Battery Powered Tools

As more and more tools become battery operated and eliminate the need for annoying extension cords, you need to be aware of how of get the most from your cordless tool.  You need to be aware of how to select future purchases which can help you get better performance and longer life from these cordless tools

There are all types of cordless tools available.  You can purchase drivers, impact drivers, portable planers, jig saws, drills, routers, circular saws, reciprocating saws and chip saws.  There is even a battery powered chain saw designed to handle the big jobs that other tools cannot handle.

Let’s look at how these batteries power the  machines.  Most of these tools are driven by power packs which are a series of small rechargeable batteries wired together to give optimum power.  These rechargeable batteries are similar to the flashlight batteries you buy for your TV remote, your garage door opener and other home products.

Unlike the non-rechargeable batteries, rechargeable batteries like Duracel and Everready have higher quality shells and consist of slightly different components to make them safe to recharge.  The rechargeable batteries that are wired together usually are nickel cadmium 1.2-volt batteries.  These batteries are wired together in a series.  Putting 8 batteries together will equal 9.6 volts, 10 batteries wired together equals 12.2 volts, if you wire 12 batteries together it equals 14.4 volts and so on.  More little batteries generate more power, and of course, more weight.

You will get greater torque when more batteries are wired together.  A combination of horse power and speed creates the torque.  High speed does not necessarily mean high power just as high power does not always come with high speed.

There is another type battery available called a nickel-metal hydride battery.  The compounds used in these batteries give them a slightly longer life, but they also cost a little more to buy. Some craftsmen prefer the batteries with a longer life and don’t mind paying the additional cost.

Just as heat can cause problems with our tools, heat can also cause problems with rechargeable batteries.  When they are being recharged all batteries heat up.  The larger battery packs will heat up more than the small battery packs because there are so many batteries next to one another.  When they are hot, batteries tend not to take a charge so keeping the ambient temperature normal to cool is beneficial.

Batteries don’t do well in cold temperatures either.  When the temperature is below 14 degrees Fahrenheit batteries will not perform well, if they perform at all.  When the temperature gets this low most batteries lose their power.

Many people think batteries should be keep fully charged at all times.  Actually, for a battery to stay in top shape it should be fully discharged every month and then fully re-charged.  When you keep topping up batteries, after some time they will take only a partial charge and will lose their ability to take a full charge.  If this has happened to one of your cordless power tools you can sometimes rejuvenate the battery by charging and then fulling discharging it several times.