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Toolmonger reader Ohiohead tipped us off to this possible DeWalt Janet Jackson moment: the photo above is a screen capture of a “battery technology” video off the Dewalt.com site.  Note the battery on the left, identified by silhouette as a “Li ion 18V, 2.4 Ah.”   Could this be a very early shot of their much-anticipated 18V li-ion line?

Of course the real question is why DeWalt hasn’t already released an 18V li-ion option.  The lightness li-ion brings to this mid-sized category makes these the tool of choice among pros, and Milwaukee, Ridgid, Makita, and even Craftsman already mid-sized li-ion lines.

The battery in the photo above doesn’t appear anywhere else on the DeWalt site.  Maybe it’s just a Photoshopped “example,” but we’d bet not.  DeWalt can only “ride the yellow train” for so long before they’ll have to spread li-ion beyond just their 36V monsters.  Though we (sadly) don’t know any more than you do about a release schedule, we’d bet on sooner rather than later.

Note: It’s hard to link the video directly, so try this method to see it for yourself — unless they take it down first.  Visit www.dewalt.com.  Scroll to the bottom and click on the “Battery Technology / Click Here” box in the bottom right corner of the page.  Click the “chemistry comparison” option, then “performance comparison” from the following menu.  Enjoy!


18 Responses to A Sneak Peek Of DeWalt’s 18V Li-Ion?

  1. Koba says:

    The only question I have, is will these new batteries work with old tools and or chargers. Not that if they worked it would change much, I avoid them at all costs because not only are they overpriced, but most are shoddily built. It’s like I tell most who will listen, DeWalt is a decent homeowner tool, but if you make your living from a tool, there are much better tools almost everywhere else.

  2. Aaron Baca says:

    I’m guessing that the reason Li-ion batteries have take so long to catch on is because power tools are a nearly perfect application for Ni-Cd batteries. Nicads are tough as nails, deliver large bursts of power without complaint and are self-regulating during charging. They’re not prone to the energetic combustion of lithium batteries when overheated or ruptured, exposing the lithium anode to atmospheric oxygen.
    As for DeWalt’s quality, I have a lot of their tools, including a few drills, a small vacuum and a radio and none have ever let me down at work. I’m sure there are better lines out there, but I think you run into diminishing returns in a big hurry once you get more expensive than DW.

  3. Stuey says:

    I get what Koba’s saying and I’ve heard other complaints about Dewalt’s quality degradation as well.

    The thing is, I don’t think that they’re marketing towards homeowners or other casual portable drill users. What do I need a smaller and lighter battery for? Pros who carry their drill and spare battery around the jobsite and use it all day will definitely see a difference if even a few ounces are shaved off of each battery. But for the homeowner who uses it for an average of say a half hour a month, they could make the battery a bit heftier and it wouldn’t make a difference.

    The benefit of Lithium Ion batteries is that one can charge it up and then six months later put it to use without delay. I haven’t had many issue with typical NiMH or NiCad batteries, and when I did, the project was big enough to warrant a full recharge while swapping to the 2nd battery.

    Furthermore, for home use, ~1.4Ah batteries are usually adequate. I think that it’s safe to assume that a 2.4Ah LiIon battery will be actually be a bit heavier than the 1.4Ah variety. No, these are definitely going to be aimed at pro tool users.

    For the price of a lithium ion system and what I expect any new Dewalt LiIon combo to cost, the average home user would be better off purchasing a decent corded drill, an extension cord, and a decent cordless.

  4. l_bilyk says:

    I want to know only one thing: will it fit the existing line? I have 11 dewalt tools that use the old 18v battery

  5. modest says:

    this is really interesting. i have many dewalt 18 volt tools and they rarely let me down in professional use. I googled for backwardly compatible DeWalt 18 volt lithium ion batteries and this is what I came across:

    “DeWalt also is extending its lithium-ion lines. The company will introduce a 28-volt LI line by fall that boasts the same Nano battery technology and features as its 36-volt lithium-ion tools. A backwards-compatible 18-volt lithium-ion line is planned for launch after that.”

