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Rebuilding 18V Ryobi NiCd as LiION

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by Trevor_S, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Trevor_S

    Trevor_S Member

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    I have 1 LiION and 2 NiCd batteries, needless to say, the Ni Cds are seriously lacking in grunt.

    Can I buy some LION batteries from say Delextreme (or a better source ?) and swap them over ? I assume I will need to solder to the tabs etc ? Is there any sort of standard with these sorts of batteries ?
     
  2. bonox

    bonox Member

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    Yes - but you still need the appropriate charger for the new cells.

    Also be aware that the original NiCds can (could) deliver more current than the new ones and you may find yourself with the drill shutting down if you drive big screws with it (battery protection circuitry opens). Replacing a battery with individual unprotected LIo cells might land you in trouble.

    The 18volters are relatively new - are the batteries just worn out or are you expecting too much from them? Because a LIo replacement will work for one of those conditions but not the other.
     
  3. ke70

    ke70 Member

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    I bought some replacement nicads and rebuilt one of my cordless drill batteries that wasn't holding charge. It was a little better but still pretty crap.

    Then I got a li-ion cordless drill and I now don't have to charge the battery every time I use it and it has plenty of grunt.

    Save the money you will spend on batteries and a charger and put it towards a new drill.
     
  4. Caffeine

    Caffeine Member

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    Is it the ryobi ONE+ system? The charger is mutichemistry and can charge both NiCd and LiIon battery packs.

    Having said that, I don't know if there's internal circuitry in the battery packs to make this work.

    I'd just buy the new one+ LiIon packs by themselves.
     
  5. Pugs

    Pugs Member

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    + 1 to both these ideas..
     
  6. mtma

    mtma Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, the ONE+ and most lithium rechargeable cordless drills on the market actually use LiFe cells, which means that you cannot rebuild the pack with the Li-ion cells and expect the charger to correctly charge the battery because the battery chemistry (and voltages) are different.

    I have actually done the Li-ion conversion to one of my older drills though. The improvements are vast but there are many nuances to doing it properly. Like others have said I would recommend that you just buy the batteries/new kit.
     
  7. stumo

    stumo Member

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    I too was thinking about converting my 3 one+ Ni-cd's to li-ion, they have seen better days. But right now there are literally tonnes of genuine used li-ion one+ batteries coming out of eBay china. They are around $50 each landed for the big packs. I'd do that, rather than ponce about with an unprotected li-ion setup.
     
  8. stumo

    stumo Member

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    I got a few of these "Chinese specials" that just arrived now. $37 each landed for a batch of 3 of the "big" li-ion Ryobi packs. Its cheaper if you buy even more in a batch BUT...

    One of them doesn't charge. So I opened one up (being a bit suspicious about just how many of these Ryobi lithium packs are flooding out of China right now) and what I found was not pretty, not pretty at all.

    The cells have been replaced with non-factory cells. The Sony US18650V 18650 cells that are now in there are good quality 1500mAh cells, pretty much the best you can get, but they look like they've been through absolute hell. Rust/corosion, bulging, physical wall damage, the works. To top it off they look like they've been removed and re-welded by a 5yo.

    The pack outer plastic casings have been through hell too, and the date codes are weird. I have one 2007, one 2009 and one with no date code at all (I mean it just isn't there, like it was never there ie an original factory reject). But all packs have seen some serious power tool action regardless of date.

    What I'm picking is that these packs came with the good original batteries. Then they were removed (either after they had been used up, or because the new cells were needed for something else), then they have slapped in some nasty old used-up cells from the rubbish dump. Then they caned the nuts off the packs for their own uses, probably for building factories etc. Then they turn up here.

    I'm glad I didn't buy a bigger batch of these things to on-sell.

    The cells in my three (assuming I can get teh dead one working) will be being replaced with cheap 5S1P li-po cell packs as soon as I can find a pack that fits.

    Just be aware that these are "cheap" for a reason. They aren't even cheap really, they often go for $60 on eBay. I got mine from aliexpress.

