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July 13 2017 5 13 /07 /July /2017 12:00

Stick vacuum cleaners or broom vacuum cleaners are long and narrow (like a 'stick', hence the name) upright vacuum cleaners. Due to their size and shape, they are light, very maneuverable, often can reach spaces other upright or canister vacuums can't. Due to their acceptable price, they are often used as second home vacuum cleaner for emergencies and by elderly people who lack strength for 'wrestling' with stronger, but heavier vacuum cleaners.

Best Stick Vacuum

It is impossible to determine 'the best stick vacuum cleaner' since what is good for someone, doesn't have to be good at all for someone else.

Due to their size, stick vacuum cleaners have smaller dirt bags or dust bin, which can be problem if one plans to clean larger surface. Also, some models don't filter air properly or have filters that get dirty almost more often than their dustbins.

So, before buying any vacuum cleaner, read characteristics carefully but also read reviews and recommendations of people that already have model you are interested in.

Cordless Stick Vacuum

Cordless stick vacuums are Dyson 18172-01-04 battery operated vacuum cleaners - cordless vacuums. Their autonomy depends on the size and the capacity of battery packs. They are great as emergency vacuums since one doesn't have to bother with power cables and such things.

Capacity of the batteries are more than enough for smaller surfaces, but there are also models with relatively strong battery packs that are able to clean larger surfaces - often strong and durable enough to be used as the main vacuum cleaners in smaller homes and apartments.

Good thing is that battery packs are usually easily changed - charging time depends on the battery chemistry and can be even less than 20-30 minutes, although for some cheaper models this can be several hours. In most cases, even lithium ion batteries require at least 2-3 hours to be fully charged, after being fully discharged.

Suction power and air flow of cordless stick vacuum cleaners is not as good as in corded stick vacuum cleaners.

Corded Stick Vacuum

Corded stick vacuum cleaners are often much stronger than their cordless counterparts, have stronger airflow at larger air speed, but they are not necessarily bigger. To function, they need mains power and their mobility is thus decreased when compared with cordless stick or cordless handheld vacuum cleaners. On the other hand, they are easier to handle when compared with 'normal' upright or canister vacuum cleaners.

They can be great as second home vacuum cleaner or even as main home vacuum cleaner for people who don't or can't handle larger but heavier upright or canister vacuum cleaners - especially if high-end corded stick vacuum is used with different attachments for cleaning various surfaces (hard floors, carpets etc.) or various dirt (regular dirt, pet hair etc.)

 Stick Vacuum Ratings

Understanding stick vacuum ratings is very important when purchasing new stick vacuum. There are many things to consider, but most often it is better to read other people opinions and recommendations than to understand all technicalities :)

Nonetheless, there are few things that can help and it is good to know:

- battery voltage (cordless vacuums) determine voltage of battery used in vacuum cleaner. The higher the voltage, smaller current required to achieve good suction - smaller current also means less heat dissipation and smaller losses in wires and in motor. It is very important to know that some manufacturers increase Dyson 17083-4211 battery voltage, but decrease battery capacity which produces the same stored energy:

battery stored energy (Wh - watt hours)= battery voltage (V - volts) x battery capacity (Ah - ampere hours)

- battery chemistry determines type of battery. NiCd batteries can produce huge currents, but they suffer from memory effect, they contain cadmium (very poisonous), they don't last long as other batteries (NiMh, Lithium polymer etc.) and they are heavier when compared with newer types of batteries.

- length of power cord determines 'action radius' of corded stick vacuum cleaner - if you use it only as 'emergency' vacuum cleaner or for smaller surfaces and you have enough power outlet at home, than you can get by with stick vacuum cleaner with shorter power cord. However, just to be sure, try to get models which has at least 15 feet long power cord.

- suction pressure (measured in pascals, but often in various other units), air speed (in feet per second and/or in meters per second) and air volume (cubic feet per second/minute or cubic litters/meters per second/minutes) determine suction power of vacuum cleaner. When combined with nozzle width, it shows quality of vacuum cleaner as cleaning device - greater the suction pressure, air speed, air volume and nozzle width, better vacuum cleaner. Battery operated (cordless) stick vacuum cleaners often have small nozzle which requires less motor power in order to achieve same suction power - these are the tricks that vacuum cleaner's manufacturers often use, but honestly, there is also plenty of physics involved here :o)

- weight, height, width and length determine physical dimensions of stick vacuum cleaner - if you have need to reach narrow spaces, pay close attention both to the nozzle's physical dimensions and vacuum cleaner's dimensions, since it is the nozzle (with or without cleaning attachments) that must reach narrow spaces. Also, elderly people like stick vacuum cleaners since they are very light and easy to maneuver.

