Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
I think, therefore I am thinking.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Cordless-Tool Cord

Replace battery pack with transformer
  (+40, -1)(+40, -1)(+40, -1)
(+40, -1)
  [vote for,

While cordless tools are nice, they suffer the drawback that they run on batteries that first must be recharged, and second must eventually be replaced. Well, with this Idea you can postpone the second thing.

See, not EVERY time do you use a cordless tool, do you need it to be cordless! So, in those cases, you would swap the battery pack (thus not using it) with this designed-to-fit transformer pack, with cord. Plug the cord into a wall outlet, and the transformer converts 120V down to the voltage that the tool needs (because designed to fit it), and proceed as usual.

One particular thing I noticed just the other day involved drills. I have a corded drill that is pretty old, and has been strained on occasion (I saw smoke come out), and so just doesn't have the oomph that it used to have (torque, I mean). Now I also have a cordless drill with a speed-selector switch. This changes the speed or the power of the drill as needed. Not likely to smoke, therefore! I went looking for a corded drill that also had such a switch (I assume a gear-ratio adjustment, but it might instead be a motor-winding adjustment), and couldn't find one! So, suppose I could plug in a transformer pack into that cordless drill; I'd gain the long-term operation of the corded tool, along with the torque/speed switch, without having to buy an entire new tool.

Vernon, Dec 27 2005

(??) drill pics http://www.htc.net/~rcblum/drill/
drill pictures http://www.htc.net/~rcblum/drill/ [Bansuri, Apr 14 2006]

(?) Corded drill part http://www.amazon.c...8&v=glance&n=228013
[Renata399, Jul 14 2006]

DeWalt Transformer/Converter http://www.amazon.c...i&v=glance&n=228013
[Renata399, Jul 14 2006]

2-speed corded drill http://cdn3.volusio...s/photos/6022-2.jpg
Some years after posting this Idea, I actually found (and bought!) a 2-speed corded drill. (My old corded drill finally wore its gears out, or something.) The selector switch is the black circular thing near the business end of the drill. This model doesn't appear to be getting made any more, though. [Vernon, Mar 01 2014]


       I like this idea but may i suggest you buy two batteries?
Antegrity, Dec 27 2005

       I think this one's a winner.
reensure, Dec 27 2005

       Brevity is wit [+].
normzone, Dec 27 2005

       Might I suggest a bigger (possibly industrial strength)corded drill? That would be less likely to smoke.
andrew1, Dec 27 2005

       Antegrity, - I have a cordless drill, since about 7 years ago, for which I provided two batteries. Each time I come to use it, the one on the drill has a remaining charge of a few revolutions, and the spare battery has a few minutes worth. Each time I need to use it, it requires a lengthy wait of a couple of hours while one battery charges up. Completely pointless - this idea would solve that and bring the tool into the relatively useful domain*.   

       *where 'useful' relates to someone who perhaps drills a hole or two every ten months or so, rather than all day every day for a living.
Ian Tindale, Dec 27 2005

       I have worked hanging drywall where you have to set a lot of screws. I think this is a good idea but I would also believe that the complaint about cordless tools is partially the users fault.   

       First you have to charge the batteries. Second, you charge the batteries. Third when the first battery runs down you switch to the second and charge the first one. It's not a complicated process but lazyness often takes over and you dont charge your batteries.   

       I think the reason that your batteries only have a small charge in them IS BECAUSE YOU DONT CHARGE THEM. You may have to plan a couple hours ahead.   

       "When I get in my car there is only a little bit of gas left in the tank, so I go to my trunk and get the spare gas can, but that only gets me a couple miles. Completely pointless. I have to wait 2 hours for the tow truck to arrive so I can get going again"
Antegrity, Dec 27 2005

       This is an appealing idea. I'd invest in this. It's easy to imagine that the product becomes the target of jokes on late night shows. I'm sure people will laugh but many of them will stop and think, "Hmmm, I could use one of those things."   

       Maybe a lot of people.
bristolz, Dec 27 2005

       Antegrity, - the reason my batteries have only a small charge is because I do charge them. Then leave them for about a year before using them again, then a requirement for a hole or two becomes apparent, and the batteries are now flat again. The fact is, rechargable batteries in a drill simply don't fit into my usage pattern at all. If I were able to know the day before that I was required to drill a hole or two, that'd be a different story. However, that never happens. It's always needed right now, or not at all. Batteries sitting with a partial or full charge for nearly a year isn't the best way to treat them, but that's the reality of the situation - I never wake up in the middle of the night to recharge the drill batteries in the offchance I'll need to use it in a week or so. Most of the time, I'm not thinking about that drill buried under a pile of other equally unimportant stuff in the cupboard. It makes almost no sense for it to be a cordless one. People like me should have bought one with a proper mains lead. The only people that have usage patterns that fit the limitations of a cordless drill are those that frequently use it (or even remember they own one). This is almost certainly a minority of people. However, I would venture a guess that the majority of (non-professional hole-drilling) people that own a drill are those that own a cordless one.
Ian Tindale, Dec 27 2005

       cool idea but wouldn't you need a different adapter for each of your tools? i have lots of cordless tools and the batteries are frustratingly non-compatible with each other, even the ones runnng on the same voltage.   

