Trying to use a power tool without power is frustrating. There is nothing worse than cutting a job short because the tool designed to speed up the process is dragging behind. Over time, battery packs lose their juice. Every battery, even rechargeable batteries, run their course and eventually fade into inadequacy. There are, however, some simple steps that can be taken to extend the life of your cordless tool battery packs for years, and avoid the steep prices of replacements.
Joe Knows Powertools!
Know the limits of your power tool battery. Knowing the limits of your power tool battery is the first step in power tool battery maintenance. Standard battery packs are usually good for about 700-1000 charge/discharge cycles, if properly maintained. Each type of battery—whether NiCad, NiMH, or Li-Ion—has a different susceptibility to harmful environmental factors that can slowly decrease its long-term usage.
Recharge your battery pack after each use, and never store your battery packs without a proper charge. If you’re storing your batteries for an extended period of time, a loss of voltage and capacity due to self-discharge is almost unavoidable, especially concerning the NiMH and NiCad batteries. Even if you are not using the tool, it’s best to charge the battery at least once every two months.
Don’t Leave it Charging
Ironically, the charger itself can also be a potential cause of battery deterioration, so it’s important to be mindful of how long your batteries are connected to the charger. Prolonged charging can easily destroy the battery’s potential. Some modern systems charge the battery to its maximum capacity and then cut power, but even these chargers have a tendency to overheat the batteries and destroy the battery internally. Just be mindful of how long you leave your battery on a charger and remove it when fully charged.
Take Care when handing the battery pack. Finally, it’s important to be careful with the battery pack itself, as the internal connections can be easily damaged. Power tool batteries are made up of a collection of smaller cell batteries, usually spot-welded together to complete a circuit at a certain voltage. When a pack is jostled around, dropped, or hit with significant force, that welding can be loosened or broken. Sometimes these can be repaired, but the best way to avoid this: don’t bang your tool around!
If your power tool battery has run its course and no longer holds a charge,rebuilding the pack by replacing the cells is a cost effective option, costing up to 50% cheaper than a new battery. A local battery store, like Battery Joe, can take care of this for you in just a couple of days. Usually the process is very simple and easy, they can even increase the run time of your battery and still be cheaper than a new battery. If, however, the pack is not rebuild-able then be sure to recycle your old batteries and be kind to the environment. Read More About Battery Rebuilds