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Makita Facing Class Action Lawsuit over Failed batteries


DR99

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I wonder why they haven't already phased out the 1.5 and 3ah

In the article it mentions having problems if the tools are left to sit for a long period of time. Maybe that's why I never had any noticeable issues with all my batteries... I use my tools daily

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This problem is as far as I can remember, only a problem with a handfull batches/earlier revisions of the BL1830?

A bit surprised Makita haven't officially taken them back. They would offer you a new one by the Makita dealer where I live.

I don't doubt there was a issue here, but it looks like it was more a combination of user fault and a problem. The too low voltage problem is a problem on every other Li-ion battery. But a more aggressive cut off, could give you more time before you need to recharge.

The emergency solution forball Li-ion is charging the cells with a higher voltage for a shirt amount of time (around a minute).

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I do think this caused Makita to up their warranty recently as some damage control. To be honest a class action lawsuit might be cheaper in the long run for Makita. You might end up getting a coupon or something for like 20 dollars off a new battery pack or something. Class action lawsuits can get good results occasionally, but most of the time they suck and the only person that really makes out is the lawyer.

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This could be a safety issue, once a lithium ion cell is discharged past a certain point it won't actually absorb charge, it will just heat up. This is especially true if they sit in a discharged state for a long period of time. I can imagine the people who have problems might be running the batteries down, and then just putting the tool away for a few months. If they do that and then try to charge it when they need it again it's not going to work. The protection circuits are there for a reason.

 

The same thing would happen with a laptop or a cell phone.

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Nice find Jason! I'm running three (soon five) batteries in ,y Makita tools and they are great. Truthfully my oldest tool is my Brushless barrel grip jig I've had for a year maybe? I've been using the Makitas all summer though, I hope I don't end up here but I love these tools. Sounds like Makita should've taking care of the alleged problem a while back and upped their customer service.

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It's more a problem of users putting away empty batteries for longer periods of time.  That will kill all Lithium batteries eventually. No ,exceptions.

 

It's why electronic protection circuits have been added in power tool batteries.  Too prevent users from over discharging batteries by usage :)

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Most of the Makita faithful will downplay the problem, but they've had lots of issues with premature failure of the LXT packs.

It's not really Makita's fault it happened, but it is their fault they ignored it. My insistence of that caused a little rift a couple of years ago and we actually had a member leave because of it if I remember right.

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From what I read is they were powering the monitoring circuits off one cell in the pack, and if the battery was already significantly discharged the pull on that cell would lead to the battery read as over discharged. What killed they battery was putting it on the charger after so many attemps the battery would be bricked if you trickled charged the pack with out using a Makita charger you would be fine. It's partially a users fault for having discharged batteries, but Makita didn't cover all the bases either. The thing that is going to hurt Makita legally is later packs changed how things were wired and that doesn't look good in the eyes of the law its basically admitting your product had a problem. It would have sucked for profits but Makita should have had a lenient warranty replacement program, Obviously they don't want to replace every possible defective pack. Maybe warranty the packs for 4/5 years and so many chargers they can track that.

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Lots of companies had issues with early lithium ion packs I know Milwaukee packs before the red lithium generation had a fairly high rate of failure also. Probably the brand with the least issues would be Dewalt but that's because they learned from other brands problems the 20v packs launched way later than everyone else. I know they had some 18v xpr lithium packs and 36 volt system but they were not huge sellers the nicads were still king for Dewalt at that time.

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Yeap. I can only talk for Bosch and Makita since those are the brands i've been selling for years in my store.  Both had their fair share of problems before the electronics were added in batteries :)

 

We've been lucky in belgium that Makita Belgium has replaced each and every battery op to 4 years old under warranty :)

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regardless how this plays out it is the companies reputation, if they dealt with the issue in a timely manner none of this would have happened. The people who buy into Makita usually buy it for quality and service. If service is not there it can ruin a company.....like someone mentioned it's not that it happened it's they way they handled it.......bite me once, shame on you...... bite me twice, shame on me......At some point Makita knew something was wrong, but I guess they rolled the dice and decided to let it roll.......

