Sawsall batteries

I'm asking today because the signal/noise ratio has been extremely poor lately. Does anyone still do metal working?
This is actually a woodworking question. I bet I use a portable
battery power sawsall more than anyone else around. It goes out in the cold everyday and cuts the limbs too large for limb loppers on apple trees. I only have one unit and we pass it around all day long.
Its a 24 volt Dewalt with six batteries. With two charge stations, they all get bumped up each night. The batteries are getting tired, its time to replace or maybe upgrade. This is NOT a small investment.
I'm wondering if I should go to the new lithium technology? But this requires a new saw and they don't come in 24 volts. Looks like 18 volt max. The battery is much smaller. That may or may not mean less usable amp hours of life. FWIW, the batteries I use claim 3000 units (sorry I don't know the unit) of charge. They are only this strong for the first 50 charges or so.
Or, I could rebuild all the battery cases with the best available batteries. We've done this a couple times already. Is there anything better than what the local "Batteries Plus" rebuild gives?
Karl
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Karl Townsend wrote:

Digi-Key is generally a good source of quality cells, but you'll have to do the pack rebuilding yourself.
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Karl Townsend wrote:

I don't see lithium available but these guys rebuilt all my drill and saw battery packs faster, better and for less money than I could do it myself: http://www.primecell.com/pctools.htm
(Your NiCD rebuilds go for $64 each.)
They are happy to answer questions: snipped-for-privacy@primecell.com
No connection other than as an ecstatic customer.
--Winston
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wrote:

Pretty sure i went NiMH last itme. I see they do it for $98. That's about $30 less that the local place from last time. Still, its $600 to redo the lot and this is year two.
These places tell you NiMH is better than NiCD, guess I take their word for it.
I would like to hear from somebody with the lithium. Will I get a huge increase in service life?
Karl
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I just found out they make lithium and higher voltage: http://www.cpopowertools.com/dewalt-dcx6401-36v-cordless-nano--li-ion-4-tool-combo-kit/dewndcx6401,default,pd.html?ref=froogledcx6401&zmam1282435&zmas=4&zmacW&zmap x6401
Not cheap tho.
Anybody out there swear by or at these?
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wrote:

I believe that the cells are made by A123 Systems. http://www.a123systems.com /
The "buzz" is that these are the best you can get. They are some flavor of Li and are able to be fast charged without overheating.
But I haven't actually used them myself. The last time I looked (about two years ago) they were about four times as expensive as regular NiMh cells. So I put them in the "would be nice" category.
Looks like the prices are still pretty high, but if you need the performance I would give them a try.
DOC
Buy my junk... http://www.robot-one.com/for-sale.html
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Karl Townsend wrote:

You can buy a small chain saw for $125. They are even designed for cutting tree branches.
-jim

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Yep. I got a Stihl 009. Very nice pro quality arborist saw. Nobody but me runs it. You can't beat the sawsall for a neat clean cut next to something you want to keep. And, I let anybody use a sawsall.
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Karl Townsend wrote:

Isn't it spelled "sawzall?"
Thanks, Rich
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-0700, Rich Grise, snipped-for-privacy@example.net.invalid wrote:

Probably only if it's made in Mississippi.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

I've been there, and they're not all that stupid.
Even Lord Google agrees with me. ;-)
Thanks, Rich
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Sawzall is manufactured in Mississippi.
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jim wrote:

Of, if you're not afraid of investing a little elbow grease, you can get a nice handsaw for about twenty bucks. ;-)
Cheers! Rich
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Karl Townsend wrote:

I'll never buy another NiMH battery. I once threw away about $50.00 on NiMHs and a "smart" charger, and after what seemed like only a few usages, they wouldn't hold a charge.
Including the pain in the ass factor, it's easier on me to simply buy alkalines. They have a shelf life that's measurable in years, and they seem to last for freaking ever.
I don't know what chemistry my cell phone battery uses (Samsung TracFone, battery part #AB463446BA, 800 mAh, about 2" L x 1 3/8 W x 3/16 thick), but it hasn't disappointed me yet. :-)
Good Luck! Rich
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If that charger charges your NiMH in less than 10 hours, it is killing them.
Wes -- "Additionally as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes." Dick Anthony Heller
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Wes wrote:

The charger touted itself as a "smart" charger, and came packaged with 4x AA cells; I just ass-u-me-d that the charger would be suitable to use with the cells it came packaged with.
Silly me.
Thanks, Rich
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On Thu, 17 Mar 2011 12:14:23 -0500, Karl Townsend

Dunno yet. I've only had my Makita impact driver for 8 months now. 2 benefits I've noticed are:
1) The assembly is 1 pound lighter in weight than my 14.4v Bosch.
2) Batteries charge in half the time- 15 vs. 30 mins.
I don't notice any improvement in longevity of lithium vs. NiCd or NiMH. They do stay fully charged for months, though. My old batts would go low or be dead after months of storage.
I _am_ glad I upgraded, but I'm not quite as impressed as I hoped.
-- A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. -- William S. Burroughs
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Me too, even less. But I expect great things (it's called "The Optimism of The New Owner").

I have the 12v Milwaukee Li-ion impact driver and it is HALF the weight of my 14.4v NiCd driver-drill (2.2lbs vs. 4.4lbs). I LOVE the light weight. There are 2 batteries available, one twice the capacity (& twice the weight) of the other. I got a big one as a "free" bonus when buying the kit and sold it. Lighter is so much better.
The battery has only run down once and I switched to the back up. My use is very intermittent.

The Li-ion charge curve (charge vs. voltage) has a knee: quite steep up to about 3.9v and then much flatter to 4.25 (full charge). The charge process uses constant current up to the knee and then constant voltage. Charging time is about the same for each phase.
The charge (energy) at the knee is about 1/2 the max. But operating the battery below the knee about doubles its life. So using the battery below the knee allows it to charge in 1/2 the time, but only gives half the run time (a wash except for the swapping time) & doubles the life. That's what I think my Milwaukee charger is doing. Sounds like your Makita is doing that, too.

Too soon to tell. Check back in a couple of years.

I haven't paid enough attention to say. But it would be comparing old NiCd's to new Li-ion's, so that's no use.

I am more impressed that I thought I would be. Half of it is the light weight & the other half is the impact-ing drive. It's a delight every time I use it.
Bob
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Karl, I work for a maintenance department. We run DeWalt battery tools (got started with Black & Decker commercial grade way back when and once started.....) We've run the 18 volt stuff since it came out using NiCad. I remember when the parts lady got us a new drill with the "new fangled" Lithium batteries. It seems like it was just a bit ago. We've used and worked the daylights out of these things. The Lithium seems to have a fresher, stronger feel and sound in use. They seem to last longer than the NiCad (very subjective, non-measured, unscientific observation). When they die, they don't just start to run down - they die!!!! We have tried several companies on rebuilds of NiCads. We've not had good luck with them, so we buy factory replacements. The dollar difference between rebuilds and factory is not much - we get a substantial discount at Graingers and the commercial tool house we use.
I had my first lithium not take a charge about 2 weeks ago. My comment was that these were way too new to have a problem. I do date and mark the stuff my crew uses. I said, "See, look at this date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spring 2006." Time flies when your having fun.
I wish I could help you more on your decision, but this has been mine.
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DanG
Keep the whole world singing . . .
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Thanks. I think I'll take your suggestion and buy two new batteries. Then rebuild a couple more.
I think I'll stay away from lithium this time around.
Karl
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