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220V compatible charger?

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  • 220V compatible charger?

    Hi all,

    I have the 14.4v cordless 1/2" drill/driver (model R830153) that came with a RapidMax single slot quick charger, and two Max 2.5 Ah batteries. The quick charger only accepts 120V/60Hz input. Are there any chargers that can take universal input (i.e. 110-220V/50-60Hz) so I could recharge batteries overseas where the standard is 220V/50Hz?

    Here's some background. I had the drill overseas for a project this summer, and planned to use it with a simple travel/voltage converter. Unfortunately, after trying several of these converters at both their low and high wattage settings, none seemed to work. Sometimes, a couple of the lights on the charger would come on, but then it would just die after a few seconds. Note that these were run-of-the-mill type travel/voltage converters that an average traveler might have--they were nothing special. Also note that the charger works fine back here in the U.S., so that is not the problem. Fortunately, the project was not a total loss as I went with both batteries fully charged, and that was enough for ~80% of what I needed to get done. But I'd like to avoid this problem again in the future, hence, my question about a charger that would accept a 220V source.

    I am aware of other options, like a power inverter that I could plug into a car to provide AC sockets. But I'd rather a simple charger with universal input instead.

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

  • #2
    Re: 220V compatible charger?

    Because Ridgid makes and sells tools in other countries they may have a charger for the voltage you are looking for. Have you tried contacting Tech Support?

    http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/Contact-Us/EN/index.htm

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

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 220V compatible charger?

      The little travel converters aren't much..good to use charging your shaver and thats about it.I've no idea what country your traveling to but I'm in the Philippines a lot where everything is 220/240 60hz sorta lol brownouts are common.Every hardware store there sells good quality stepdown transformers of varying wattages so look next time you get where your going take a look.A warning they aren't cheap but again you get what you pay for.If I remember right a 1200 watt there costs about 60usd..sorry its been awhile since I bought 1 for the house there so can't exactly remember.They also arent light little things.
      Sam

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 220V compatible charger?

        Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
        Because Ridgid makes and sells tools in other countries they may have a charger for the voltage you are looking for. Have you tried contacting Tech Support?
        Hi Mark, thanks for the suggestion. I have examined the Ridgid webpages and downloaded a bunch of manuals to check, but the idea of simply contacting Tech Support never crossed my mind. So I wrote them a message just now. Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 220V compatible charger?

          Originally posted by threecreeks3 View Post
          The little travel converters aren't much..good to use charging your shaver and thats about it....Every hardware store there sells good quality stepdown transformers of varying wattages so look next time you get where your going take a look.
          Thanks, Sam, for the suggestion of a high quality stepdown transformer. I've thought about this, and could buy a nice one here to take with me, or even where I'm going (Turkey). But I am not 100% sure this would actually work based on my experience this past summer, followed up by some reading I've been doing over the last couple of weeks.

          My understanding it that many "dumb" (totally dumb, or timer-based at most) battery chargers apparently have no problem when using simple voltage converters. But supposedly some "smart" chargers have problems with the frequency difference (i.e. 60Hz vs. 50Hz). I think that the RapidMax charger is probably at least semi-smart since it monitors temperature. Even smarter chargers monitor the negative Delta V (explanation at http://www.mpoweruk.com/chargers.htm), and shut-off according to that.

          Actually, if anybody here has more information about the level of "smartness" of the RapidMax chargers, I'd be glad to hear that.

          Phew, so my concern with a high quality stepdown transformer is that while it would definitely provide a much cleaner and more stable voltage, it would not change the frequency. And if that is really the problem, well, I'd end up in the same situation as before.

          Since you have much more experience with this by living in the Philippines, maybe you can say something else about the frequency issue? Thanks again for your response.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 220V compatible charger?

            Verbage

            Frequency may very well be an issue as it is with some electronic devices and is very much so with induction motors. I really would try calling up Ridgid tech support for power tools. TTI is behind making hand held power tools under the Ridgid name and they sell all over the world. I bet there are chargers made up to run on 200-220 Volts 50 Hertz. You may have to actually buy one when you get to where you're going. If you have family or close friends in other contries try asking them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 220V compatible charger?

              Originally posted by verbage View Post
              Hi Mark, thanks for the suggestion. I have examined the Ridgid webpages and downloaded a bunch of manuals to check, but the idea of simply contacting Tech Support never crossed my mind. So I wrote them a message just now. Thanks!
              Just heard back from Ridgid Tech Support, and unfortunately, they said that they do not have any chargers that can accept 220V input since they only make tools for the US and Canadian markets. Universal input would be a great additional feature for future hardware revisions that would probably not add very much to the cost, but make the gear more versatile (at least for me!).

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 220V compatible charger?

                Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                Verbage

                Frequency may very well be an issue as it is with some electronic devices and is very much so with induction motors. I really would try calling up Ridgid tech support for power tools. TTI is behind making hand held power tools under the Ridgid name and they sell all over the world. I bet there are chargers made up to run on 200-220 Volts 50 Hertz. You may have to actually buy one when you get to where you're going. If you have family or close friends in other contries try asking them.
                Thanks, Woussko, for the info. I'm planning on writing Tech Support again to find out more details about the charger, but maybe it would be worthwhile for me to contact TTI directly if nothing pans out. No friends nor family for me over there, so I have to get this done on this side of the ocean. Fortunately, plenty of time still left till next summer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 220V compatible charger?

