ongoing expense. That's the price you pay for cordless tools. I have to buy about a dozen Makita LI batteries every year as they only last that long at best. Hate it but it's just another expense. Bought six hilti impacts this year. Expensive up front but two year warranty will hopefully offset the initial costs. Have had issues with them but so far Hilti has been superb about honoring the warranty.
I've had my Makita drill set (impact and driver) 18 volt lithium ion with zero issues for over two years now, used daily on job sites.

I wonder if you received part of some bad batch of batteries..?? this is the first I've heard of anything Makita ever prematurely going bad. Makita is all I use.
 

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Newbie cubed
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OK to use a generator to charge batteries?

I need advice on charging Craftsman C3 (19.2V) lithium ion batteries. Over the past 5 years, working at an off-grid property, I've had a batch of cordless tool batteries die early, much earlier than I’d come to expect when working at our city-powered home. All were NiCad -- some Craftsman C3 (19.2V) and some Black and Decker (18V). Instead of the 3-to-4 years I’d been getting, they were going bad in one summer. :(

I think a big part of my problem is that I was using and recharging the batteries more than I had been at home...more cycles = faster decline. However, I was told by a Black and Decker "expert" :icon_rolleyes: that a contributing factor might be that I'd been using a generator to recharge these NiCads. The generator is a Generac 4000 watt, about 10 years old, THD less than 6% when new, likely still about the same. It’s the only power source we have over there. My only alternative is to schlep the batteries to a friend's home (a 20-mile round trip, half of which is over farm roads), plug the chargers into a wall outlet, and wait several hours for all the batteries to charge…lots of fun. :wallbash:

Last summer I bought 4 C3 lithium ion batteries (2 compact, 2 full size) to replace 4 dead NiCad C3's. So far I have NOT used the generator to recharge them…I’ve taken them to my friend's house instead. All 4 are still going strong, but I'm really getting tired of the 20-mile bumpy boogie. :eek:

I need to know if using a generator will damage these Li ion batteries. This is NOT covered in the manual for the Craftsman 4-station multi-chemistry charger. I tried to contact Sears Craftsman tech support, but that’s like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks. When I finally reached someone who was at least willing to offer an opinion, she said it was OK to use a generator…but she didn’t sound all that sure.

If the old Generac is a no-no, how about a 12V inverter plugged into my car's system? I really need to find a way to charge these expensive batteries without causing premature death. I like the power of lithium, but I’d sure like them to last a while. :help:
 

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If the old Generac is a no-no, how about a 12V inverter plugged into my car's system? I really need to find a way to charge these expensive batteries without causing premature death. I like the power of lithium, but I’d sure like them to last a while. :help:
I'm not sure why your generator would cause problems? Even with a cheap generator you still have to use the supplied battery charger to charge the battery and one would figure that if the supplied charger couldn't handle the supply voltage then it would object by not charging your battery.

At any rate, I'm on the go all the time and use my inverter to charge my batteries. No issues to report so far.
 

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First thing is you can't use the NiCad charger from the old batteries to charge the new Lithium batteries. The chargers are different charging technology. LI batteries also don't do very well when they are cold.

I do not believe the generator is having a detrimental effect on the batteries. The charger converts the AC voltage to DC voltage. If you said the chargers were dieing then I might be suspect of the generator.
 

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Newbie cubed
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...one would figure that if the supplied charger couldn't handle the supply voltage then it would object by not charging your battery.

At any rate, I'm on the go all the time and use my inverter to charge my batteries. No issues to report so far.
Thanks, Bob, for the super-fast reply. But according to the B&D "expert", the problem isn't the voltage, it's the rough, uneven, distorted sine-wave of the power provided by a cheap generator. That's why I asked, if the harmonic distortion is too severe from a cheap generator, what about the sine-wave provided by an inverter? It isn't smoothly curved like what comes from a power-utility, but the consistent stair-step wave is apparently better for sensitive electronics. Or that's what the inverter propaganda says.

Regardless, I agree with you that a quality charger should recognize a voltage OR A DISTORTED SINE WAVE, and simply not charge the battery. The Craftsman 4-port multi-chemistry charger cost me an arm and a leg, even on sale, so it SHOULD protect the batteries. ...I'm just not absolutely certain that it does.
 

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Newbie cubed
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...you can't use the NiCad charger from the old batteries to charge the new Lithium batteries. The chargers are different charging technology. LI batteries also don't do very well when they are cold.

I do not believe the generator is having a detrimental effect on the batteries. The charger converts the AC voltage to DC voltage. If you said the chargers were dieing then I might be suspect of the generator.
Thanks for the reply, JoeD. I should have said in my first post -- I have two dual-chemistry chargers, a 1-port and a 4-port. I should have said so....

I think you're right about using a generator being OK. A couple of contractors told me they do it all the time...but they did admit that battery life is a problem for them. Like me, I suspect, their culprit is the number of times they discharge and recharge the batteries.
 

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I personally have heard a lot of complaints on Craftsman batteries.
 

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I find it hard to accept the generator will effect the batteries. Dirty power might hurt the charger, but I would expect the charger to have its own filter caps to give the batteries flat DC. That's just my opinion though. As somebody else noted, use a charger intended for your LI batteries (not NiCad charger). I have been much happier with my LI than with the old NiCads.
 

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what about the sine-wave provided by an inverter? It isn't smoothly curved like what comes from a power-utility, but the consistent stair-step wave is apparently better for sensitive electronics. Or that's what the inverter propaganda says.
A pure sine wave inverter should work fine.
Modified sine wave, No.

Modified sine wave is a marketing term for a modified square wave.
 

