Will Dewalt's new Powerstack battery tech take over the market?

Lynx_Arc

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I just saw several youtube videos about Dewalt's new Powerstack 20v batteries. These batteries do not have cylindrical cells in them at all like 18650 or 21700s but flat cell... like Lipo and the vids I've seen show them to have the ability to put out a lot more power on demand than larger cylindrical cell packs of even more capacity. The battery I saw was a 1.7Ah battery and on identical tools it outperformed all other batteries in its class by a noticeable amount. I think I also saw that people had safety concerns and it showed them putting either a nail or screw through one of the battery packs inside and no fire or nothing. I recall a few years ago a show on public tv where someone developed a safer battery tech that doesn't catch fire or explode when punctured and maybe this battery is made from that.

My only concern is this higher current battery with no air space between the individual cells could have them remain hotter for longer in use and although not be a safety concern it could considerably reduce the life of the battery itself (less cycles) although they claim twice the cycles. I don't think there has been a price on these batteries yet I think that and overall capacity may be the clencher as even though they are more powerful for less than heavy loads capacity may be a bigger issue that power on demand is.


Edit: It looks like the price of these batteries is going to be $119, or $20 more than a 2Ah 18650 Dewalt battery. If they were the same price or cheaper likely they would be very tempting but with 15% less capacity they may not be a better deal in some cases have you swapping batteries that much more often and even with twice the cycles you have to discount 15% from that amount as 500 cycles at 2Ah is 1000Ah vs 1000 cycles at 1.7AH is 1700Ah or 70% more.
Personally I think these batteries when they ramp the size up to 3-5Ah will if priced competitively take over the market and could trickle down into all sorts of other devices also.
 
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DIWdiver

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I would not really support the claim that this is 'new technology', unless someone can show me something I'm missing. Switching from cylindrical to pouch cells is something people started doing over a decade ago. It's more like a new application of an existing technology.

Dropping the capacity of the battery by 15% and the weight of the battery (not battery+tool) by 15% is hardly a major improvement, but more of a step backward. Increasing the cycle life from 500 to 1000 could be important to a pro who uses tools all day every day, but is meaningless to someone like me whose batteries die of old age, not fatigue.

Improvement it tool performance is the thing that gets me a little excited (but only a little). We've all seen battery powered tools that can't match the performance of line-powered alternatives. This could make significant advancements in eliminating that difference.

Unfortunately this advancement comes with reduced runtime if you are pushing into the realm of high performance. Again, great for the pro who can afford 5 batteries and 5 chargers, and to change batteries every 10 minutes. Not so much for a homeowner who really wants to pay for only one battery and one charger.

For my money, I'll stick with cylindricals.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I would not really support the claim that this is 'new technology', unless someone can show me something I'm missing. Switching from cylindrical to pouch cells is something people started doing over a decade ago. It's more like a new application of an existing technology.

Dropping the capacity of the battery by 15% and the weight of the battery (not battery+tool) by 15% is hardly a major improvement, but more of a step backward. Increasing the cycle life from 500 to 1000 could be important to a pro who uses tools all day every day, but is meaningless to someone like me whose batteries die of old age, not fatigue.

Improvement it tool performance is the thing that gets me a little excited (but only a little). We've all seen battery powered tools that can't match the performance of line-powered alternatives. This could make significant advancements in eliminating that difference.

Unfortunately this advancement comes with reduced runtime if you are pushing into the realm of high performance. Again, great for the pro who can afford 5 batteries and 5 chargers, and to change batteries every 10 minutes. Not so much for a homeowner who really wants to pay for only one battery and one charger.

For my money, I'll stick with cylindricals.
For now the new battery is smaller, I'm with you in that the technology is not worth it if you have less capacity. I'm hoping that they come out to 4-6Ah cells using this technology and sporting smaller size or maybe even a 20Ah cell that is about the size of the 12 and 15Ah 21700s would be interesting. Price per mah needs to go down instead of up IMO.
 

mpetry912

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Thermal runaway is a concern on these because you do not have the surface area from which to radiate excess heat.

/markp
 

alpg88

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i'm pretty sure it wont make any impact. people who use those tools to work do not really care about cell size or shape. they are looking at price, and reliability. most do not know what size of li ion batteries are out there. it makes 0 difference to them. not to mention if one brand uses different cells it is only a matter of time before others will, and take that advantage away.
i have all dewalt tools at home, i have about a dozen of them, love them, they never failed me yet, but at work i only use Makita and Milwaukee.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Thermal runaway is a concern on these because you do not have the surface area from which to radiate excess heat.

/markp
When it comes to the blade batteries they have more surface area due to the design and the dewalt packs are supposed to be safer than cylindrical cell based packs they have even had nails pounded through the packs with not even a fire from it. In other words IF...... what they say is true they are indeed as safe or safer then that advantage is negated entirely
 

mpetry912

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On the surface area - on a planar battery only the top and bottom plates can radiate heat without passing it thru other plates. See what I mean ? The surface area per Mwh is less. Also, do drills and hand tools have the high current draw we see in high end flashlights ?
 

idleprocess

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Also, do drills and hand tools have the high current draw we see in high end flashlights ?
Significantly greater power draw for power tools - albeit often for seconds at a time on a relatively short duty cycle vs the minutes at a time that flashlights often see.
 

