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fm2176

Battery Design Theories? (with pics)

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So, I just tested out the Ryobi glue gun and have to say, I'm impressed.  However, I had the spare battery sitting next to a Ridgid after just moving a few DeWalt 12v Max batteries and found myself interested by how different TTI (Milwaukee, Ridgid, Ryobi) and SBD (DeWalt, Porter Cable, Bostitich, FatMax, Black & Decker) battery designs are.

 

TTI 18v batteries are vastly different in design.  Ryobi uses a stem battery to ensure compatibility with even the oldest One+ tools; Ridgid uses a slide-on style that also allows compatibility with older tools but which creates a larger base for drills; and Milwaukee uses a more streamlined slide-on pack that replaced the V18 battery system.  None of these batteries are remotely compatible with each other.

 

SBD, on the other hand, seems to take a more familial approach in battery design.  Their various battery systems are not designed to be interchangeable, but it seems that many people have converted Porter Cable batteries or tools to permit their use with B&D, or vice versa.  The contacts may not line up, or there may be more or less in various brands, but overall the batteries look very similar.  I recall looking at some B&D 12v Max stem batteries when I had my Porter Cable 12v Max tools and finding that the only difference was which side a plastic tab was on.  Everything else seemed identical, and I found some testaments to their interchangeability online.

 

Then too, there are the similarities in cross-voltage battery systems with SBD.  DeWalt is the most blatant example of this, having chargers and accessories which work with either 12v Max or 20v Max batteries.  In my mind, this was a precursor of sorts to FlexVolt, which (as all the regulars here know) can power not only the 60v and 120v tools but also most of the 20v system--barring those tools which have small batteries compartments, such as some radios.  

 

Anyway, my theory is that TTI had a unique theory when designing the tools they produce.  Ryobi was seen as a stalwart holdout and, lacking the need to attract those with demanding needs, has been given increasingly newer battery technology in a system that is far older than any other mentioned here.  Ridgid, being the middle offering, was also relegated to keeping its form factor, which is more in line with modern designs.  Milwaukee, meanwhile, was intended to be the leader in innovation, technology, and naturally price.  This caused them to adopt a battery format that many of us would consider modern (slide-on, more compact than earlier slide-on designs such as Ridgid's or Porter Cable 18v) and stick to it even as technology has progressed far beyond what many of us might have forecast.

 

I think that SBD, however, wished to modernize all of their brands with smaller format batteries, keeping them largely the same.  I can imagine that they found reduced production costs by having some of the older batteries share many components (i.e. PC and B&D 12v Max), and decided to stick with that business model.  Besides this, their brands' offerings have always been less diverse than TTI's, with the exception of DeWalt and arguably Porter Cable (which might have matched Ridgid's diversity at one point).  Speaking of DeWalt, I feel that they found a decent 20v Max battery design from the get-go and gradually realized that their 12v tools aren't that much smaller or lighter than compact 20v versions.  

 

All told, I find that DeWalt and Milwaukee batteries are very close in size, from 2Ah to 5Ah to 9Ah FV/HD.  Ridgid tends to be a bit larger, but Ryobi is relatively massive, with their 3Ah nearly the same size as a DeWalt 6.0 XR.  Despite, or perhaps due to this, I enjoy all three of the more expensive brands, while looking forward to putting the Ryobi tools through their paces.

 

What are your thoughts?

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I didn't realize how close in size the Flex 9/3 is to the m18 9.0. the Flex even has larger cells. I guess the Flex is either not as big as people put it out to be or the m18 is bigger than people put it out to be.

I wonder why the Ryobi is so big? You could almost fit bigger cells or even an extra cell without even increasing the size.

I felt the Ridgid was a bit bulky as well but from the times I have used Ridgid I remember Ridgid being easier to remove than the battery on m18 tools I have used. I think the tapered release buttons on the Ridgid help a lot in removing the battery.

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I think simething about the pictures are a little deceiving, I was actually thinking the same thing that they look really close to the same size.  I have both and while it's been awhile since I've had them side by side I know the flex 9.0 is bigger.  I was thinking the flex 6.0 and the m18 9.0 were closer in size.

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Ryobi is owned by TTI but it's not the same company as Milwaukee. They have their own engineers, design team, etc.. They designed the batteries to be backwards compatible which was genius for their target market, homeowners. Ridgid isn't owned by TTI but TTI owns AEG which Ridgid rebrands, again there are different engineers, design team etc.

 

With SBD, they're all run as a family, trickle down-ish from Dewalt to PC. The batteries are interchangeable with modification, normally just removing a tab. I don't know if SBD has commented about how the brands are run(other than a chart of the target markets) but I would assume that B&D has their own engineers, etc...you see a lot of oddball tools come into that lineup. Then there are things like the Restorer, which is licensed from the Inventor and originally released under the PC line. Now that Restorer is slightly down-spec-ed in power and a B&D product. It almost seems that PC is in limbo, almost an unwanted stepchild. Occasionally they throw PC a bone (the tool box that came out in 2016, or an occasional new tool release) but mostly it's idle with no advertising.

