Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caring for Power Tool Batteries

This is a guest post from A1 Batterypro, a family owned and operated business specializing in Batteries, Solar Panels and Auto electrics.

Power tools are handy to have around if you’re a fan of fixing up your house or of DIY projects. Most power tools have built in batteries that are made out of different type of metals: Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, and Lithium-Ion. Here’s a handy guide to the kinds of metals that are usually used in power tool batteries.

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

This is a type of rechargeable battery that operates at 1.2 volts per cell. Note that conventional cells have 1.5 volts. These batteries are also lighter than NiCad batteries but have a shorter run time. It’s important to note that NiMH batteries don’t perform too well in the cold weather so keep it in mind if you’re thinking about using it in winter.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCad)

NiCad has longer life cycles compared with NiMH. You can also expect your NiCad-powered tool to do its job pretty well during a cold day, however, expect some added weight to your power tools if you use this type as NiCad batteries tend to be a lot heavier than others.

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)

Li-Ion batteries are currently the favourite when it comes to powering up various gadgets and tools. It has the best performance in a variety of temperatures (but not extreme cold) compared to NiCad and NiMH, and is surprisingly lightweight as well. The shelf life of Lithium-Ion batteries is not dependent on how heavily they’re used or how many times you charge them so be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications to find out how long you can use it.

Regardless of battery type, you might notice that your favoured battery’s performance tends to taper off especially when it approaches the end of its life so here are some ways to prolong your battery’s life.

Keep it clean

Some power tools need to be used in landscaping and construction projects which may expose them to all sorts of environmental materials such as dirt, sand and mud. To keep tools running smoothly, clean the battery contacts with cotton swaps and rubbing alcohol.

Keep batteries away from the charger

After your batteries are charged, remember to always remove them from their charging docks or cables to prolong the life of the battery. When batteries are charging, they generate a significant amount of heat which may be detrimental to the health of the battery in the long term.

Smart charging behaviour

For Li-Ion and Ni-Mh batteries, remember to never let them completely discharge when using them. If you’re planning on packing away your power tools for extended periods of time, ensure that they are charged at least to 50% before storing them. Li-Ion batteries tend to lose their charge at a slower rate as compared to Ni-Mh when not in use.

If you follow these steps and care for your batteries, you’ll be able to prolong and extend the life of your power tool batteries in the long run. If you’re looking to replace batteries, check out online stores like A1 Battery Pro, where you’ll find a huge range of batteries for all your favourite man tools!