Making an adapter to run Black &
Decker “Firestorm” NiCad Slide Battery tools
with Ryobi Li-Ion battery.
Rationale: Black & Decker once had a reputation for reliable, useful tools. With the
presentation of the “Firestorm” line of cordless, 18volt NiCad battery powered tools,
they had a new means to renew that reputation. Altho the tools were well designed
and worked well, the batteries proved to be of low quality. The NiCad batteries did not last as long
as they were touted to last, did not keep their charge even over night. B&D dropped
the line, often did not honor battery warranties and refused to switch to the newly developed
Lithium Ion technology, leaving that to other companies. Enter Ryobi.
Ryobi developed NiCad battery powered tools, and then developed Lithium Ion batteries to keep their tools operating. Their line of One Plus tools and Li Ion batteries has earned a loyal following .
But where does that leave me and my collection of B&D tools, all still in good condition, but without a power source?
Can the B&D tool be operated by a Ryobi battery of similar voltage? Yes it can….
You will need:
A B&D “dead” 18V NiCad battery pack #244760, or
HPB18-OPE or similar size
A Ryobi Battery Flashlight P704 (this is the cheapest way to
obtain the Li-Ion battery connector “dock”. About $12-$13)
A good Ryobi 18V battery “One Plus”
TORX driver (the smallest one. It fits both B&D and
Needle nose pliers.
Solder gun & silver solder
Drill (use your new Ryobi?) & 3/8” bit
Wood rasp or drill rasp
Friction/tar tape, electrical tape
“GOOP” or similar adhesive caulking.
Box/tub to hold parts
Note that the B&D battery pack and the Ryobi battery and
flashlight body are of similar size!
This will work!
First, note the Ryobi battery has the POSITIVE and NEGATIVE
connectors marked on the battery top. Ignore the other connector plates, they are for charging and temperature sensing and will not affect the operation in the tool. Keep in mind you must wire up the adapter
to accommodate these plus and negative qualities. THEREFORE, use the VOM to determine (if possible) the polarity
of the B&D battery tabs. On every
B&D I have seen, if you hold the battery so the tabs are pointing AWAY from
you, (with the securing clip TOWARD you) , the positive tab will be the RIGHT
side . MARK IT for future reminding!
Use TORX to unscrew (six) the B&D battery pack. CAREFULLY pry apart
the top from the bottom, and note how the connector tabs are inserted in the
top. They will fallout as you separate
the two pieces. They are wired to the NiCad
battery cell/canisters, which are all connected in series. DO NOT use heat to separate the connector
wire from the canisters, this can lead to leakage or worse…. Use your paring/pocket knife to cut/scrape/separate
the wire and connector plate from the
canisters. The positive tab will have a ( white?)
wire (keep it long) and the negative will have a metal plate kind of
thing. Recycle the NiCad canisters as
is environmentally responsibly correct.
Set the box and connector and screws aside. Don’t lose the spring and
clip! Throw away all the inside packing cardboard, plastic, etc.
Look at the Ryobi flashlight. Slide the battery in, and note
which side is the POSITIVE side of the connector (positive battery label,
positive connector clip). Note the light will separate in half by unscrewing
the SIX TORX screws. Do this, then see
you have to peel off the label to separate the halves! DO it. Stick the label
on something else just for the hell of it. The reflector part is nice, save it for
another project. The RED wire from the
connector to the switch , unsolder it at the switch, leaving the switch
connected to the reflector. Cut the other (black?) wire , leaving a long piece
to work with on the battery connector.
Note how the connector fits into the body of the light (the "dock"), keeping in mind
which way the Positive side lay. Red
wire should be positive, yes? Black
(blue?) should be negative. Mark the
body for reference.
Compare the size of the light’s body to the B&D battery
box. Notice you gotta cut away some
material to make it fit, but not so much as to damage the Ryobi battery
“dock”. Look at the pictures. Cut away some here, some there, gradually.
You can’t put it back! I considered trying to use a power sander, but some
experimentation showed this did not really cut so much as melt the plastic and
made things more difficult. Use the hack saw, cut off the handle close to the
dock, cut off the sides, making the dock skinnier. Cut off the top part, but not so as to
eliminate the place for the wires. Look at pictures. It has to fit top to
bottom and side to side. The back to front is not so important, it turns out.
Take the B&D box bottom and note that you will not be
able to put the whole light body into it, it will of necessity have to hang out
the bottom, so about one inch from the FRONT of the B&D bottom (away from
the clip/back), drill a hole on each side, and drill cut out holes along the
sides of the future hole thru which the Ryobi battery dock will be
attached. GRADUALLY enlarge this hole
with your rasp. Note the top mounting
screws will not be affected by your work on the bottom of the box.
Try fit all along the way, gradually fit the dock part into
the B&D part. When you are about
right, consider the wiring: (of course, trim away an appropriate amount of wire
insulation before connecting/soldering).
I chose to cut away most of the B&D negative metal plate, and
soldered the black Ryobi wire there to the B&D tab. Be careful to allow for
“fittage”, which way will it curl into the box when it is all together? The
B&D tabs must still fit back into their proper slots and hole in the box. I noticed that the top of the Ryobi dock
pushed the B&D tabs exactly back into the hole they needed to be in. Voila!
Solder the white Ryobi wire to the positive B&D tab wire. Cover connections with electrical tape,
watch how it curls into position in the box. Replace the TORX holding the "dock" sides together.
Try fit everything. Adjust, carve off some more? Reinstall the B&D box’s holding clip and its spring .
When you are pleased with how everything fits, TORX screw
the B&D top on the bottom. Did you
remember the clip and spring? Separate slightly the green Ryobi dock from the
B&D box and seal around the gap with the GOOP or Silicone sealer. Mush it
together, and hold with rubber bands so it will dry straight and neat.
Try the Ryobi Battery in the dock, test the B&D tabs
with the VOM. Do the tabs still register correctly? Right side is
positive? 18Volts? If you really have to, the top will unscrew
for correction! You are ready to go to
IMPORTANT:DO NOT attempt to charge the Ryobi battery thru the adapter on a B&D charger. The B&D chargers are ONLY for NiCad batteries, and have also been blamed for overcharging the B&D batteries, thereby ruining them. ONLY charge the Ryobi battery on a Ryobi Dual Chem charger, THEN use in the adapter to run your B&D tool.
Your B&D tool will now run off the better quality Ryobi Li
Ion battery system.