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...At some point Makita knew something was wrong, but I guess they rolled the dice and decided to let it roll.......

 

There is nothing 'wrong' except for an inherent bad quality of lithium batteries in general. Thesame thing happened to bosch / milwaukee . Dewalt seems to have escaped the dance for introducing lithium packs at a later time :)

If you stores your batteries charged --> not a problem ever.

If you put en empty back in storage for a few months --> it'll start dieing on you.

 

And that is STILL a way to start killing of batteries.  Even todays Makita batteries, or Bosh batteries. or Red Lithium batteries... all lithium batteries really :)

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There is nothing 'wrong' except for an inherent bad quality of lithium batteries in general. Thesame thing happened to bosch / milwaukee . Dewalt seems to have escaped the dance for introducing lithium packs at a later time :)

If you stores your batteries charged --> not a problem ever.

If you put en empty back in storage for a few months --> it'll start dieing on you.

 

And that is STILL a way to start killing of batteries.  Even todays Makita batteries, or Bosh batteries. or Red Lithium batteries... all lithium batteries really :)

I wonder if it plays into the effect that Dewalt has very little circuitry in their battery packs everything is all in the tool with the 20v max batteries.

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Most of the Makita faithful will downplay the problem, but they've had lots of issues with premature failure of the LXT packs.

It's not really Makita's fault it happened, but it is their fault they ignored it. My insistence of that caused a little rift a couple of years ago and we actually had a member leave because of it if I remember right.

Haha remember super Makita Fanboy on Youtube!!! I know we pissed off DewaltDude though and he talked a bunch of shit on Stuarts page. Don't remebere any Makita person pissed off to be honest. Until fairly recent we didn't have many Makita people on the forum it was all Dewalt Bosch and Milwaukee with a smattering of other brands.

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I wonder if it plays into the effect that Dewalt has very little circuitry in their battery packs everything is all in the tool with the 20v max batteries.

It helps indeed ! Makita had the Electronics both in their battery and in their tool. You need both a tool and a battery with the 'star'protection to have the over discharge protection.

Thats made it quite hard for people to 'upgrade' to protected tools. Because they both needed tot upgrade tools and their batteries over time. If they bought a newer tool but still used old batteries --> still possible problems with over discharging etc...

Not the best decision ever !

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From what I read is they were powering the monitoring circuits off one cell in the pack, and if the battery was already significantly discharged the pull on that cell would lead to the battery read as over discharged. What killed they battery was putting it on the charger after so many attemps the battery would be bricked if you trickled charged the pack with out using a Makita charger you would be fine. It's partially a users fault for having discharged batteries, but Makita didn't cover all the bases either. The thing that is going to hurt Makita legally is later packs changed how things were wired and that doesn't look good in the eyes of the law its basically admitting your product had a problem. It would have sucked for profits but Makita should have had a lenient warranty replacement program, Obviously they don't want to replace every possible defective pack. Maybe warranty the packs for 4/5 years and so many chargers they can track that.

  

Wow, that is a pretty awful strategy and leads to really bad failure mode scenarios. Hard to believe the engineers let that slip through and get to production.

It helps indeed ! Makita had the Electronics both in their battery and in their tool. You need both a tool and a battery with the 'star'protection to have the over discharge protection.

Thats made it quite hard for people to 'upgrade' to protected tools. Because they both needed tot upgrade tools and their batteries over time. If they bought a newer tool but still used old batteries --> still possible problems with over discharging etc...

Not the best decision ever !

Yeah the problem too with all the electronics is the more you have the more drain you have so the tool will discharge more quickly when stored with battery attached. I wonder if Makita's tool/battery combos discharge quicker than most magnifying the problem.

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Wow, that is a pretty awful strategy and leads to really bad failure mode scenarios. Hard to believe the engineers let that slip through and get to production.

Yeah the problem too with all the electronics is the more you have the more drain you have so the tool will discharge more quickly when stored with battery attached. I wonder if Makita's tool/battery combos discharge quicker than most magnifying the problem.

 From my experience, yes.

I had two older batteries that worked fine and within months of when I started keeping them on tools one bricked and the other stopped holding a charge particularly well. Since I stopped keeping them on the tools the remaning one hasnt degraded any more.  The problem seems to be reduced for the newer batteries though.

