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  • Discussion on Battery Chargers

    Cordless tools, as you all know, are doing nothing but gaining in popularity. You all probably have chargers in the shop, or the truck, or both. I am curious as to your thoughts on the charger specifically.

    What have you seen that you like?

    What do you dislike?

    What would you like to see?

    Are there any environments for which you wish the charger were better equipped? (any water issues with plumbers that a framer may not have)

    I don't want to prompt too much because I am looking for fresh thoughts. You can name brands if you like when referencing goods or bads, and don't just think of your experiences with RIDGID here. What would you like to see (and be sure not to see) on your ideal battery charger?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

  • #2
    Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

    YES YES YES YES!!!!
    THIS is THE topic....
    I'll confess, and likely be "looked down" upon...I use Ryobi...yup...sinner here.
    I drop it and don't have to think "great...there goes $250 down the drain".
    I use the truck charger, works well...especially as a plumber on the road.
    I'll be the first to admit the batteries are awful...they die after a year or sooner..BUT, they're $20 apiece...math tells me that 20 for a year beats 70 for two (life expectancy...even for LI batteries)
    Dewalt and Milwaukee have gotten my attention with the 28 & 36 volt...but NOT my money ($700 for a sawszall and drill....ooph...hope I don't drop it)
    Also...Milwaukee's "V-28" line is rumored to have serious wiring problems (lemme guess...DeWalt is shadowing similar trouble...I have yet to see anyone with the 36 volt on a site...so I can't ask firsthand)
    IF you're asking at the beheft of Ridgid...tell them LI batteries are the "buzz"
    You make 'em, I know.
    Also HIGH voltage...we want POWER!
    AND...in MY humble opinion...the "Calvin Klein effect" has grown old in construction...where tradesmen see what others are using and gotta keep up with the Jones...in other words, high price DOES NOT equate to quality just for the sake of it.
    I'm a plumber...Ridgid is to a plumber what bible is to a church-goer when it comes to pipe wrenches,tubing cutters - and for me, more recently...sewage ejector ...lifetime warranty...I'll take that...sorry Zoeller.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers


      Very interesting timing for you to post your questions. In recent years my Makita cordless tools have finally given up the ghost down to the last battery. At best the Makitas have always been convenient but I knew I was sacrificing a lot over corded tools. The credendum with bad batteries and older tools becomes do I buy new batteries or do I buy new tools with new batteries.

      After much research I decided on the Milwaukee 18 Volt cordless tools. For anyone who has purchased cordless tools recently you know it can be quite an investment. Over the next few months I ended up with two circular saws, one hatchet saw, one hammer drill, one impact wrench, one flashlight, five Ni-Cad batteries, two standard chargers and one multi-bay charger. My initial impressions were great and to this day I am thrilled with the tools but to my surprise the batteries are failing at a disappointing rate.

      After contacting Milwaukee they have danced around the fact that the batteries are garbage and after none of their remedies would correct the problem they recommended I bite the bullet; throw away my 5 Ni-Cad batteries, my 2 standard chargers and my multi-bay charger. Needless to say I was not happy with their suggestion but after many months of considering my options this morning I ordered two new Lithium-Ion batteries and one universal charger.

      Now after my rant you will understand the reasoning for my perspective so I am ready to answer your questions. I’m assuming you are not asking about standard chargers which comes with a tool as I believe you will need to stay competitive which will limit the features of a charger. In addition, I fill you need to make a standard 12 volt charger for charging on the road. Beyond that any upgraded charger should have the ability to charge both Ni-Cad and Lithium-Ion batteries. They should also be able to charge any battery Ridgid makes so we don’t have to carry multiple chargers on the truck. If you have changed the type of battery at least you can supply an adapter plate to charge old style batteries on the new charger.

      I don’t believe there is a need for a wet environment charger as plumbers should already know to keep their tools out of the water. Dust is probably more of a concern than water is. That being said I do believe a plus would be to have a multi-bay charger which can hang on the wall with a simple nail or two. I always hated setting my chargers on the ground of a project while the helper sweeps all the dust right into them. Besides towards the end of the day I don’t want to have to bend over to put in or take out my battery from the charger. A small light on the charger might be helpful as well for those jobs when you are inside a poorly lit TI.

      Moving on I believe it would be a big plus for the charger to be a “power station”. Generally when you arrive at the job you are running all of your cords and then you need to find a place to plug your charger in. Imagine how much easier it would be if the multi-bay charger hanging on the wall also had three electrical outlets incorporated into it for running additional cords. The charger would no longer be another thing to figure out where to plug it in it would become the place to plug things in.

      Okay now here is the big closing I’ve been saving up for all of this time. I had planned to save this until I could patent the idea but I always have liked you guys at Ridgid. Most of us have seen the portable jump starters which will start our trucks if our batteries go dead on a remote project. Why can’t the same technology be used to build a portable jump starter which also has a built in multi-bay charger? If you are using cordless tools because the closest electrical outlet is down the hill at the neighbors house the portable jump starter might help you make it through the day.

