Cordless Drill

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  #1  
Old 08-06-05, 02:23 PM
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Cordless Drill

I've been happily using a Black & Decker Fire Storm 14.4v for about a year now but it looks as though the charger has stopped working (red light doesn't come on when charging starts ... one battery not charged after 8 hours). It seems that about 1 month after I purchase a product, the line is discontinued--I went to the B & D web site and the model isn't even listed there. I'm getting tired of paying almost the same amount for replacing the batteries and/or replacing the whole drill package (any brand).

A) Is there anything I can do to fix the charger?

B) It looks like cordless tools are a waste of money. What do you think?

Chris
 
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  #2  
Old 08-06-05, 03:30 PM
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In my opinion, cheap cordless tools are a waste of money... or at least, they are a gamble, which is almost the same thing. When you buy them, you're taking your chances. Perhaps you could search on ebay and find yourself another charger.
 
  #3  
Old 08-06-05, 04:32 PM
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I have had good luck with ryobi , my first one lasted over 6 years , my current one is almost at two .

In the past two to three years was all I got out of , makita, dewalt , milwauke.

if you dont need cordless then by all means buy a mid range corded.

a cordless tool is not a lifetime investment.

I
 
  #4  
Old 08-06-05, 09:01 PM
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I have two Makita 9.6v drills. One is probably 20 yrs old, I've changed the switch on it. Both were bought used and I haven't had trouble with either charger.
Mike
 
  #5  
Old 08-07-05, 07:00 AM
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I don't know if your model was included but there was a big recall on FireStorm products a while back (maybe a few years now)
The FireStorm line has had it's problems from the start
To be honest, I wouldn't consider purchasing a FireStorm product for my needs
They would be considered an entry level or homeowner quality tool
Maybe you are ready to step up a notch
I wouldn't consider cordless tool a waste of money, but I would agree with mango man

Originally Posted by mango man
In the past two to three years was all I got out of , makita, dewalt , milwauke.

if you dont need cordless then by all means buy a mid range corded.

a cordless tool is not a lifetime investment.
As frustrating as it is, if I get over three years out of one I figure I'm ahead of the game
 
  #6  
Old 08-07-05, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by slickshift
To be honest, I wouldn't consider purchasing a FireStorm product for my needs
They would be considered an entry level or homeowner quality tool
Maybe you are ready to step up a notch
I wouldn't consider cordless tool a waste of money, but I would agree with mango man
Well, I am at the home owner level but you may be right about stepping up. I have gone through about 3 of the lower end units already.

I'm under the impression that the Big Box stores (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, etc.) tend to stock models that are about to be discontinued so that they can put them on sale at ridiculously low prices. Too bad if this is true--Black & Decker used to be a reputable, dependable brand at one time.

Is there a brand that is generic? (I mean, something that uses a standard, interchangeable battery, connector, charger, etc.)

Chris
 
  #7  
Old 08-07-05, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Editor
Well, I am at the home owner level but you may be right about stepping up. I have gone through about 3 of the lower end units already.

I'm under the impression that the Big Box stores (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, etc.) tend to stock models that are about to be discontinued so that they can put them on sale at ridiculously low prices. Too bad if this is true--Black & Decker used to be a reputable, dependable brand at one time.

Is there a brand that is generic? (I mean, something that uses a standard, interchangeable battery, connector, charger, etc.)

Chris
Big Box retailers do not stock "about to be discontinued" items for everyday sale. That said, Big Box retailers do prefer to sell their own "private label" stuff (Tool Shop, Kobalt, Husky, Craftsman) that offers a higher margin than "name brands" such as Bosch, Makita or Milwaukee. A Big Box may also contract with a "name brand" manufacturer for an "exclusive item". Electronics retailers do this all the time so the model number is different- no price matching required because it isn't the "exact same item".

Black and Decker = DeWalt = Firestorm. All the same thing, different labels. DeWalt was originally brought about because of B&D's tarnished image. Quality at the Yellow camp hasn't stayed the same, either.

A "generic" cordless tool does not exist. However, some parts inside different brands of tools might be the same.

If you use cordless frequently, then buy a good one. Infrequent use kills batteries. Abuse kills batteries- sometimes corded is better. Pay attention to the amp hour rating on the batteries, not just the cost of the tool. The tool might be cheap because the batteries are weak.

Flashy consumer models are more subject to change than the pro stuff, but sometimes changes are made that make the tool unrepairable at some point.
 
  #8  
Old 08-07-05, 10:05 AM
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I have always used 'cheap' cordless drills and for the most part have had good luck with them [biggest problem has been fixing or finding other chargers to work] Last year my wife bought me a 18.8 volt craftsman for my birthday - I couldn't believe the difference. I know craftsman power tools are not top of the line but I'll never go back to the cut rate cordless drills again.

my 2 cents - even if it costs a nickel and only worth a penny
 
  #9  
Old 08-07-05, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Editor
I'm under the impression that the Big Box stores (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, etc.) tend to stock models that are about to be discontinued so that they can put them on sale at ridiculously low prices. Too bad if this is true--Black & Decker used to be a reputable, dependable brand at one time.
Some of the big boxes do carry exclusive de-spec'd models
It has to do with having the lowest price at all costs, and also Consumer Perceived Value

For a hypothetical example:
You might walk into your local tool shop and see a Porter-Cable framing saw
Let's say it's $129
You try it out, it feels good, nice and light, and smooth
the salesman tells you it's because of the super stong light weight metal
the guide is made of, and the special bushings the motor sits on
It also comes with a great blade

later you walk into a big box and see the same saw for $109
What a bargain!
....mmmmm...wait a minute
The big box looked at the saw and wanted to carry it
They told P/C they want it at a better price, P/C said we can't sell it to you for any less
So big box says "Our average consumer won't understand the value of that fancy guide, or those super bushings (CPV)
Can you make it with a regular guide and cheezy bushings?
Oh and don't put that expensive blade in there, that doesn't add value for our average customer
Then we can sell it for $20 less"
If P/C says no, big box won't carry their saw
So they make a de-spec'd version for big box
 
  #10  
Old 08-07-05, 11:01 AM
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im really not a ryobi shill
as to standard
ryobi does have the One system, their touting with the 18volt line. concept is you buy a charger and two battries and then power lots of tools. replacement battreis are two pack for 40.00

they have a whole range of tools availible , that can you buy without the battries assuming once you have the battries.

I bought a kit that had , 1/2' drill , 4"circular saw, recipracating saw, flashlight , hand vaccum, all of which work very well ..jigsaw not good for precsion work but works well for rough cuts, and a chainsaw thats a joke.

I use my tools "professionaly" and around here at least ryobi is pretty far up on what you see most on jobsites

if you dont have a home depot near you you can buy on line check the hd website.
 
  #11  
Old 08-07-05, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by danski0224
Black and Decker = DeWalt = Firestorm. All the same thing, different labels. DeWalt was originally brought about because of B&D's tarnished image. Quality at the Yellow camp hasn't stayed the same, either.
Dewalt is a division of Black & Decker the same as Chevy, Buick, Cadillac are divisions of General Motors. While a few individual parts may be interchangable, to say that a Cadillac is the same as a Chevy would be preposterous.

A Dewalt 14.4V is not the same thing as a Firestorm 14.4V drill, all you have to do is look at the parts schematic to see that. That's a crock.

The Dewalt brand name is also probably older than you are. It was purchased by Black & Decker and has continued to be operated as a seperate division, offering distinct products that are marketed to professionals, as opposed to homeowners.

Editor, for help locating a charger, you might see if any of the part numbers at
http://www.toolpartsdirect.com/cgi-b...rs/blackdecker would match your needs.

Or perhaps this is the schematic for your drill? Not sure of your model #.
http://www.toolpartsdirect.com/cgi-b.../CD632K_TYPE_1
 

Last edited by XSleeper; 08-07-05 at 03:54 PM.
  #12  
Old 08-07-05, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by XSleeper
The Dewalt brand name is also probably older than you are.
I wouldn't bet on that

In any case, thanks for all the advice. I didn't know about the B & D / Dewalt connection or how the Big Boxes really work. Thanks all

I'm not a pro -- just been renovating a house for the last 7 years. The cordless feature sure is handy but as I said, I've been stung 3 times now on the extra batteries/replacement charger deal being more expensive than a step up to a better model or purchasing the latest best deal.

I'm guessing most of you guys are in the U.S.--today I was told at the good old Canadian Tire Big Box that they would be glad to place a special order for a replacement charger. I'm looking at $50-$75 for a piece of plastic with a +/- connector & a transformer. Pitiful. (I said "No thanks."). Batteries run $30-$50 each up here. Again; pitiful. The Firestorm has (had?) a nice quick-change chuck thingy too ... special order

I know a bit about nicads--run 'em down almost flat before recharging ... even tried rebuilding the cells in one set up (got around the stainless-steel- casings-impossible-to-solder thing too). Just too much trouble to save a few bucks.

Say, about the charger; I have a gazillion transformer/adaptors kicking around This Old House -- could I not just splice one with similar/identical voltage output on to the battery connector?

Sorry if that question sounds amateur -- RENOVATION=POOR

Chris
 
  #13  
Old 08-07-05, 08:00 PM
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I do not know how old the DeWalt brand name is. However, I do remember the new introduction at retail stores. Maybe it was just "new to me".

DeWalt quality, at least at a retail level, has declined, IMHO. Guess not much is "as good as it used to be". I never dealt with the true "professional" models.

Moot point as I am not big on DeWalt anyway.

Stainless steel soldering: get the right flux.

Do not run rechargeable batteries flat- that shortens their life.
 
  #14  
Old 08-08-05, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by danski0224
I do not know how old the DeWalt brand name is. However, I do remember the new introduction at retail stores. Maybe it was just "new to me".
The story, as I understand it, is:
DeWalt built a saw with a great rep with contractors
(I believe it was regional, at that time we did not see them out here)
Black & Decker's rep with contractors was...well...not good at all
You wouldn't see one on a job site
No matter what B&D did the contractor's wouldn't touch them
So B&D bought DeWalt and expanded their new (beefier contractor grade) product line
So the DeWalt name is old, but you easily could remember the "introduction" of DeWalt tools
 
  #15  
Old 08-08-05, 04:30 PM
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you could go on ebay and get the Ridgid 12v with batteries and charger for like $50 USD or so.....

I bought a Ridgid 12v to use around the house on little stuff and have had no problem with it at all. If you like the Firestorm, you'll love the 12v Ridgid. Lifetime warranty now as well....

Heck, I will even get you one if you need me to...It's light and hard to beat at the price. Heck HD is selling the 12v right angle driver and the 12v drill for $129 USD....with the lifetime warranty..I dunno but that sounds good to me. Walk in and get me q new drill when this one breaks..
 
  #16  
Old 08-08-05, 06:03 PM
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the rigid warranty isnt transferable , so if you buy one on ebay , no lifetime warranty (or warranty of any kind other than what the seller provides )

might want to check out the forums at the rigid site , lots of unhappy campers there .
 
  #17  
Old 08-09-05, 12:22 AM
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There can be plenty of difference between a quality cordless drill and a cheapie. The gearing, quality of the housing and chuck as well as battery quality all come into play. It also depends on what kind of duty it sees.

I have two Craftsman drill/drivers that have served me very well for 4 years now, and I've put them through plenty. One fell from the rafters in the garage onto the concrete, cracking the housing right beneath the gearing. Two years later, taped up, it still works like a charm although one of the batteries went belly up. The life of just about any rechargeable battery is going to have a limited life. That's just the way they are, except for the very best like those made by Panasonic.

Anyway you look at it though, no cordless tool can replace a good corded tool. The main advantage they have is the convenience of being cordless. There have been times when regardless of that advantage I had to drag out a 50 foot extension cord and use a regular drill.

Just for the record, DeWalt was founded in the 1920's by the man who invented the radial arm saw. AMF bought them in the 40's and Black and Decker bought them from AMF in the early 60's. There was a spell when it was operated as Lancaster Machine(I believe), but it's almost always been DeWalt.
 
  #18  
Old 08-11-05, 11:35 PM
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Dave is right about Dewalt, in the late 80's early 90's B &D expanded the Dewalt line to create a new Contractor Grade tool line for pros. They hit the pavement hard going to worksites selling their product. First it was drills and then everything soon followed, they got a whole line of tools and started to creep into the market, bluring the lines of who made what the best. Dewalt is/was a company, but is also a name, somewhat similar to Ridgid line today, except that Ridgid is naming right sold by Ridge tool to HD who has a professional line made for them by the parent company of Ryobi and now Milwaukee tool also, (Techtronics Industries). Dewalt was one of the first companies to capitalize on the cordless craze in the early days. Like it was mentioned earlier the old B&D line wasnt selling so the company went back to the drawing boards, and launched the new Dewalt line, but Dewalt isnt a B&D in a yellow casing, it is it's own brand, and a good one at that, though some reviews havent been too pleasant since they have moved most production from Maryland to Mexico.
Finding the right cordless drill, depends on your needs, for most, a 3/8 chuck, less expensive drill without all the trimmings is fine for most home projects. I own an old electric Black and Decker from the 60's, a 14volt skil from the late 90s and just bought a 18volt 1/2inch chuck Ryobi drill for a project the other day. I dont plan on building a home with it, but it suits my needs fine. I will be putting it though the ringers this week, and will post how it works out.

quick note/correction: The Dewalt line was made in Raligh, NC and B&D was made in Maryland, both have move alot to Mexico though.
 

Last edited by KevinB; 08-11-05 at 11:39 PM. Reason: dewalt production location
  #19  
Old 08-12-05, 03:34 AM
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Almost every single DeWalt cordless tool I have looked at, and their miter saws, are made in China. Used to be US made.

I think some of the electrics like circular saws and such are still made in the USA. I'll have to look next time I am at the store.
 
  #20  
Old 08-29-05, 05:08 PM
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Dewalt cordless tools are VERY good tools, at least the 18v line is.

Milwaukee also has some very good stuff.


You pay top$$$ for both, but they are worth it.

Ryobi=**** They are typical home depot tools, designed for light use. YOu wont find to many pros using ryobi or craftsman(most of whoms tools are made by ryobi)

Jim
 
  #21  
Old 09-12-05, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by danski0224
Do not run rechargeable batteries flat- that shortens their life.
It has been my experience that re-charging nickel-cad batteries before they are run down creates a memory to a shorter charge life span, In other words if you recharge before they are run down, the next running life will be shorter than the first. Each successive early recharge will shorten the run life till the battery will be almost useless. I have experienced such a thing with AA Nickel Cads.

What I did learn is that non-use will shorten a battery life. That may explain why my Craftsman 15.5 volts batteries no longer hold a charge worth using. My drill motor is about 5 yrs old and is not used very much and I keep them charged most of the time.. The replacement batteries are $54.95 on the Internet from Sears making a new drill motor a hot propect.

As for Milwaukee Hole Shooter cord type...our department tried to burn one up before we purchased 250 of them for the workers at Ford Engineering. It got hot but wouldn't quit working and the torque loss was minimial.
 
  #22  
Old 09-12-05, 02:58 PM
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Ryobi=**** They are typical home depot tools, designed for light use. YOu wont find to many pros using ryobi or craftsman(most of whoms tools are made by ryobi)
dont know where you are but show up at a jobsite around here and the blue ryobi outnumer everything else you'll see. Ill have to tell the guys you dont think of them as pros

I use mine day in and day out , not light use at all . just had to replace the 18 volt battries , 39.00 for a pack of two ...nice

I dosnt matter to me , its your money

for my money you can't beat ryobi . If it makes you feel like a pro to spend more , go for it

I dont care what anyone thinks of my tools , as long as they do the job.
 
  #23  
Old 09-12-05, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ebmcmurray
It has been my experience that re-charging nickel-cad batteries before they are run down creates a memory to a shorter charge life span, In other words if you recharge before they are run down, the next running life will be shorter than the first. Each successive early recharge will shorten the run life till the battery will be almost useless. I have experienced such a thing with AA Nickel Cads.
Someone here posted an interesting link about rechargeable battery care. Complete discharge, which does not mean zero volts, is bad for the battery pack.

Proper recharge cycle is when the performance of the tool begins to become unacceptable, then recharge the battery.

Excessive discharge will result in excessive heat when the battery pack is recharged. Excessive heat shortens battery life. NiCad and NiMH batteries have a finite charge/discharge cycle. The higher the pack voltage, the lower the recharge number.

Yes, not using the battery is just as bad as abusing it.

The above does not necessarily apply to the new lithium ion batteries.
 
  #24  
Old 09-13-05, 09:02 AM
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Battery manufacturers recommend charging a NiCd battery as soon as you notice a decrease in the performance of the tool. Yes, you can create memory issues if you recharge too soon, but the big problem in trying to squeeze every last electron out of the battery before you charge it is that you can reverse the polarity in one or more of the 1.2V cells within the battery. Once reversed in polarity, that cell will never take a charge again.
 
  #25  
Old 11-04-05, 12:44 PM
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How to reverse memory of NICADs

This is getting off of the subject but how do you reverse the memory settings of a NICAD battery if it has been recharged too often? I see web sites and Ebay auction listings offering information on how to do this but I'm curious if they really work? Some of them recommend opening up batteries which are used for tools and doing something internally to reverse this memory affect. I'm surprised isn't that dangerous to play around in a battery?
 
  #26  
Old 12-09-05, 09:44 AM
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Hope this isn't too late

Have you considered it has a bad fuse?

About a year ago, my DeWalt Charger seemed to have died. Like in the original post in this thread, no light and the batteries didn't charge at all. I know enough about small electronics to suspect that there was simply a blown fuse inside the magic black plastic case of the charger. Since the case was glued together (no screws) and I had nothing to lose, I carefully cut it open with a cutting wheel on an angle grinder and, what do you now, a tiny glass tube type fuse, hardwired to the circuit board was blown. After a quick trip to Radioshack for a similar fuse, I soldered in the new fuse and the charger was back in business costing me less than a buck.
 
  #27  
Old 12-10-05, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by imagineer
Have you considered it has a bad fuse?
Good advice is never too late

I ended up buying a Wal-Mart B&D corded model that had a chuck on it suspiciously similar to the one on my old Firestorm. If nothing else, I would end up with a spare chuck (sure enough, it is the same chuck

Shortly after, a friend found an old transformer end that matched my original. I spliced that on the battery holder cable & it works fine again.

There may be something to what you say about the fuse because when I talked to the B&D warranty guy here in town, the first thing he asked was "Did I leave the charger plugged in after the battery was done?"

I told him "yes" since I'm not in the habit of unplugging my cellphone charger or other gadgets either. He said that was the reason the charger failed.

Whatever ... now I've got 2 working drills
 
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