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Converting nicd tools to lithium ion

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Sorry if this has been covered in another post, I tried doing a search but didn’t see anything. And why is it when you do a second search it ALWAYS says you have to wait x seconds before doing so?🤬

Back to topic; I have some Milwaukee 18volt tools that I use infrequently at best, but when I do use them it seems as the batteries are weak. Does anyone know if the 18 volt nicd tools can use the lithium ion batteries as they appear to connect the same? I don’t think the charger would work, but if it’s simply upgrading to lithium batteries by buying batteries and a charger it seems like an inexpensive solution to upgrading these tools?

It would be nice if these manufacturers would offer an upgrade kit or at least trade in deals to upgrade but I’d think these tools and technology are old enough now they wouldn’t. 

Sid

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I would assume the Milwaukee tools would work that way.  I started with 19.2V Craftsman cordless tools years ago,  have no idea how many ni-cad battery packs I've recycled,  but bought a replacement Lithium-ion battery pack and charger and now use them unless it's really really cold, Li-ion don't like to be cold.

I've been told you can charge both ni-cad and Lithium-ion batteries with a Li-ion charger, But if you try charging a li-ion battery with a ni-cad charger you run a big risk of setting the battery on fire.  What I did was box up all my ni-cad chargers and hid them away from use.

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Not sure about Milwaukee, but we run 18v DeWalt which were originally Ni-cad and just saw a friend that bought the same impacts we have and she was running a 20v lithium-ion on it with a DeWalt adapter. I didn't know about the adapter being available. So she not only is running lithium-ion batteries, but 20v on her 18v tools approved by DeWalt.  Those 20v lithium-ion batteries do use a different charger.

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1 minute ago, ThirdGenRed said:

Not sure about Milwaukee, but we run 18v DeWalt which were originally Ni-cad and just saw a friend that bought the same impacts we have and she was running a 20v lithium-ion on it with a DeWalt adapter. I didn't know about the adapter being available. So she not only is running lithium-ion batteries, but 20v on her 18v tools approved by DeWalt.  Those 20v lithium-ion batteries do use a different charger.

Can you get a picture of the adapter?

 

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I have Milwaukee M18 stuff now, but I went to these from Bosch Nicad, so I have no experience with Milwaukee Nicad.  So though I haven't tried, I doubt that Milwaukee Nicad and Lithium Ion tools will work together.

I think DeWalt is the only company making an adapter kit, at least as far as I know.

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3 hours ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

Li-ion don't like to be cold.

I have to say that hasn't been my experience with the M18 batteries and tools.

I leave mine in the van, parked outside, all winter, and have absolutely no issues.

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Sid, the m18 batteries will not work on the older 18 volt Nicad batteries. The only lithium ion batteries that will work with that series tool are the v18 batteries and you’ll have the same problem with them as you have with the nicad batteries and it uses a different charger. 

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38 minutes ago, Steve C. said:

I have to say that hasn't been my experience with the M18 batteries and tools.

I leave mine in the van, parked outside, all winter, and have absolutely no issues.

The Lithium-ion still discharge, run tools down to Zero degrees F just fine, but they should not be charged below 40 degrees F,  If you do charge them it should be at a reduced rate.

There should be warnings in the instructions with your Lithium-ion batteries about this.

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39 minutes ago, NY1468 said:

Sid, the m18 batteries will not work on the older 18 volt Nicad batteries. The only lithium ion batteries that will work with that series tool are the v18 batteries and you’ll have the same problem with them as you have with the nicad batteries and it uses a different charger. 

The v18 i think was the first generation of lithium batteries Milwaukee made. I have several out in my shop that are bad. They resemble the new line they call m18 fuel. So in answer to your question at one time you could buy lithium batteries that were direct replacement but had a different charger like mentioned already. I don’t know if they still have them or not. I still use the nicad ones. They are heavy and tough, like me....honestly for what the whole kit costs if all your tools are in good shape, just get online and buy a 2 pack of Nicad for about $100

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2 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

The v18 i think was the first generation of lithium batteries Milwaukee made. I have several out in my shop that are bad. They resemble the new line they call m18 fuel. So in answer to your question at one time you could buy lithium batteries that were direct replacement but had a different charger like mentioned already. I don’t know if they still have them or not. I still use the nicad ones. They are heavy and tough, like me....honestly for what the whole kit costs if all your tools are in good shape, just get online and buy a 2 pack of Nicad for about $100

I’m going to have to look into that. I didn’t realize the v18 were lithium batteries, would the fuel line of batteries fit these tools as well?