       not being very techy, isn't a transformer from 240volt to 12volt going to be buzzing, warm and heavy?   

       highly recommend spending the extra money and buying a tool with lithium batteries. they can be charged at anytime (quickly) and used mid-charge no problem.
rainbow, Dec 27 2005

       Spend more money on something that's been used a handful of times in it's seven year life? That isn't sensible. Spending less money on a mains-powered drill would have been more sensible. Or buy pre-packaged holes. Or even rent them.
Ian Tindale, Dec 27 2005

       you should have bought a corded drill ian, obviously, as should nearly everyone. as you rightly point out. or got a little man in to do the job.   

       the lithium batteries do however help a lot.
rainbow, Dec 27 2005

       Great for those projects requiring full power, when a partial battery charge isn't enough. Bun.
Shz, Dec 27 2005

       This is a classic example of how technology trends recycle simply because the old way works better.   

       Take for instance cell phones- they kept making them smaller until someone came up with an idea to invent a cradle that lets you connect a standard landline phone to it. And now they even have a device that enables you to connect your cell phone to your phone jack at home giving you a connection that is free of all of the hassles associated wireless- like drop outs and poor reception.   

       A wired world- WOW! What will they think of next?
Jscotty, Dec 27 2005

       Probably watches that don't even require a battery, or indeed, have any EMP-sensitive electronics in it at all.
Ian Tindale, Dec 27 2005

       I find that my cordless tools sometimes sit for weeks in the truck and the batteries always need to be re-charged before I can use them. To be able to run them on a cord while the secondary battery charges would be a big time saver and I would buy the adapter in a heartbeat if one were available. (+)   

       [rainbow], those are good points. Yes, different manufacturers tend to design battery packs that don't work with other makers' stuff, so you could be half-expected to need different transformer packs from different manufacturers. (more on this below, though)   

       Next, yes a transformer pack is indeed heavy and warm, but battery packs are also fairly heavy, and they get warm, also (conversion of chemical energy to electricity loses a fair percentage as heat). I'm not certain that the differences are significant.   

       Next, to obtain lithium batteries for a particular power tool, the manufacturer usually has to offer it. Not all do.   

       Now, there IS a resolution to just about all of those points. This is to have a "power brick" sort of thing, which has a short cord that plugs into the wall, and a long cord that connects to the tool. Then the weight of the brick is NOT carried around, and its heat also is not in the palm of your hand. (OK, I know that most of those tools are weight-balanced assuming the battery is present. The plug-in piece would have to have a dummy wieght.) ALSO, the part that connects to the tool can be a replaceable/adaptor sort of thing, just replace the end-piece to attach to a different tool (and there would have to be a voltage-control switch on the power brick, because different tools also tend to have different voltage requirements).
Vernon, Dec 28 2005

       Vernon, I've been thinking of the same idea, google searched, and here I am! My reason for attempting this is that I love the features of my old cordless drill and don't want to re-cell the battery packs again. It has a clutch, dual speed range, level, keyless chuck, bit holders, easy to operate reverse, and great balance. I'm going to try to stuff a 12v 3A transformer and rectifier circuit in the battery pack. Don't know if that will have the punch of a fresh pack but it's worth a try. If it doesn't work there is a budget/import tool store ,harbor freight, that sometimes has 14.4V packs on sale for less than $10 and I'll salvage the cells from that. Otherwise it's just more junk in the landfill.
Bansuri, Feb 01 2006

       <smug mode> When I thought of this about a decade ago </smug mode>, I saw it as a large stationary transformer with a low voltage lead that plugs into the drill. It could be used with or without a battery pack attached to the drill. If one were present, it would be charging at the same time, with some electronics to prevent using the drill from causing a voltage drop large enough to interrupt the charging. When you want to go cordless, just unplug.   

       I assumed the only reason this wasn't standard was the increased cost of the more powerful transformer (since a working drill draws much more current than a battery being charged). The low voltage lead would also have to be fairly heavy.   

       However, with a decent modern drill and two batteries you can work it very hard without draining one battery before the other is fully charged. I've not bothered to replace my burned-out corded drill for this reason.
spidermother, Feb 01 2006

       Well, it's been a while and nobody probably even looks at these old posts, but if you do I just wanted you to know that I've had success. It doesn't have as much power as a battery pack, but this is just the proof of concept version. It's a cannon printer AC adapter. There's a fuse in it that blew so I replaced it with wire, the whole thing will probably smoke soon, but in the meantime it's perfect for what I needed it for: a zero cost, light-duty, keyless chuck w/clutch drill for work. Won't get a whole lot of use but it's waaaaay better than the one that's there already. Maybe a toroidal transformer or switching power supply would work better. I don't know but I'll experiment. This is a 10 year old drill so I wouldn't be surprised if modern motors are more efficient and require less juice. Here's a link to some pictures:   

       I'll update if I find another way to do it.   

       edit: well Vernon, sorry but I couldn't post the link and the forum told me to click link and post the link but it showed up right under your post. I just don't get the whole no links thing in posts... sorry for stepping all over your area up there.
Bansuri, Apr 14 2006

       That's awesome. I have a cordless that the battery is losing its ability to hold a charge so I'll replace that one. But I would love to make a corded attachment for those really long tough jobs that drain the battery to quick. Do you think you could contact me and tell me how you did it like I was a two year old? As we all know, I'm
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Apr 14 2006

       [Bansuri], any Idea that has either a link or an anno added to it is presented at the top of the main Overview page, for all to have a chance to see it. It doesn't matter how old the Idea is. (My Overview is set to show 15 items in each category, instead of the default 3.) It makes some sense for an Idea that has nothing new added to it to stay "out of sight" of the Overview. Most people don't want to reread the same old stuff.   

