(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
The time for a battery operated tool system arose in my son’s life when he decided to built a dwelling on the farm from storage containers. His decision was based on the need for power about 250 feet away from a source. The old bench electrician looked at him and explained that if he were going to live in the place he should probably drop 220 from the main box to an onsite box which would eventually be attached to said dwelling. His response was that this would not need the same level of security and implied that while I could wire a breaker box for him, I probably did not have a current reg book.
Then he showed me the sale catalog he acquired. Okay, once I see a tool catalog I get distracted. And he was down to two outfits—Ryobi and DeWalt. I have experience with both because I ended up with a DeWalt reciprocating saw when they were closing the PayLess which had finally decided that it could not compete with the Lowe’s in Topeka which was 27 miles away. And I am not sure the rumblings about Home Depot wanting to locate in the area did not help the situation. I liked PayLess when I was selling hardware because I could send them customers who wanted a tool, but were questioning my price—they were back in a half hour to 45 minutes. I also picked up a rebuilt half inch Ryobi drill at a Cummins special sale. When Dave asked about the 8” chainsaw that came with the Ryobi, I pointed out that with a 10” pruning blade, the DeWalt could probably do as much if not more than the 18 volt chain saw.
He got the tools and one fine spring morning about two years later I tripped on the cord I was dragging behind me to do the clean up. I wrapped up the cord and put the saw back in the box and headed my Blazer to Home Depot. And the set I got was just a drill and reciprocating saw. But it works. I figured we could share batteries and are once again compatible.
Once I get a solar charger we can take it for trips of more than a couple days. I have decided to do something other than whine about a solar charger, A 12-volt array and an inverter can probably do the trick with my current charger.
The advantage to the battery operated tools is that they are really portable and less cranky than gas operated power tools. I can take out a batch of volunteer saplings in a few minutes with the pruning blade. Fitted with a Robertson (square head) bit I can drive deck screws all afternoon on a couple batteries. And it is faster than with hand tools and less likely to aggravate my carpal tunnel.
The disadvantage is the cost of batteries and tool weight. My 18v drill ways more than the half inch corded drill in the box. Motors wear out–but they do that even with corded tools.
There are several brands on the market. I went with DeWalt because I like the corded DeWalt tools I had and my son went with them.