Lynx_Arc

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On the surface area - on a planar battery only the top and bottom plates can radiate heat without passing it thru other plates. See what I mean ? The surface area per Mwh is less. Also, do drills and hand tools have the high current draw we see in high end flashlights ?
Yes they have very high current draw and yes the batteries in dozens of reviews online have been put up in competition with no holds barred in extreme hard use in hammer drills and impact wrenches. Without air circulation inside tool batteries cylindrical cells also don't have much better cooling than flat packs do.
The one thing that has not been totally tested is longevity in real use, Dewalt claims they last a lot longer than cylindrical packs do something like 70% longer but since the packs have a very short time in limited quantity on the market only time will truly tell.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Significantly greater power draw for power tools - albeit often for seconds at a time on a relatively short duty cycle vs the minutes at a time that flashlights often see.
You would have to watch the tests/reviews online to determine if the use is similar or not. The reviews and tests I've seen suggest that they are capable of competing in flashlights equally if not better from an energy/use standing but the drawback as I've said is the cell shape isn't optimal for flashlights but could be good for lanterns and bulky shaped lights.
 

idleprocess

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You would have to watch the tests/reviews online to determine if the use is similar or not. The reviews and tests I've seen suggest that they are capable of competing in flashlights equally if not better from an energy/use standing but the drawback as I've said is the cell shape isn't optimal for flashlights but could be good for lanterns and bulky shaped lights.
I was speaking to usage patterns for the respective devices rather than cell capabilities. I'm confident that a drill, impact driver, circular saw routinely draws more current over the few seconds of a typical operation than even a high-power flashlight does at peak output. I can definitely run down a 4Ah Ryobi pack faster running any of the aforementioned tools - or even a blower - all out than I can a 2.6Ah Molicel P26A in a D4 running it as hard as possible.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I was speaking to usage patterns for the respective devices rather than cell capabilities. I'm confident that a drill, impact driver, circular saw routinely draws more current over the few seconds of a typical operation than even a high-power flashlight does at peak output. I can definitely run down a 4Ah Ryobi pack faster running any of the aforementioned tools - or even a blower - all out than I can a 2.6Ah Molicel P26A in a D4 running it as hard as possible.
I can agree with this. My point of the thread was to explore the idea that these new cells could replace cylindrical cell use in a lot of cases such that cylindrical cell production and availability starts to decline.

One thought of mine is that these stacked cells could possibly be made in other sizes and even shapes and have differing amount of cells in series or even parallel combos allowing them to be used in cylindrical tubes. Imagine a stacked 18650 that can deliver a lot more amps with less heating in a light or even an 14500 sized stack cell that is 7.4v in a light or even a 16340 sized stack cell. I think the main problem is getting someone to make such cells as likely they are at first only going to be certain sizes and we shall see if all the rest of the tool makers also adopt these batteries and we have more and more sizes and capacity packs available on the market and that maybe these batteries will be cheaper to make at some point driving down prices. Imagine a stacked battery the size of a 6V lantern battery for a light that can be wired up as you choose all in parallel or something like an 80v battery even in a fraction of the size of current 40v tool batteries.

What does sort of interest me is the 46800 battery design if it would ever be incorporated into 18650 and 21700 cells that could increase their output perhaps.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Are these the new blade batteries from FinDreams Battery/BYD, or something else? I think the blade batteries have great potential in electric cars. They don’t explode when punctured and increased lifespan and decreased charge times certainly help. For power tools, the powerstack battery won’t go anywhere unless they make higher capacity batteries. Spending extra money for a decrease in capacity doesn’t help. Extra charges doesn’t mean much if you can replace a regular cheaper battery once under warrantee and end up with the same number of charges.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Are these the new blade batteries from FinDreams Battery/BYD, or something else? I think the blade batteries have great potential in electric cars. They don’t explode when punctured and increased lifespan and decreased charge times certainly help. For power tools, the powerstack battery won’t go anywhere unless they make higher capacity batteries. Spending extra money for a decrease in capacity doesn’t help. Extra charges doesn’t mean much if you can replace a regular cheaper battery once under warrantee and end up with the same number of charges.
I don't really know a lot about the Blade batteries other than what you've said pretty much other than they can incorporate them into a framework of the car itself saving that weight also.

I think for now the Powerstack is a wait and see technology that could be a game changer if they get the price down per mah plus come up with larger batteries. It appears that the power density of the packs (mah per volume) may be higher for the power stack batteries due to less wasted space over cylindrical packs. The big advantage in power stack is higher on demand power for tools likely you could even get more useful run time vs 2Ah cylindrical cell packs due to power on demand dropping as the cell voltage drops during discharge. It is possible if they make larger and larger pack using this technology we could see 20Ah tool batteries one day in the future.
 
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