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DeWalt NANO 14.4v 18v 28v 36v battery technology FAQ


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|DRC| Wartex






Saturday, May 24 2008, 23:38:58 #40942     DeWalt NANO 14.4v 18v 28v 36v battery technology FAQ


Nano-Technology FAQ

Wartex's note: Some information provided by DeWalt is biased and some facts are stretched. So I'm going to insert comments in yellow as we go.

1. What impact does battery chemistry (ie. NiCd, NiMH or Lithium Ion) have on cordless tool performance?

Power is the result of battery voltage + tool efficiency (motor, switch, transmission etc.).

Runtime is the result of battery voltage + battery amp-hour + tool efficiency (motor, switch, transmission etc.).

Chemistry determines the size and weight of the battery and its durability. Chemistry does NOT impact power or runtime.

The last statement is not entirely true. Li-Ion batteries can overheat if drained at very high rates. There is current-limiting circuitry in either tools or batteries that prevent that from happening. I compared Makita BHP451 with DeWalt DC925 with NiCd battery, and even though Makita claims to have higher torque and lower RPM (300 vs 450 on DeWalt), drill got stuck when I tried to drill a pine 4x4 with a 2 inch hole saw, while DeWalt just slowed down. DeWalt's Nano batteries have higher discharge current (=more power) and lower capacity as a tradeoff. Cells in Makita batteries are 1460 mAh while DeWalt 18v nano's are 1100 mAh, yielding ~3 and 2.2 Ah (2.3 Ah for 28v and 36v) batteries respectively. Current-limiting circuitry is a good thing.


2. Does that mean for a given voltage, a NiCd battery will deliver the same power as a lithium ion?

Yes, for example, an 18V NiCd battery has the potential to deliver the same power as a 18V Lithium Ion battery. The battery chemistry will determine the size, weight and durability.

NiCd XRP batteries are claimed to be 2.4 Ah while 18v Nano are 2.2. I tested both in a DC415 grinder and had the same number of cuts across half inch rebar (multiple tests). It has to do with a discharge curve. You will get slightly more runtime with NiCd XRP if you use it in an incadescent/fluorescent light, but in power tools it will be the same. Don't forget that NiCd has high self-discharge rate and LiIon does not, so after a week of sitting in your toolbox NANO batteries will completely outperform your NiCd. NiCd lose 15-20% of charge in the first 24 hours, 7-10% the next day.


3. Why does the NANO 18V drill have 425 UWO and the XRP 18V drill have 510 UWO?

UWO = Unit-watt hours

XRP was specifically designed for users whose top priorities are power and run time, while NANO was designed for users whose priorities are ergonomics (size/weight) and performance. These differences in priorities allowed for tools designed with different motors, transmissions, etc.

What they are trying to say: Li-Ion cannot provide as much current as NiCd so they toned down the torque to extend the battery life by not putting it under the same stress as NiCd. They also slipped up and admitted NANO has lower capacity than NiCd. Like I said before, capacity difference is negligent.

Edit: Dewalt released XRP tools with Nano style base, so apparently Nano can match NiCd in power.



4. Does the 18V NANO battery have more runtime than the 18V XRP battery?

No. The 18V NANO and 18V XRP batteries deliver the same runtime. The advantages of 18V NANO are lighter weight and more recharges.

If a user needs more power or runtime, 28V or 36V is a solution as increasing voltage delivers more power and runtime.

Again, NiCd is 2.4 Ah, 18v NANO is 2.2 and 28/36 volt NANO is 2.3 Ah. HOWEVER! 36v tools outperform 18v tools by more than twice in runtime. 18v DC410 grinder does 10 cuts across 1/2" rebar (2mm disc) on 1 freshly charged NiCd XRP battery, 36v DC415 does 31!!!


5. Are all lithium ion batteries the same?

No. There are over 100 formulas of lithium ion batteries and each one is very different. The majority of formulas were developed for cell phones and laptops which are low power applications - very different from power tools. DEWALT tools needed to deliver high power, long run-time and extreme durability to withstand the harsh job site environment.

