Your power tool batteries will lose power gradually. That is bound to happen. Eventually you will have to throw out the lifeless battery from your cordless woodworking tool and get a new one. But there is a LOT you can do to increase the life of the battery. You can even make it last for the life of the tool itself if you are willing to take on restoring and refurbishing the Dewalt cordless drill battery. But that’s another topic.
A cordless tool rechargeable battery will lose its capacity to hold a charge over time. This happens with age, and with the rigours of usage.
In this post we talk about some great tips for battery care and maintenance that will extend the life of the woodworking cordless power tool battery to its absolute maximum. What you have to do depends on the kind of battery your power tool has, which in technical terms is known as the ‘chemistry’ of the battery.
The 3 kinds of batteries found in 99% of woodworking tools are Li-ion (Lithium Ion), Ni-Mh (Nickel Metal Hydride), and NiCd (Nickel Cadmium).
How To Care For Rechargeable Batteries Cordless Tools
Keep the battery charged. Running the battery down till its completely drained isn’t good for almost any battery. Even NiCd and NiMh batteries that have the (alleged) “memory effect” only need to be completely discharged once in 20-30 days to counter this problem. (more about “memory effect” in this post).If your woodworking tool has a Li-ion battery you do not ever need to fully discharge it as these batteries do not suffer from memory effect. Partial discharges are good for Li-ion batteries. Charge them whenever you get the chance and preferably before they fall below 20% charge.
DO NOT recharge batteries if you have used them for just a little while. At least don’t do this often. Li-ion batteries go through the maximum fatigue during the last 5-10% of their maximum charge. More about this later.
Discharge The Battery Regularly. In other words, use the tool. Just as important as keeping the battery charged is keeping those electrons moving inside the batteries. Batteries do not like to be left idle for long periods of time. If you are not going to use the tool much, buy a corded model instead or store the batteries the right way. We will get to “right battery storage techniques” later in this post.
Charge fully. Most Black & Decker cordless drill battery need to be charged fully to keep them healthy. Li-ion may be an exception to this. They prefer partial charges and dis-charges. No harm done in fully charging it as well if you want the longest run-time on a single charge.
Protect the battery. Keep it cool and dry. Do not drop it or give it hard bumps. Li-ion batteries are particularly susceptible to high temperature and hard shocks. Do not leave your batteries in a hot place, inside or outside the tool. Do not get it wet.
Do not deep discharge your battery. If the power tool starts showing signs of weakening in power, charge it up or use a 2nd backup battery. Do not run down the battery till its drained. Hard use of your woodworking tool may be unavoidable at times. But avoid deep discharges whenever you can.
Adjust tool power settings. Your cordless woodworking tool may have settings for variable speed and power. Using a lower setting when its sufficient for the job will run the tool for longer for every charge.
Do not overcharge. Most modern woodworking tools have chargers that will not overcharge a battery. Some are designed specially so that you can leave your NiCd and NiMh batteries on them to keep them charged. Unless the user manual tells you differently, do not leave your batteries on the charger once they are charged. Overcharging can damage the battery and reduce its life.
Note: Extend Life Of Li-ion batteries upto 3 Times
If you always charge your Li-ion battery to only 80-90% of its full capacity, you will increase its life 2-3 times. The life of a battery is determined in ‘cycles.’ A complete charge and discharge of a battery makes one cycle. A 50% discharge and charge makes half a cycle, and so on and forth.
So let’s say the life of a particular Li-ion battery is supposed to be 500 cycles, after which its ability to hold a charge will decrease dramatically. By following the above trick, you can extend the life of this battery to 1000-1500 cycles.
How To Store A Battery When Not Using It
First of all, it’s best to keep using the cordless drill batteries. Use your tool at least once in 20 days. However, this is not always possible. Storing the battery the right way is also essential to its health and overall life.