Cheap cordess drill, new batteries or expensive cordless?

18 Aug 2008
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West Midlands
United Kingdom
I'm currently using a Argos (challenge) 18v drill - 2 batteries, 2 speed, hammer, 1.5Ah NICad batteries.

The batteries have given out after 2 years - just not lasting as long as they should. I would guess I recharge/use them about twice a week each on average.

That's only about 200 re-charges each not that good for Nicad's but 2 years for the battery life does not seem too bad.

I could re-wire the battery packs to take AA NiMH's and the current charger should work OK - this would be fairly easy and for £10/pack I could have 2.6AH NiMh's...Only problem would be I think NiMH's self - discharge (maybe why Matika etc don't use them) so if I charged them up one week after 1 week or 2 they would be no use and both packs woud be flat so would have to wait 1 hour for 1.3Ah's worth of charge...
A trickle charge would be the answer but is a bit of a pain... (I don't have one and getting a 18v one may be difficult)

Option B is buy another argos special for £40 with 2x 1.5ah nicad's and get another 2 years out of it.

Option C is buy a Dewalt or similar. Screwfix have a deal for a drill plus 2x18V 1.3Ah batteries for £100 so that's basically the same spec as my drill only a better make - would a dewalt run for longer on the same capacity batteries or would the batteries last longer (years)? Maybe the charger is better (more intelligent) to look after the batteries as well?

Your thoughts - PS while the argos is cheap It has done the job well for 2 years and also I've noticed looks suspiciously like the Erauber that screwfix sells for about £80 through maybe (maybe not?) the internals of the erauber are better?

Your thoughts...
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i doubt the charger would cope with neary double the load for twice as long for many charges if at all it may be limmited and cut out at around 1.7 ah who knows
you normaly need a specific charger for nmh when manufacturers introduce nmh they bring out a new charger to accomodate them and often nicads if compatable

the dewalt looks an excelent deal even if the batteries are low on fuel
I'm thinking that dewalt is not worth £200 probably closer to the £100 it's on *sale* for so probably not a bargain.

Looks like quite a few manufacturers are using NiMh with high capacities 2.5-3Ah I don't think the self-discharge is as much of a problem as i originally thought.

My challenge charger clicks off after 1hr and should put 1.5Ah into the battery (that was the original spec of the battery) so I could probably only use 1.5Ah's worth of batteries though since the AA batteries are rated at 2.5Ah maybe it would be many years before I would notice a drop in performance?

I think an intelligent battery charger would do a lot to save the life of the batteries - mine only works on time and/or heat.
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Bought a Bosch 'Turbo tough' 14v combi drill off ebay. Got it about 1/2 price less than £100 and batteries are 2.6Ah.

Was using it sunday and it seems very good, the body is a lot heavier than the Argos jobbie which is bad when using it but good for quality/durability I guess. All the controls are very nice though it would be nice if the chuck needed less turns to open/close it but have not had any bits slip yet. Didn't struggle with 6 or 8mm masonry driling into brick and the battery did not need changing after 1/2 a days use (though not intensive use). It's nice and quiet and has good speed control for screwdriving.

Overall it seems like a very high quality bit of kit and hopefully will last many years....

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