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Battery-Powered-Tools, How to Get the Most From Them

Every year, more and more tools are developed that operate on batteries, freeing woodworkers from the constraints and annoyances of extension cords. Understanding how to get the most from your cordless tools, and how to select future purchases can help us get better performance from our tools while extending their life.

Battery Powered Tools, Tools, Woodwork, Woodworking

I remember a few years ago one of the sales people at my local hardware store told me they were expecting the arrival of new battery powered circular saw, I think it was a Makita. On hearing the phrase “battery powered circular saw”, I laughed out loud and told him to call me when the battery powered table saws arrive. Within a couple of years I had purchased one of those battery powered circular saws that I so willingly scoffed at just a couple of years earlier. I soon discovered that having portable tools had huge benefits. That’s why companies like Porter-Cable, Makita, Delta and others have focused on these areas.

These days battery powered tools are available is drills, drivers, impact drivers, routers, jig saws, portable planers, circular saws, reciprocating saws and chop saws, and even Ryobi has battery powered chain saw that works well for big jobs that other tools can’t handle. So to see how to get the most from these tools.

Lets stop for a moment and look at batteries that power these units. Most power packs that drive these tools are a series of small rechargeable batteries all wired together to give the optimum power. These rechargeable batteries are very similar to the flashlight batteries that you buy for your TV clicker and garage door opener and various other home products.

The difference between rechargeable batteries like Duracel and Eveready, are that the rechargeables have higher quality shells and consist of slightly different components to make them safe to recharge. The rechargeable batteries that are wired together are normally nickle cadmium (nicad) 1.2 volt batteries. When they are wired together in series ... 8 together equals 9.6 volt, 10 together equals 12.2 volt, 12 together equals 14.4 and so on. That is how more power is generated, more little batteries, more power, and of course, more weight.

The more batteries that are wired together, the greater the torque (or twisting power) of the tool. Torque is created by a combination of horse power and speed, and high speed does not necessarily mean high power. Conversely high power does not necessarily come with high speed..

You will find another type of battery on the market called a “nickle-metal-hydride” (Ni-MH). These batteries use compounds that give the batteries a slightly longer life (they also cost a bit more to purchase). Some contractors prefer tools that will give them longer battery life which is the reason for this more advanced rechargeable battery version.

As woodworkers, we all know one thing, HEAT is our greatest enemy. When saw blades get too hot they lose their tensility and become dull, screws that are driven into hardwoods can snap because of the high heat created by friction, and heat can burn out the electric motors of our machinery if we are not careful. Heat is also the enemy of batteries. All batteries heat up when they are being recharged. The larger battery packs such as 18 volts and larger tend to heat up even more because there are so many batteries in the packs and they don’t have heat dispersion characteristics as smaller packs because there are so many batteries next to one another. Batteries tend not to take a charge when they are hot, so keeping the ambient temperature normal to cool is a benefit.

On the flip side, batteries do not do well in cold either. Once the temperature drops below 14 degrees Fahrenheit ( minus 10 Celsius) batteries do not perform well (if at all). Most batteries will lose their power when the temperature gets this low.

The recharging of batteries is a bit of a mystery to a many people. The tendency is to keep batteries fully charged all the time. In truth, batteries need to be exercised in order to keep them in top shape. This means they should be fully discharged every few months, then fully re-charged. “Topping” up battery charges will make the batteries lose their effectiveness, and after a time they will only take a partial charge because that is what they have become accustomed to. This means they will lose their ability to use the full charge. If your older cordless device is doing this, sometimes you can rejuvenate the battery by charging and FULLY discharging it several time.

My old 9.6 Craftsman portable drill, which is now 10 years old has been one of the best tools I have ever owned. I have no idea how many screws it has driven, holes it has bored or blades it has ground, but it’s batteries have almost given up now. I checked on the price of new batteries and it will be more cost effective for me to upgrade to a whole new unit ... but I have no intention of getting a big hulking unit, with tons of power, I don’t need it and I refuse to pack around all that battery weight, so I am currently investigating some 12 volt units and looking forward to another 10 years of service from my new drill, and when I need more power, I always have my trusty plug-in drill, and the hassle of extension cords that goes with it.


How to choose a right PDA

There are a few questions before buying a new PDA. You should consider them carefully and choose a right product as there are too many products in the market.

PDA accessory, Battery,

There are a few questions before buying a new PDA. You should consider them carefully and choose a right product as there are too many products in the market.

Question 1
How much you are willing to spend will also be an important question. The more you spend, the more that your PDA will act like a laptop. That is not to say that if you spend little, that you cannot get much. The $99 PalmOne Zire 22 is capable as a replacement to the paper planner, as well as has the ability to play MP3s and carry large reference materials via the SD (secure digital) memory card slot.

