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Times running out for NiCd Power Tool Batteries

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Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries have been around for many years and are very common within power tools, as this type of cell maintains a steady voltage up until it is almost completely depleted, unlike alkaline or lead-acid where the voltage steadily drops as it becomes depleted.

However Cadnium used in this type of cell is both carcinogenic and highly toxic, which when disposed into landfill has an impact on the environment.

The Batteries Directive 2013/56/EU currently has an exemption for NiCd batteries used in power tools, however this exemption is being removed as of 31st December 2016, which means this type of power tool battery (NiCd) cannot be placed in the market after this date (can still be sold provided the battery was manufactured and placed on sale prior to this date).

So the choice is to either purchase spare batteries as a backup, or a better solution is to move / upgrade to Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, but these batteries (Li-ion) are NOT interchangeable and means an upgrade in power tool is also required, but the advantages of Li-ion includ:

  • No memory effect
  • Virtually no self-discharge
  • Can be recharged anytime regardless of the current state of charge
  • Batteries are generally smaller and lighter (compared to the equivalent NiCd version)

With these advantages, manufacturers can create higher voltage / capacity batteries without increasing the weight or size (for the equivalent NiCd version), whic intern means a longer run time.

Key brands available from RS include:

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View the DeWALT Power Tool range

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View the BOSCH Cordless Power Tool range

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View the Makita Cordless Power Tool Range

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