- operating noise is usually very low in stick vacuum cleaners, but generally, stronger the motor, larger the noise. Also, high(er)-end models are quitter even if they have stronger motors; battery operated vacuum cleaners are usually quitter than corded vacuums, due to their less strong motors. Anyway, stick vacuum cleaners are usually very quiet.

Best Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

Stick vacuum cleaner suitable for hardwood floors usually don't need special attachments - suitable brush and enough suction power is all that is needed for getting hardwood floor cleaned.

Problem may occur when people want more than 'ordinary' cleaning - like doing hardwood polish and similar. Well, don't expect some 30-40$ stick vacuum cleaner to do the same job as few hundred dollars (euros) expensive upright or canister Dyson DC31 battery that comes with various attachments suitable for various surfaces and situations. And if you do need such expensive vacuum cleaner, choose wisely and you will soon realize that such expensive vacuum cleaner is not expensive at all. Should you give up on vacuum cleaners? No, just be aware that very often what you pay is what you get - great thing is that with competition, we get more and more for the same price :o)

 Best Stick Vacuum for Pet Hair

Pet owners often have need for cleaning of various surfaces - pet hairs are relatively easily cleaned off hard surfaces, but from carpets and rugs can be much more difficult. In order to properly remove pet hair from such surfaces, vacuum cleaner needs to have some sort of rotating tool that pulls the hairs out of carper/rug and strong suction to remove hairs from such tool.

Tools for pet hairs usually come in the form of powered brushes - power can come from brush movement over the surface, from air flow turbine or from second motor.

Of course, having second motor is the best solution regarding performance, but second motor increase weight, power consumption, noise and price. If you really have problems with pet hair, be very careful about reviews of such tools - what is point in paying less for the tool that doesn't work? On the other hand, why pay more if cheaper tool can do the same job?

Long story short - stick vacuum cleaner often can do the job of the larger and more expensive vacuums. But in many circumstances, one simply needs more suction power and more versatile attachments that many stick (broom) vacuum cleaners simply don't have. Since they are cheap, price should not be the reason for not having one around - just in case ...

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June 23 2017 6 23 /06 /June /2017 22:42

Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with their laptop battery? It lets us be mobile, but it also chains us to that little battery life gauge and the dreaded decay of performance as time goes on. But by following certain best practices, you can move the relationship more firmly toward the “love” side.

Here’s how. Save cycles, save your battery

All MacBook Air 13 A1369 laptop batteries are built to handle a certain number of charge cycles, usually somewhere around 500 full cycles and sometimes more. Essentially, a charge cycle equals one full discharge down to zero percent and then a recharge back up to 100 percent. A discharge down to 50 percent and then back to 100 percent would equal half a cycle. Over time, each charge cycle decreases a battery’s capacity from its design specifications, meaning that the fewer times you drain it, the longer the battery last — all other things being equal.

And so, where do you start? You can begin by visiting the power settings corner of your laptop. Many computers offer the ability to switch to an “eco mode” that automatically adjusts the way power is used (such as automatically dimming your screen brightness) to conserve battery energy. You can also manually reduce the amount of power you’re using by shutting off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them, turning off optional features such as keyboard backlighting, and generally reducing the number of components burning power.

Also, pay attention to hibernation modes. Ideally, you want your laptop to enter into hibernation before the battery is totally drained – as well as during downtime when you won’t be using the laptop for a while. Hibernation is typically a power state where everything in working memory has been written to the hard drive or SSD and then the laptop is turned completely off. Hibernation uses no power, as opposed to various sleep states available with modern laptops that use at least some power over time.

To save even more power, take a tour of your apps and quit any that are running in the background and steadily eating into your battery life. In Windows computers, you can look at your System Tray, your Task Manager, and your Processes tab to see which of those little icons really aren’t necessary. In macOS, you can see what apps are using the most power by clicking on the battery icon in the taskbar to the upper right and by opening the Activity Monitor and selecting the Energy section. Cloud storage services or video players that you aren’t using can be safely shut down. Both Microsoft and Apple have guides explaining the process further.

And, of course, there’s the best solution of all — don’t use your laptop on battery power, if you don’t have to. In today’s era of long battery life, it’s easy to forget to plug in when you come back to your desk. But that will, eventually, shorten your battery’s lifespan.

Keeping your battery in zone

In ancient, less enlightened times, there was a problem called “battery memory” that caused nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to “forget” their full charge capacity and start charging at lower and lower levels. This problem doesn’t exist any longer thanks to modern lithium-ion batteries, but it has led to a lot of poor advice and arguments about MacBook Air 13 A1466 battery care based on outdated information. It’s time to clear the air.