       Regarding the linking system, you did fine. Each section of a HalfBakery page is always in the same place (Idea on left, links under it, and annos on right).   

       Regarding your newly corded cordless drill, COOL! Well done!
Vernon, Apr 14 2006

       Bansuri; I had this idea last fall as well. Saw these postings several months ago but just now posted a response. Send me an email if you'd like to work on it some more together or commercialize it. My contact info is in my profile on this site.
ottomotto35, Apr 14 2006

       I had also thought about this... The biggest problem I think in this idea is that a small coil transformer cant produce enough amps or volts for good power. My Dewalt cordless drill has 18V. Small Transformers usually only go up to 12V with milli amps of output. I believe a cordless drill need upto 3.5 amps. Im not and expert by any means, so correct me if Im wrong. This may be the reason its not on the market already.
jcramer, May 24 2006

       [jcramer], if you compare the sizes of those rechargable batteries with "wall warts", you will see that a significantly larger transformer would fit in the battery case. The assumption here is that one that does fit would also produce enough power.
Vernon, May 25 2006

       In terms of getting a high enough output transformer: switchmode power supplies can go from 240V AC to 12, 14.4, 18, 24, etc V DC, with plenty of amps. Ran a project recently on a 14.4V switchmode supply, with continuous 10 Amps, peak 20Amps. The supply cost about $50. Looking at the circutry, I can't see why it couldn't be made smaller (cordless drill battery size), possibly including a cooling fan.   

       I prefer the idea of a normal (but lithium...) cordless battery drill, but where you can plug in the charger, which will run the drill and charge the battery simultaneously.
Custardguts, May 25 2006

       I thought of this last year and started searching. I couldn't find one either mainly because they can be called all kinds of things. I finally found one for my Skil drill, item # 1214CPS. See the link high above called "Corded drill part". The transformer is SEPARATE from the drill and they use it to recharge a battery while you work. It does seem more realistic than having it in the battery. You're tethered to the wall no matter what. Whether the transformer is in your hand or sitting over at the wall doesn't really matter. The piece that snaps into the bottom of the drill is ultra light and basically hollow. It's the exact shape of a battery with the same electrical contacts for delivering the voltage. I can send real pics of this whole rig if someone wants. There is also a link to a DeWalt transformer in the battery. It looks huge.   

       Of course this is a good idea. The people who dog it don't see the value of it. It's like saying 'why do you want a nail gun that holds 100 nails when you can just put in 20 nails at a time?' Because sometimes you just want to blaze through projects without tending to the tool. I can run down a battery before the other one is even recharged. Sometimes you just want a deeper well of power to draw from, like a wall plug. As for drills that are already corded, they don't have a clutch. Plugging in a cordless drill gives the best of all worlds.
Renata399, Jul 14 2006

       there are many ideas, such as this one, that are great and would really make a great product. The problem is that the batteries are an excellent source of income for these companies. I would be suprised to find a company willing to do this unless they charged enough money to recoup the costs of you, more than likely, never buying another battery.
tatmkr, Jul 14 2006

       [Renata399], thanks for the links!   

       [tatmkr], cordless tools exist for a reason, and that reason will not go away any time soon. This Idea specifically indicates it is for situations where batteries are not really a better choice than a cord (plus less usage of batteries lets them last longer). So, while fewer batteries would be sold, less waste would end up needing to be recycled, too. And the companies that make batteries are not the companies that sell cordless tools. You can be sure that the tool-makers contract with the battery-makers, and could just as easily contract with transformer-makers.
Vernon, Jul 14 2006

       This is a good one. I suggest that a possible way to accomplish this would be to have a moderate size charger connected to a smallish battery that would then power the tool. If you want to have 360 watts for work using 19 volts DC at 25% duty cycle (only drilling holes 1/4 the time) you would need a relatively cheap 5 amp charger by this scheme. A 19 amp power supply (expensive) would be required otherwise.
hangingchad, Jul 14 2006

       Brilliant! And ironic too. [+]
MoreCowbell, Jul 14 2006

       god bless Vernon.
po, Dec 24 2008

       I thought that was God bless tiny tim?
blissmiss, Dec 24 2008

       Thank you, [po].
Vernon, Dec 26 2008

       I'm not sure that you could match the output in the same package without excessive heat buildup. It might be better to have a converter and a cord that plugs into the battery connection but without the weight the balance would be terrible.
WcW, Mar 01 2014


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle