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18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

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  • 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

    I apologize in advance if this has already been answered, but my limited digging didn't yield and answer I was comfortable with. Anyway...

    About 2 years ago I purchased an 18v Ridgid combo kit with the drill, reciprocating saw and the circular saw. I have been pleased with these tools since I purchased them and all of them still work just fine. However, my father recently added that new, lightweight Makita drill (the white one) to our arsenal and I gotta say, the weight on that is SO nice.

    I want a Lithium Ion set. The weight difference is quite noticable. This leaves me with a problem:

    While I like the concept of the 24v set, the fact of the matter is this: 1. For the work I do, I have rarely been left wanting when it comes to power in the 18v set. I prefer the lighter weight over the greater power. 2. I have little to no desire to replace a fully functioning set of tools 18v tools if I don't have to.

    While at Home Depot tonight I did a bit of battery swapping and noticed the 18v Li-Ion batteries from the compact drill fit just fine in the regular 18v 1/2" drill and I got to wondering the following:

    1. Will the 18v Li-Ion batteries and their compact counterparts work in the old NiCd tools?

    2. Will my older charger work on newer batteries?

    In a perfect world the answer to the above questions is "yes" and Ridgid releases an 18v Li-Ion impact driver so I can get the batteries and the remaining tool that I want. Even if I have to do some eBay hunting, that's fine, though a new impact driver would really hit the spot since it'd have the batteries, tool and a new charger anyway.

    I could go with the compact drill, which is really sweet, but I'd prefer the full size 18v batteries.

    Is this possible or mostly possible?

  • #2
    Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

    Cult,
    I have an Hitachi NiCad set and recently bought a Li-Ion set BECAUSE the batteries are backwards compatible. What's interesting, however, is that Hitachi make a big deal about that, which makes me think that not all tool kits' batteries are backwards compatible.
    The one thing that would not be compatible in either case, would be your old charger. It may be worth what you mentioned- buying a Li-Ion impact driver which would come with 2 new batteries and a charger.

    SML

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    • #3
      Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

      The 18v lithium batteries do in fact work with older 18v Ridgid tools. The old nicad charger will NOT work with them. You need the charger that comes with them. The 18v lithium batteries are actually full size 2.9ah batteries. They are not compact batteries like the 1.5ah one that come with the Makita drill. There already is an impact driver that works with the 18v and 24v lithium batteries but its sold as a max select tool which means no batteries or charger included. If you want the 18v batteries you'll need to buy the entire compact drill kit.

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      • #4
        Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

        Excellent. I realized that the batteries with the compact drill were full size after looking on eBay. It really is too bad that there isn't an 18v Impact Driver that's sold with the Li-Ion batteries. Oh well. There's nothing wrong with that compact drill and it looks like I can get a bare impact driver on eBay for a decent price.

        Thanks for your help guys!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

          What does the 18v lithium-ion battery weigh?

          A while back I was comparing the 18volt battery line:

          original 18v battery weight unknown
          18vhc max about 2lb 6 1/2 oz
          18v 2.5ah about 2lb 8 1/8oz

          for argument only..24v battery 2.2lbs

          original 18v battery about 1.4ah
          the 18vhc battery is about 1.9ah
          the 18v 2.5ah battery is [duh] 2.5ah
          the 18v lithium-ion battery I'm told is 2.9ah

          So...if you have an arsenal of 18v 2.5ah batteries and the nicad chargers etc.
          I wonder if the additional [estimated] 400mah is worth the expense of an additional charger and the newer lithium-ion series?

          As far as weight goes honestly, when using the original 18v impact driver I can not recognize any weight difference between the hc battery and the 2.5ah battery You are looking at 2 oz!

          I too was tempted to upgrade my battery supplies but looking at what I have; a total of 8 batteries 4@ 2.5ah and 4@ 1.9ah. The fact I do not use these batteries daily I can't justify the cost of the "newer" stuff.

          Perhaps as the nicads I have begin to deteriorate I'll consider going to lithium-ion. Another option though would be to rebuild the nicads..again looking at the overall cost etc.

          I'm sure there is a lot of good arguments supporting the move to the lithium-ion battery product. If I was going to buy new battery operated tools today I would look at what's available with the lithium-ion battery and of course what's Ridgid!

          You now have another question to ask 18v or 24v? Remember going to a 24v battery even a 24v lithium-ion will increase the weight of the battery.

          I will stop here and not even address the 36v line of batteries.

          Cactus Man

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          • #6
            Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

            The Ridgid lithium Ion 18v li-ion batteries feel like they weigh similar to the makita 3.0ah batteries which should put them around ~1.5lbs.

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            • #7
              Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

              Guys, thanks for more info to my thread question about 18 volt battery swap over to lithium

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              • #8
                Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                Maybe I'm a wimp or something, but I notice the weight difference. In fact, I spent about 4 hours today under office counters removing 2" and 3" screws so the counters could be salvaged for a new wing in the office. I was using the 1/2" hammer drill that comes with the older set and my sister was using that light weight Makita. I know which one I wish I had been using!

                I'm not looking at a large scale replacement here. I was interested in getting that new small drill anyway since that Makita has really made an impression on me (and I love the LED lights on those things). The new drill would also give me the charger and the batteries. A bare impact driver runs like $115ish whereas the drill runs $190ish. Basically, figure in the new charger and two new batteries at about $75. Not bad. I end up with 4 batteries, an extra charger and another drill. If I'm already getting another tool anyway, it's nice if the accessories work with all my existing tools.