Contrary to some recommendations, you don’t need to completely discharge a lithium-ion battery and then recharge it to somehow reboot or calibrate it – this is a destructive practice that’s very hard on your battery. Whether or not it’s a smart idea to perform a complete discharge a couple of times a year remains an unanswered question. Generally, the consensus seems to be that letting your battery discharge (without bottoming it out — aim for around 20 percent) and then charge it when possible is the best practice.

Next, there was a time when users were advised to refrain from keeping their devices plugged in, based on the idea that letting a battery charge to 100 percent could wear the battery out more quickly. Today, however, modern devices are designed to stop charging at 100 percent and thus keeping them plugged in doesn’t impact the battery’s lifespan, according to Battery University.

As with many battery-related questions, the issue of keeping your laptop plugged in when it’s reached full capacity is hotly debated, and so there’s nothing wrong with turning your machine off and unplugging it. If you’re going to store your laptop for an extended time without using it, then discharge or charge it to 50 percent before putting it away.

Generally speaking, the best thing you can do for your lithium-ion battery is to avoid letting it discharge below 20 percent. Plug it in and charge it when you can, and then rinse and repeat. The good news is that with modern batteries and systems there’s really not much else you need to do — except perhaps reasonably expect that your battery will eventually start losing its overall capacity.
It’s getting hot in here, so hide your batteries

Today’s lithium-ion batteries are durable, but they can only take so much heat. High temperatures can damage your Apple A1496 laptop battery permanently, or reduce its useful lifespan.

This leads to some common sense suggestions. For example, if you are charging your battery and it starts to get overly warm, perhaps because the CPU or graphics processor is working hard or the environment is overly hot, then shut the device down and pop the battery out if possible. Give it a break so that it can cool down or you can move to someplace with a lower temperature. Of course, many modern laptops have sealed batteries, in which case shutting the machine down and letting it cool is highly recommended if maximizing the battery’s lifespan is your concern.

Likewise, keep the laptop off of your lap. If testicular damage and discomfort weren’t good enough reasons, then with many machines you’re also making the problem worse by blocking vents. You’ll want to make sure that both vents that pull in cool air and those that expel hot air are able to do their jobs.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should avoid placing your laptop anywhere it might become hot. That includes your car on a hot summer day, beneath a window that gets direct sunlight, or near a space heater. Unusual conditions such as these can do a lot of damage to a battery in a short period of time, though you may not realize it immediately.

Cold temperatures usually aren’t a problem down to a certain point, and storing a battery in a cool place is recommended, but don’t leave your laptop in freezing temperatures. Too much cold can also kill the battery permanently or reduce its lifespan.

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June 7 2017 4 07 /06 /June /2017 12:25

Taking proper care of your cordless drill can ensure that your drill stays in good condition for years to come. Every power tool is an investment, and it is always a good idea to take care of your investments.

Below are some basic tips for proper cordless drill care:

Keep your drill in good condition. Most cordless drills come with a storage case, and you should use the case to keep the drill free from debris. It will keep the drill working in optimal condition. Also, you should avoid leaving the drill exposed to the elements. When inserting drill bits, make sure they are properly in place before use. If the Makita cordless drill battery are inserted the wrong way, or are not in the right place, it may cause problems with the drill, and it could void the warranty because you went against the manufacturer's instructions.

Make sure that you are using the correct drill bit for your project. A too-small or too-large drill bit can cause the drill to catch, damaging the internal components. You may also find yourself doing damage to your wall or the project you are working on by using the wrong-sized drill bit.

Never use dull or blunt drill bits. This is an obvious rule for anyone who has owned a drill. The purpose of a drill is to make the job of screwing, unscrewing or drilling easier on the user. If you use a dull or blunt bit, it puts too much pressure on the drill and can damage the tool or break it completely.

Drill batteries should not be stored in extreme temperatures. Low temperatures can slow the battery, while high temperatures can lower the Black & Decker cordless drill battery effectiveness. Once you've done serious damage to your drill's batteries, you will have to replace them, which can be expensive. Most batteries are not covered under the drill's warranty, and even if they are, it is nearly impossible to prove that they failed for a reason other than your error.

Make sure that you keep your cordless drill inside and away from natural elements. With a cordless drill, it's easy to carry outside to use - and even easier to forget out there. This leaves the tool open to dust and pollen in the air, which can jam the machinery. It can also lead to rusting from even the slightest bit of moisture in the air, rendering the Hilti cordless drill battery useless.

Using these tips, you can ensure that your cordless drill provides years of service.


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May 29 2017 2 29 /05 /May /2017 16:56

Drill a pilot hole. In many cases, you'll get better results if you start with a drill bit a little smaller than the final hole size. Drill a shallow "pilot hole," then switch to the larger bit to finish the job. The pilot hole will help prevent your drill bit from slipping, and reduces the chance of splitting wood or other damage. Very brittle materials such as ceramic and glass require extra care the Makita tool battery. Make a small "X" in masking tape where you want the hole, to help prevent slipping and chipping. Instead of drilling the pilot hole, place the drill bit over the X, then gently tap it with a hammer to create a small dent.

