Ryobi lithium batteries

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Forum topic by ferstler posted 01-12-2013 11:02 PM 7765 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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342 posts in 3756 days

01-12-2013 11:02 PM

I have several of the larger Ryobi, 18-volt lithium batteries, and recently two of them went bad on me. Neither will hold a charge for more than a short while, and one will not charge up past the yellow power-level point at all.

I have tried charging overnight, but still could not get them to work. I have two others that are working fine, plus one of the smaller ones that also works fine. The two that have failed had been sitting in reserve for several months (I like to rotate the pairs), and it was after that rest period that they would not respond to charging. I have been using this rest and recharge technique for several years with both pairs and each time things worked just fine. Not this time, though.

I decided to open them up for a look before taking them to the recycle center. (You need a pair of special torx screwdriver tips to do this.) In one of them, two of the ten cells were leaking, with obvious deterioration. In the other four of the ten cells were in the same deteriorated condition. All other cells looked OK. This is a pretty bad failure rate for cells installed in batteries that cost ninety bucks apiece.

Anybody else here had similar failure experiences?

Howard Ferstler

17 replies so far

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Brad Hancock

30 posts in 3477 days

#1 posted 01-13-2013 01:52 AM

Haven’t tried opening them up, but have had a couple of similar failures.

-- Brad Hancock

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 01-13-2013 02:18 AM

Yep – Ridgid.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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7379 posts in 3603 days

#3 posted 01-13-2013 02:22 AM

Figures, Ryobi, questionable quality on all of their products in my opinion.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Willardz's profile


59 posts in 2546 days

#4 posted 01-13-2013 03:13 AM

I have had a lot of trouble with their Nicads, sorry to hear their lithiums are having issues also

-- I have Carrie, food, shelter, and wood to turn. What else do I need?

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244 posts in 2361 days

#5 posted 01-13-2013 05:50 AM

I’ve had some Ridgid 12v lithiums fail early on me. So far I’ve had good luck w/ Bosch NiCad and Lithium.

View oldnovice's profile


7379 posts in 3603 days

#6 posted 01-13-2013 07:26 AM

I only have one Ryobi electric tool and cannot use it because it vibrates too much. I have some Ryobi countersinks that are good for counter sinking in butter, jello, and maybe pine!

I bought some off brand NiMH on eBay form my Makita 9.6 volt drill as the NCAD batteries very fading fast. These batteries are now nearly 5 years old and still going strong besides making the drlll a better tool.

This brings me to one of my pet peeves about the old B&D tools which did not have replaceable batteries and many of which ended up in land fills with batteries included.

NEVER, buy a tool that does not have replaceable batteries … regardless of who makes it!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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2924 posts in 2261 days

#7 posted 01-13-2013 07:34 AM

I have a couple of the 18v. Ryobi Lithiums and they have served me well for 2 or 3 years. Have you checked around to see if anyone can rebuild them? I know it can be done with Ni Cads.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Scott's profile


153 posts in 3208 days

#8 posted 01-13-2013 12:14 PM

If this is the Ryobi Light Green set, I have the same exact setup. Recently, my 2 original batteries died after about 6 years including 2 full kitchens, a new deck, and countless pocket screws. They will charge up and display a green light, but they die very quickly.

Anyway, I didn’t open them up yet but now I might. I went ahead and got a new 2-pack of the smaller, lighter replacements. I think they were 2 for $79, not $90 a piece, but still not cheap. I think that for those prices, they should be re-buildable.

Have you considered trying to make one good battery out of the 2 that have leaking cells?

View MrRon's profile


5261 posts in 3479 days

#9 posted 01-13-2013 06:55 PM

I think trying to ressurect a Ryobi battery pack IMO is a waste of time. Better to go with brands with a proven track record.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3883 days

#10 posted 01-13-2013 07:15 PM

Lithium batteries cannot be rebuilt without special
equipment most battery rebuilding outfits don’t have.

Lithium batteries can explode, so they have electronics
in them to make the battery stop working if the
performance degrades. Sometimes this circuitry
will get triggered by cold weather.

Heat wrecks all batteries, so the best practice with
power tool batteries is to let them cool before
recharging them. This extends life.

Also, the more volts in a battery pack, the more
heat builds up, so 18 volt battery packs of all types
are more likely to get cooked from internal heat
than, for example, 12 volt packs.