    Found a similar story in thomasnet. Read and enjoy.

    Press Release
    DeWalt Industrial Tool Co.

    Release date: February 9, 2007

    DeWALT Launches Nano Technology – Proprietary Technology Driving Latest Line Of Cordless Tools

    — Power Tools with Nano(TM) Technology Available in 36V, 28V and 18V – Satisfying Wide Range of User Needs —

    February 2007 – DeWALT, a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools, announced today the launch of Nano(TM) Technology, a proprietary technology that drives the latest line of DeWALT cordless tools. DeWALT will offer three cordless platforms with Nano(TM) Technology, 36V, 28V and 18V. By offering these voltages with Nano(TM) Technology, DeWALT is able to provide its users with an extensive range of power tools that satisfy a wide scope of user demands on the jobsite. Nano(TM) Technology provides users with an optimized power-to-weight ratio, maximum battery durability and cycle life, as well as productivity enhancing features. These benefits encompass the DeWALT commitment to providing professional end users with tools that deliver the performance they need in an ideal ergonomic package.

    This technology is currently part of the DeWALT 36V line of power tools and will also be available in the 28V platform, which will be officially unveiled to the general public at the 2007 International Builder’s Show (IBS) in Orlando, FL. At that time, attendees will have the opportunity to see the tools for the first time and use with them in various applications. The 28V power tool platform with Nano(TM) Technology will be available to end users in the Fall of 2007. DeWALT also has plans to launch an 18V platform with Nano(TM) Technology that will be backwards compatible with DEWALT’s already extensive line of (38) 18V cordless power tools.

    “DeWALT is committed to delivering the most innovative tools designed to meet the needs of professional contractors. We have proven this time and time again with the development of superior product lines. The new tools with Nano(TM) Technology are designed specifically with our users’ needs in mind and will provide them with a high-level of performance, superior battery run-time and durability — all in a lightweight package,” commented Pete Morris, VP of DeWALT Cordless Marketing.”

    DeWALT 28V with Nano(TM) Technology features batteries that are designed with unique Nano-Phosphate lithium-ion cells that provide users with increased battery durability and cycle life, offering 2,000 recharges*. Additionally, Nano(TM) Technology provides 28V with an ergonomic advantage – the drill is the same, or less, weight and size as current 18V drills. Productivity enhancing features such as the drill’s self-tightening chuck, the reciprocating saw’s 4-position blade clamp, and the rotary hammer’s SHOCKS(TM) – Active Vibration Control, help to increase users’ productivity on the jobsite.

    About DeWALT (www.dewalt.com) DeWALT is a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools with more than 300 power tool and equipment products as well as 800 power tool accessories, including corded and cordless drills, saws, hammers, grinders, routers, planers, plate joiners, sanders, lasers, generators, compressors and nailers, as well as saw blades, metal and masonry drill bits, abrasives, screw driving accessories and more. DeWALT tools can be found wherever tools are sold, nationally and internationally. With over 1,000 factory owned and authorized service locations, DeWALT has one of the most extensive repair networks in North America.

    *2,000 Recharges is an average based upon a test of six units


  6. Ben says:

    I know for a fact that the new DeWalt batteries will be backwards compatible with most DeWalt 18v tools…but you will need to buy a new charger.

    We’ve got a sample unit in our offices. It’s slightly smaller (and lighter) than the 18v XRP you’re probably familiar with but it does looks sleeker. I also recall that DeWalt isn’t just referring to these as Lithium-Ion, but they have a cool name for them (which escapes me at the moment).

    My guess is that DeWalt will officially launch these at AWFS this week. I’m going to the show to report on new product introductions, of which many are expected. Check toologics.com for updates later this week.

  7. Congo says:

    The new DeWALT batteries will be able to run ALL of your current 18V tools that you have. You will need to get a new charger (the new batteries will come with the correct charger).

