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Thread: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* RA40's Avatar
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    Default Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    I have some old 12V cordless drills that I've liked using over the years. When the original batteries went bye-bye I bought another drill. (Batteries at ~$50 2X is a hair off of most mid-line cordless drills so it didn't make sense to just buy batteries.) These days I don't do much drilling or fastener stuffs so they will sit for the bulk of the year. The current Li-ion can sit from what I've read. The NiCad doesn't do that as well.

    Debating whether to have the Ni-cad rebuilt at $35 or replace the whole thing.

    Thoughts? Recommendations?
    Mike

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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    Just went through this same quandary.
    I've got lots of lithium ion powered Milwaukee Tools drills, grinders impact drivers and saws, but I've still got a couple of Makita 12v niCad drills that are too nice to throw away.

    I purchased 30 3000 mAH rated tabbed NiMH batteries, and using a small soft face hammer tapped around the line where the case was joined.
    I've got about 1/2 hour in rebuilding each battery pack.

    If I were to do it again, I'd purchase bare cells and use my tab welder. Laying the batteries out the way they have to go into the case for series connection, the tabs weren't that great of a help.

    I used Tenergy sub C cells from All-Battery as they offered free shipping on orders over $75.
    I only needed 20 batteries, but with the cost of just 20 batteries, with shipping came out within the cost of getting 30 with free shipping.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    If you're like me and use the five or six tools that you have often, you get a new battery to go with the three that still work well.

    If you just use a tool every now and then, spend less than $100 on any one of the newer drills with two LiIon batteries. Worx, Ryobi, Dewalt, and a few others are out there. A rebuilt pack that you build will cost you $25 and up.

    With Labor Day coming up, I would bet that there will be discounts.

    Sell your old kit at a yard sale or donate it.

    On a side note: a recent teardown of Dewalt LiIon packs showed that they contained cells that couldn't be bought for the cost of the finished pack.
    Last edited by adnj; 08-26-2018 at 09:14 PM.
    I got nothing else to say...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    I tried to repair some 9v dewalt batteries (nicad) and instead just went out and got some 20v lithium ion drills for about the cost of the batteries involved and lithium ion don't have the main issue nicads do.... self discharge over months leaving them needing recharging just to use them plus dropping down in output more linearly than lithium ions do making it so when the nicads are half discharged you have less than 2/3 the power output vs closer to 85% with lithium ions. I will never desire nicad batteries if at all possible in things when I can get lithium ions to work instead.
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    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    The traditional advantage of NiCd's is their extremely low internal resistance, which made them able to deliver surprisingly large amounts of power. However over time, the LiIon technology has dramatically increased the available power that LiIon cells can deliver, and since the LiIon cells are much lighter than NiCd's for a comparable energy storage plus the current generation of LiIon cells can deliver at least as much power in a much lower weight package, and don't have the self discharge issues that NiCd cells have the days of the NiCd are clearly numbered. The sun is clearly setting on the era of NiCd powered tools. It just doesn't pay to invest in rebuilding NiCd battery packs at this point.

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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattheww50 View Post
    The traditional advantage of NiCd's is their extremely low internal resistance, which made them able to deliver surprisingly large amounts of power. However over time, the LiIon technology has dramatically increased the available power that LiIon cells can deliver, and since the LiIon cells are much lighter than NiCd's for a comparable energy storage plus the current generation of LiIon cells can deliver at least as much power in a much lower weight package, and don't have the self discharge issues that NiCd cells have the days of the NiCd are clearly numbered. The sun is clearly setting on the era of NiCd powered tools. It just doesn't pay to invest in rebuilding NiCd battery packs at this point.
    I believe that NiCd still holds an advantage in C rates vs Li-Ion - per rated Ah you can get a bit more current from NiCd than high-rate Li-Ion. But with ~⅓ the nominal voltage, a NiCd cell will never put out the wattage a comparable high-rate Ah Li-Ion cell does thus the advantage is moot.
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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    I decided to replace my NiCad Dewalt drill with new LiIon Dewalts, on sale, instead of rebuilding the old one. Actually, 2 new low-end Dewalts, a small 12v one and a larger 20v one with a 1/2 inch chuck. The new ones are much nicer, and the small one is really light with LiIons.

    I couldn't source replacement NiCads that would be worth it, and you never know about the quality of replacement NiCads. I am expecting to replace the LiIon packs in 3-5 years anyway, but expect that replacing 18650 cells shouldn't be too hard, or just buy new replacement battery packs.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    IIRC some of the high output Dewalt batteries are using 21650 instead of 18650 cells.
    I got nothing else to say...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    I picked up a Dewalt 20v drill last year, then an impact driver a few months later on ebay for a good price new. I'm really happy with them.
    GOOD TINT!

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* RA40's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    Thanks!

    I'd looked around and found some modest spec sub C Sanyo's that in this configuration will yield about 2 Ah with 9 cells at $3.80. Saw some higher rated ones but for my uses, buying more battery doesn't work well for sporadic use. Replacing the whole drill is more efficient, I'm being penny pinchy too.

    The 12V Bosch seems sufficient but it becomes easy to read-watch a few reviews and become encouraged with higher line models. :O
    Mike

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cordless drill- Rebuild Ni-Cad battery pack or get new drill?

    $34.20 + shipping (not counting rebuild time).....for me, the cost/performance equation tipped to buying new, even though I love keeping useful stuff running. I'm also not going back to NiCads for flashlights, in favor of Eneloops and LiIons.

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