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Clarifying Common Battery Misconceptions

Myths and misconceptions run rampant througout the tool community, many of them regarding battery maintenance and optimization. Learn the truth about these battery misconceptions, and how to truly maximize your batteries on the job.

There is a number of different stories circulating the tool industry about the proper ways to maintain and optimize tool batteries. A battery, however, is an important investment, and one that should be protected and maximized where ever possible. The following information is meant to clarify some of these myths to help you better understand, and get the best performance from your batteries.

-- Frozen Batteries:

Don't put your batteries in the freezer! Too often craftsmen damage their batteries while trying to keep them better maintained. Keeping your batteries in a dry and temperate place is the absolute best way to keep them performing at their best. Freezing your batteries will not help them, in fact, this can be very harmful. Bringing your batteries in-doors whenever possible is a good way to ensure they are in a dry and temperate environment.

-- The Higher the Voltage - The Better the Battery:

This is not always true. Both the battery and the tool have significant effects on how the tool performs. Specifically, the tool's motor, transmission, and other power producing elements have a tremendous effect on how well the battery transfers energy into the tools working parts. The quality of of the magnets in the tool's motor, its gears, and the chuck that in turn transfers energy to the tool bit or blade are all contributing factors to the efficiency of your tool. Essentially, everything from the tool itself, to your bits or blades effects how well your battery can transfer energy into your tool. Although higher voltage batteries are more powerful, it is best to ensure you are using high-quality tools and accessories to achieve the highest performance, and greater quality work.

-- Battery Memory Effect:

Battery memory effect, or lazy battery effect occurs (especially in Nickel Cadmium batteries) when a battery becomes unable to accept a complete charge because it has been repeatedly recharged without first being fully depleted. The term memory effect comes from the sense that the battery "remembers" how much charge was depleted, and begins to accept only that much energy from the charger. This defect is becoming less and less frequent as battery technology continues to improve, and as it turns out, these days it can prove more detrimental to your battery to entirely deplete its energy storage before recharging it. This can damage to the battery's cells preventing them (similarly) from holding a full charge. Ultimately, your battery may begin running on one or two less cells than it's meant to, this decreases both battery power and battery life. Essentially, the best time to charge your battery is when it stops performing well enough to finish your jobs smoothly and professionally. When your battery begins to notably slow, charge it.

-- All Chargers Are Alike:

This is far from true. Generally, professional chargers will shut off after the battery has been completely charged. Less efficient chargers, on the other hand, keep forcing current through fully charged batteries. This continual charge causes a dangerous amount of heat build-up and decreases the overall life of the battery. In short, be certain you are using a high-performance battery charger, and for precautionary purposes, pull the battery off your charger once it has been fully restored.

-- Rebuilding Your Batteries:

Whether or not batteries should be rebuilt remains an entirely ambiguous subject. When having a battery rebuilt, it is generally impossible to know if the servicing party has used recycled cells to refurbish your battery. When one considers that it costs about the same to rebuild a battery as it does to purchase a new one, it may not be worth the risk. The best option is to buy a freshScience Articles, factory certified battery and take your old one to a service center to be recycled.

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As a student at the Univ. of Utah, Mallory Kramer is currently earning an Englinsh degree. Joining M&M Tool 3 yeas ago, she specializes in tool parts and web communications & adds to their 150 years combined experience. For over 60 years M&M Tool has provided service to the tool industry with parts, sales, & repair to woodworking products, tools, & machinery. Visit M&M Tool's forum for articles, tips, and answers to your woodworking questions.

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