[PLUG-TALK] NiCad questions

wes plug at the-wes.com
Mon Sep 14 23:04:16 PDT 2009

On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:16 PM, Larry Brigman <larry.brigman at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 9:47 PM, John Jason Jordan <johnxj at comcast.net>
> wrote:
> > I have various power tools that use 18v NiCad battery packs. I bought
> > most of the tools and four battery packs last summer. I remember using
> > the drill to put up a fence. I could go about four hours on one battery
> > pack. The battery packs recharge completely in one hour.
> >
> > The tools remained vrtually unused over the winter, but now I am using
> > them again. I am lucky to get half an hour out of a battery before it
> > needs to be recharged. Sometimes a battery pack acts dead even though
> > it has been in the charger for over an hour and the charger says it is
> > fully charged.
> >
> > At the time I bought the tools I could have gone with lithium ion
> > battery packs instead. But the price for a dual pack of NiCad was $50,
> > and a single lithium ion  battery was $90. The li-ion literature says
> > "twice the power." Hmm, twice the power, but 3.6 times the price. I'm
> > not a math genius, but I think I can figure this out.
> >
> > However, if the NiCad batteries go flooey after a few months, perhaps
> > the li-ion batteries are a better deal. Before I spend a couple hundred
> > dollars on li-ion batteries and a new charger I thought I'd ask for
> > comments and suggestions.
> NiCad batteries can get a memory of the capacity that is being used and
> only
> charge/maintain at that level.  Also, temperature effects all
> batteries.  If the batteries
> got to freezing temps then I would not expect them to do well until
> they were re-conditioned.
> Re-conditioning NiCad's requires a full drain and then a full
> re-charge (multiple times).
> Try a total drain on one of the batteries and then do a full
> re-charge.  After the re-charge
> determine if the normal usage life of the battery is longer or not.
> It might only be
> 10-15 minutes more.  If it is more, then repeat until it is back to
> close to normal.
> Lithium Ion batteries don't have the memory effect but require the charger
> to be
> accurate and monitor pack charge rate vs temperature.
When I recondition batteries, I "seem" to get better results by draining the
batteries very slowly. I use a small light bulb to drain them until I can't
see any light coming out in a dark room. I usually do about 5 cycles of
this. If it's still not doing anything for me after that, I toss it.

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