Cordless Tool Tips

May 30, 2010


Tips, Trends

Advances in battery technology has made the use of cordless tools on jobsite obiquitous.  The NiCad and NiMH batteries are still the most prominent due to costs, but the new Li-ion batteries are quickly taking over.  Despite their greater costs, they can generally provide more power with lighter weight batteries.  (Be sure to dispose of failed batteries properly.  Most manufacturers have recycling programs allowing the return of batteries that no longer work for recycling.  Cadmium can have a detrimental effect on the environment if not handled properly.)

Along with the advances in the batteries there have been advances in how the tools and chargers manage the batteries.  Sensors in the tools track the draw-down of the battery’s stored power and better manage it.  Chargers optimize the charging time, run refresh cycles to even out battery cell usage reducing the memory effect and some include fans to reduce heat in the charging process. 

All these things are improving the use of cordless tools on our jobsites.  Cordless tools will continue to improve and are the wave of the future for construction workers.

Tips about caring for your purchase:

The life of a battery or tool depends on how you use it.  Here are some suggestions about how to get the best performance.

  • Read the instructions that come with your tools.  There are many differences between tools and battery chemistries.
  • Don’t run NiCad and NiMH batteries all the way down – Li-ion batteries are protected for this.  When you feel loss of power, recharge it.  Running on low power hurts battery and tool performance.
  • Inspect and clean tools regularly.
  • Do “maintenance charges” once a month to exercise the chemistry when batteries aren’t being used.
  • When you discharge a battery, don’t use it as a wrench by leaving the switch on and turning the tool like a screw driver; it’s the quickest way to destroy a battery.
  • Don’t store batteries in extreme heat or cold.
  • Don’t stall a tool; it causes very high battery amperage outputs.
  • Don’t store batteries in the charging unit.
  • Don’t push a tool to its limits.


“Tips about caring for your purchase” taken from Concrete Construction, April 2007

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