 

Here's the SBD target markets chart:

Stanley-Black-Decker-Brand-Positioning.j

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6 hours ago, Biggie said:

I think simething about the pictures are a little deceiving, I was actually thinking the same thing that they look really close to the same size.  I have both and while it's been awhile since I've had them side by side I know the flex 9.0 is bigger.  I was thinking the flex 6.0 and the m18 9.0 were closer in size.

 

The pictures aren't professional in quality, I know, but the FlexVolt 9Ah is only marginally larger than the Milwaukee.  Comparing the three, I'd say the Milwaukee 9.0 HD is slightly larger than the FlexVolt 6Ah, while the FlexVolt 9Ah is similarly larger than the Milwaukee.  In other words, weight aside (I don't have a scale handy), these batteries are similar in size--if you need/want runtime at the compromise of having a large pack, I can't see why the battery size itself would win out in a Milwaukee vs. DeWalt contest.  

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5 hours ago, BMack37 said:

Ryobi is owned by TTI but it's not the same company as Milwaukee. They have their own engineers, design team, etc.. They designed the batteries to be backwards compatible which was genius for their target market, homeowners. Ridgid isn't owned by TTI but TTI owns AEG which Ridgid rebrands, again there are different engineers, design team etc.

 

With SBD, they're all run as a family, trickle down-ish from Dewalt to PC. The batteries are interchangeable with modification, normally just removing a tab. I don't know if SBD has commented about how the brands are run(other than a chart of the target markets) but I would assume that B&D has their own engineers, etc...you see a lot of oddball tools come into that lineup. Then there are things like the Restorer, which is licensed from the Inventor and originally released under the PC line. Now that Restorer is slightly down-spec-ed in power and a B&D product. It almost seems that PC is in limbo, almost an unwanted stepchild. Occasionally they throw PC a bone (the tool box that came out in 2016, or an occasional new tool release) but mostly it's idle with no advertising.

 

Here's the SBD target markets chart:

Stanley-Black-Decker-Brand-Positioning.j

 

True, I didn't take into account TTI's licensing vs. SBD's ownership of their respective brands.  In a sense, TTI has a brilliant marketing strategy, licensing respected and well-known trade names and remaining loyal to battery platforms released in the infancy of modern battery tech.  I missed out on the whole V18 to M18 debacle, but have read enough older threads to know that tool users generally aren't happy when they invest a lot of money in a brand only to have their chosen lineup discontinued with minimal support.  DeWalt was bad-mouthed many times over for not releasing their DCA1820 adapter earlier, while a few years ago I was upset to see PC abandon their 18v line so soon after buying into it.  

 

SBD's "family" approach also seems wise given their ownership of the brands.  While I can imagine that Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Ryobi power tool engineers share some knowledge and technology, I can also see where the licensers of those brands would not want them to be remotely compatible.  SBD, on the other hand, can freely share tech between brands, minimize production costs by sharing some machinery, and even divert or clone products to other lines, as in the case of the Restorer.

 

Anyway, the differences in battery design piqued my interest yesterday, but today I'll be actually burning through my batteries.  I have an overgrown yard to clean up, so the Ryobi pole saw and the DeWalt string and hedge trimmers will be put to good use, along with my Sawzall with pruning blades and gas powered chainsaws and lawnmower.  A local Lowe's has the 40v lawnmower in stock, but I don't want to open that can of worms by starting to invest in 40v Max tools and batteries.

 

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On 5/20/2018 at 6:38 AM, fm2176 said:

 

True, I didn't take into account TTI's licensing vs. SBD's ownership of their respective brands.  In a sense, TTI has a brilliant marketing strategy, licensing respected and well-known trade names and remaining loyal to battery platforms released in the infancy of modern battery tech.  I missed out on the whole V18 to M18 debacle, but have read enough older threads to know that tool users generally aren't happy when they invest a lot of money in a brand only to have their chosen lineup discontinued with minimal support.  DeWalt was bad-mouthed many times over for not releasing their DCA1820 adapter earlier, while a few years ago I was upset to see PC abandon their 18v line so soon after buying into it.  

 

SBD's "family" approach also seems wise given their ownership of the brands.  While I can imagine that Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Ryobi power tool engineers share some knowledge and technology, I can also see where the licensers of those brands would not want them to be remotely compatible.  SBD, on the other hand, can freely share tech between brands, minimize production costs by sharing some machinery, and even divert or clone products to other lines, as in the case of the Restorer.