Drill with steady pressure. Hold the drill steady and push it into the material you're drilling. If it takes more than light force to drill the hole, you're probably using the wrong bit.

Adjust the clutch. Each drill has a twistable collar to adjust the torque, often with a series of numbers on it. The higher the number, the more torque (rotational force) the drill will apply a Black & Decker tool battery. If you are having trouble penetrating the material, increase the torque. If you are over-driving screws (burying them too deep), or if drilling too deep could damage something, lower the torque. Some models mark the highest torque with a drill bit icon.

Avoid overheating the drill bit. If you are drilling through hard materials or drilling at high speeds, the drill bit will encounter an immense amount of friction. This can rapidly overheat the bit, to the point where it becomes red hot or burns the material you're drilling. Start at low drill speeds, and only increase the speed if the drill isn't moving smoothly. If you're drilling through hard materials, or drilling many holes in any material, stick to slow speeds and pause occasionally to give the bit a few seconds to cool down. When drilling glass, ceramic, or stone, give the bit a steady supply of water to keep it cool. One way to do this is to build a "dam" out of putty or modeling clay around your drilling area. Fill the area with water so it flows down into the hole. "Pump" the bit up and down so the water can reach the tip.Even if the drill bit doesn't look hot, give it time to cool down before touching it.

Do not force a jammed bit through. If the drill bit gets stuck in the material, don't try to force it out by running the drill. Unplug the drill, separate the bit and the chuck, and remove the bit using manual Meatbo tool battery.

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May 18 2017 5 18 /05 /May /2017 18:23

A battery is a container for chemical reaction that produces electrical energy measured in volts. Sealed lead acid batteries (SLAs) are made of cells. Each cell produces about two volts. A six-volt battery has three cells and a 12-volt Milwaukee M12B2 battery has six.


Sealed lead acid batteries are used when high power is needed and weight and cost are lesser factors.


What an SLA can power and how long it will last depends on voltage and amp-hours. Voltage is a measurement of electrical strength. An amp-hour (Ah) measures stored usable energy. A six-volt battery has a lower Ah capacity than a 12-volt Milwaukee  48-11-2411 drill battery.


Two six-volt batteries can be wired to equal a 12-volt battery. Batteries wired in series can be charged to the capacity of the weakest battery. Batteries wired in parallel will equalize the charge, with higher charges flowing to lesser charges until equalized. SLAs generally take six to 18 hours to charge.


The heavier plate structures within each cell of the six-volt battery compared to the cells in the 12-volt battery contribute to longer life in deep charge and discharge cycles. Batteries used in deep-cycle service average four to eight years of life.


Six-volt batteries weigh less than 12-volt Milwaukee 48-11-2420 tool batteries and can be handled more easily by one person. This is often a significant decision-making element when considering a six-volt vs.12-volt battery.

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May 14 2017 1 14 /05 /May /2017 00:00

Many people spend money unnecessarily replacing TOSHIBA Satellite P750 batteries when they may have fixed the issue with a simple battery reset or a Drivers update. If you are having problems charging your laptop battery, then reading this post may save you a lot of time, money and frustration!

Batteries do have a finite lifespan (600-1000 charges/ discharges or about 2 years depending on intensity of use) and they can be very expensive to replace, so before throwing out that battery (in an environmentally-appropriate manner of course!), ensure that it has actually reached the end of its life and there isn’t some other problem preventing it from charging.
Fix 1: Battery Reset

To reset your laptop battery you will need to run the TOSHIBA PA5013U-1BRS battery down completely. Make sure all work is saved as you will run the battery down until the system shuts off. When this happens you should plug in the power cable but DO NOT turn back on the laptop. Wait until you are confident the battery is back to a full charge again and then turn on your laptop.

If this method does not fix your recharging issue then you can try to fix or update your laptop battery drivers by uninstalling and reinstalling them (make sure to create a ‘restore point’ in System Restore before manually updating Drivers files). You can use a Driver Update Tool to keep all your Drivers up-to-date if you prefer not to attempt this manually.
Fix 2: Update Drivers

You will need to uninstall and reinstall the relevant device drivers via the Device Manager.

– Select Start > (right-click) My Computer > Properties

– Select the Hardware tab

– Select the Device Manager Button

– Under Batteries right-click “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery” and click Uninstall

Your battery should no longer be visible in the Batteries list. To reinstall it you will need to:

– Select Action menu

– Select Scan for hardware changes

– Your driver should be listed again

You can use a driver update tool to automatically update your Drivers if you are unsure of which ones you require. Driver errors can also occur when the Driver is outdated. For this reason it is necessary to regularly update your Drivers. The easiest way to do this is by using a Driver update tool but you could also search for and download the drivers yourself.