    EDIT: Sorry for the essay guys but I just opened the dead pack and ZOMG!!!!!
    One of the cells is so badly rusted, and you can see where they have used a grinder to try to get through to what little bare metal is left, and the spot welds have come away. Thats why it wasn't charging. This pack is a mix of INR18650-13Q 1300mAh cells and the aforementioned sonys, neither of which are factory, all of which look like they've been pulled from the skip. I'm scared to open the last pack now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  9. mtma

    mtma Member

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    Wow, that's pretty crazy! Could you post some photos of the carnage for us to look at?
     
  10. TERRA Operative

    TERRA Operative Member

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    Li-Po really isn't something you want to be stuffing with, especially without protection circuitry or with mismatched cells.

    Things tend to get really hot, really quick.......
     
  11. kombiman

    kombiman Dis-Member

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    They are bad repacks of trade-in or warranty returns.

     
  12. stumo

    stumo Member

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    The beauty of this is, that the Ryobi pack has all the protection built in to the pack. There is a circuit board and each cell is fully monitored. High/low temperature, high voltage cut, low voltage cut, for both charging and discharging. There are 2 big FETs and a heatsink to allow/cut the main output.

    So I can just wire up a 5S1P Li-po cell pack, using the main power plus the balance connections and it should own every other pack out there and still work exactly the same as the original cells, only far better!

    Photos...

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4PuQb_9KRctpG7pDQJuQLN_JR8chZ0VYR4p4I1RKVT0?feat=directlink

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/RcvCkObtCjvF6QZtlN647t_JR8chZ0VYR4p4I1RKVT0?feat=directlink

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/SvM1PWfjwNTrXFOmB7SHO9_JR8chZ0VYR4p4I1RKVT0?feat=directlink
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  13. draught4me

    draught4me Member

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    I just bought a couple of these 'cheap' batteries from ebay, and found this thread after I realised that one of them didn't charge. I haven't taken it apart yet, but I did contact the seller, and she has been great. I took a video of the problem, and they are sending me a replacement :)
    I can ser from the above that they are not the best quality (in many ways) - but I reckon they will do the job I need them for.
    So, I will wait until I get my third battery, then I might take the dud one apart and see if it can be fixed :)

    Cheers.
     
  14. stumo

    stumo Member

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    Well I'm glad to see I'm not alone ^^ lol.

    To update my story, I got a full refund on that broken pack. And I fixed it by soldering the rusty connection back on as best I could. And actually, these dodgy packs do provide a fair bit of grunt...

    I also have a couple of the smaller 1.4Ah packs brand new from bunnings, and I tested them back to back with these China big 2.4Ah packs on my "Tough Sucker" - yes, that is what ryobi called it lol - its basically a dust buster hand vaccuum. Its actually one of the most power draining "tools" available in the ONE+ range.

    Anyway, the 1.4Ah packs ran the tough sucker for 14 minutes each.
    One of my China specials ran it for 33 minutes.
    The other two China specials ran it for 24 minutes each.

    So it looks like these are actually quite good for $37 each, they probably just won't last that long compared to a properly refurbished one. Once they die I will go the LiPo route.

    This link is a great site for all things ONE+ battery hacking related.
     
  15. roscored1000

    roscored1000 New Member

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    repaired?

    hi i actually just bought 2 of these p104 batteries from ebay and one is showing a charge but is defective when put on the charger. Did you finally rebuild the pack yourself, if so what success did you have? I am wondering if it is just a case of buying some cells and taking the old and putting the new in, is soldering involve or anything tricky? thanks in advance.
     
  16. stumo

    stumo Member

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    It sounds exactly like that dead one of mine. Showed a charge, but wouldn't accept a new charge.


    In my case it was one of the cells that the weld had not taken, due to the rusty scrap batteries that are in these packs. You can try to solder it back on as best you can, you have nothing to loose. Just try to get some actual metal showing on the cell, and use heaps of solder and get it good and hot.

    Mine seems to be holding up quite well, and is actually the grunter of the 3 I got, easily lasting exactly twice as long as my new genuine 1.4Ah packs. I haven't felt the need to do the li-po rebuild yet, but it is still on the cards as soon as one dies.

