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Cordless drill batteries expiring !

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paulm

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I've accumulated a number of Makita 12 volt batteries over the last few years, NiMh and NiCd. Use them in a couple of drill drivers, impact drivers, small trim saw, small chainsaw etc.

been doing a bit of work stripping out and refurbing a small bathroom recently and have found that the NiMh batteries just don't seem to hold a charge, the drills can be stopped by hand and although they may have spent an hour or so on the charger and show as charged, they are exhausted in a minute or less.

Strange thing is though that although bought at different times, they all seem to have expired at around the same time. Don't think it's the tools as the problem is the same whatever I use them in, so I guess they have all just worn out at the same time coincidentally, or maybe it's the charger ?

Any tips or tricks on re-energising the batteries, or maybe having them re-celled, or are the cheap replacements on ebay any good, or should I just write of the gear and upgrade to some new lithium ion 18 volt gear and have done with it !

Cheers, Paul
 

deserter

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Mine did the same. I think it's down to them getting too cold over winter. If you find out how to sort the out I'd love to have a go.
From what I've read it's just the fact that they won't take the initial charge properly once you have them charging the problem may resolve.
 

paulm

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I've picked up a secondhand charger for £15 on ebay just to check that's not the problem, before I start spending out on recelling or generic batteries, might take a few days to get here though and it is a long shot but the least expensive thing to try first !

Cheers, Paul
 

Harbo

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I use some Makita 2.3 & 3.0mA batteries which I've had for several years and so far have not caused any problems?
I did take the plunge to buy an 18v Lion setup but it's a big price jump.
The most economical way I worked out was to buy a drill etc. when on offer at Screwfix - bodies for other functions are quite reasonable in comparison?
Any problems with your bay purchase give me a PM?

Rod
 

liamscanlan

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Paul,

i have exactly the same problem..... I have 8 dead NiCd batteries for Makitas... :roll:

If you're brave enough, you could try this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0JbNX4K4fQ

If it works, let me know :lol:

I haven't tried it, but but given the risk of explosion/fire etc, I think I may just start over.

Liam
 

paulm

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Hmmm, think I'll give that one a miss Liam thanks all the same :shock: :lol:

Cheers, Paul
 

paulm

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The secondhand ebay charger arrived today, earlier than expected which was helpful, so put all the batteries through it and they all took an initial charge, including a couple which previously wouldn't.

Will leave them overnight and check them again later tomorrow and see which if any hold the charge successfully, before deciding next steps......

Cheers, Paul
 

halken

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liamscanlan":2x0x2a2n said:
Paul,

i have exactly the same problem..... I have 8 dead NiCd batteries for Makitas... :roll:

If you're brave enough, you could try this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0JbNX4K4fQ

If it works, let me know :lol:

I haven't tried it, but but given the risk of explosion/fire etc, I think I may just start over.

Liam
i tried this with my brothers welder and it put 5 out of 9 dewalt batteries back into service :eek:
 

paulm

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Having recharged all the batteries on the new charger and left them with a full charge (tested to be sure), the two 2.2amp ni-mh ones were flat again next morning, but the three 2.6 amp ni-mh's and the two 1.3 amp ni-cd's seem to be okay still, although without putting them to any real work just testing the power against gripping the chuck hard in the hand !

So need to do some more systematic testing, but looks like two dud batteries and possibly a dodgy charger, but the charger still to be proven.

Should hopefully have enough batteries that are still half decent to get some more life out of the various bits of kit for a while yet and without the expense of re-celling any :)

Cheers, Paul
 

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Hi Guys, sadly i have quite a bit of experience with old battery's. so here's my 2 penny's worth:-

1) Zapping with a welder just over volts the cells which if you have dead ones might bring them back for a few cycles.

2) If the terminal voltage is zero after charging you might have an open circuit battery, probably worth taking it apart to see if it is, I've seen a few times where the spot weld has broken, see warning in b) below before trying to fix it.

3) If the terminal voltage is about 10% higher then the battery rating typically 19v to 21v for an 18v battery and it has no power after charging then chances are all the cells are equally shot and it bin fodder, please return to a dealer or your local recycling centre (council tip) as they have some not so nice metals in them.

4) If your battery is a few volts down and it sort of works then read on:-

This battery might be worth playing with, the only real way to lengthen its life is to take it apart and measure the terminal voltage of each cell (you'll be needing a set of Torx drivers), you will enviably find you have some cells that measure 0v not much good to man or beast. (The welder technique probably puts enough oomph into these cells to raise the dead ones back to life, however it also over volts the good cells heating them up and in turn shortening their life!) Now you have a choice:-

a) You can try and charge the dead cells individually with a current limited power supply at about 1.4v across each cell. If they take charge the voltage will return to 1.2ish volts after a while and you will get a few more charges out of the pack. However these cells internal structure is not as it should be anymore and will be more likely to return itself back to 0v sooner rather than later!

b) If you have a few packs of roughly similar age rip them apart and combine the best cells into one pack. Now there's an IMPORTANT WARNING here, the cells in the factory are spot welded together, I solder my cells back together with a soldering iron made by Metcal, its like a normal iron on steroids fitted with a turbo charger, it can solder to a 50p piece! If you over heat your cells they may "out gas" this could vary from bad on a NiCad to very bad on a NiMH to bloody deadly on a Lithium. If you can get it so you are just soldering tab onto tab then a good 45 watt iron would probably be ok, if your trying to solder to the negative of the cell itself you could be in trouble. Don't leave an iron on a battery for more than a few seconds, if it wont solder you need a better iron. At this point for your own sake stop, take it to someone that has the right kit or bite the bullet and buy a new one.

c) You can replace the dead cells with new ones, however the new ones will have very low internal resistance so will not match the old ones very well and in turn will accelerate the aging of the other old battery's, yes if only life were simple!

Hope that helps someone :lol:

Regards
Stuart
 

paulm

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Thanks Stuart.

Turned out I had a dodgy charger and a couple of dead battery packs, but the new (secondhand) charger and the rest of the still good packs mean I will be okay for a while still.

Tried to sell the Ryobi on here and the 'bay but no takers, except for the charger, so ended up binning the otherwise perfectly good drill which seemed totally wrong, but wasn't planning on buying new batteries for that particular bit of kit :(
The Makitas and Metabos are still going for the time being though thankfully :)

Cheers, Paul
 

mailee

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For 15 years! I had a Makita 9.6 V drill driver without any problems. I eventually replaced it with a newer 12V Makita drill driver and the batteries on that (12V Ni Cad) only lasted just over a year. :roll: I replaced it earlier this year with one of the 18V li ion drill drivers and the difference is unbelievable. It has much more power, charges very quickly, and holds it's charge a long time. another bonus is the chuck which really holds well compared to the 12V one which was always coming loose. More expensive, yes but worth every penny IMHO. Oh and I am still using one of the original 9.6V batteries in my 15 year old Makita, don't make sense?
 

Saxwood

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I still use some B&D Proline cordless drills that are at least 20 years old with same batteries, really was good quality the Proline/Professional range of power tools :D
 
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