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Yeah, it's a good practice to never leave any lithium battery on any tool, not just a Makita problem, because once a cell in any pack drops below a certain threshold voltage your pack might be fubared when you go to use that tool next time. I think the only safe tool to keep a lithium battery attached for long storage might be a dumb thing like and old school flashlight with a mechanical switch but these days even those aren't even that common but even that over the long haul can cause an issue if the pack naturally discharges to a point where one cell is iffy and flipping the switch might kill the weak cell anyway.

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Interresting question. And Just a heads up. I usually don't store batteries on the tools, but just had to test it out with som real test data to se if its just bull or real. :)

Sry guys. ^^ lifes too short to dwell.

Anyways. My findings was:

The DHP481 =

- 0 microamps standby.

- 56,7 milliamps with LED and battery indicator ON.

- 36,1 milliamps with only battery indicator ON.

DBO180 (Sander) - 0 milliamps standby

DTW281 =

- 0 microamps standby

- 52,7 milliamps with LED and battery indicator ON.

- 32,9 milliamps with only battery indicator on.

DGA504 - from shelf or if you try to use it without power = 15-12,5mA in a minute (probably charging capacitor or something)

After the one minute, it stabilizes on 712 microamps (0,7mA). In other word, slowly draining the battery.

DGD800 - Draining 2,5-1,55 mA continiously !

And this is all I had the time to test. But the DHP481 (XPT07), makita's sander and their brushless impact compact wrench is no problem what so ever. Tested with both the pluss side, and the extra signal pin. The signal-pin did have some low current when the LED/battery indicator lighted up, but only then. This current is already added into the numbers I gave you.

Edit: An 2,5mA drain is so 'large', if it held this constantly, it would drain a fully charged battery in under three months. And this is excluding the battery's self discharge rate.

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Interresting question. And Just a heads up. I usually don't store batteries on the tools, but just had to test it out with som real test data to se if its just bull or real. :)

Sry guys. ^^ lifes too short to dwell.

Anyways. My findings was:

The DHP481 =

- 0 microamps standby.

- 56,7 milliamps with LED and battery indicator ON.

- 36,1 milliamps with only battery indicator ON.

DBO180 (Sander) - 0 milliamps standby

DTW281 =

- 0 microamps standby

- 52,7 milliamps with LED and battery indicator ON.

- 32,9 milliamps with only battery indicator on.

DGA504 - from shelf or if you try to use it without power = 15-12,5mA in a minute (probably charging capacitor or something)

After the one minute, it stabilizes on 712 microamps (0,7mA). In other word, slowly draining the battery.

DGD800 - Draining 2,5-1,55 mA continiously !

And this is all I had the time to test. But the DHP481 (XPT07), makita's sander and their brushless impact compact wrench is no problem what so ever. Tested with both the pluss side, and the extra signal pin. The signal-pin did have some low current when the LED/battery indicator lighted up, but only then. This current is already added into the numbers I gave you.

Edit: An 2,5mA drain is so 'large', if it held this constantly, it would drain a fully charged battery in under three months. And this is excluding the battery's self discharge rate.

 

Wow, nice work testing this. So the grinders, especially the DGD800 - die grinder right?, really suck decent amperage while idle.  You figure you put the tool down with a 25% charge and in a matter of a few weeks the battery could discharge. I think Makita inadvertently amplified the problem by not having battery indicators on their batteries. i.e. unless you plop it into the charger the only way to see the charge is to slap it into a tool and you might kill a weak cell in the process.

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Wow, nice work testing this. So the grinders, especially the DGD800 - die grinder right?, really suck decent amperage while idle.  You figure you put the tool down with a 25% charge and in a matter of a few weeks the battery could discharge. I think Makita inadvertently amplified the problem by not having battery indicators on their batteries. i.e. unless you plop it into the charger the only way to see the charge is to slap it into a tool and you might kill a weak cell in the process.

Yea totally forgot Makita had really no idea to tell what the charge was. Some tools had a charge indicator added but that was only recently done.

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