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Here is an adaptor ti use the newer style M18 batteries on your older V18 compatible tools.  We started out with the nicad Milwaukee tools then I upgraded to V18 lithium ion batteries but the newer M18 batteries are much better and hold up in cold weather much better.

 

https://m.ebay.com/itm/Milwaukee-M18-Lithium-battery-to-V18-Nicad-tool-adapter/153072814137?hash=item23a3d9c839%3Ag%3AzwsAAOSw77pa7vM-&_nkw=milwaukee+m18+adapter+v18&_from=R40&rt=nc

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2 hours ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

The Lithium-ion still discharge, run tools down to Zero degrees F just fine, but they should not be charged below 40 degrees F,  If you do charge them it should be at a reduced rate.

There should be warnings in the instructions with your Lithium-ion batteries about this.

Thanks.  Didn't know that.  Not an issue for me since I can pretty much always charge indoors somewhere.

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Voltage is voltage, if you can make your LithIon batteries hook up to your old tools, they will work. There are tons of YouTube videos on how to do so.

The LI batteries are volatile, they cannot be run down past a certain point and cannot be charged faster than a certain rate. They create heat that has to be monitored to prevent runaway reactions where they become explosive. Newer cordless tool batteries have internal circuitry to prevent this, and that is part of why they need special chargers. A few yrs back, this monitoring was done in the tool and charger, not the battery, so they changed the docking faces to keep people from swapping them, thus why there is such confusion today about running old tools on LI.

And why would they want you to be able to run new batteries on old tools that were made to last? Then you wouldn't buy new tools that have engineered lifespans!

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2 hours ago, Cliff Neubauer said:

Here is an adaptor ti use the newer style M18 batteries on your older V18 compatible tools.  We started out with the nicad Milwaukee tools then I upgraded to V18 lithium ion batteries but the newer M18 batteries are much better and hold up in cold weather much better.

 

https://m.ebay.com/itm/Milwaukee-M18-Lithium-battery-to-V18-Nicad-tool-adapter/153072814137?hash=item23a3d9c839%3Ag%3AzwsAAOSw77pa7vM-&_nkw=milwaukee+m18+adapter+v18&_from=R40&rt=nc

 

2 hours ago, Cattech said:

Voltage is voltage, if you can make your LithIon batteries hook up to your old tools, they will work. There are tons of YouTube videos on how to do so.

The LI batteries are volatile, they cannot be run down past a certain point and cannot be charged faster than a certain rate. They create heat that has to be monitored to prevent runaway reactions where they become explosive. Newer cordless tool batteries have internal circuitry to prevent this, and that is part of why they need special chargers. A few yrs back, this monitoring was done in the tool and charger, not the battery, so they changed the docking faces to keep people from swapping them, thus why there is such confusion today about running old tools on LI.

And why would they want you to be able to run new batteries on old tools that were made to last? Then you wouldn't buy new tools that have engineered lifespans!

So I am wondering if the adapter shown in the link has the necessary circuitry to protect the battery pack?? I was under the impression that the battery would tell the tool when to shut down. Hence the reason why there are multiple pins on the tool, charger, and battery. The old nicd tools only needed a pos and neg. If that adapter does all of that to provide the battery protection, then I will be bringing a couple of tools out of retirement. They were still made in the USA so they will probably last forever! I have trouble justifying the cost of new nicd batterys when I have M18 tools. Thanks for the link above. That adapter doesn't appear to be made by Milwaukee so I am wondering about that. Thanks in advance for any input. 

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11 hours ago, Cliff Neubauer said:

Here is an adaptor ti use the newer style M18 batteries on your older V18 compatible tools.  We started out with the nicad Milwaukee tools then I upgraded to V18 lithium ion batteries but the newer M18 batteries are much better and hold up in cold weather much better.

