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old as dirt
12-18-2015, 09:15 PM
I just finished using a HF battery pack to rebuild my Ryobi 18V battery pack. Worked slick! Only had to cut out one battery to fit into the neck of the pack. Wife used to do stained glass so I have several lbs of copper foil to use as flat lead. Used the original HF leads to connect to the Ryobi "neck" connections.

Cheaper by about half. Previous rebuilds were Ebay buys for the C cells for about $35, HF battery was $17. Ryobi batteries are sometimes on sale for $60 for two, but I've had bad luck with them being short lived.

It was also easier to handle the HF pack as it was already stuck together. After I had a near nicd melt down I started using hot glue to make the new Ebay batteries into a "brick".

Thanks for the tip. Never occurred to me to use HF as I don't buy much of their electrical stuff.

JLG

Paul Alciatore
12-18-2015, 09:36 PM
Glad to hear it worked for you.

J Tiers
12-19-2015, 02:27 AM
One question.....

I went to the local HF while waiting for something else (that glasses repair, actually). I walked EVERY aisle and shelf in the place, and looked at everything. I was trying to use up an hour's wait for them to finish the glasses, so I was in no rush, and I looked all over... twice at least

Now, I had my old glasses on, and that might have some bearing on this, but I NEVER SAW any battery packs. Not one.

Have they maybe quit selling the replacements?

Seastar
12-19-2015, 09:15 AM
I was in an HF store yesterday, here in Indianapolis, and they had several styles of replacement NiCad tool packs.
Bill

alanganes
12-19-2015, 09:20 AM
One question.....

I went to the local HF while waiting for something else (that glasses repair, actually). I walked EVERY aisle and shelf in the place, and looked at everything. I was trying to use up an hour's wait for them to finish the glasses, so I was in no rush, and I looked all over... twice at least

Now, I had my old glasses on, and that might have some bearing on this, but I NEVER SAW any battery packs. Not one.

Have they maybe quit selling the replacements?

I can't speak for the stores in Sinquefieldia, but I found then at the local HF place near here in southern NH. They were in blister packs hanging on the wall where all of the power tools accessories were. There may have been a few on and aisle end shelf as well. Maybe Paul's article triggered a frenzy of batter pack rebuilding and caused a run on them.

Or maybe you should go back when you have your glasses on.... :)

I was intending to do what the OP did here as well, and post a general "Thank you!" to Paul for publishing this idea. It seems so obvious after the fact, but then I never thought of it. I have rebuilt the two packs for my old but familiar 19V craftsman drill/trim saw combo kit. Worked great though took some reformatting of the cells due to a slightly odd layout of the packs.

At 13 bucks for a pack, this is actually a pretty decent source of inexpensive and locally available sub-C cells for other stuff. I have a few small rechargeable doo-dads that need some so am thinking of just buying another pack to cannibalize for the cells.

J Tiers
12-19-2015, 01:03 PM
It's a great idea, and I started a thread some time ago commending the article...

And I had glasses on that worked better than the ones I had fixed (fixed so new lenses could go in). I saw plenty, but not batteries. The redcoats didn't seem to know either, and they are presumably paid in part to know that stuff.

mickeyf
12-19-2015, 03:34 PM
I have not read the article, and have zero experience with HF batteries, but the company I work for makes a lot of battery powered equipment, and battery life is a major concern. We have done quite a bit of testing of battery life in our own devices. Among our research references is a link (which I can dig up if any one really cares) to a study someone else did comparing name brand batteries to dollar store batteries, normalized to $ per energy.

My recollection is that the executive summary was that while the cheap batteries seemed like a good idea they did not last as long, and effectively it was a wash in terms of cost of power. You had to change the batteries more often with the cheapies than with the 'quality brands', but they actually cost about the same in the long run. Whether this has anything at all to do with HF batteries I don't know, but I found it interesting.

Seastar
12-19-2015, 06:54 PM
My company builds portable battery powered hand held radios.
We buy about 200,000 cells a year. Most are lithium but some are Ni metal.
They used to all be Ni Cad.
I can tell you that there are major differences in the capacity of cells depending on the manufacturer.
It's at least 5 to 1 difference.
I have checked some of the HF cells and for the most part they were pretty bad.
I think you might do better on eBay but don't know who sells good cells.
If you are getting good results with HF then keep at it as I haven't checked them lately.
Bil

J Tiers
12-19-2015, 07:14 PM
I have not read the article, and have zero experience with HF batteries, but the company I work for makes a lot of battery powered equipment, and battery life is a major concern. We have done quite a bit of testing of battery life in our own devices. Among our research references is a link (which I can dig up if any one really cares) to a study someone else did comparing name brand batteries to dollar store batteries, normalized to $ per energy.

My recollection is that the executive summary was that while the cheap batteries seemed like a good idea they did not last as long, and effectively it was a wash in terms of cost of power. You had to change the batteries more often with the cheapies than with the 'quality brands', but they actually cost about the same in the long run. Whether this has anything at all to do with HF batteries I don't know, but I found it interesting.


One does NO BETTER with the DeWalt NI-X batteries than with replacements from Batteries Plus, in my experience. Worse, in general with the DeWalt OEM product than the B+. I wanted to try the HF, as they could hardly be worse than the original batteries, and would be cheaper than either OEM or B+ units, which is well over 40 bucks to replace one pack worth.

Most of the bad batteries with NI-X types is customer abuse. Running them dead, and reversing many of the cells is probably the main reason. If NI-X types had a controller like LI-X types, they would last a long time.

mattthemuppet
12-19-2015, 07:53 PM
personally, unless I'm stuck with NiCd for a particular reason, I'd rather rebuild with lithium cells. The difference in weight is substantial and they hold their charge forever. The only bugbear I've found is very high current draw applications, like my strimmer or sawzall, where the recycled li-ion cells from duff laptop batteries sag badly under load. If I wasn't such a cheapskate I'd shell out for some high discharge lithium cells (30-35A), but instead I just keep a NiCd pack or two around and try to remember to charge them before use.

fun build - my wife bought a 6V mattress inflator at a garage sale a while back which had a dead lead acid battery. Turfed that out and replaced it with 8 li-ion cells (2S4P). OH MY GOODNESS it's insane. Inflates a queen mattress in less than a minute, can be used as a miniature leaf blower or cat scarer and is guaranteed to wake up everyone in the campsite if used at night. Completely crazy.

Mike Burdick
12-19-2015, 08:10 PM
I did this "fix" about 5 years and ago for a Milwaukee 18V cordless drill and found the problem with using HF batteries is that they'll only last about 2 minutes before needing recharging.

Paul Alciatore
12-20-2015, 12:31 AM
Well I must have gotten lucky because the battery pack I rebuilt with the HF cells is still going strong after about 23 months of use in my shop. And it's charge lasts about as long as the original B&D battery. Perhaps longer because the B&D cells were sub-C size while the HF cells are the full size C cells.

Of course your mileage may differ.

I would ask some of the guys who have had poor luck with replacement cells if they did any great amount of soldering directly on the cells. If so, they probably damaged them with the heat. And the inexpensive chargers that are packed with the drills are not the best. I have a better model.