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Ni Cad drill battery.

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Kittyhawk

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I have a Bosch 12v drill that I quite like but the batteries it came with are terrible in that after a few recharges they won't hold a charge anymore. The cost of a new battery is close to the price of a new drill.
Had a look inside one battery and its just a bunch of rechargeable 1.5v cells. Has anyone ever replaced these, and if so was it a straightforward job and worth it?
 

AES

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I had a similar problem. There are loads of how-to vids on YouTube, but while you can apparently solder (thick-ish) leads between each cell, the ideal solution is, apparently, to spot weld metal straps between each cell. As I don't have the gear for spot welding, and the soldering idea CAN be a bit dodgy (according to some of the vids anyway) I gave up with that idea and have finally done nothing. Though apparently, soldering NiCads is less dodgy than soldering NiMh and LiPo cells.

There are companies who will do that job for you (with spot welds) but the postage is v costly - more than the cost of a new drill in my case.

And there are also vids on YouTube on how to make your own spot welder, plus spot welders to buy on the bay.

To me anyway, the whole idea became very unattractive, so despite hating to chuck "good" stuff away, I gave up on the whole idea.

P.S. I had similar "sessions" re the dead rechargeable cells on a domestic vacuum cleaner and eventually came to the same conclusion.

But that's just my personal decision. I still have the subject drill and one day MAYBE I'll convert it to run off a mains-fed 12 V transformer - one of these fine wet days!
 

artie

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Pretty sure they're 1.2v cells, and if you take your time you can replace them, but good cells are expensive and it can be fiddly.

As I often conclude, if you can make money at anything else, it's probably better to do that and buy the batteries/drill
 

Linus

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I have a Bosch 12v drill that I quite like but the batteries it came with are terrible in that after a few recharges they won't hold a charge anymore. The cost of a new battery is close to the price of a new drill.
Had a look inside one battery and its just a bunch of rechargeable 1.5v cells. Has anyone ever replaced these, and if so was it a straightforward job and worth it?
I have an old Wickes 18v drill which had two battery packs both Nicad. I replaced them with larger capacity better cells. Yes you need to solder or spot weld but I found soldering no problem at all. I bought the cells off ebay for about £20 per battery and they are just about waning after 5 years use.
 

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To solder them you need a decent large high wattage soldering iron that reaches a good high temp. You need the instant heat to stop heat dissapation. Have done it with a recharcheable torch but not easy. I found that removing the shiny chrome finish on the cells helped and tinning them before trying to solder.
Alasdair
 

hunter27

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I converted a couple of old battery drills by removing the battery and connecting leads to the contacts, with croc clips on the end, just to work off my boats battery for emergency's but wouldn't bother going to the trouble re packing old battery cases with cadmium or NiMh batteries now as they seem so poor compared to Li on
 
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Gordon Tarling

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Whilst it can be done, soldering to a Nicad cell is not recommended, as damage is caused to the cell internals. Besides that, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to buy decent Nicad cells these days and replacing them with NIMH cells is not recommended, due to the charge regime being different. In the past, I've bought some replacement tool Nicads from Ebay, but that was a while ago and I haven't recently checked availability.

G.
 

Alasdair

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I have been buying cheap drills from toolstation or screwfix whichever is cheaper. They are around £45-00 and come with two 18v batteries. The one I have now is Bauker but I have had the same drill under different names. They arent too bad quality and dont last for years but there about as cheap as a new battery for some of the more expensive ones. I use it all the time for loads of differnt things and when it wears out go and get another. The one I,ve got just now even has a hammer drill setting.

Alasdair
 

Kittyhawk

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Thanks for the info.
So it sounds doable but with patchy results and not really worth the effort.
I only use the cordless drill infrequently and in the workshop. Perhaps a corded drill would be a better option for me - even a good old Stanley eggbeater, if I can still find one.
 

AES

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Thanks for the info.
So it sounds doable but with patchy results and not really worth the effort.
I only use the cordless drill infrequently and in the workshop. Perhaps a corded drill would be a better option for me - even a good old Stanley eggbeater, if I can still find one.

Yup Kittyhawk, that's more or less the same conclusion I reached, albeit reluctantly.

But watch out, I don't know about NZ, but the number of cabled electric drills available here are VERY few and far between in our typical DIY outlets - in contrast to the rows and rows of battery drills on display.
 