Test your Toshiba battery for laptop now and if there is still a problem charging, then it may have just reached the end of its’ days and it is time to part company!

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May 11 2017 5 11 /05 /May /2017 21:29

It's sensible to attempt to recondition your 18V battery for power tool before going for the expensive option of purchasing a replacement, if your drill battery pack contains nickel cadmium cells (NiCad). If it contains lithium ion (Li-ion) cells you need to get it reconditioned using a battery repair store as Li-ion battery packs needs specialist attention. An 18V NiCad drill battery contains 15 cells, each producing 1.2 volts. You may find that after some time the battery doesn't operate for long between charges, so following a simple but effective procedure reconditions the cells in the drill battery.

Make sure your battery appears fully charged before starting the procedure of reconditioning your 18V drill battery. Put it on charge in the usual way until the charger indicates it's fully charged.

Place the 18V drill battery into the power drill. Secure the drill in a vice as you need to turn it on and let it run continuously. This means you don't have to hold the drill during the discharge process.

Turn on the power drill. Allow it to operate for as long as it takes to initially discharge the Bosch power tool battery. Turn off the power drill once it's stopped operating. The drill and battery are hot so let them cool completely; about half an hour is usually fine.

Turn on the drill again. You find that although it stopped operating half an hour ago it starts up again. It runs slowly, but let it run until it stops. Let the battery and power drill rest, then repeat the process until the drill won't operate. The battery is fully discharged once the power drill won't turn on. The process of fully discharging the battery breaks down crystals in the 15 NiCad cells and restores them to the size they were when you first purchased your drill. The smaller the crystals, the more energy they can retain.

Remove the drill and battery from the vice once cool. Detach the battery from the drill and put it in the charger. Turn on the charger and allow it to charge. It will take three or four times longer than previously as the reconditioned battery for cordless drill can hold more energy.

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April 27 2017 5 27 /04 /April /2017 11:47

I started this project out of a desire to keep my phone working on long bike tours. I needed a lightweight, inexpensive battery to put on my touring bike. Unfortunately, the lithium battery I needed costs 200 dollars new. Add a charger and powersupply and that's another 100 dollars. Batteryspace is my favorite place to get anything battery related online. You can see a comparable battery here . Thanks to some good luck, I was able to cobble together an 8 amp hour battery for about 100 dollars. This project takes a lot of soldering. You don't have to be super skilled; just tin a bunch of wires, and soldering the PCB is pretty easy.

I use this one on my bike for a headlight, tail light, radio, and cell phone charger.

If the batteries are the heart of the Li-ion Rockwell WA3525 battery, then the PCB is the brain. This is the one I used. It was 6.50 at Batteryspace. It was easy to solder wires on the PCB. It is designed to stop solder from spilling onto the rest of the board.

PCBs come indifferent varieties depending on number of cells, voltage, and capacity. Here is a list of all the PCBs you could use with 18650s on batteryspace.

Here are the specs for the one I used and I will explain what everything means...

Electric performance:

Overcharge protection voltage for single cell: 4.35V
Over discharge protection voltage for single cell: 2.40V
Over current detection protection: 4-6A
Supply current: Max 30uA
Short circuit protection
Protection circuitry resistance: <=50mohms

The PCB prevents overcharging because the delicate lithium ion chemistry of the battery can be damaged if charged with too high a voltage and the PCB will cut power to the cells if you did so. This should not be a problem if you charge with a smart balance charger. If you charge a cell with 4.2 volts, then the cell voltage will never rise above 4.2 volts, even if you charged the cell for weeks. You still don't want to charge a cell beyond the point at which it is charged. A smart charger will turn off once it has finished charging.

Many batteries can be discharged all the way to zero volts, this is not one of them. If the voltage of a lithium ion battery dropped to zero, or even below 2 volts, it would be damaged, and would never charge back up. Cell phones have this same protection. If you measured the voltage of a "dead" cell phone battery it would probably read 2.5 volts.

Over drain protection is necessary because this is a small PCB with tiny components and can only handle so much current. It shuts down to save itself when drawing between 4 and 6 amps.

Supply current is the current draw from the electronics on the PCB. It is practically nothing and will not drain your battery.

Short circuit protection means the PCB will turn off if it detected a short; if a wire became disconnected or if the wires crossed.

Protection circuitry resistance is the resistance caused by the PCB. All circuitry produces a little resistance. Again the drain is so little you will not notice it.