At DEWALT, we tested over 13,000 lithium ion cells. Over the last decade, it became apparent that no off the shelf formula would meet our stringent requirements for power, runtime and durability. We ultimately decided to develop our lithium ion solution from the ground up, specifically designed for power tools.


6. What is the technology inside the DEWALT batteries with NANO Technology?

To create the battery technology initially introduced in the 36V system, DEWALT partnered with A123Systems, a developer of a new generation of lithium ion batteries that incorporates nanoscale technology developed at and exclusively licensed from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The DEWALT battery technology has a unique NANO-phosphate lithium ion design that offers a high level of power, runtime and life compared to conventional lithium ion technology. For example, the NANO-phosphate battery delivers 2,000 recharges (over 3x more life than any other formula of lithium ion we evaluated). NANO-Phosphate is available in three voltages:


  • The 36V battery delivers 2x power and 2-3x more run-time compared to 18V; however it weighs the same as a 18V NiCd battery.
  • The 28V battery delivers increased power and up to 50% more run-time compared to 18V; however it weighs the same as a 14.4V NiCd battery.
  • The 18V nano-phosphate batteries are smaller in size and 1 lbs lighter in weight than their NiCd or NiMH counterparts. They are also backwards compatible with the existing DEWALT line of 40+ tools.


36v battery is 60 grams (2.11 oz) heavier than a NiCd XRP battery.
18v DC527 fluorescent light does not accept 18v NANO battery, a section has to be filed out to accomodate extra ridges on the battery.



7. What type of electronics are inside the nano-phosphate lithium ion batteries?

All DEWALT NANO-phosphate batteries include an electronic circuit for safety and maximum reliability. The electronics monitor a variety of factors such as temperature, voltage and current for each individual cell. The NANO batteries are designed to work with the DEWALT power tools to deliver maximum performance in our jobsite conditions.

The NANO batteries will also protect the tool from burn up. For example, if a large diameter bit is locked up in the material, the NANO battery will shut down prior to motor burn up. Inserting the battery into the charger will reset the battery.

Electronics are mandatory with lithium ion batteries. All competitors incorporate electronics in their lithium ion batteries and many incorporate features like the burn up protection mentioned above.


8. How does the DEWALT nano-phosphate battery cycle life compare to other formulas of lithium ion?

Our industry does not have a standard for measuring cycle life (# of recharges). Results can vary based on how heavy of an application is simulated. For example, the same battery may deliver 1,000+ cycles when simulating a flashlight or small screws but only 400 cycles when simulating drilling with an auger bit or cutting 2x material. In general, the harder you work a battery, the lower the number of recharges.

At DEWALT, we base our cycle life testing off of real profiles of DEWALT users. In these situations, we see over 2,000 cycles. This was 3x more than the next best formula of lithium ion we evaluated.


9. How do the DEWALT nano-phosphate batteries perform in hot or cold weather?

All DEWALT batteries are very robust and durable in both hot and cold weather. Optimal performance is between 4C (40F) and 40C (105F). Above or below these temperatures can result in reduced performance.

In comparison, competitive lithium ion, NiCd and NiMH all have similar performance in cold. In hot, Nano-Phosphate, Lithium Oxide, NiCd and NiMH have similar performance. However, Lithium Manganese (TTI products - Ridgid, Milwaukee, Ryobi) will see permanent capacity loss at temperatures achievable in a gang box or trunk.

Do not leave your batteries in cars if it's close to freezing temperatures or hot in summertime! Especially in the trunk or in direct sunlight. You will damage them! While NANO can withstand heat better you should still take your batteries with you.


10. Do the DEWALT nano-phosphate batteries have fade free power?

Yes. All DEWALT batteries (7.2V-36V NiCd/NiMH/Li-Ion) have fade free power. The battery power delivered is constant throughout the discharge.

NiCd and NiMH do fade at the end while Li-Ion just cut off (overdischarge circuitry kicks in), but 90-95% of runtime is very stable.