I’ve gone with the Bosch 12v lithium system. It’s
not up to doing every job, but the batteries
aren’t too costly, the warranty is good and the
company makes credible claims for their battery

I still have an 18v Nicad hammer drill kit for heavier
jobs. I’ll probably hold onto it and have the
batteries rebuilt rather than replacing it with
lithium batteries unless the price of 18v lithium
replacements comes down by quite a lot.

I used Ryobi Ni-cads for several years… and kept
at it because, despite not being very long
lived the replacement Ni-cad packs were only
$40-$50 a pair. Maybe this was a loss leader
tactic to get people to adopt the Ryobi 1+

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3756 days

#11 posted 01-13-2013 10:00 PM

Thanks for all the comments, guys.

Apparently, Ryobi now has four new and different 18-volt lithium batteries. One is the full-sized job with battery-life indicator, with a lit price of $89. A second is a similar battery, but without the indicator and with a lower use-time rating, with a price of $69. They also have two smaller, low-profile versions, with one being full featured for a price of, I think, $59, and another without the features and with a lower rating for something like $39. They also still have the full-sized nicad versions.

The full-featured models are somewhat different from the earlier versions I have. Hopefully, the things have better internal cells than mine. Whatever, I will never try to “stockpile” batteries like that again. I will try to only have two, and replace as they go bad. Heck, I may just go back to nicads, but if I go for lithiums they will be the budget versions and not the full-featured types.

I also have three Ridgid 12-volt nicad batteries that are older than any of my Ryobi lithiums, and all three are still working fine. The only problem with them is that I cannot buy replacements at Home Depot. Supposedly, I can get them on line. I have the Ridgid 12-volt drill and 12-volt right-angle impact wrench, and I DO hope that they do not fully discontiune those batteries.

I will hand it to Ryobi. All of their 18-volt batteries, nicad and lithium, are interchangeable, with the mounting system staying pretty much the same for some time now.

Howard Ferstler

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2243 days

#12 posted 01-13-2013 10:07 PM

Ridgid has discontinued the 18v NiCads. They went to the Lith-Ions and the LI’s will fit your Ridgid tools. They do require a different charger though.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3100 days

#13 posted 01-13-2013 10:22 PM

I have a B&D 18 volt. Bought an extra battery when I started a big project about 5 years ago. Don’t recall how long
I have had it, but it continues to perform well and neither battery has given me any issues yet. I try not to use it for heavy duty applications. I think sometimes that is what causes premature battery failure.

Also have one of those little deringer (pistol looking) cordlelss B&Ds with the hex end , no chuck. I think it is dying.
Its ideal for little screws and the smaller ones like it seem to be hard to find from other manufactors.

View Dwain's profile


582 posts in 4095 days

#14 posted 02-14-2013 07:31 PM

I’ve been happy with Ryobi in my workshop. I am a hobbiest and use my drill maybe five to ten hours a week. I have both the larger and smaller Lithium Ion batteries. Love the bigger ones and am working to get a stable of four to six. The NiCads are on their way out. Once I had the Lithium Ion, I realized what I was dealing with and don’t need them anymore. I have several Ryobi hand tools. It’s nice to work from one battery system. I just can’t justify the more expensive tools for what I do.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3756 days

#15 posted 02-14-2013 10:56 PM

Dwain, it may be that long-term storage after considerable use somehow damages those lithium batteries. The ones I was actively using for six months (I have two big ones and one small one that still work) have never caused problems. However, the ones I ran down as the owner’s manual suggested for long-term storage were the ones that gave up the ghost. I opened both up and each unit had several cells that appear to have leaked out some substance.

I may be speculating here, but I suggest that one not amass more of those batteries than they can use and recharge fully on a regular basis.

I agree about nicads. I gave all of mine to my next-door neighbor. Interestingly, nicads may do better in storage after use than lithiums. Just speculating, though.

PS: I have a small but jam-packed shop full of Ridgid and Ryobi tools: drill presses, planers, jointers, table saws, nailers, sanders, etc. A few other brands are represented, too. (There may be photos of my place somewhere on this site.) Unless one is into precision furniture making (and I have even used my tools for that, too), decent budget or mid-grade tools will do the typical user just fine.


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