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Lithium-Ion replacements for NiCad batteries

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Forum topic by Richard posted 03-03-2016 08:09 PM 572 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Richard

1907 posts in 2157 days


03-03-2016 08:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Does anyone make replacement Lithium-Ion batteries for older NiCad battery cordless tools ? I know I would have to get the battery and charger both . I have an older Makita 3 1/2 or 3 3/8 blade Circular Saw that still works great but the batteries won’t hold a charge for more than 5 or 10 min. and rather than buying new NiCad batteries or paying the $120 to $150 for a new one with Lithium-Ion batteries I would rather just get the Lithium-Ion batteries and charger that would fit the old saw. Unless of course that would be more expensive than buying a new saw.


9 replies so far

View JayT's profile

JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#1 posted 03-03-2016 08:22 PM


Unless of course that would be more expensive than buying a new saw.

- Richard

Bingo!

Most manufacturers are not making lithium ion batteries for the older Ni-Cad tools. Too much expense for too little gain. (Especially when they can get you into a new battery system, right?)

The biggest issue is that lithium batteries require computer chips to control them or they can overheat and catch on fire (see: cheap hoverboard knockoffs) DeWalt originally was putting a chip in every 18v lithium battery so that they would be compatible with the older NiCad system. Therein lies the problem—you have to put a chip in EVERY battery and it adds quite a bit to the cost.

By putting the chip in the tool, the companies can avoid putting them in the battery and lower the overall production costs. That is why you see the new DeWalt 20V Max system out—it has the chip in the tools.

It’s not just the cost of the chip, either. Each different system requires very expensive testing and programming for each and every battery voltage. The tool companies just aren’t going to spend that kind of money to support older tools. They are better off putting that money into R&D for new tools. The consumer is better off, as well.

Edit: Instead of replacing batteries, there are places out there that will rebuild your old batteries. They take them apart, solder in new NiCad cells and put the shell back together. It generally costs far less than a new battery.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View TheWoodRaccoon's profile

TheWoodRaccoon

364 posts in 397 days


#2 posted 03-03-2016 08:26 PM

You may be able to send your batteries out and have them “rejuvinated”. I saw an ad in the back of a Popular Science a while ago that advertised that, but it might just be scam, like all the *ahem “enhancement” drugs that are also back there…...

-- still trying to think of a clever signature......

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splintergroup

829 posts in 689 days


#3 posted 03-03-2016 08:52 PM

NiCad packs can be replaced and if your charger is designed for NiCad and NiMH (as was my Milwaukee), you can ‘upgrade’ to the ‘better’ NiMH batteries.

Sometimes if you use a tool a lot, it just makes more sense to upgrade to a newer model provided the upgrade is cost effective versus repairing the original.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 387 days


#4 posted 03-05-2016 03:37 PM

Richard,

I am not sure this would work for the Makita. I changed over to Ryobi Lithium batteries for the Ryobi suite of tools I have. All the tools work fine and do not seem to notice that I changed the way electricity is stored. The Ryobi Lithium batteries fit and locked into the tool just fine. I did have to replace the old charger with the Ryobi charger designed for the Ryobi Lithium batteries. The Li batteries work way better than the older batteries and charge faster. However this was an expensive conversation. So if in doubt that just buying a Makita charger and Li battery would work, then I would say replace or rebuild your current batteries or upgrade the saw.

If you discard the NiCad batteries, recycle. Cad is a heavy metal poison and Ni is not good either. Cad or Ni ending up in the aquafer would not be good.

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1420 posts in 2332 days


#5 posted 03-05-2016 03:55 PM



Richard,

I am not sure this would work for the Makita. I changed over to Ryobi Lithium batteries for the Ryobi suite of tools I have. All the tools work fine and do not seem to notice that I changed the way electricity is stored. The Ryobi Lithium batteries fit and locked into the tool just fine.

- JBrow

That is because Ryobi designed the one system so that NiCad or LiIon batteries could be used so they can get you into a cheap drill for $40 with NiCads or the same drill that uses LiIon batteries for $80.

Their older NiCad stuff that does not say One on it is not the same.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4244 posts in 1666 days


#6 posted 03-05-2016 08:23 PM

Sometimes if you use a tool a lot, it just makes more sense to upgrade to a newer model provided the upgrade is cost effective versus repairing the original.
- splintergroup

Actually, NiCD is much more cost effective than either NiMH or L-Ion. While they don’t have as much storage capacity, they have far greater service life (charge/discharge cycles) and are significantly cheaper to replace when they do die. The numbers vary slightly, but all show the same results – such as Battery University, where they show the cost per kWh of NiCd is $7.75, NiMH is $19.50, and L-Ion is $20. The only thing comparable to NiCD is Lead Acid, which makes really terrible power tool battery packs :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View josephf's profile

josephf

125 posts in 1563 days


#7 posted 03-06-2016 08:46 PM

i upgraded to makitas brushless saw .for me this was a big upgrade .went from having a cordless saw on the truck to not even bothering to carry a corded saw .real nice cutting saw .cuts very fast and is lightweight .i can make super cuts a whole lot easier . the brushed model used to much battery ,the brushless is functional .i can frame decks with it . I am upgrading to all brushless .I figure it will save me in the long haul in battery life .So far this has proved true . Depends on your needs though .

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115206 posts in 3044 days


#8 posted 03-06-2016 09:48 PM

View Richard's profile

Richard

1907 posts in 2157 days


#9 posted 03-07-2016 06:09 PM

Well I guess the overall consensus is that if I don’t want to replace a perfectly working small saw , I need to bite the bullet and buy a replacement NiCad battery which I can still find easy enough.
I can understand the high cost of making retrofit L-Ion batteries and didn’t really think I could find them but it was kind of worth the shot to see if any one had done it on the aftermarket side.
And I really like this little saw for some things , I still have the full size corded saw and most likely won’t go cordless for that since I don’t do Job Site work where I might not have power. But then you need power to recharge on a job site unless you can afford a lot of spare batteries.

Thanks everyone

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