    Look for them to have these batteries available by the end of the year. They are referring to these as “Nano”, not Lithium Ion.

    Early word is that these batteries will have much more run-time AND cycles than their current NiCd batteries. Note, batteries have nothing to do with power, only with runtime and these lighter, smaller batteries have much more runtime. The good news is that you will not be forced to buy the more expensive batteries if you don’t want to.

  8. jim says:

    The Dewalt batteries are going to still be inferior to offerings from Makita or milwaukee since there tools offer the 3 amp hour batteries and there still probably going to use a slower charger, unlike makita with there speed charger.

  9. Glenn says:

    I have a 36v dewalt drill. the batteries are great but the drill quality has dropped from just a few years ago.

  10. Doug says:

    This post is in reference to Jim’s comment. I have studied battery technology quite a bit and to say that the Dewalt batteries will be inferior due to having 2.4 amp hours is off base. The amp hours is only one part of what drives the tools run time. More importantly is the efficiency between the motor, transmition, and battery. This is also why a Dewalt 18 volt tool is more powerful than a Milwaukee 28 volt tool. As far as the charging, the faster you charge the battery the less life cycles it will have. The new tecnnology by Dewalt is far superior when it comes to duribility as Makita’s and Milwaukee’s Li Ion are litterarly off the shelf Li Ion. You will see that Makita’s and Milwaukee’s batteries only last about 400 – 500 cycles. I think this is why Dewalt has waited to come out with their nano line of tools, in order to provide a much longer lasting battery.

  11. bob says:

    I just picked up a brochure today at the Andersons general strore in Columbus Ohio today, sept 18 2007. It is from Dewalt and entitled Feel the Power….Nano.
    The Brochure outlines Dewalts new 18 volt, 24 volt and 36 volt Li IOn batteries and tools. The big news is an 18 volt backwards compatible Li ion battery. It works with the entire 18 volt line. It does lookas though they are designing new tools around it, but the new battery will work with all the previous gerneration of 18 volt tools. Th 18 volt Li ion weighs the same as a 12 volt nicad. same power and run time as 18 volt nicad…..18 volts is 18 volts no matter what battery chemistsry it is. But the Li ion gives 2000 recharges compared to the 800 for Nicad. And the hold a charge better for longer. they dont self discharge if you dont use it for a month or so.

    I looked on the website and cant find anything about ship dates, but if the are putting out little pamphlets, then I but they are ready to go soon.

  12. tom says:

    In response to Doug. Charging the battery faster does not hurt the life cycles. Dewalt was sued by someone is why it took so long for them to continue the Li-Ion. 2.4 AH is not as good as 3Ah or 4AH.
    Dewalt XRP batteries are notorious for their short life. Dewalt makes has always made outrageous claims about their battery life and how much better it is. I have many different tools and batteries and the XRP are inferior.
    How is a Dewalt made for Nicd going to be efficient using a battery Li-Ion it wasn’t designed for? The answer is it won’t.

  13. Tom, there’s really nothing to change about a tool’s design between different battery chemistries. The chargers are dramatically different, and lithium battery packs include some extra circuitry, but the tool is just a motor and a speed controller. If anything, efficiency should improve, due to the low internal resistance of lithium-ion cells. Read up on Peukert’s Number and how it affects battery runtime.

  14. Steve says:

    If Nicd tools could easily work off of Lithim-Ion batteries I believe that Dewalt would have come out with them sooner. There had to be obstacles for making the Lithium battery work in their Nicd tools or they could have simply made the connections the same. There is obviously some reason that this has not happened sooner. In theory it seems that a Lithium battery could easily plug into an old drill but there has to be some disadvantage to the system.

  15. The tools have always been ready for new batteries, it’s the batteries that weren’t ready for tools. The cobalt-based electrode that’s been used in most lithium-ion batteries for the last decade and a half is inherently thermally unstable, which is why we’ve seen so many laptop fires and explosions. They don’t like being overcharged, they don’t like being discharged too fast, and they don’t like to get hot. Pissing off a lithium-cobalt battery generally results in “venting with flame”, which is the industry term for going kaboom.

