Thursday, 13 January 2011

Battery management

I'm not too bad at DIY. Not as gifted as my brother-in-law, perhaps, but not bad, and I do a fair bit of it. You have to, really if you're running a gîte, because it would be too expensive to pay for a pro every time there is a bit of maintenance to be done. I have noticed over the years, that whenever I need a power tool, and if I have a choice, I use a battery-powered one in preference to a mains-powered one. I find them more convenient and easier to use.

But they do have a problem, which is that the batteries need a bit of care if they are to stay in good condition. They need to be stored properly, and recharged every few months or so or else they quickly become useless. This is not too difficult when you only have one to look after, but when you have several different batteries for several different tools, each with its own charger, the job starts to become onerous.

So I started looking for a solution to this problem: a range of tools that all take the same battery, so that even if you have a lot of tools you only have one set of batteries to worry about. Also the batteries have to be lithium technology for better power/weight and easier storage. It took a while for me to find, but I reckon that Ryobi have scored with their One+ range of battery-powered tools. A whole range of battery-powered tools that can all use the same 18 volt lithium battery.

I'm hooked. The range is marketed in France as eco-friendly (two batteries instead of 30, for 30 tools), and it also has emotional appeal arising from obvious efficiency. I bought two batteries, a charger and a shark saw. You need two batteries so you can use one while the other is charging.

I used the shark saw today to kill ivy that was strangling a walnut tree: I sawed a two-inch gap in the ivy trunks, all around the tree. And the tree was at the bottom of my field, out of reach of mains cables. Cool tool. More tool purchases to follow, and I'll flog my other battery-powered stuff at the car boot (vide grenier) or maybe eBay.

What is neat about this from a marketing point of view, is that I'm not, for the foreseeable future, going to buy any other battery-powered tool that isn't made by Ryobi, or that isn't at least compatible with their batteries. Brand loyalty is built-in. I might even buy their shares too.


Jonathan said...

Good article. It's a pity the batteries aren't standard across lots of makers, in the manner of AA batteries. As a recent convert to battery powered tools myself I have to agree that they are winningly convenient but then I have yet to suffer any battery problems. I'll certainly loook at Ryobi when I buy the next piece of kit.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi J, and happy new year. If you keep your batteries charged up, they should last for ages.

I find that the problem arises when you put the tool away and forget about it until the next DIY project. The battery self-discharges over time, and you come back to it to find the battery flat, and weakened by being discharged for so long.

Lia said...

Hello Mark,
I know long time no been here. Life got in the way of blogging.
Good to see you still here and up to unusual tricks, like skating on thin ice, climbing trees, going to concerts.
Anyway it was good to find you still here and doing well.
By the way where have you guys been we chanced to battery tools on site years ago...oh maybe that's the clue, we were on building sites so I guess it was a bit different.You really should take a peek at dewalt they have an amazing range and I can honestly say they are robust and last an age.
Much love

Mark said...

Now this wins my vote for oddest post of the week - but the really strange this is I was pretty interested, and kind of wish I had something like that

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Lia, nice to hear from you again after so long. I hope life is treating you well.

You are right, De Walt make fabulous tools, rugged and reliable. I did look at them very carefully. But they are quite dear, and I think I would be paying extra for a level of performance that as a DIY-er, I don't really need.

Also, and I don't know if this is just down to marketing or communication, I didn't get the impression that they are all designed around a single battery type.

With Ryobi, it is quite clear that if you buy a tool from the One+ range, it will work with the same 18 volt battery as the other tools you have. I didn't manage to confirm this point with De Walt.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Mark, glad I managed to grab your attention with something "left field"

the fly in the web said...

This sounds interesting...we are having to do a lot of work far from the I'll look this up and try to have stuff sent to us here.
Great tip.

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