11. What are the benefits of DEWALTs Nano-Phosphate battery technology?

Nano-phosphate has the following benefits compared to traditional lithium ion formulas:

  • Longer cycle life: 2,000 recharges which is 3x more than any other formula of lithium ion evaluated
  • Constant performance over the life of the battery: No power loss with cycling or with state of charge
  • Specifically designed for high power applications like power tools and HEVs.

Other chemistries were designed for low power applications like cell phones and laptops and then tweaked for power tools.


12. What does the future hold for NiCd and NiMH?

There still will be a market for both NiCd and NiMH. These battery technologies are still going to be relevant and further optimized. In many cases, they provide the necessary power, runtime, durability and value for the professional user.


13. Should any DEWALT batteries be completely discharged prior to re-charging?

No. Just the opposite. You should stop using a battery as soon as you feel a substantial decrease in power from the tool. Completely running down a battery may damage the cells inside. Do not tape a trigger to run the battery all the way down, regardless of chemistry.

Leaving Li-Ion batteries in tools is a very bad idea, especially if they are discharged. Triggers can be pressed accidentally and battery drained to a point of "no return". Internal battery circuitry drains the battery too (very slowly) and some tools (Makita BML184 fluorescent light) consume power even when off. So what happens is over time Li-Ion cells discharge below "no return" threshold (2.7 v per cell AFAIK) and you end up with a dead battery. It's not really dead, it's just internal charge controller not letting you charge it because it might explode. If it's under warranty, bring it to the service center ASAP. Makita, shame on you for designing a crappy circuit for BML184 light. Big box stores should take notice too and remove all Li-Ion batteries off displays because people drain them to death. Keep your Li-Ion batteries charged (40% is optimal), keep them at room temperaturte.


14. Is a new charger needed for the 18V NANO-phosphate batteries?

Yes. A new charger, the DC9310, is now available. The DC9310 will charge 7.2V-18V NiCd, NiMH and Li-Ion batteries. The DC9310 will have a yellow top to help differentiate from the all black NiCd/NiMH chargers.


15. Will the dual port, vehicle and radio chargers be upgraded to be compatible with the nano-phosphate batteries?

Yes. The dual port charger (DC9320) is available now. Over the next year, the vehicle and radio chargers will be changed to be compatible with the NANO-phosphate batteries.


16. Why did the DC9310 charger blink bad pack the first time an 18V NANO pack was inserted?

The fit up of battery to charger is the same as the existing DW9116. However, we have noticed that occasionally due to the lighter weight of the NANO pack, users did not at first fully seat the battery in the charger. If the charger and battery are not making good contact, a bad pack blink is possible. Fully seating the battery will result in proper charging. Long term, we are making this fit up less sensitive to the lighter NANO battery.


17. How long does it take to charge the batteries?

The DC9000 (28V-36V) and DC9310 (7.2V-18V NiCd/NiMH/Li-Ion) chargers will charge the battery in 60 minutes to 100% charge.


18. What does the charger monitor and communicate?


  • Temperature: The charger will suspend charging below 0ºC and above 50ºC. This extends battery life.
  • Problem powerline: If the charger is plugged into a generator, inverter etc. the charger will suspend operation if the line is too high or low.
  • Bad Pack or Bad Charger: The charger will communicate if the battery or charger needs to be replaced.

In addition, the charger communicates with the battery during the charge cycle to optimize the charge.


19. How does service test if a NANO battery or charger is good?

As both the NANO battery and chargers have electronics with memory, every time the battery is inserted into the charger, they communicate with each other as to the health of the system. A full diagnostics routine occurs as well - much more detailed than NiCd or NiMH. Simply inserting the battery into the charger will read if the battery or charger is bad. No additional equipment is needed.


20. Makita and Milwaukee have battery testers. Is DEWALT going to offer something similar?

The Makita and Milwaukee battery testers record how many times the battery has been inserted into the charger and the maximum temperature the battery sees over its life. However, neither gives a good indication of the health of the battery. Lithium Ion batteries age by how hard you discharge them (ie. auger bit vs drywall screw) and the total exposed time at elevated temperatures. For example:

Battery A: Charged 800 times. Each cycle was used to drive 50 drywall screws and then recharged. The battery was left one time for 4 hours in a trunk that reached 140F.
Battery B: Charged 200 times. Each cycle the battery was fully drained by ripping sheets of plywood with a circular saw. Every day in the summer the battery was stored in a gang box. The battery had a total of 50 hours at 130F.

