Cordless (NiCad Powered) power tools are becoming more mainstream and are taking on a more significant role in woodworking. At the same time, the individuals who rely on battery systems to keep thousands of dollars worth of remote controlled aircraft in the sky have developed battery maintenance into a science and are generally far past the myth stage.
So keeping in mind that a cordless tool doesn't come with any of the sophisticated peak chargers and monitoring equipment used with aircraft, and that most power tools come with two sets of batteries, what are some general guidelines that should be followed in order to maximize the performance and longevity of the power tool battery pack?
1. Don't leave them on charge continiously. Use an appliance timer to put in 1 hr a day. If you run one down just set the timer to charge for 16 hrs. I keep all my cordless products plugged into a power strip that is plugged into a timer. See the web page for details.
2. Keeping batteries cool makes them last longer.
3. Don't leave them in the tool if they are easily removable. Should a cell ever short out and leak it will damage the tool.
4. It doesn't matter in what state of charge you store the battery, but not having them charged when you want to use them kind of defeats the purpose and utility of the tool. I charge mine and put in shop refrigerator. Keeping them there slows the self discharge way down so they
will hold a charge for several months.
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