Linus

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Whilst it can be done, soldering to a Nicad cell is not recommended, as damage is caused to the cell internals. Besides that, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to buy decent Nicad cells these days and replacing them with NIMH cells is not recommended, due to the charge regime being different. In the past, I've bought some replacement tool Nicads from Ebay, but that was a while ago and I haven't recently checked availability.

G.
To solve this problem buy tagged nicads
. A standard soldering iron will work fine without damage to the cell.
 

Kittyhawk

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To solve this problem buy tagged nicads
. A standard soldering iron will work fine without damage to the cell.
It's a non-starter unfortunately.
Checked it out online and no-name brand 1.2v nicads imported from China are around $4 each plus postage but delivery time can run into weeks.
Named brands, Sony, Panasonic etc are available here at $12-14 each which means reloading the drill battery case would be over $100. New drill needed I think.
 

Linus

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It's a non-starter unfortunately.
Checked it out online and no-name brand 1.2v nicads imported from China are around $4 each plus postage but delivery time can run into weeks.
Named brands, Sony, Panasonic etc are available here at $12-14 each which means reloading the drill battery case would be over $100. New drill needed I think.
First search on google!


Sorry, just noticed you are in the Antipodes! Not sure of your situation down there.
 

JobandKnock

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I don't know about NZ, but they actually banned the manufacture and sale of most new tools and equipment with NiCd batteries in Europe in 2016. This is because nickel cadmium is regarded as being as toxic to the environment as mercury. NZ has probably either gone the same way or is going that way.

In any case the ramping up of newer technologies such as Li-Ion has made that technology ever cheaper as manufacturing volumes increase whilst costs of manufacturing NiCd have consistently increased as volumes have dropped.

The other thing is size/weight - the biggest 18 volt NiCd battery packs you could buy for power tools in 2005 were something like 3Ah. NiMh batteries weren't that much smaller or lighter, but when Li-Ion came along we started off at 3Ah which were 60% the size (volume) and 50% the weight of an equivalent NiCd - batteries with the same physical size and weight today are generally in the region of 6Ah, whilst some manufacturers are making 18 volt 3Ah "compact" battery packs which are almost half the size and half the weight of a modern 6Ah battery (my experience is with Hikoki)
 

Alasdair

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Have a look online. As said the one I have now is Bauker but I have bought the same drill under Titan and a few others They must all be made in China and then branded. They don't last for ever but if its just for occational use without the hassle of a cable then they are fine. Another company to look at is Katsu I bought a hydraulic hole punch from Katsu tools. I was told they are made in the same factory as Makita. The quality is excellent and a lot cheaper. They also do routers and drills etc.
Alasdair
 

Phil Russell

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I had a similar problem maybe 4 years ago with a Ryobi plus One .. originally came with Nicads but they just failed after a while. I managed to find compatible LiOn batteries on the bay at a good price so just converted to LiOn, buying a new charger as well. As I had 2 drills that took these batteries it was more economic to buy generic batteries than new drills. No problems so far ...
Might be worth a search for new battery packs.
Cheers, Phil
 

Nelly111s

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Try looking for a "copy" battery on eBay - did that when the NiCads on an old Makita ran out. Replaced with "no brand" lithium ones for little money and no fuss.
 

Kittyhawk

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Try looking for a "copy" battery on eBay - did that when the NiCads on an old Makita ran out. Replaced with "no brand" lithium ones for little money and no fuss.
Checked it out - li on battery to suit my drill is $59 from China, plus I would have to buy a li-on charger as well. But the killer is normal delivery time is 30 days but due to covid...... have heard of deliveries taking 6 months of more.
Putting my grumpy old curmudgeon/conservationist hat on this saga with my ni-cad Bosch drill is disgraceful. I bought a kit, 12v Bosh drill, charger and two batteries for $109. Both batteries failed at 15 months, conveniently outside the 1 year guarantee period. A new battery was $98 so I bought another kit - incredibly wasteful and polluting but for the extra 11 bucks I get anothertwo batteries plus charger and drill. The batteries in kit No.2 lasted 13 months and 16 month respectively. Modern marketing is environmentally destructive and it sucks.
Having a complete workshop rebuilt at the moment. It was meant to take 2 weeks but into week 4 now. Today I was sorting out my tools ready for moving in and I realised that all my tools are either 40 - 50 years old or two years old or less. Nothing in-between so I suppose tools are also part of the great universal quality decline.
Tomorrow I will buy an 18v li-on drill. Its a cheapie but it comes with a 3 year guarantee on drill and battery.
 
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