Battery A is actually much healthier than Battery B. However, if you looked at the readout of the Milwaukee or Makita battery tester you would assume the opposite. As these testers are very inaccurate, DEWALT decided to go with a different strategy. DEWALT will repair or replace any battery due to normal wear and tear for 2 years. The 2 year service contract is unique to DEWALT and a huge advantage over the competitors who only cover manufacturing defects. There are no stipulations or qualifications based on usage or cycle count.


21. Why isnt the DEWALT charger equipped with air cooling?

When a battery is hot, it becomes less efficient and both runtime and life decreases. Air cooling a battery helps get rid of the heat prior to the next usage, however, it doesnt fix why the battery becomes hot. Since the NANO-phosphate batteries were designed from the ground up for power tool applications, particular attention was given to greatly reduce heat generation inside the battery. The batteries run very cool - both in charge and discharge - eliminating the need for air cooling. This results in the NANO-phosphate batteries delivering the highest levels of robustness and durability.


22. What is memory and do DEWALT batteries have it?

Memory is created from repetitive light use in the exact same application (i.e. Cordless Phones, Video Cameras, Electric Shavers, etc.) Our products rarely see light use or the exact same loads, due to variability from the user, the bit size, as well as the material. The same variability which causes different runtimes, prevents our cells from developing memory.

23. What is the self discharge rate a lithium ion battery?

Lithium ion batteries have a very low self-discharge rate and can be stored for several months with minimal capacity loss.

How informative! It's about 5% per month.


24. Does it hurt DEWALT batteries to leave them in the charger?

No. All DEWALT chargers have an automatic tune-up mode which allows batteries to remain in the charger, maintaining a fully charged pack until the user is ready to work.

If NiCd batteries are stored outside of the charger, they will discharge naturally, 15-20% the first 24 hours, 7-10% the next day, and about 1% every day there after. NiCd batteries lose the bulk of the capacity when outside of the charger in the first 3 days. In fact, it is better for the battery to leave it in the charger to be sure it goes through Equalization and Maintenance Modes.

Nano-Phosphate Lithium Ion batteries have minimal self discharge. However, it is still recommended to leave the battery in the charger to be sure it goes through Equalization and Maintenance Modes.


25. Can DEWALT chargers be run off of a generator?

Yes. All DEWALT chargers, excluding the DW9106, have been designed to handle the variations in voltage and current delivered by generators. If the generator output goes too high or low, the DEWALT charger will suspend operation until the line comes back into range. During this time, the charger will blink Problem Powerline.

This is not entirely true. DC9000 charger complains about a bad powerline when used with a modified sine inverter. I will test it again soon.

26. What should be done with batteries once they have gone bad?

RECYCLE. All rechargeable batteries should be recycled. DEWALT is an active participant with RBRC (Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation), the organization which is the international leader in the collection, transportation, and recycling of rechargeable batteries. Old batteries should be disposed of at DEWALT Service Centers. For more information call 1-(800) 8-BATTERY or 1-(800) 8-228-8379.


27. What is the warranty on NANO batteries?


  • 3 Year Limited Warranty: DEWALT will repair, without charge, any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for three years from the date of purchase.
  • 2 Year Service Contract: DEWALT will maintain the battery and replace worn parts caused by normal use, for free, for two years from the date of purchase (with no qualifications on number of cycles).
  • 90 Day Money Back Guarantee


In comparison, Milwaukee and Makita only cover manufacturing defects. The DEWALT 2 year service free service covers manufacturing defects as well as normal wear and tear.