The words Rockwell RW9161 batteries and cells are used interchangeably but the difference is that a cell is the most indivisible part of the battery which stores power and a battery can be made of many cells. This battery is made of 16 cells. The configuration is called 4S4P. That means 4 series and 4 parallel. 1S4P means the capacity is multiplied by four but the voltage remains the same. 4S1P means capacity remains the same but voltage is multiplied by four. 4S4P mean this is a battery 4 times the voltage and 4 times the capacity of a single cell. The newest 18650s are 2.6 amp hour. 4S1P is 16.8 volts and 2.6 amp hour. 4S2P is 16.8 volts and 5.2 amp hour. 4S4P is 16.8 volts 10.4 amp hour. Given that these are used batteries I will give it a more modest 8 amp hour rating. 18650s fall to 80% capacity after 200 cycles. You could test the exact capacity on yours if you had a watt meter.

The cells are a common format, and therefore widely available and cheap, called 18650s because they are 18mm by 65mm. They use 6800 18650s in the Tesla Roadster! My brother works at a university where he has access to an e-waste dumpster. Old laptops are often powered by these cells. Often you can look up the date of manufacture and capacity by looking up ID numbers on the cells. There is no way to tell how many cycles they have been through but the savings are so great over new ones that it is easy to ignore most lack-of-charge problems.

There are 18650s all over the net which claim capacities all the way up to 4.2 amp hour and they are half the price of the ones on batteryspace. The highest capacity 18650s on batteryspace is 2.6 amp hour. I called a tech guy and asked him about these 4.2 amp hour Ultrafire 18650s. He said he never heard of Ultrafire and that 2.6 amp hour cells have been the industry standard for years. I haven't tried the Ultrafire batteries and I am not sure if they would work for this project. You can read more about them on Candlepower Forums .

New cells are 7.25 dollars each new on batteryspace here so I saved 116 dollars by finding used ones. If you can't find old batteries for free you can sometimes find used 18650s on ebay.
If you bought a pack off of batteryspace it would be wrapped in shrink wrap and the cells would be spot welded together. This makes them a little smaller and lighter than my battery but they are unserviceable. Professional pack builders use spot welding machines.  Here is video of one in action. Here is home made spot welder. You could also try tab welding. Here is a video.  This is easier and cheaper than spot welding but not as easy or as safe as Rockwell WA3520 battery holders.

Battery holders are a much better option because you can remove cells easily if they die. This is very likely since we are using used batteries. You can get battery holders here . You will need 4 of them. Play around with the shipping options. There are around 10 different ways to ship and I don't remember which is the cheapest.

Solder the contacts in the back together so all the positives are connected to the other positives and do the same with the negatives. In the end you will have two wires coming out, one pos and one neg. There are 4 cells in this holder but it will act as one cell once it is connected to the PCB. This batteries in this holder will be in a 1S4P configuration.

You could use any number of cells provided you have a number divisible by 4. If you had 8 four-cell battery holders and 32 cells you could make a 4S8P pack. If you only had 4 cells you could make a 4S1P pack.

I happened to have a little file bin just the right size for the guts of the battery. You can use anything. I recommend something to keep the batteries still so they don't shake apart. There are 32 places where the batteries are held there by nothing but springs. The wires could shake out of the terminal blocks as well. Screw them in tightly. This is just a small price to pay for serviceability.

I used some nuts and bolts to connect the terminal blocks to the project box. Use any size that will fit through the terminal blocks.

Put thin plastic or some sort of insulation between the layers of batteries. The battery holders are covered with pointy metal objects which could cause a short.

The best way I have found for wiring everything together is to use European Style terminal Blocks. As I put the pack together for the first time I wired it together in all kids of upside down and backwards ways before getting it right. Having screw type terminals greatly facilitated my trial and error assembly.

You cannot electrocute yourself with 16.8 volts but you could get a burn. You could damage your cells or PCB as well. Take necessary precautions.

This is technically a 14.4 volt battery. It ranges in voltage between 9.6 and 16.8 volts depending on its state of charge. 14.4 volts is in the middle, its nominal voltage. Follow this guide and everything should turn out fine. Once you are done there will still be no power coming out of P+ and P-. We will fix that in step 7.

To be more clear I don't mean individual 18650 cells here. I mean 4 18650s in a battery holder. That is a single cell as far as the PCB is concerned.

Cell 1 + goes to B+
Cell 1 - goes to B1-
Cell 2 + goes to B1-
Cell 2 - goes to B2-
Cell 3 + goes to B2-
Cell 3 - goes to B3-
Cell 4 + goes to B3-
Cell 4 - goes to B-
wires to main power are connected to P+ and P-

To charge the battery you find some 4S JXT type plugs. You can get them here . Put the red wire in at the same place where Cell 1 pos and B pos from the PCB are wired into the terminal block. Wire the rest of the black wires in order to the rest of the cells. 