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Newbie cubed
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Thanks for the input

I personally have heard a lot of complaints on Craftsman batteries.
I, too, have heard the complaints...but until last summer, I had pretty good luck with the old C3 NiCads. I had 5 of them (came with a couple of Craftsman cordless drills and an impact driver over the years), and as of last April, only one had deteriorated noticeably. But by August, they were all shot -- a "full" charge would last from 15 seconds to maybe 2 minutes. I recycled them at Home Depot, and started buying lithium ion replacements.

So far I've been very satisfied with my 4 C3 Li Ion batteries (...knock wood). Two are compact (one "regular", the other XCP, higher capacity), and the other 2 are full-size (again, one regular, 1 XCP). As far as I can tell, they all give me about the power-duration that Craftsman claims for them. I haven't yet had reason to push them hard, but I've used all four pretty extensively, and so far none has begun to deteriorate (...once again, knock wood).

For the money, I've been satisfied by the quality of my Craftsman cordless tools. I hope Sears keeps putting out decent lithium batteries. If they don't, I hope I can find good 3rd party substitutes that will fit.
 

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Cordless batteries

In reading some of the previous posts I latched on to the one about the batteries. While I am not a contractor and never have been, my cordless tools are my 3rd arm. So even though I'm retired not there is not a day goes buy I'm not using one or the other for something and if I'm not my neighbors are so mine get recharged at the very least once a day and some days twice.

So in saying that I now have or had in the past 15 yrs DeWalt, B&D, Porter Cable, Makita, Craftsman, Dremel, and Bosch. I found the Craftsman, Dewalt, Makita, & Dremel to be the worst of the worst for recharging and the charge draining quickly. The one Makita I had not only did not take a charge well with the supplied charger, it just didn't have any power and yes, that one was back in the 12v days. I bought the 14.4 B&D as soon as they came out and that drill lasted me the better part of 4 years before I started having problems with batteries and by then the 18v had come out so I bought the Porter Cable drill, saw, sawzall, flashlight kit. I've had it for well over 2 years now and it's still working great with the same pair of batteries. Since they are getting some age on them I've been looking for replacement batteries at a decent price because I expect them to go anytime.

The thing I find interesting is I still have a B&D 14.4 drill that still works really well but I can't find any 14.4 replacement batteries for it, I can still find plenty of 12V but not the 14.4 which are still powerful enough for most homeowner applications. I bought the Dremel LI rotary driver back when it first came out and that was a real waste of money. That would never hold a charge, if it ever actually took a charge to begin with. After messing with this for 3 months or so I wound up taking it back to the vendor and got a corded one for half the price that is still working well. I had thought at the time, I needed the cordless for work around the farm but it worked fine with the corded and running it off the welder when we were out in the field.

So, with all that really unnecessary information for you to peruse, the one thing I have found over all the different brands is the charger's themselves are frequently the problem more so than the batteries. I wound up buying a universal charger that works on NiCad batteries from 9.2 v to 20V that does a real good job of not only charging but stopping the charge flow when the battery is completely charged. In talking with the electrician I worked with in Maintenance at American Standard, I found that the biggest killer of batteries besides the cold is over-charging or leaving them on the charger for several hours or sometimes even days, if they get forgotten about, which can happen if one has more than one charger and several batteries. Especially if they are put on near quitting time and don't get taken back off the charger until the next day. In the Maintenance dept I think we had 9 cordless drills and probably 30 batteries all DeWalt. So it was someone's job on each shift to make sure these batteries all got swapped around on the chargers so they weren't allowed to over charge because the overcharging would kill them in a hurry.

So now you have this old country girl's version of cordless equipment and getting the longest use from them.

BTW I have a little B&D hand nut driver that is, I want to say close to 10 yrs old. I know I bought it when it first came out and I've not seen one on the market for years now. But this little driver is powerful and the battery is very long lasting. It's light weight and small size make it easy to get into locations a regular drill won't even begin to fit and comfortable to use for long periods of time when holding a 18 or 20v drill for hours gets pretty heavy after a while.

The battery is actually built into the grip so it's not changeable but unless I'm trying to drill a lot of 1/4 inch holes with it for the most part just running up screws, nuts, and small pilot holes, it lasts all day. I really wish I could find another one like this because I will be lost when it dies. It's the same size as the Gyro they came out with last year but seems to be more powerful and that was an LI battery. I tried the Gyro and was not impressed with it. It just did not have the torque this nut driver has.
:whistling2:
 

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So I have makita lithium ion skil saw, drill, impact driver, and now recip saw, three 3.0 amp hour batteries that are about four years old, beat crap out of them, left in the garage in winter, and now one is not charging well. So I go to HD today and they have ONE of the batteries for $99.....and a Christmas display announcing that if you buy some makita tool combo, you get a two-pack for free....so I grab the last two pack on the display and ask the orange Apron guy what it costs and he says $120... So I ask what is the diff between the two pack in my hand and the one pack on the shelf....and he says you are holding my last two pack...and the difference is $30/ battery....aand the second battery costs you twenty bucks! Sold. Ron
 

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I've got a nice DeWalt set in a case (circ. & sawzall, drill, light), and two batteries that make dandy paperweights. The best price I've been able to find is $100 for two 18v NiCad batteries so my DeWalts are just sitting there going to waste.
I've also got a Hitachi 18v drill that I love, because it fast charges and lasts a long time. It's Li-ion
Has anyone got a "special place" they've found for tool batteries, at a reasonable price? I'm hoping I can find some replacements for my DeWalt (preferably Li-ion) for $35-$40-ish each.

Dreamin'?
 
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