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Li-Ion batteries (vs NiCAD) with other tools


RMC_SS_LDO

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Newbie shopping and comparing various brands.  Leaning toward Makita, Milwaukee and Dewault.  Not sold on the Makita or Milwaukee over the Dewalt but would like to change out most of my stuff at one shot.  I was looking at the Li-Ion stuff as a potential deal-breaker based on weight, size and recharge cycles.

Looking hard at the combo packs; the DCK555X consisting of the DCD950 hammer drill, DC385 sawzall, DC390 circular saw and the DC825 impact driver.  A combo would ease the shift price wise a little, but they come with the NiCAD XRP batteries.  The main question is if I can swap the NiCAD XRP batteries for Li-Ion packs.  A deciding factor on brand was reliability and interchangeability.

If there is little gained with Li-Ion in the real world, then I'm fine; seems cheaper initially anyway.  My question is as the original batteries die, can I just swap them for the Li-Ion (or hell, would it be better in honesty to stay with the XRP regardless).

This leads to the final decision weather to go with a Li-Ion based system from the start (i.e. Makita or Milwaukee) or go with the Dewault and possibly upgrade in the future.

Thanks,

Allen

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Yes the batteries are interchangeable.  However, if you initially bought a kit with the older NiCd batteries, and wanted to switch to lithium down the road, you would need a different charger.  If you bought the lithium kit to begin with, that charger will work on the older NiCd batteries, if you happened to pick some up.  The biggest advantages lithium has are weight and self-discharge (standard NiCds can lose about 30% of their charge after sitting for 2 days).  All of the new lithium tools have great balance and are amazingly light weight. I would definitely stop by a tool store and try out whatever you're going to buy first.  As far as brands are concerned, that's kind of a "ford vs chevy" thing as somebody on here wrote.  I think it kind of depends on the type of work you do and personal preference.  My dad is a big Makita guy, so I've used those tools a lot and have been very impressed.  The few Milwaukee tools I own have all been great.  Of course Dewalts are built like tanks, so they're all pretty good. 

Here's some good info on the dewalt batteries.  It's some information from dewalt, and some that's been added, a very good read.

http://forum.drc.su/dewalt-nano-14-4v-18v-28v-36v-battery-technology-faq-vt4382.html

Also, I'm pretty sure makita is still running a promo where, if you buy one of their kits they throw in an extra tool or battery or something.  Check their website for details.

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Thanks for the replies.

I am leaning hard toward shifting to all Dewalt vice Milwaukee or Makita for the availability of the tools (if for no other reason).  The other 2 are either at HD (not locally available) or in a tool shop (expensive).  If I am reading stuff correctly, I guess I need to look at the bases of the tools in the sets to look for the "Nano" or smaller base if for no other reason to make them fit and look correct in the long run.

The only point of confusion really is if there is any difference between the Li-Ion tools and the "original" XRP batteries.  The ones specifically were the impact drivers DCF826 vs the DC825 (the other was the DCD760 vs the DC720).  If I understand the model info correctly, the only difference in the actual bare tools is the inclusion of a Li-Ion pack from the get-go, but wondering if I am missing something. 

Another thing I am curious about is if folks have seen a real benefit with the Li-Ion packs, other than the weight savings.  I would like to save a pound or 2 but I'm more concerned with the Li-Ion going the distance in the real world (vice the advertising).  I would be able to keep the original XRP batteries topped off regularly (charge overnight and ready the next AM) so the initial power loss would not be a show stopper. 

Thanks for all of the info.  I am trying upgrade once and do it right to avoid shelling out a crap-load of money and be disappointed.  Measure twice, cut once...

v/r

Allen

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A bare tool does not include anything else - no battery, no case, no charger, etc.  I have been in construction for years (like I have mentioned a lot), I have tried Makita years ago and was not impressed, maybe they have changed though.  I tried the Milwaukee too and was not impressed.  The DeWalt tools were the only ones I really liked.  There are MANY reasons for picking DeWalt over all the others;  they have service centers nation wide, batteries can be found in many stores, tools can be found in many stores, an 18v battery pack fits over 50 different tools, new style batteries (Nano/Li-Ion) fits older (NiCad) tools and vise versa, the newer yellow chargers will charge all types of batteries, etc.  Unlike DeWalt, every time Milwaukee changes its battery packs the new batteries wont fit the old tools.  Something else no-one probably ever thinks about is that the yellow color of the Dewalt tool makes it stick out when its on the ground dirt/grass, so after a project it makes it harder to forget the tool and leave it behind.

