Introduction: Tired of Dead Batteries in Your Cordless Tools? Me Too! So Let's Hack Away!!
Second Prize in the
Fix It Contest
ok this is my 1st instructable so please be kind.
Are you like me when it comes to cordless tools? I get so frustrated with half finished projects and hours of wait time while those "convenient" cordless tools charge. so, i wanted to add wall power to them but, the key for me was to achieve this and not make a permanent mod to the tool itself,. now the real question is.. HOW result do i get that result? surprisingly it's really simple, minimal soldering required and again not a permanent modification to the tool. the best part is that i can change from tool to tool for flexibility, i can still use battery packs when an outlet isn't available and it cost me no money. OH and it only took about 30 minutes. OK let's get hacking!!
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
1) cordless tool(s). I had a 24v firestorm drill/ jig saw/ reciprocating saw combo i had rescued from someones curbside trash (YaY free!!)
2) suitable voltage converter w/ power cord (IE laptop charger or such), works best if it also is small enough to fit inside the old battery pack (this one was in with a bunch of electronics i rescued from a dumpster (YaY free again!! sensing a theme yet?) You could build your own if you have that skill, or a wall wart will work fine too, i didn't have a wall wart capable of the 24v needed for these tools.
3) 22-24 AWG wire
4) soldering iron w/solder
5) shrink tubes, sandpaper or small files, pliers, screwdrivers, a dremel is very handy, hot glue gun and glue (or if you're like me and don't have one...improvise)
6) and MOST IMPORTANT....a little common sense
Step 2: Dismantle Battery Pack
simple, easy and we should all have the basic idea how and what to do here...if not, STOP now!! check the photos for a couple tips though,
Step 3: Dispose Of/ Recycle Old Battery Cells
i felt this was imptortant enough to be addressed as an actual step. NiCD batteries must be disposed of properly, preferably taken to the recycle plant. black & decker were kind enough to provide a 1-800 number for this purpose.
Step 4: Prepping for Assembly
i really like the work to go smooth so i prefer to lay out everything orderly, strip wire ends, prep surfaces for solder, etc. this is also the perfect opportunity to determine how to fit the converter into the original battery pack box (this is why i opened up the battery 1st then did lay out), how much wire will be needed and placement of the through hole for power cord. i find it also helps in ensuring i have all the tools/ supplies i need. more than once i've laid out everything only to find i was missing that one crucial tool to complete the task at hand better now than halfway through the project.
Step 5: Connecting Everything
1st you should already identified + and - inputs on battery pack and outputs on converter.
I choose to solder the leads from the battery pack 1st, whether thats the best approach or not is a matter of opinion i think. though i will say that it's best to remove (one at a time) the metal connection points from the pack before soldering as that will keep you from melting the plastic housing and mounting spots rending that pack case unusable as the contact points will not line up correctly.
next up is soldering the + and - wires to the converter. mine worked out perfect as it was surface mounted rather than trying to solder wires together or fit into some tight space on the board.
Step 6: Pack It in and Close It Up
place the converter into the bottom of the battery packs case, line up the plug with the hole cut during layout. add spacers as needed to secure the converter in place. close it up, ensuring to put the spring and latch in place or it won't lock into the tool properly.
Step 7: And We Are Done! Time to Enjoy
last thing to do is test it out. so, plug in the pack to the tool then plug into an outlet and voila! we have a working tool again...no more dead batteries either. now i have a circular saw, jig saw, sawzall, and drill all capable of both battery and wall outlet power, one mod, 4 tools....
final note; while it is possible and maybe even perfectly safe, i still do NOT recommend plugging into wall outlet before connecting the battery pack case to the drill, saw, or whatever tool chosen. 2 seconds of safety VS possible electric shock or death...your choice! either way i am not liable or responsible for any damage, injury, death, fried electronics, or burned down houses. you undertake this instructible at your own risk and peril
hope everybody enjoys this 'ible. thoughts and questions are welcome.
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