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Discussion Starter #1
Good afternoon folks! Last week I had three storm doors installed on the house. (Hey I didn't pay for it so have someone else do it right?) The guy that came was vey friendly and did a great job. I noticed he was using a cordless drill set with Li-on batteries. He plugged into one of my outside outlets though to recharge them. I asked him what he thought of them and he said he wouldn't spend the money again. He said on a 20 minute charge we was getting almost 20 minutes of useand that depended on weather and usage heavy drilling like installing windows or simply mounting like he was doing at my house. 

i know lots of other folks here have been using cordless drill batteries but I thought most were still using the older Ni-cad technology. Has anyone here invested in the newer batteries and tried them on their trains? I'm curious for a review.

Thanks!

Chas
 

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I haven't used Lithium-Ion batteries in trains, but I have used Lithium-Polymer (not sure if they're the same chemistry) in electrically-powered RC airplanes.   In RC aircraft, where weight (or more particularly, the lack thereof!;)) is a MAJOR consideration, the difference in performance (especially when coupled with brushless motors /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif) is phenomenal!!!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif  My first attempt at an electrically-powered airplane (using NiCad batteries & a conventional brushed DC motor) required a hefty fling of a hand-launch to get airborne; it would then very sluggishly /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif  circle the field maybe 3 times before the batteries ran out of "juice" & I had to land./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/plain.gif

The electric RC plane I'm flying now uses a Lithium-Polymer pack powering a brushless DC motor; it's physically about the same size as the first plane, @ 3-foot wingspan.  At the RC field, we have a few card-table-sized (@ 3 X 3 feet work tables).  As I demo, I sat the plane on one of these tables, facing into the wind; then I "nailed" the throttle wide open./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif  From a standing start, the plane would literally LEAP off the table into a straight vertical climb!  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif  In flight, it is fully aerobatic,:cool: capable of loops,/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif rolls,:D spins, /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif & inverted flight!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif  I get reliable :) flight durations of typically @ 10 minutes from it (longer than most of my glow-fuel-powered planes can stay up!).

One major consideration, however, it that Li-on & Li-Po batteries require appropriate battery chargers - (as in they may burst into flame /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif if charged incorrectly!).  (The particular battery charger I use set me back @ $150).

In model railroad use, the heavier weight of NiCd or NiMH batteries (especially when installed in locomotives) may actually be an advantage,/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif & even the heaviest model locomotives don't produce anywhere near the electrical loads high-performace brushless aircraft motors do (the battery packs I'm currently flying with are rated 2100 maH, or 2.1 amp-hours; at full throttle, I may be pulling as much as 30 amps/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif off that battery!).  That being said, the lithium batteries do offer the highest "energy density", in that you'd get the longest run for a given "physical size" of battery pack (not necessarily a consideration in trains).  Besides being "fussy" as to charging, they are usually more expensive than "equivalent" (in amp-hour capacity, NOT necessarily physical size) NiCd or NiMH batteries.  I know Aristo DOES offer a lithium pack, so I'd check with some of the guys on here that may have used them (I don't - I'm from the "dark side"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/plain.gif - I'm a DCC user!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif).

                                                                                                                     Tom
 

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As a long-time-ago R/C flyer, I wasn't impressed with Ethan's first electric airplane. Tiny wing, heavy, stalled without warning, no response to control. I got him a "yard stick" with an all-up weight of 11 oz, big wing and big tail.

Man, these electrics are cool. And no glow-motor slop everywhere.

The only reason I went with NiMH for my Mallet was a deal I found at all-battery.com. They're selling 3,800mAh 9.6v packs for $16. I put 2 together to a 19.2v pack. Their recommended charger is $25.
 

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Chas,

If you search the old forums, you will find several threads on this subject. I don't have any power tool Li-ion packs but I have used Li-ion battery packs from www.batteryspace.com (14.4 v) and Aristocraft (21v) for trains with good results. The 14.4 v packs work great for smaller locos - RS3, LGB Mogul, Annie. Good run times - 2+ hrs - longer than my kids' attention span;). Small size compared to NiCad or NiMH. Come in a range of amp-hr ratings. Mine are 2000 and 2400. The Aristocraft packs work well for my SD45 and LGB F7, although single pack run-times are noticably shorter. I understand two in parallel is a simple solution, and will be trying that soon. Lots of discussion of these packs on the Aristocraft forum.

I don't have experience w/ NiCad or NiNH in trains so I can't compare but from what I have read here and elsewhere, I don't believe there are significant performance differences. I think it comes down to cost and space. Li-Ion seem to cost more per amp-hr, but are smaller.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Steve, I really do not remember the LI-on battery packs for cordless tools specifically being mentioned. Since they are relatively new technology. I cannot even get the LI-on packs or chargers separately although they state the the packs are backwards campatible to my NiCad tools (Ryobi tools). The contractor was using Makita and wasn't happy with the charge life but I suggested he wasn't charging them properly as a geuss. I've still got my old NiCad batteries and chargers from my RC car and boat days that will work when I make the jump.

Thanks guys!
 

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Chas,

Sorry. I mis-read your post. I thought you were looking for Li-ion batteries for trains (e.g. http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=49033, but not for power tool application). I am curious about the power tool application. It would significantly reduce the weight of the tools!:) I do have a cordless Dremel that uses Li-ion. No problems but a low voltage, low power application.

Steve
 

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Chas,

I just built a battery box car with P5 sound that utilizes a 14.4V 4400mhr li-ion battery. I tested it just yesterday connected to a new Bman K-27 and a various number of AMS J&S coaches. I ran the engine for over 2 hrs before I quit for the day (still had plenty of battery power remaining). I tested the same consist on track power and found that the K pulls about 2.5-3 Amps (more on grades and with the AMS coaches attached..due to lighting). For the size and weight, it looks like it's going to be a great setup. Hope this helps.

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I guess I'm not being clear enough? I've got Ryobi Cordess tools. many of you use cordless batteries. Whether they are dedicated sets or interchangeable with your current use tools. Many of the manufacturers have relatively recently begun offering these as options. Either as upgrades to existing tools as in the case of Ryobi's system, or as dedicated sets. This particular contractor was not very happy with his Makita sets as he felt they simply didn't hold a charge long enough for him. My concenr is that IF I upgrade to add the LI-on batteries to my tools it will be expensive batteries that won;t hold the charge as long as the Ni-cads. Regardless of whether I use them in my tools or my trains. Currently a two pack of Nicad betteries from ryobi runs about $40 at Home Despot. Extra charger about $25. They do not currently offer separate batteries and chargers for th Li-on and I will not buy new tools just to get the technology. My understanding however is that Ryobi will be offering these batteries and chargers separately eventually. I'm just wondering if it is worth the investment? I do use my cordless tools now proabably once a week or more?

I spent all weekend using them. Topic of antoehr thread I suppose?

Thanks guys!

Chas
 

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I am using   Chicago Electric Cordless Dill batteriens from Harbor Freight.  I made a  clip to connect  to the battery from a  plactic clamp. 
I get about  3 hours or more running time depending on the number of cars I am pulling.  
I put them in a  Box car with a Track side Reciever and I also have a  Air  Wire systelm 

The top of the box car is removable and it takes  seconds to  change batteries.
 

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Chas, as a part time job i work construction. anoither co-worker just picked up the ryobi lithium battery drill and aside from it being a bit lighter he and i believe it is scrap. Yes it is lighter but it feels cheap. We use battery drills almost exclusively and we use them alot. I am a fan of the dewalt 14.4 drill. I get good run times on the battery and they charge pretty quick. His i believe 18v lithium drill has less of a run time. In our environment perfect charging isn't always an option sometimes you need to do a 20 min charge, sometimes you get all day. The ni cad technology just seems to work better in this setting.

Now, i'm not knocking anyone who uses them, if they work for you great, but in the commercial field Ryobi doesn't seem to be the best choice. i started with one and it didn't hold up. Most of the contractors around me use Dewalt, millwauke or rigid battery tools. all of whom haven't offered lithium technology yet to my knowledge.

just my $.02 hope that helps
Terry
 

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I use Miwulkee tool batts. And charge them with the 3 bay charger they sell.  I also use the high neck Craftsmen batts, run time I am not sure of but with these I had to modify my battery cars to accomidate the high necks they have...prompting me to go to the Milwalukee batts.;)
With LGB engines I get 3-4 hours of run time. With 2 USA GP-9s' I get 45 min to 1 hr run time, when I run my Aristo mallet its' about the same...maybe a little more...I have 8 batts./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif

When I run my trains I run usually any where from 8-10 hours.:)

I tried the B&Ds' and I only got 1/2 hour...not good enough...BUT these times are what I get....times may differ for anyone with any given batt!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif

Lastly I used to purchase the ONBOARD batts from Plainview....I have found that tool batts are more user friendly with charging and all, so I will never go back to battery packs!   Tool batts are usually cheaper then battery packs.;)

Just my 2 cents./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif

Bubba    
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Terry & Bubba,
I know Ryobi isn't commercial grade. Since I'm not a contractor my Ryobi tools and batteries for the most part have been as reliable as I've needed them to be. I've got a few batteries that don;t hold a charge as well as otehrs but being the older battery & charger technology they are fine for what I need and I've got enough spares that for the tool usage they hold up/out fine. I saw on my last trip to HD that they had some batteries and the new Li-on chargers in stock. At $120 for one battery and charger together I'll likely NOT be investing in those anytime soon. With reports from folks coming in that the batteries are lighter but have less capacity that's another strike against them. I'll stick with what I have for now then.

Chas
 

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Chas,

I am a Ryobi fan and have even used them to build a 12 x 16 building except for the timber skids under it. Replacement Batteries at $29.95 for two is cheap. I have 4 chargers and never seem to have any delays. I too have looked at the new batteries, According to Ryobi the new batteries will work with my older tools. I still havent found out what the price will be for 2 of the Lith ion batts will be, but at $139 for one battery and the charger they probably won't be cheap. I am going to stick with the old technology for awhile, as I don't feel the higher price for the new batteries will be worth the extra cost. I can almost buy 10 older batteries for the price of one new L-ion charger and battery. My two cents worth.
 
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