This site is where I got the wiring diagram and shows different ways of wiring of batteries with balance leads.

There are two ways to charge a battery like this. You can either apply 4.2 volts to individual cells or you can apply 16.8 volts to the whole battery. While the latter is more simple, in this case the former is better because we are using used cells. When new packs are made, they all use new batteries of the same amp hour capacity. This way they can be charged hundreds of times without going out of balance. However, balancing will extend the service life of any pack. With our pack, the batteries are in various states of wear and amp hour capacity, therefore balancing is a must. A balanced battery is one in which all the cells remain the same voltage.

Let me explain how packs can become unbalanced and why that is really bad. Batteries will inevitably wear our at slightly different rates. Say the voltage of each cell in your pack is 4.2 volts after charging when new.

Cell 1 is 4.2
Cell 2 is 4.2
Cell 3 is 4.2
Cell 4 is 4.2
Whole battery is 16.8 volts

Now say one of the batteries has started to wear out. They manifest their wear by sometimes refusing to charge all the way to 4.2 volts. Now cell 4 only charges to 3.8 volts. The charger doesn't know this but still charges to 16.8 volts and the other cells are charged higher to compensate.

Cell 1 is 4.3
Cell 2 is 4.3
Cell 3 is 4.3
Cell 4 is 3.8
Whole battery is 16.8 volts

You can see how one bad cell could destroy the good ones because the others are overcharged. Balance chargers never charge cells above 4.2 volts and they can tell you if one cell refuses to charge completely. My charger has four lights and shows blue for fully charged and red for not there yet. They make a volt meter here that is perfect for monitoring the health of cells.

Balance chargers are more common in hobby batteries.  People use lithium polymer (LIPO for short) batteries to power model helicopters, airplanes, boats, etc.  LIPOs are cheaper and tougher, better for surviving crashes.  They require more balancing then lithium ion.  Some have C rates of 50!  That means a 5 amp hour battery could supply 250 amps and completely discharge in only a few minutes!  The chemistries are almost the same so the chargers are interchangeable.  I suggest looking through Hobbyking so you know what all is out there.  They have an especially dizzying array of chargers.

When I first wired everything together I was worried to find that even though I had everything wired correctly and the batteries were charged, the PCB was not working. I got it to work finally when I applied 16.8 volts to the P+ and P- terminals on the PCB. That's because this PCB was designed to be charged serially, with 16.8 volts. I didn't want to do that for reasons I've already described. You have to trick the PCB into thinking it is being charged through P+ and P-. I used a variable power supply to jump the PCB. I touched the wires to the PCB for just a second and this activated the PCB.

I discovered I had to do the same thing if a wire came loose and the PCB lost connectivity to one of the cells. This is a fail safe in the PCB. It turns off so there are no shorts. The PCB assumes you must have reconnected the wire if you are attempting to charge the battery. Lastly, you have to jump the PCB if the battery goes dead from running out of juice. If you never let the battery run completely dry and the batteries do not become disconnected then you don't have to jump it at all (aside from the first time).

You hear a lot about C ratings when you start building battery packs. C means capacity and it represents whatever your battery capacity happens to be. If I have an 8 amp hour battery and I charge it at 8 amps, then it is charging at 1C and would finish charging in one hour. If I charged it at 2 amps, the rate of my Hextronics charger, then it would be charging at one quarter C, and would charge in 4 hours. If I drain the battery at 8 amps it will last for an hour; that is a drain of 1C.

Battery capacity is also measured in watt hours. To get watt hours you use a formula (Watts= Volts x Amps) to multiply capacity (8 amp hours) with voltage (14.4) to get 115 watt hours. It will run something using 1 watt for 115 hours or any other equal ratio. Of course that is its theoretical run time. Actual time will be less. Calculating remaining battery capacity based on current drain is complex and inexact. If you want to learn more read through Battery University .

You will need a way to plug it into something eventually. I used RCA plugs from radio shack. The gauge of the wire and quality of the contacts are more than enough for the 1.5 amps max I draw from my pack. You may want something more substantial for higher draw.

You generally don't want to charge above 1C. If you did the battery could wear prematurely or catch on fire.  Also, the maximum continuous current draw possible from this battery is 12 amps. I calculate that from the ratings of a single 18650 which is 1.5C.  1.5 multiplied by 8 amp hours is 12 amps.  Of course the batteries could handle this but not the wires. I used small wires in mine because I don't draw very much current from it. For higher drain use bigger wires. Look up a table of wire gauges and current capacity to pick the right wires. Use the smallest wires possible which can still handle the current. Also use threaded wire because it's easier to work with.

This charger is "smart" because it monitors the voltage of the battery as it charges. It would not charge if it detected dead cells (below 2 volts) or if the voltage was already above 4.2 volts.

