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Power Tool Battery Care

Jun 7, 2008
Chances are, most of you have at least one or two power tools around your home. They are great for both small and large projects and make many tasks much easier due to their power and portability. However, a power tool without power is really no tool at all and will be of little use to anyone. Yet many power tool batteries lose their power due to improper care and the somewhat costliness of replacement power tool batteries causes a lot of power tools to lie dormant. That being said, here are some useful tips for keeping your power tool batteries in the best possible condition to ensure that you're not left scratching your head next time you need to use your power tool.

First off, most power tool batteries are made up of several smaller cells packed inside the battery casing. These cells are predominantly NiCD, meaning that the same rules for all NiCD batteries apply here as well. These batteries have a tendency to develop a memory effect. In order to ensure that your power tool battery doesn't lose a significant amount of its runtime, it is important to practice smart charging behavior. Power tool batteries should be power cycled (fully discharged and fully charged) at least once every few weeks to guard against the memory effect.

Have you ever stored a car or lawnmower for the winter and tried to start it a few months later only to find that the battery is dead? The same will happen to a power tool battery if not properly maintained. This is probably the number one killer of power tool batteries today, especially for those that only use their tools for odd and end jobs every now and then. If the battery is not taken from storage and charged/discharged occasionally, it will certainly fail to function when you need it. When you do store power tool batteries, make sure to store them in a dry, cool, clean place away from metal and heat. Never store power tool batteries on the charger, as this will overcharge the battery and also diminish its runtime.

Many people use power tools in some pretty rough places, such as construction sites, mechanic shops, and landscaping areas. This means that power tool batteries often become dirty and should be cleaned to keep them working correctly. To ensure that dirt doesn't interfere with the battery connections and cause the tool not to function normally, clean the battery contacts with some alcohol and cotton swabs.

If you do have a power tool battery that no longer takes a full charge or simply will not function at all, it may be time to consider having the battery rebuilt. The rebuilding process involves opening the battery casing and replacing the smaller individual cells inside with new rechargeable cells. This process often costs much less than the price of a new battery and most batteries can even be improved by using higher capacity cells which allow the battery to last longer in between charges.
About the Author
Bobby George is a technical consultant at
LowCostBatteries.com. Please visit the sight for more articles.bobby@lowcostbatteries.com
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