How to Refurbish DeWalt Rechargeable Batteries

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How to Refurbish DeWalt Rechargeable Batteries

Buying rechargeable batteries for a DeWalt drill can be a frustrating endeavor, especially when hardware stores charge nearly as much for the replacement battery pack as they do the original drill. There are several kinds of rechargeable batteries: lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries are the most common type, but there are nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCd) as well. The 18-volt DC9096 battery pack, which is the specific battery used in some DeWalt drills, is made of either NiMH or NiCd cells. There are 15 cells total, aligned in a series, and each cell brings just over 1 volt, and specifically 1.2 volts. (Note that DeWalt also offers a lithium-ion 20-volt compact drill and impact driver, as well as a 20-volt hammer drill, but that is not what is being discussed here.) Depending on the model of DeWalt drill, the total voltage differs. However, as with all rechargeable batteries, they are not able to discharge and recharge an infinite number of times. Over time, the batteries stop holding their charge, and they discharge more quickly that they once did.

With the proper tools and a bit of patience, refurbishing a DeWalt rechargeable battery pack is a much more financially appealing option. Depending on the tools already on hand, the initial cost may be a setback to some do-it-yourselfers, but in the end, costs even out. After gathering the necessary tools, all available on eBay, read the instructions multiple times until they are familiar. The trick to refurbishing a DeWalt rechargeable battery is to go slowly and double-check every step.

Locate the Necessary Materials

There are several ways to refurbish a rechargeable battery pack. Varying methods require a different set of tools. Before beginning to refurbish a rechargeable battery pack, learn which items are necessary for the chosen method as well as which items are necessary to open the battery pack.

Necessary Items

Purpose

Soldering Iron

Use to solder the connector tabs to the batteries

Chisel Tip for Soldering Iron

Use to take apart a battery back that is sealed together without screws

Connector Tabs

Use to connect the batteries if original connectors cannot be reused

Screwdriver

Use to take the battery pack apart if it is shut with screws

Replacement Batteries

Replace dead batteries with fresh ones, Sub-C NiCd

Battery Tester

Test voltage in individual batteries to see which ones need to be replaced

12-Volt Power Source

Recharge individual batteries if not replacing the dead ones

Red and Black Alligator Clips

Connect to ends of batteries and 12-volt power source to recharge dead batteries

Pen and Paper

Make a drawing of how the batteries fit together as a reference

Camera

Take a picture of how the batteries fit together as a reference

The style of DeWalt rechargeable battery pack that needs refurbishing changes a few of the required tools. Read the instructions and determine the style of battery pack to learn which components are necessary. Gather the components together and organize them neatly on a well-lit workspace.

Open the Battery Pack

The first step is to open the battery pack. Not all rechargeable battery packs seal in the same fashion. Some battery packs use screws to hold them together, which requires a screwdriver with the proper screw attachment. Other battery packs use a sealant between two seams. For this style of closure, it is necessary to have the chisel attachment for the soldering iron. Carefully take apart the casing of the battery pack.

Document the Battery Layout

This is where the camera comes in handy. Take a picture of how everything fits together inside the casing. If there is no camera available, use the pen and paper to trace the layout of the batteries. Make a diagram of both the top and the bottom of the battery grouping.

Test Voltage Levels

Skip this step if planning to replace all of the batteries in the pack, regardless of charge. Otherwise, use the battery tester to discover which battery cells are dead. Anything over a 1.3-volt reading is good, anything under 1 volt is dead. Mark the battery cells accordingly. Of course, if the batteries in an 18-volt DeWalt pack are supposed to be 1.2 volts, take that into consideration.

Replacing the Batteries

Carefully pop the connector tabs off the dead batteries. If possible, leave them connected to the live batteries. At this point, there are three options on how to proceed.

Replace All of the Batteries

If all of the batteries are dead, or there is no battery charger available for testing purposes, create a new battery pack. Layout a whole set of batteries in the same pattern as the original pack. Rather than popping off the connectors on the old batteries, it is simpler to use new conductor tabs measured to size.

Replace the Dead Batteries

Replace only the dead battery cells. The new batteries intermix with the old batteries. If the conductor tabs are still in usable shape, use those. If not, cut new conductor tabs down to size.

Recharge Dead Batteries

Using the 12-volt power source and the black and red alligator clips,, carefully recharge the dead cells. Periodically test the cells until they reach 1.3-volts. Place the recharged batteries back into the original formation.

Solder the Conductor Tabs

After aligning everything according the diagram and double-checking that all of the connector tabs connect positive to negative, it is time to solder the tabs onto the battery cells. Use a low heat soldering iron and only hold the iron to the conductor for a couple of seconds. Patience is key.

Put the Battery Pack Back Together

After soldering the connector tabs to the battery pack, put it back into the casing. Test the voltage on the casing to make sure it is back at the proper voltage. If there is no voltage reading, backtrack until discovering where the mistake occurred. Screw or glue the casing together. For safety, pay close attention to the battery pack the first time it is used.

How to Store Batteries

Refurbishing and replacing rechargeable batteries is a pain no matter which way you cut it. The best way to prevent having to do this often is to remove batteries from the tool when they are not in use and to store batteries in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. The recommended temperature for storing most batteries, lithium or otherwise, is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Users should be careful to store Li-ion batteries at around 40 percent so as to reduce the age-related capacity loss that naturally occurs in them. In fact, many people believe that Li-ion batteries should never dip below 2 volts per cell. Nickel-based batteries, however, can be stored at a complete discharge without negative effects.


How to Buy DeWalt Rechargeable Batteries on eBay

From any eBay page, you can access the search bar and search for a rechargeable battery pack. Take a moment to look at the cost of a new battery pack, and then search for the individual replacement sub-C NiCd batteries. Make a wish list of all the items needed to refurbish a rechargeable battery pack. Many of these expenses, such as the battery tester and soldering iron, are one-time occurrences. After purchasing them, the only things needed to refurbish a battery pack are the replacement battery cells. Take advantage of sellers who bundle items together as well as sellers who offer free shipping.

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