    More recently, safer chemistries have come on the scene, three in particular. There’s the Altairnano titanate system, the A123 nanophosphate system and the Valence lithium iron phosphate system. All of these offer vastly improved thermal stability, with the tradeoff of slightly reduced capacity compared to their cobalt cousins. The tradeoff is worth it though, because they still offer a better power to weight ratio than NiCd or Ni-MH, and they keep the low self-discharge rate that’s characteristic of lithium.

    Commercialization of the new lithium chemistries has taken a long time, and I suspect that lawyer wrestling has been at least as big an issue as laboratory work. I’d say that the different rollout schedules from different manufacturers are a balance of battery and charger design, patent licensing and negotiation, and market positioning. Keep in mind that several of the tool makers share a common parent company, so a lag between releases may simply stem from a desire for the handyman brand not to steal the professional brand’s thunder, or some other nontechnical reason.

  16. Aaron Yacavone says:

    Has anyone heard about the fit of the new Nano batteries in the existing tools? I read a review that the nano batteries are smaller and the existing tools have some overhang on the front and back of the base when the new batteries are installed.

  17. blake says:

    I think that it took Dewalt so long to come out with their new “Nano” phospate li ion ibecause they wanted their new battery to be stronger, lighter, more effecient, effective, just all around better than the competitors. I have been building for many years and owned every brand of every “field tool” cordless or corded.
    My break down goes like this… For corded screw guns/drills no contest DEwalt all the wayWhen have you ever seen a drywall guy without one. Sawzall milwakee and bosch are great but Dewalt upped them with the 4 position blade very handy. Circular saw Rigid stepped up and porter cable is very comfortable But Dewalt takes a beating, cuts more true and is lighter plus that blade stop is very useful and safer.As far as cordless goes (which is what we are really talking here anyway) , for the cost you cant beat the durability of dewalt. I swear by the 18v drill that I have dropped several times, from different heights and on different surfaces. I have broke every one of their competitors brands and have never been impressed by them. Bosch makes good cordless tools but generally are to pricey.
    Dewalt has the market cornered in variety of cordlesstools , from lasers and nailers to saws and drills.
    I recently ran an honest side by side. Trex decking, pressure treated joists, fastenmaster composite decking screws. The subjects were a brand new makita lion 18v drill/driver top of the line just broken in. dewalt xrp 2yrs old beat to hell and charged several hundred times and a rigid 18v 1 year old and relitively well treated. The speed, and weight of the new makita was impressive and the battery life and charge time out performed the others. The Dewalt stood true more power torque and while a bit heavier, better balanced. The rigid held its own to good power, grip, balance, and speed. battery life did well too. The scoop Makita 280 screws 3 charges and 1.5 total hours of charge time and one additional hour of down time it got pretty hot and I didnt want to burn out my brand new screw gun. Dewalt 250 screws 3 charges 2.5 hours of charge time. I was not affraid of the Dewalt getting hot although it did not get as hot as the makita. The winner here was the Rigid 320 screws 4 charges and 1.5 hrs of charge time. Got pretty hot but didnt have to put it down. Bottom line for me i cant wait to put a brand new Nano Battery into my old beat up drill and get 2000, yup, 2000 charges out of the battery. I hope I get a third of that out of that new makita.

    Dewalt has released some new information on their website for the new Nano batteries. 18v now available for purchase and they say it will work with all the old tools but not the old chargers. But ,hey, just do what I do get a deal and buy a combo kit if you work as hard as I do, or you work your tools as hard as I do you could use a new cordless……,screwgun, impact driver, sawzall,angle grinder, trim nailer, circular saw, flashlight, rotary cut tool, right angle drill, sds hammerdrill, jigsaw, ect. ,ect. ,ect. , anyways.

  18. John says:

    The cycles a battery can take are usually until it drops to 80% capacity. So a lithium that states 500 charges means it will still be working at 1000, just not lasting as long

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