    In all honesty, you are better off ditching NiCD. I got the ryobi drill kit that came with the li-ion charger and 2 of the small 1.4Ah cells (which are great for wielding the smaller hand tools) and are easily more powerful and useful that the ni-cds. It was $199 from bunnings, and you could probably easily get 50 bux for the new carry bag and drill if you on-sold them and kept just the packs and charger. I can't believe I held on to the ni-cds for so long, it really is a night and day difference. Otherwise if there is a new tool you may need, it is often a good 50 bux cheaper to just buy the tool in a kit with one li-ion pack and charger if available.

    But if you wanted to be really cheap you could try to revive your ni-cd with the reverse high-current blast. It really works. But you are still left with all the things that are crap about the ni-cds. My biggest issue was that they self discharge so damn quickly, that you actually had to plan a day in advance when you wanted to use any of your one+ tools! With the Li-ions they are always G2G whenever you are, and you can leave on on a charger permanently if you really want, unlike the nicds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  17. kombiman

    kombiman Dis-Member

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    I changed from a hitachi 18v nicd to a Makita Li earlier this year. I give drills a flogging, use them 2-3 times a week and use them for everything from pre drilling into 50+ yr seasoned hardwood, driving tek screws to mixing mortar (see my pizza oven thread), grout (noban) and render. The Li is incredible!
     
  18. t3h

    t3h Member

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    Personally I'd rebuild it as LiPo instead of LiIon as there's plenty of high capacity insane power delivery cells for RC aircraft available from places like HobbyKing. LiPo is much better at high power delivery than LiIon - you can get lipo packs that can provide hundreds of amps (only for a few minutes :p). A 5S (5 series cells) lipo will provide you with 18v.

    I'd actually go one further and mod the drill to have a XT60, EC3 or EC5 hanging out the bottom to plug the battery into.

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__9954__ZIPPY_Flightmax_3000mAh_5S1P_40C_.html
    This is a 5 cell 3000mah pack for $35.75. 137x45x33mm, 40C constant discharge (40C * 3Ah = 120A max current), 442g weight. Charges at 5C, so with a beefy enough charger (300 watts), it can be recharged in ~15 minutes.

    Just be careful not to drop it, puncture it or short it - it can and will provide a lot more than that 120A if demanded...
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  19. Damoo

    Damoo Member

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    I've got 4 DeWALT 2.4AH 18V NiCd batteries (the XRP ones), one of them doesn't hold charge for very long, I have the multi-chemistry charger also which has that tune-up charge if you leave it on over night, it slow charges all the cells, if I wanted to rebuild one, but keep NiCD batteries, is that possible rather than paying $100 or so for another two in a pack?

    Or could I mod my drill to use the above packs?

    Thanks much.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UQ-5QP9pks

    Those batteries are the exact same ones I have
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  20. stumo

    stumo Member

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    Ok so I've finally got round to rebuilding one of my China special Ryobi P104 packs with Li-Po cells. OMFG this thing kicks arse now.

    I used 10 of these bare cells, Turnigy 2200mAh 20C (40C burst) each, in a 5S2P arrangement for a total of 4400mAh of 40C (80C burst) grunt. They totally filled the empty space left by the 10 18650 Li-ions and padding. You wouldn't be able to go any bigger without serious modifications to the internals of the pack, even then you can't go much bigger.

    I have tested it back to back against my newish retail P104 2.4Ah pack from Bunnings in my garden blower, just running it continuously until the packs do the self-cutout.

    • My newish retail P104 2.4Ah pack runs it for 11:42. The speed of the blower noticeably drops off after about 4 minutes use.
    • My new LiPo 4.4Ah pack runs it for 19:53 and it canes the nuts off the blower the whole time until about 30s from the end.

    By my rough calculations, those times confirm the Ah ratings on both packs. What they don't tell you is how much harder the lipo keeps the tool running, and how much cooler the lipo is at the end of the run.

    Well worth doing for the $50 shipped it cost me if you have the skills.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

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