I have a cordless DeWalt drill that came with two 12v battery packs. One of them died and won’t recharge – the charger light blinks continuously and according to information on the the charger that’s when the battery pack should be replaced. I got a little more life out of it by cleaning the contacts and then charging it overnight, running it down and charging it overnight again. But, after few more charges it wouldn’t charge anymore.
This drill has done a lot of work from deck building to siding to kitchen cabinets. So, I can’t complain too much but it kind of galls me that a new battery costs about half what the whole kit originally cost on sale. These batteries ought to be $10. According to DeWalt, 85 percent of Ni-Cd batteries are used in cordless power tools and the company estimates there are 431 million of these tools in U.S. households. And that number was from 2001. You would think that economies of scale would have kicked in by now and they would be cheap.
But the first step in any battery decision is finding out what to do with the old one. DeWalt recommends recycling the old batteries through Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). Basically it tells you where to recycle your old batteries at a facility near you. So I put in my zip code and sure enough there were more than a couple of options including Radio Shack and Home Depot. So, now I can sleep better at night knowing the old battery will be dealt with so I don’t have the fate of the human race on my shoulders if I just throw it in the trash. But, I still need a new battery. Anyone who has ever used a cordless drill knows that if you want to use it for six or eight hours you need at least two batteries.
I read some opinions (expert testimony) regarding the concept of buying refurbished batteries and they were not favorable. If any of you have a contrary opinion I’d like to hear it, but by my readings refurbished is questionable. There is another option where you send in your battery and they rebuild it (isn’t that refurbished?). The one place I looked at, ToolBatteryRefill.com called it “Refilling” the battery and claimed the process they use gives you a battery that will run 20-40 percent longer than the original equipment. I used the form that narrowed down just what my battery was and the cost was $41.25.
An Internet search showed the battery available at a couple of places for $46 (I always round up since the whole 90-something-cent concept used to price things just means it’s going to cost the next dollar anyway).
So, shipping, handling and other expenses considered, buying new appears to be the way to go.
So, now I come back to costs. In a world that is well polluted wouldn’t you think people would be offering solutions that encourage you to recycle, or reuse your old batteries? The incentive comes in the performance, but the price has to match up as well. Okay, so maybe I’m being too stingy what with the costs of having to dispose of the waste material so let’s say it costs $20 for a refurbished or refilled, and I’ll even factor in another $6 for shipping and handling, both ways. That’s $26. If you know of someone who will deliver to my door a $26, 12v, NiCd battery that will fit my DeWalt drill, and that will last at least as long as original equipment, let me know. Comments are welcome for this post and all the others, too.