      Well there’s my start and I apologize for not spending any time thinking about this stuff.

      Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

        The biggest problem with chargers is that there's too many of them. One for almost every type of battery. Chargers should be made as universal as possible. There's nothing more annoying than needing a different charger for your 18v Lithium, 18v nicad, 24v, 36v etc, even within the same brand. People like to pick the best tool for the job and that applies to cordless tools as well. While its considered practical to choose a cordless brand and group and stick to tools from within that group so you can share batteries and chargers, the truth is its not always practical. Many times you cherry pick the best tools for different jobs from different brands or groups. Carrying several different chargers is just downright annoying.

        Car chargers are a nice idea except they are usually so expensive its not worth it. Its better to just buy a cheap inverter and use the same 120v charger in the car which is what I do. Why can't a charger also have inputs for both 120v and 12v?

        They are also too expensive unless you go through ebay. I like to leave a charger at home, one in the car, and one in the toolbag or wherever else I frequently use the tools so I don't have to be packing it up every time. The retail cost of replacement chargers is too high they fall into the don't buy one unless the original is broken catergory.

        One other thing that has always puzzled me, why do many brands offer a standard charger and a fast charger? Is it a cost issue, but why don't they just make the fast charger the standard charger. Makita is now moving in this direction and it seems to make sense.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

          What would you like to see?
          Everyones been crying for over a year for a RIDGID Radio/charger. Is anything on the drawing board? Search the forum and read some of the posts asking for one.

          I'd like a charger that can go with me. One that can operate from 120V AC and 12V DC, then when on the job or when traveling from job to job batteries could be recharged from the truck. I guess for a charger that would be taken "on the road" that the batteries should be held in place so they don't jostle about, maybe something as simple as a Velcro retaining strap or the charger might interlock with the battery as it does when mated up to the tool.

          I see that Ryobi offers a 12V charger, but you have to buy it in addition to the one that comes with the tool. Use that same type charger but power it from a 12V DC out wall wart for in-the-shop recharging, and include a cigar lighter power cord for mobile charging.
          ---------------
          Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
          ---------------
          “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
          ---------
          "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
          ---------
          sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

            I have a dual ridgid charger, came with my drill. I love the set up, the only problem I have is that the drill is off balanced, but that is for another discussion. I back Mark on the dual port charger and the power station, plenty of times we have to sacrefice charging the batteries to needing the outlet for another non-cordless tool or just an extension cord. Longer cords on the chargers, with a place on board the charger to stash it while not in use would be good. Detachable cordsSo that the unit can recieve a regular three prong plug, we can just unplug when we are done. All in all, my charger is great, it works even though my helper was soldering pipe over it, it is full of flux, water and solder, but it works and it works fast Thanks for caring ridgid
            sigpic

            Robert

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

              The one thing that I find most aggravating is finding a place cool enough to charge a battery on really hot days. When you are out building decks or what ever in the summer there are many days when it is too hot even in the shade to charge a battery in reasonable time. Why not use the Peltier effect to introduce cool air to the battery via the existing fan. The current across the Peltier junction could be regulated based on the temperature of the air stream through the charger.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                Yea, the Peltier effect. That's the same thing I was thinking.
                Buy cheap, buy twice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                  Mark

                  I hope you haven't trashed the bad Milwaukee batteries and/or tools. If the tools are still good, there are places that can remove and install new higher quality Ni-Cad cells in the plastic cases and glue them back together. You'll save some good $$$ over buying new Milwaukee "El Crapo" batteries too. By the way the cells have little tabs on them and they spot weld them together. In my area we have a place called Batteries Plus that I have used with good results and at about 1/2 price of buying a new battery pack.
                  Last edited by Woussko; 06-29-2007, 12:20 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                    i would love to see something other than a red or green led to tell me the condition of the charge.

                    why not a multi level led or gauge?

                    a discharge feature or conditioner would also be nice.

                    so many chargers, so many different voltages. keep 1 charger with a a universal fit and an automatic voltage selector.

                    thanks.

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                      Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                      Mark

                      I hope you haven't trashed the bad Milwaukee batteries and/or tools. If the tools are still good, there are places that can remove and install new higher quality Ni-Cad cells in the plastic cases and glue them back together. You'll save some good $$$ over buying new Milwaukee "El Crapo" batteries too. By the way the cells have little tabs on them and they spot weld them together. In my area we have a place called Batteries Plus that I have used with good results and at about 1/2 price of buying a new battery pack.
                      Thanks I appreciate that. At this point the bad batteries have a piece of tape on the bottom so I don't use them. I was planning on rebuilding them but I want to see how the Lithium batteries work out first.

                      Mark
                      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                        Along the lines with what rick said. I would like to have a status readout... Also... readout on how much juice is left when you stick it on the charger so I dont have to guess about whether or not I need to charge my battery before starting a project.

                        Josh

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Discussion on Battery Chargers

                          Thanks to all that responded. Lots of good feedback that we can incorporate in discussion here.

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