                When I'm using my reciprocating saw in particular (heaviest of the bunch) and I'm using 2 hands, I probably won't notice a difference in weight with the new batteries. Same with the circular saw. When I'm using my drill in hammer mode to punch through concrete or tile and I've got the handle on it and I'm using two hands... probably not a big deal. When I'm working over my head or under a table or in any number of awkward positions for a length of time over a few minutes, that weight really makes a difference.

                Now while I haven't actually weighted the two, I did a rough "hands test" the other day and held one then the other. I'd say the Li-Ion are about half the weight. Something like that. That's how it FELT.

                Like I said in my original post, I want to keep my 18v tools have no interest in 24v stuff. The only tool that even temps me to 24v is my circular saw, but I've got an AC powered worm drive that works on the rare occasion the 18v doesn't cut it.

                I really like that this allows for a sort of "phased" upgrade plan and even 1lb. really adds up on an arm over a day of work.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                  Originally posted by cult hero View Post
                  Maybe I'm a wimp or something, but I notice the weight difference. In fact, I spent about 4 hours today under office counters removing 2" and 3" screws so the counters could be salvaged for a new wing in the office. I was using the 1/2" hammer drill that comes with the older set and my sister was using that light weight Makita. I know which one I wish I had been using!

                  I'm not looking at a large scale replacement here. I was interested in getting that new small drill anyway since that Makita has really made an impression on me (and I love the LED lights on those things). The new drill would also give me the charger and the batteries. A bare impact driver runs like $115ish whereas the drill runs $190ish. Basically, figure in the new charger and two new batteries at about $75. Not bad. I end up with 4 batteries, an extra charger and another drill. If I'm already getting another tool anyway, it's nice if the accessories work with all my existing tools.

                  When I'm using my reciprocating saw in particular (heaviest of the bunch) and I'm using 2 hands, I probably won't notice a difference in weight with the new batteries. Same with the circular saw. When I'm using my drill in hammer mode to punch through concrete or tile and I've got the handle on it and I'm using two hands... probably not a big deal. When I'm working over my head or under a table or in any number of awkward positions for a length of time over a few minutes, that weight really makes a difference.

                  Now while I haven't actually weighted the two, I did a rough "hands test" the other day and held one then the other. I'd say the Li-Ion are about half the weight. Something like that. That's how it FELT.

                  Like I said in my original post, I want to keep my 18v tools have no interest in 24v stuff. The only tool that even temps me to 24v is my circular saw, but I've got an AC powered worm drive that works on the rare occasion the 18v doesn't cut it.

                  I really like that this allows for a sort of "phased" upgrade plan and even 1lb. really adds up on an arm over a day of work.
                  Cult Hero-
                  I too haven't weighed the Ridgid 18v Li with a scale, but it's pretty light. If you look at all the pictures of the R86006 (18V compact Li), you'll see that the battery is pretty small. I felt that it weighed in close to the Makita next to it at the HD. I tried to buy one, but they were out of stock at the time.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                    If you try an impact I guarantee that the only use your hammer drill will ever see again is with drill bits

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                    • #11
                      Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                      I have the Ridgid 5-pc combo kit with the impact driver and recently purchased the knew 18v compact Lithium. I use the lithium batteries on my impact driver all the time, it greatly reduces the weight on the tool and I still receive the same amount of power. Also my old charger that came with the combo kit does charge the lithium batteries the lights on the charger however do not show that it is charging, but it does.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                        Originally posted by genpatton View Post
                        Also my old charger that came with the combo kit does charge the lithium batteries the lights on the charger however do not show that it is charging, but it does.
                        YOWSA!!!!! Don't do that!!!! Lithium batteries should NEVER be charged in a charger not specifically designed for them. Doing that is just asking for something very unpleasant to happen. Is your fire insurance paid up?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                          Oh boy, thats a very bad idea. Do NOT charge lithium ion batteries in a charger not designed for them. Not sure why the batteries don't have some sort of mechanism to keep them from fitting on the old charger. They require special chargers with a computer that can monitor the battery. At the very least you will likely irreparably damage the battery pack and at worse the cells might burst. Lithium Ion batteries are pretty nasty and very dangerous when they go.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 18v Upgrade: Can you use Li-Ion on old NiCd tools?

                            Cult Hero, Cactusman, and Paladin, et al:

                            Please check out the thread at "Ridgid 18v Compact Lithium-Ion Drill" over in the "What's New in Power Tools" section, and look on Page 8 of that thread. I did a detailed review of the drill, so you can check out any detailed specs there, and some answers to your other questions.

                            The new 18 volt Lithium-Ion batteries only weigh 0.92 pounds, and are 2.9 Ah. That is quite a weight savings over the Max/2.5 ah NiCad batteries discussed earlier.

                            And as stated earlier by Velosapien and Disaster - do not, DO NOT, DO NOT, charge the lithium-ion batteries in the older chargers. You're just asking for a world of hurt if you do that. IMO, Ridgid is just begging for a class-action lawsuit by staying with the exact same visual design with the new lithium-ion chargers compared to the older nicad chargers. Someone who has different battery types and/or multiple chargers could get the non-lithium-capable one mixed up with the lithium version, and could end up getting seriously hurt or maimed from the posible resulting explosion. The only readily identifiable difference between the two chargers is that one says lithium-ion in a small 1"x1" area - they should really have changed some things up, so that there would be no chance of any possible mix-up.
                            Last edited by canucksartech; 09-03-2007, 12:25 PM. Reason: Brain Fart

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