To be clear I am not talking about balance charging. This is something else. You will inevitable have one cell which has higher capacity than all the other cells. They will drop in voltage at different rates. One cell will drop below 2.4 volts before the others, then the whole battery will shut down. Once dead, if there is a large difference in voltage between lowest voltage and highest voltage cell, you should take two cells from the highest voltage cell and swap them with two cells of the lowest voltage cell. That way the weakest link will not be so weak and your battery will last longer.

Even better would be to replace the lowest voltage batteries with different ones if available.

If your battery shorts, it will most likely heat up and smell like fried electronics. That's what happened to mine a few days ago. It was an easy fix actually. I needed to more insulation between the stacks of batteries

However, worst case scenario, it could catch on fire when you are not at home and burn your house down. That doesn't mean this is a terribly dangerous project, you just have to be careful. Many projects on this site could end in fires. Only take on this project if you have a good idea of what you are doing and understand the risks.

A simple precaution is to break the battery in while it is in a bucket of sand or on a bit of concrete at least 8 feet from anything combustible. By breaking in I mean charge it and discharge it a few times to make sure it works with no problems.

So there you have it. Once you make one battery you will have the confidence to make packs in any configuration you need.

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April 17 2017 2 17 /04 /April /2017 00:29

A cordless, electric lawnmower is considered environmentally-friendly because it does not contribute to smog and carbon dioxide, unlike its gasoline-powered counterparts. A cordless mower also is much quieter than a gas mower and eliminates the need for oil changes, air filters, tune-ups and spark plugs. The primary maintenance for such a mower is to charge its battery. A rechargeable mower AEG tool battery lasts about five to seven years, at which point it needs to be replaced. The new battery must be charged before it is installed.

Place the cordless mower's new, rechargeable battery in a dry, cool area, such as a garage or workshop. Put the battery on a workbench or scrap piece of lumber on the floor. The elevation prevents moisture from touching the battery while it charges.

Plug one end of the battery charger's connection line into the mower battery's receptacle or socket, pushing the plug fully into the receptacle or socket. Attach the connection line's opposite end into the battery charger.

Plug the battery charger into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlet. The plug has two flat metal pieces and a round, ground piece that fit into an appropriate, GFCI electrical outlet.

Observe the lights on the battery charger. The power light and the charger light are one when the charger operates. When the charging light turns from red to green, the battery is fully charged and ready to use. Charging normally takes about 15 hours.

Unplug the charger and its connection line from the fully charged lawnmower battery and from the electrical outlet.

Lift or push the Milwaukee tool battery lock on your cordless mower to remove the latches from its battery box. Pick up the battery by its top handle, and place it on the top motor cover. Plug the mower battery cord into the battery's bottom with the front of the battery in view. An arrow usually is on the front of the battery.

Place the battery in the battery box, and push the locking lever forward or downward, depending on the mower's make and model.

Things You Will Need


A cordless mower works best on a flat lawn that measures no more than 8,000 square feet. The battery's weight makes the mower a bit difficult to push up inclines.


After using your cordless mower, store it in a cool, dry area, and connect it to the battery charger. Storing batteries that are not fully charged lessens their lifespan.

Charge a lawnmower's batteries only with the charger that was included with the mower.

Use replacement Paslode batteries that are identical to the original mower battery. Batteries than have a lower voltage than the original battery can turn the mower blades at a slower speed, making the mower inefficient.

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April 14 2017 6 14 /04 /April /2017 23:54

Cordless drills are versatile, durable tools that can be found on construction sites, in garages and shops everywhere. One of the things that makes cordless drills so popular is that they can be taken almost anywhere. Just make sure that you have a fully charged Makita tool battery and spare if you plan on working late. Cordless drills have almost (but not completely) replaced the old corded models.

The most common power pack in a cordless drill--or even most cordless tools for that matter is the nickel cadmium (NiCd) battery. A battery is generally made up of two dissimilar metals (in this case nickel oxide hydroxide and cadmium) in an electrolyte ("battery acid"). In a battery, the chemical reaction between the two metals and the electrolyte cause electrons to flow from one side to the other.

In a cordless drill, the NiCd Bosch tool battery supplies current to a small DC motor which does the work of the drill.

In any electric motor, there will be an armature (also called a rotor), a commutator, brushes, a permanent magnet and an axle. When direct current is applied to a DC motor, it creates an electromagnetic field in the windings of the armature. The difference in magnetic forces between the armature and the permanent magnet cause the armature to turn. As the armature turns, the commutator acts as a switch that reverses the current in the armature (and the brush connects the commutator to the current). This reversal of current keeps the armature turning.

The armature turns the axle and in a cordless drill the axle turns a transmission. The transmission has several gears that turn the spindle that does the actual Dewalt tool battery action.


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