 

Anyway, the differences in battery design piqued my interest yesterday, but today I'll be actually burning through my batteries.  I have an overgrown yard to clean up, so the Ryobi pole saw and the DeWalt string and hedge trimmers will be put to good use, along with my Sawzall with pruning blades and gas powered chainsaws and lawnmower.  A local Lowe's has the 40v lawnmower in stock, but I don't want to open that can of worms by starting to invest in 40v Max tools and batteries.

 

 

It's definitely an interesting topic. You have to imagine that the TTI brands do talk in regards to R&D and market research, there's no sense in not sharing that information. You do see very different approaches in the brands whereas you see very similar approaches in SBD. It's kind of odd that SBD doesn't use B&D, an extremely well-known brand, to compete with Ryobi. Maybe it's because they like having their platforms available in more stores instead of doing exclusivity contracts(and it seems tough to have that many SKUs at soo many stores, in-store, for power tools). I imagine they could use Craftsman to compete with Ryobi and use Lowe's as the retailer...SBD virtually has Lowe's by the balls. I imagine that's why HD got an semi-exclusive contract with Flexvolt to keep them out of Lowe's. I bet HD wouldn't accept the line without it and obviously HD is the big dog in the fight.

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I noticed that HD stopped selling B&D cordless tools, leaving DeWalt and Makita as the only non-TTI cordless tool presence in-store.  As for SBD, it's crazy how many different brands they offer; it could be easily imagined to have SBD consolidate down to three brands if they wanted.  They've got two Bostitch platforms alone (I don't believe they are compatible): the 18v at Wal-Mart and the 20v nailers at Lowe's.  Something about SBD's business model works, though, so who am I to call it stupid?

 

As for Lowe's, SBD does have a chokehold on them.  Even so, serious tool users are better served by going to HD, in my opinion.  Whatever agreement is between HD and SBD, the orange store has the upper hand when it comes to SBD's premier tool brand.  They sell the nailers, FlexVolt, and a number of other DeWalt tools which Lowe's doesn't sell, to include hand tools.  Lowe's is stuck with Bostitch (no other tools available) and Porter Cable (generally regarded as much lower in quality) nailers, while they switch between Bostitch and FatMax hand tools.  When you compare in-store offerings of Makita, Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee to Hitachi, Bosch, B&D, Porter Cable, and Bostitch, I feel as though HD wins every time unless the consumer is already heavily invested in one of the latter brands.

 

Going back to the batteries, I think that a lot of the qualms I have with SBD's "lesser" brands is that they all use different batteries.  If they stuck to, say, B&D, PC, and DeWalt as their primary battery platforms and made other brands compatible with one of those, it would make more sense to buy into the very limited Bostitch systems or other small brands (such as the FatMax power tools from a while ago).

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12 hours ago, fm2176 said:

I noticed that HD stopped selling B&D cordless tools, leaving DeWalt and Makita as the only non-TTI cordless tool presence in-store. 

 

As for Lowe's, SBD does have a chokehold on them. 

 

 If they stuck to, say, B&D, PC, and DeWalt as their primary battery platforms and made other brands compatible with one of those

HD also sells Bosch and Porter Cable. Not sure about in stores but online for sure.

 

 Lowes does sell Hitachi, Bosch, and Kobalt but I could see the heavy emphasis on SB&D

 

I would rather they cut Porter Cable batteries all together and just have 2 options: DeWALT for pro/bargain pro tools and B&D for diy tools. Craftsman would go higher end diy to compete with Husky and Porter Cable would go bargain pro to compete with Ridgid.

 

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The ryobi 3AH is a behemoth, and the ryobi 6aH is bigger than my 9Ah m18 battery. The ryobi 4.0A is actually believe it or not the same size as the ryobi 3.0A and lighter by a few grams. I have no idea what ryobi was thinking with the design for that 3.0A batteries. The most dense of the batteries seems to be the m12 3.0A compact battery. Very, very impressed with Milwaukee on their compact battery design.

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I bought two of the Ryobi 6Ah batteries yesterday and noticed that they aren't much bigger than the 3Ah batteries (one could expect them to be nearly twice the size).  While I enjoy using all of my tools, and appreciate modern battery tech, especially when I think of where it was twenty years ago, I think Ryobi may have shoehorned itself into a corner by sticking with the One+ system.  They have the only truly backwards compatible system, but that might come at the cost of having to utilize larger batteries.  That, or TTI doesn't want diehard Milwaukee or even Ridgid fans to be tempted by ultra-compact Ryobi batteries, spending far less money for acceptably performing tools.

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Ryobi is more of a value brand for homeowners/DIY types so long-term compatibility makes a lot of sense. They don’t have to match the best features of the “prosumer” companies.

 

I just picked up a couple of their 6Ah batteries and agree they’re only slightly bigger than their 3-4Ah units.

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7 minutes ago, ToolBane said:

long-term compatibility makes a lot of sense.

Unless your Black & Decker. 

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