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Sorry, I didn't say that quite right... My question was about the tool models that come with the Li-Ion batteries.

The impact drivers DCF826 vs the DC825 or the DCD760 vs DC720 drills (as examples).  My question- is there any difference in the actual tool itself or is the different model number just to identify weather it came Li-Ion vs Ni-Cad powered out of the box?

v/r

Allen

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No difference in tools other then color and model # that is printed on them.  For example a DCD970 is the Li-Ion version of the DCD950 drill.  Same drill/driver/hammerdrill but one comes with Ni-Cad batteries and the other comes with Li-Ion batteries.  Both drills have exact same specs, except one has black collar and one has silver collar.

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Also note that a lot of the newer NiCd tools are also coming with the smaller base that the lithium tools have, so depending on the kit, you really are getting the exact same tool, just different batteries.  I would still advocate going with the lithium, since you're starting from the get-go.  I have no doubt that the batteries will hold up to the test of time like the older NiCds have.  In the short time I've had my lithium set, there's already been a few times where I ended up working above my head, or in an awkward position that really made me glad to have the lighter weight tool. Could the heavier tool have handled it, yeah of course, but it sure did make things a heck of a lot easier. You won't regret it, I can tell you that.  Also, the charger in the lithium kit will work on the NiCd batteries (not the case the other way around), so if you start with the lithium kit and wanted to add batteries you could always buy some of the cheaper NiCds to reap the best of both worlds.

 

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I appreciate all of the comments.  I don't have any older tools and, if I understand the marketing correctly the tools on the market today all have the same (nano) base.  My only concern was if Dewalt had fully fielded the Nano base; so now upgrading to Li-Ion seems seamless if I opted for a Ni-Cad based system to start with.  

With that said, I have been looking at the various options (and kits) and I have just about settled on the new(er) Li-Ion kit:

DCK475L

Hammerdrill (DCD970);

Recip saw (DC385);

Impact driver (DC827)

Flashlight (DW919)

If I add the DC390 saw as a bare tool, I get the same tools for roughly an extra $100 over the DCK555x kit so in effect I'm upgrading to Lithium batteries for $100 and the "universal" charger already is part of the 475 kit.

My only question now is which batteries to the tools ship with.  I think they come with the 9181 compact batteries vice the higher capacity 9180s; is that correct?  Seems odd that they would short you on the batteries if that's the case...

My reasoning for going with Li-Ion from the start is that the batteries may get the crap kicked out of them one week, then sit for a few.  As I understand, Li-Ion will hold a charge on the shelf much better and they are lighter overall- a win-win.  I just hope the prices drop for the replacement Li-Ions as they become more main-stream.

/r

Allen

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Just to make things clearer about Ni-CD vs Li-Ion:

**Ni-CD**

Advantages:

-cheaper

-more durable (~2000 cycles)

-more resistant to high temperatures

Disadvantages:

-heavier

-contains toxic material (Cadmium)

-susceptible to memory effect after a few hundred charge/discharge cycles (although this effect can be reversed)

**Li-Ion**

Advantages:

-lighter, more power per weight

-electronically protected against over-discharge (not all)

-less toxic

-no memory effect, no matter how many cycles

Disadvantages:

-less durable (~1200 cycles)

-permanently damaged under high temperatures over time (stored at 40ºC for 1 year can cut almost 50% of capacity)

-expensive, requires a more complex charger too

-generic brands cells can explode if overcharged or pushed too hard

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My only question now is which batteries to the tools ship with.  I think they come with the 9181 compact batteries vice the higher capacity 9180s; is that correct?  Seems odd that they would short you on the batteries if that's the case...

  That kit comes with the larger "XRP" Li-Ion batteries (9180). 

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