 

https://m.ebay.com/itm/Milwaukee-M18-Lithium-battery-to-V18-Nicad-tool-adapter/153072814137?hash=item23a3d9c839%3Ag%3AzwsAAOSw77pa7vM-&_nkw=milwaukee+m18+adapter+v18&_from=R40&rt=nc

Are you using these adapters?

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I have used Milwaukee tools for years, 12v nicad, 14.4 nicad, V18, M18 and now the M18 & M12 fuel tools. I don't know how many tools you own but the newest designs are so much better that I wouldn't spend a penny on converting old tools. Once you use the new ones you will realize how bad the old ones are, it's like comparing a Farmall M to a Magnum. If you buy 2 M18 batteries and a charger for a few dollars more you can get a kit with a tool. 

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16 hours ago, ptm said:

I have used Milwaukee tools for years, 12v nicad, 14.4 nicad, V18, M18 and now the M18 & M12 fuel tools. I don't know how many tools you own but the newest designs are so much better that I wouldn't spend a penny on converting old tools. Once you use the new ones you will realize how bad the old ones are, it's like comparing a Farmall M to a Magnum. If you buy 2 M18 batteries and a charger for a few dollars more you can get a kit with a tool. 

I bought SON a Milwaukee Fuel M18 impact driver kit for Christmas.  His old Porter-Cable finally died. He liked that Milwaukee so much he went and bought a M18 Fuel 1/2" impact. He has a good I-R impact that I suspect he won't use for many years now.

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On 8/11/2018 at 11:48 AM, DOCTOR EVIL said:

I would assume the Milwaukee tools would work that way.  I started with 19.2V Craftsman cordless tools years ago,  have no idea how many ni-cad battery packs I've recycled,  but bought a replacement Lithium-ion battery pack and charger and now use them unless it's really really cold, Li-ion don't like to be cold.

I've been told you can charge both ni-cad and Lithium-ion batteries with a Li-ion charger, But if you try charging a li-ion battery with a ni-cad charger you run a big risk of setting the battery on fire.  What I did was box up all my ni-cad chargers and hid them away from use.

So, will the new 19.2 Craftsman Lithium ion battery work with old 19.2 tools?  Is that what you've done, or did you switch brands.   I have the Craftsman 19.2,  down to my last half-decent ni-cad battery, I figured I would have to junk the tools and buy all new when this battery bites the dust.

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I have quite a few of the Craftsman 19.2 tools. The oldest are about 10-12 years old and I use the new Li-ion high-capacity 4 A/hr.  batteries in all of them.  Switching to Li-ion makes them 5X the tool they were with Ni-cad! The only thing to watch out for, as mentioned previously, is you have to use a Li-ion charger or a multi-chemistry charger for Li-ion batteries or you could have a fire.  I don't know about the very first 19.2 tools, but I have even used the 19.2 Lithium batteries in a craftsman 18.0v drill and it worked fine.  No adapters needed.  

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What russtred said. I bought a new charger for the 19.2 lithium batteries.The new charger will also charge the old batteries.

 

Be careful out there,all kinds of crazy stuff on youtube about charging or reviving old batteries. But most of it looks very dangerous for the price of a battery. 

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49 minutes ago, ray54 said:

 

 

Be careful out there,all kinds of crazy stuff on youtube about charging or reviving old batteries. But most of it looks very dangerous for the price of a battery. 

I looked into rebuilding my oldest M18 batteries. Decided it wasn't worth a fire for the amount saved. I now have about 84 amp hours of batteries that came with all the news tools I've bought since finding out how impressive the Fuel tools are.

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12 minutes ago, Dave Shepard said:

I looked into rebuilding my oldest M18 batteries. Decided it wasn't worth a fire for the amount saved. I now have about 84 amp hours of batteries that came with all the news tools I've bought since finding out how impressive the Fuel tools are.

It would be to simple to rebuild the old batteries and convert them to lithium batteries by gutting everything but the case, but than you would have the fire issues with the “ new” lithium batteries trying to be charged with the old charger...

maybe I shouldn’t be so cheap, aka thrifty😎

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