As a general rule, spending $100 will get you a basic PDA; up to $200 can get you a PDA with a camera, MP3 player, or included document editing abilities; up to $350 will net you a midrange PDA that can have wireless connectivity (wifi or Bluetooth) along with cameras, MP3 players, and full document editing; over $400 will get you enhanced screens (higher resolutions than lower models), dual wireless capabilities on some models, more included software, and much more memory (up to 128MB internally on some models) than lower priced models.

Question 2
What to do with the PDA?
When looking to purchase a PDA, you will want to figure out what you want to do with the PDA. Most people look at PDAs first because they help you to organize your calendar, tasks, and phone numbers. All PDAs do this well, and so other tasks should be looked at such as: carrying large references, mobile email and Internet, gaming, music play, or one that does all those things well. Once you have figured out what you will do with it, you should analyze your budget.

Question 3
Need it as a mobile phone?
Some people do not like the idea of carrying around a PDA and a mobile phone. They may like the functionality of a PDA, just in the form of a phone; or, the functionality of a phone in the form of a PDA. If you need to access the internet and would find getting email on the go as making things easier, then a smartphone or wireless PDA would work best for you. Many mobile phone companies offer smartphones with a discount if you get a contract with it.

Question 4
need a keyboard built in?
When purchasing a PDA, deciding how one wants to input data is very important. Though all PDAs have some form of handwriting recognition and a virtual keyboard, if you plan on sending a lot of email or editing documents, then you may want to look at the PalmOne Tungsten C, Treo 600, etc..(included accessory).

All PDAs can also accept input from keyboard attachments.

Question 5
battery life?
Acceptable battery life is anything in over four hours of continuous usage. That will translate to 3-5 days of intermittent usage. Many PDA models will do this and better.

There are different factors that go into getting the most out of your battery, such as: the screen resolution (the higher the resolution, the more power that is needed to keep the screen on); how bright you keep the screen; are you using the multimedia functions (they drain the battery faster); are you using wireless technologies (bluetooth uses battery power at a lower rate than wifi, though both drain the battery more than not using them). How you will be using the PDA you choose will determine how much of the battery that you will be using. Some Windows Mobile PDAs use removable batteries. You could use one battery while charging the other.

Question 6
Does your business support using a PDA with a camera?
These days, data security is very important within many organizations. If you are looking to purchase a PDA to use within a work setting, make sure that your organization authorizes its use, especially if the PDA you want has a camera. Many government agencies, and some health clubs, do not allow you to carry devices with cameras on them. Make sure that you do clear it with the IT and senior personnel of your organization.

Hoping these few questions can help you choosing a right PDA


How To Install Professional Looking Porch Railings

Designing A Professional Porch Railings

If you plan to install a professional looking porch railings for the first time you want to ensure you do it right the first time. This requires among other things proper design and proper planning.Properly designed railings require multiple parts including finials, balusters, posts and rails for the top and bottom of the structure.You can find most of this equipment at a lumberyard, online or at your local home improvement supply st...

porch railings, railings, railing design, porch ideas, porch idea, porch railing ideas,

Designing A Professional Porch Railings

If you plan to install a professional looking porch railings for the first time you want to ensure you do it right the first time. This requires among other things proper design and proper planning.Properly designed railings require multiple parts including finials, balusters, posts and rails for the top and bottom of the structure.You can find most of this equipment at a lumberyard, online or at your local home improvement supply store.Many prefer to find supplies and equipment online. Proper planning merely requires that you measure out your porch space ahead of time and ensure you have a supply of equipment ready to go for installation.

Key Features Of Professional Looking Porch Railings

Professional looking porch railings share many features in common.Most professionally designed railings include decorative details to give the home a classic or cozy looking exterior.Woodwork comes in a variety of designs lending to a more finished and professional looking railing.

Other important components of a professionally designed porch railing include proper installation.To install your trim properly you will need finishing nails, a drill, wood files, possibly a saw and if you plan to paint, the appropriate exterior paint and color.You should be sure you measure the space you have available for your railing exactly before installing.This will help minimize error.

Installation Tips

Most porch railings are easily installed within two to four hours depending on the size and length of the railings.Here are some tips you can adopt to make installation go quickly and efficiently:

* Always wear safety goggles when installing rails to avoid injury when sawing or cutting.

* Take your time measuring the space you have available including the space you have between nailing points and the total surface area available on your porch. You should also measure the opening you have available where you plan to install posts.

* Cut filler strips you have to the exact length you’ll need.Cut from the top and not the bottom.

* Mark the balusters positions on strips after you cut them.

Don’t forget you can get most railings custom made to accommodate any size or style of home you have.Handcrafted railings often look professional on Victorian style homes, while traditional wooden posts and railings look better on modern or contemporary style homes. Don’t forget to weatherproof wooden structures to keep porch railings looking great year in and year out!


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