                  Check and see if they make a 12 volt car type charger. I know DeWalt does.
                  SSG, U.S. Army
                  Retired
                  K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 220V compatible charger?

                    Theres always 12 volt dc to 120vac inverters too..I doubt 1 that'd supply your needs would weigh much or be too big..so thatd be convert 12volts dc to 120 volts ac then your charger..Not a very efficient way to do it but its workable.As they say theres more then 1 way to skin a cat.
                    Sam

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 220V compatible charger?

                      I wonder what the front end of the Ridgid charger is like. Most good chargers have a transformer and rectifier and some manor of Voltage regulator. Then they get into the fancy stuff. If they do convert AC to DC up front then 50 Hertz wouldn't be the problem, but getting the proper output Voltage from the transformer (secondary winding) would be. Changes would be needed only to the Primary winding unless the transformer they use is under-rated and can't take being used on 50 Hertz power.

                      I think I may have to look on flea bay for Ridgid chargers and if I can get some really cheap then take them apart and study the design. It might not be all that hard to just use a simple step down transformer. I have found some cheapo converters that claim to be for 120 Volt devices to run on 200-240 Volts to be nothing but a big diode. It chops the waveform about in 1/2. Such would only properly work with a resistive load but some other loads may sort of work depending on what they are. For electronics this is not the answer and in many cases does harm.

                      For what it's worth on the Milwaukee (Europe) web site they have a very nice charger that runs on 200 Volt (approx) 50 Hertz power and it says this one charger can charge a good many different battery packs that are Milwaukee brand. I wish there was an easy way to get one of them over here. It just might work out for some of the popular Ridgid battery packs.

                      Sorry everyone, I'm thinking of wild ideas but it's one thing to think of them and yet very different to make them work out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 220V compatible charger?

                        You guys are way beyond me on this, but I have seen that the 50 Hz standard in Europe and Africa plays all kind of unexpected tricks on office equipment that we tried to step down.

                        However, many of these modern laptops have dual power that can accept both 120 60 Hz and 220 50 Hz. I realize these power supplies put out micro voltage to power the circuits, but would there be something on the markert for the higer volatage that no one has noticed could be used for these larger batteries?

                        I'm just asking, for I truely don't know what's involved in stepping this power down and into 50 Hz .
                        thepapabear<BR>When a bureaucrat has a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 220V compatible charger?

                          Originally posted by TOD View Post
                          Check and see if they make a 12 volt car type charger. I know DeWalt does.
                          Thanks, TOD, for the suggestion. I have not seen something like this in any of their catalogs or product listings, but I have asked Tech Support about one in case it is not published, or they have something new coming to market.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 220V compatible charger?

                            Originally posted by threecreeks3 View Post
                            Theres always 12 volt dc to 120vac inverters too..I doubt 1 that'd supply your needs would weigh much or be too big..so thatd be convert 12volts dc to 120 volts ac then your charger..Not a very efficient way to do it but its workable.As they say theres more then 1 way to skin a cat.
                            Sam
                            Yeah, I'll definitely keep this open as a possibility now that I've confirmed a universal input charger does not exist.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 220V compatible charger?

                              Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                              I wonder what the front end of the Ridgid charger is like...For what it's worth on the Milwaukee (Europe) web site they have a very nice charger that runs on 200 Volt (approx) 50 Hertz power and it says this one charger can charge a good many different battery packs that are Milwaukee brand.
                              Thanks for the brainstorming, but I am starting to feel like thepapabear at this level of detail! Nonetheless, I have asked Ridgid Tech Support for a more detailed explanation of the RapidMax chargers, in particular, whether they do more than just monitor battery pack temperature.

                              I don't have one of the batteries available now, but they actually have four terminals. The outside ones are the positive and negative terminals, but if I remember correctly, the middle two are marked with a "T" or similar. Maybe these ones are for the thermistor/temperature readings?

                              Another good reason to know more about the RapidMax charger is to figure out whether it could possibly charge NiMH battery packs as well. Yes, I understand my X2 2.5 Ah batteries are NiCad-based, and I don't plan on changing that. But I got a free 14.4V Impact Driver when I bought my drill last year, and that comes with a dinky battery. For some reason, my SLA warranty was not registered for that, so I've thought about possibly replacing the NiCad cells with higher capacity NiMH equivalents to make the battery more useful. To make this worthwhile, the RapidMax charger would have to be able to handle NiMH batteries as well. Yes, I understand there is nothing in the documentation about this, and I totally understand it would void my warranty on that battery, but as I said, for some reason, the SLA was not registered on that, so there is nothing to lose.

                              Woussko, I have looked at the Milwaukee Europe site, and seen the chargers you mentioned. I have no idea if they'd actually work, but for certain, the physical mating would be a problem. In the meantime, I saw the following smart battery charger with universal input:

                              http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp...ROD&ProdID=836

                              This also charges a range of battery packs, and is a true "smart" charger. Just speculating, but I wonder if something like this would be sufficient via alligator clips, etc. Now past speculating, and on to wild dreaming. Imagine buying one of these smart chargers for $25, and a cheap RapidMax charger for $15 on eBay. Then you could rip the guts out of the RapidMax charger to just use the physical mounting portion of it, and replace the guts with the smart charger. If it would work, well, for around $40, I could have the universal input charger I am dreaming of.

                              Boy, I sure wish there was an official solution offered by Ridgid!

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