Home Improvement

  • Home Improvement

    What happened to the Dewalt DC9180 Lithium-ion Battery

    When Dewalt first came out with their DC9180 Lithium batteries, I was VERY interested in them, but was turned off by their price. I was turned off even more when the local Home Depot was selling them for $10 over MSRP.

    So, I thought I’d let the laws of supply and demand dictate the price. I waited a year for the price to come down, but instead, the damned thing started disappearing from retailer’s SKU books. Because Dewalt decided to introduce the batteries at such a high price, there was no demand for it – therefore, the supplies dwindled, and the prices stayed high. Of course, there must have been a few lucky people who’ve made their purchases from smaller retailers desperate to move their unpopular inventory…

    And now, the DC9180 Lithium battery is not on store shelves.

    And the prices, although not much, has come down. So maybe I’ll order the Lithium battery and charger set.

  • Home Improvement

    Saw Horse

    When it comes time to use your powertools, one thing you must keep in mind is your work area. You can easily damage the floor, wall, or pre-installed furniture with a flick of a switch. That’s why the first thing you should do when working with tools is to prepare a safe work area. To do this, sawhorses come in handy. Saw horses come in many different shapes and sizes. You can even make one your own (sawhorses are a good carpentry project for beginners). If you’re on the move, you should invest in some foldable horses. Put a sheet of plywood on top for an on-site desk, or set up your table saw on a pair.

  • Home Improvement

    DeWalt Bit Set – Made In China

    Fill this case with your favorite bits and pieces.

    If you are looking for a Heavy Duty bit set for your DeWalt drill or driver and are looking for something to match your tools in Yellow, then look no further than the DeWalt empty accessory case.

    Why would I recommend the empty accessory case? Because that’s the only thing China’s good at making right now, ABS plastic.

    If you’re interested in high quality bits, you should look into Craftsman, or even save a few buck with a Ryobi set – and put it in the Yellow DeWalt accessory case. DeWalt’s driver bits and Rapid Load attachments are at most mediocre. And what makes it worse is the mounting points in the case. It’s just impossible to remove the bits from the case!

    So, scrounge up some good bits from other sets, and if you MUST have the yellow case, get the DeWalt ToughCase, separately.

  • Home Improvement

    New DeWalt XRP tools with Nano sized bases

    Skip this paragraph if you just followed a link to here – Many people my age end up watching a lot of off-hour cable television due to the hours put in at the office which makes us miss prime time shows on the networks. We probably know too much about trucking on ice roads or how to make a bathroom look bigger because we watch History, Discovery, TLC, HGTV, etc. Some of us like to watch Rachel cook or Osterhouse build a bookshelf out of MDF boards. So of course, when it comes to battery operated tools, we have a natural affinity to the black and yellow DeWalt power tools we always see everyone using on TV.

    The Dewalt 18V Heavy Duty 6 Tool Combo Pack

    In the fall of 2007, DeWalt introduced a new line of batteries powered by Lithium Nano-phosphate technology. Other manufacturers were already ahead in the market with their Lithium powered tools, so that made DeWalt a late in the game. All technology comparisons aside, one of the selling point for the “NANO” technology was that the 18V Nano series battery would fit previously release 18V tools. DeWalt makes this sound like something awesome, when in fact, it has already done so by making the 18V XRP battery and the original 18V compact battery interchangeable.

    The catch is, unlike the compact and the XRP batteries, the Nano batteries are shaped differently. It has a smaller footprint, therefore, it is smaller than the base of a traditional 18V tool. When the battery was introduced to the public at the beginning of 2008, many brave souls have suffered the consequences of an unattractive fit between the new Nano battery and the old XRP tools.

    DeWalt spokesmen at trade shows have mentioned that they would be re-releasing the 18V tools with smaller bases to fix the Nano battery. Lo-and-behold, as of summer 2008, 18V XRP tools are shipping with the smaller base that aesthetically matches the new Nano battery and still looks okay with the larger XRP batteries. If you have noticed that many retailers have reduced the prices of their XRP tools, they are trying to liquidate those with the old larger XRP bases – so buyer, beware.

    But this actually made me wonder. I’ve compared the XRP tools to the Nano tools side by side, and their specs are exactly the same – except for some power output differences from the battery. I suspect that there is no difference in the tool itself, just different SKUs for packaging with the XRP or Nano batteries. I also did a price/cost analysis of combination packages v.s. single tools for the XRP and Nano series and come to the conclusion that the price difference only comes from the batteries, as the specs for the tools are the same.

    So, if you are waiting for a 6 piece combo pack for the Nano or for the Nano tools to go on sale, stop holding your breath and go buy the XRP tools with the new smaller base. Buy the Nano batteries and chargers later. The new DeWalt packaging will have a line drawing showing the tool on the outside, so you can tell if the tool you’re buying has the new base. The new XRP tools are more likely to be on sale than the Nano tools, and there is a wider variety to the tools you can get in the XRP family. If you own 6 power tools, you’re going to need more than 2 batteries any ways, it makes sense to buy the affordable XRP combo-pack now and buy the Nano batteries later.

    Of course, this is assuming you already don’t have an arsenal of 18V tools and you are willing to spend half a grand on tools you’ll never need for your DIY project.