DeWalt battery meltdown


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Old 05-19-06, 06:04 AM
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Exclamation DeWalt battery meltdown

I recently had a scary incident w/ my DeWalt cordless driver/drill and am unsure what caused it. I charged my batteries and had them ready to finish my deck. I plugged the battery into the drill and pulled the trigger. It spun as normal for about 2 seconds, then began to slow down as if the battery was dying. I let go of the trigger and got a whiff of a burning type smell and heard bubbling w/in the battery. I quickly unplugged the battery from the drill and got away (thinking it might explode) and noticed it was very hot. It continued boiling away and smoking like crazy, while emitting a powerful smell. After 10 minutes or so I was able to pick it up again and move it to a safe spot.

Anyone have any idea what could have caused this? I have a second battery that was fully charge but "died" after a couple seconds as well, but it didn't melt down (yet). I don't want to keep trying it unless I can figure what caused the first one to go. Any help is appreciated.
 
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Old 05-20-06, 07:30 PM
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What size cordless?
A lot of the biggies melted their internals driving lag bolts in Consumer Reports latests tests
All of the 28 volt models did
 
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Old 05-20-06, 07:33 PM
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Still under warranty? I would call Dewalt even if it isn't. I've dealt with their customer sevice a couple of times and they've been helpful.
 
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Old 05-21-06, 07:59 AM
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It's an 18 volt, and I don't think it is still under warranty. I emailed DeWalt and they told me to go to the nearest DeWalt factory authorized service dealer. Unfortunately the closest one is an hour away, and not open on the weekends. Guess I'll have to suck it up and take a half day so I can finish my deck
 
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Old 05-21-06, 11:35 AM
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how old are the battries ?

if there over two years or so its time for new ones anyway
 
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Old 05-21-06, 12:21 PM
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never seen a battery pack in any brand do that. Were they the XRT models?
 
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Old 05-21-06, 01:09 PM
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Not a common problem in the 18v DWs as far as I know




Different brand I know, but perhaps worth mentioning nearly all the first generation Firestorm cordless line from B&D was recalled for this problem
Some even lived up to their name and would actually burst into flames
 
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Old 05-21-06, 01:25 PM
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I remeber reading about it happening with some battries that where on the charger , I dont recall the brand name and I think it was posted on another board.

rarher than two hour drive with 3.00 a gal gas I would try a new battrey . more than likley that will be the result either way .
 
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Old 05-21-06, 05:06 PM
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I did find a few websites recalling DeWalt battery chargers for causing a similar problem (the auto-off switch didn't kick, causing batteries to overheat), but this is clearly not the same problem I experienced.

The batteries are approx. 2 years old (I think), but weren't giving me any problems as far as length of charge or power. I do have another battery and was hesitant to try it out for fear that either the same thing would happen or the problem was in the drill and it would fry out my only good pack. Either way I tried it today. I was pretty sure I charged both batteries prior to the incident last week, so the second should have had a full charge. I plugged it in and pulled the trigger. The chuck spun, but immediately slowed down and wouldn't go (as if the battery was dead). The same thing happened prior to the melt down, so I quickly removed it and waited for the smoke/smell/heat...but nothing. Later this afternoon I tried to put it in the charger to recharge it and I got the "hot/cold pack delay" code for several hours, although the battery wasn't hot or cold.

Now I'm totally lost and figure the only course of action is to hit the road to a service shop.

(By they way, the model # of my driver is DW959 if anyone is interested)
 
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Old 05-21-06, 09:19 PM
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Not being specific to any rechargeable item. Just General information.

Items I have taken apart I noticed.
The slip on connectors are the first to fail, some company's spot weld the wires so they don't have this problem.
A loose connector can heat up and smoke to the point of melting the plastic thing that holds the connector then coming into contact with something creating a short.

Second problem I have seen it the routing of the wire and the insulation is easy to melt.
--------------------------
This is my Guess-guess on what may-may have happened in your case.

A connector failed in your drill. call it the "plus wire" something melted or came loose and that wire is making connect to the "minus wire" creating a hard short.
Yes the drill may run for a short time with an electrical short.

-------
Now the battery Pack.
Some times the wires are routed to closely together or along side the battery inside the pack.

If the drill has a hard short or you been loading it down, its possible to melt the insulation on the wires.
If the wires are routed to closely, the plus and minus wires can touch each other once the insulation melts.
(with today's hi power batteries) the wires will turn RED HOT and continue to burn until the short burns out (no more wire connection) or the batteries lose their charge.

I've seen a wire routed along side a battery that made contact with the batteries opposite pole (shorting out) and continue to burn along the side of the battery.

You need to check the drill with an external power supply that is protected from shorts.
If the short is in the drill you can melt every battery you put in the drill.
 
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Old 05-22-06, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GWIZ
You need to check the drill with an external power supply that is protected from shorts.
If the short is in the drill you can melt every battery you put in the drill.
Great post, and this validates my worry about dropping a good chunk of change in batteries only to melt them all out. I think I'll play it safe and take it to a service facility...even w/ the cost of gas and time off work I may come out ahead. I'll post the final conclusion once I hear back.
 
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Old 05-22-06, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by HotBacon
I'll post the final conclusion once I hear back.
Thanks
It would be interesting to hear what they have to say
 
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Old 05-22-06, 03:57 PM
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give them a call first and see if they will look at it while your there .

could be there going to take it and tell you to come back in two weeks in which case you might be better off just shipping it off

do let us know ....Inquiring minds and all
 
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Old 05-30-06, 11:42 AM
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Well I got the lowdown on my drill. The repair shop called w/ an estimate that simply said the switch needs to be replaced...along w/ both batteries. $60-ish for the switch replacment, and they recommended aftermarket batteries for about $45 each.

I'm no electrical engineer, so can anyone tell me how a switch could have shorted both batteries (I'm assuming GWIZ called it and there was a hard short w/in the switch itself)? Also, any thoughts about aftermarket batteries (as opposed to DeWalt brand)?
 
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Old 05-30-06, 12:05 PM
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That's $150 bucks! I think I'd buy a new drill instead.
 
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Old 05-30-06, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mattison
That's $150 bucks! I think I'd buy a new drill instead.
I concur

I'm no Mr. Electric
But I wouldn't be surprised if right kind of switch short could bubble a battery
Pretty freaky though
 
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Old 05-30-06, 07:47 PM
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or a bad battery shorted the switch .

time for a new 28Volt Lithium-Ion
 
  #18  
Old 05-31-06, 09:45 AM
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Need load monitor on drill

Hi.

Simply buying a larger drill or battery won't necessarily solve the overheating and meltdown problem. The drill and battery charger need overheating and meltdown protection.

I recently bought a Festool C12 12V cordless drill to sister joists. The sisters are 2X12 X 18' Douglas Fir and Microllams. With a full battery, I can screw in about 65 3" X 5/16 lag screws into doubled wood joists.

When sistering Microllams against the old hard joists, I found the that the drill overheated unless I predrilled. (Then it's no problem.)

The key here is what happens when the drill overheats. When blasting multiple, big lag screws into Microllam, both the drill and the battery get hot. Unlike other drills and battery chargers I've tried, the Festool drill electronically monitors temperature and load to prevent meltdown.

When the drill overheats, it simply beeps twice and and stops. When the battery charger detects a very hot battery, an LED flashes RED and just waits until the battery has cooled down.

While I like my Festool drill, it's not for everyone. Regardless of brand and type, I strongly suggest finding a drill and battery charger combo that monitors for overload and overheating. It will save you grief and money.

Best regards,

Dan.
 
 

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