28. What are the benefits of the 18V nano-phosphate technology vs. Makita LXT?


  • Cycle Life: The nano-phosphate delivers 2,000 cycles vs. 500 on Makita. Even though Makita has a slightly higher amp-hour, the DEWALT nano-phosphate delivers 2.5x more work:
  • Tool System: In 18V, DEWALT offers the largest system with over 40 tools.
  • Warranty: DEWALT offers a 2 year free service contract which covers wear and tear in addition to manufacturing defects.


Ehh. Of course 2000 cycles is a stretch and I'm sure Makita can do more than 500 even though cells will no longer have the same capacity. Again, Makita batteries are 2.9 Ah (3 Ah according to marketing) and DeWalt 18v NANO is 2.2 Ah. Dewalt DC410 grinder with a 18v Nano battery yields 10 cuts of 1/2" rebar with 2mm disc and Makita's BGA452 yields 16. Makita is more efficient in this case. When it comes to 36v tools, DeWalt wins hands down, because we get 30 cuts (3x more) even though battery voltage is only 2x and capacity is 26% less. Makita's battery warranty is 1 year. I also have to give a credit to DeWalt for making batteries backwards-compatible and a slap upside the head for making them aesthetically NOT match the shape of old tools.


29. What are the benefits of the 18V nano-phosphate technology vs. Milwaukee V18?


  • Cycle Life: The nano-phosphate delivers 2,000 cycles vs. 400 on Milwaukee. Even though Milwaukee has a slightly higher amp-hour, the DEWALT nano-phosphate delivers 2.5x more work:
  • Tool System: In 18V, DEWALT offers the largest system with over 40 tools.
  • High Temperature Degradation: The lithium manganese oxide formula that Milwaukee uses is very sensitive to high temperature storage. Prolonged storage in truck boxes, trunks etc. will result in permanent capacity loss.
  • Warranty: DEWALT offers a 2 year free service contract which covers wear and tear in addition to manufacturing defects.



30. When will more 18V NANO combo kits be available?

Currently, work is underway to change all 18V units to the short foot design. The short foot looks aesthetically better with both NANO and XRP batteries. All 18V tools will be transitioning to the short foot, regardless of battery chemistry packed in the kit.

In Q2, additional NANO combo kits will be offered. However, in the interim, the 18V NANO battery is compatible with the full DEWALT system of 40+ tools, making DEWALT the broadest 18V system on the market.


31. Which tools have fit up issues with the NANO battery?

Since 1996, DEWALT has produced over 250 versions of 18V tools. Upon design of the 18V NANO battery, it was discovered that 5 models would not accept the 18V NANO battery: DC212 rotary hammer, DC527 fluorescent light, DC908 pivot flashlight, DC500 cordless/corded vacuum and DW073 manually leveling laser. Changes are in place to correct new production. However, should a user have an older unit that does not accept the NANO battery, a free housing exchange will be available through product service.

EDIT: DC500 vacuum now supports nano batteries with a replacement battery well, the part can be ordered here: http://servicenet.dewalt.com/Parts/Detail/276862

Thanks to M. J. Grossman from http://www.nerdsrus.com/

When I asked a local service center about this, they had no clue what I was talking about. I just filed off extra plastic in my DC527.


32. Does the 18V NANO battery play the DC011 or DW911 radios?

Since the DC011 and DW911 are chargers, the 18V NANO battery will physically not fit into the radios. A new radio that accepts NANO batteries is in development.


33. Are the DC021 or DC022 worklights compatible with the 18V NANO batteries?

The worklights are only compatible with 7.2V-18V NiCd and NiMH batteries. The NANO batteries will physically not fit into the worklight.



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Last edited by |DRC| Wartex on 18:48, Saturday Jan 11 2014; edited 4 times in total
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|DRC| Wartex






Wednesday, May 28 2008, 22:34:06 #40950     


Just measured the battery weights:

18 v NiCd XRP = 1075 g

18v LiFePO4 NANO = 680

36v LiFePO4 NANO = 1130
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gsvrcek






Tuesday, July 20 2010, 08:21:44 #43039     


For the past three years we have been using DeWalt 18V DW9116 charges powered by Black & Decker 400W inverters. Three months ago we switched to Lithium Ion batteries and DC9310 charges and have lost three inverters so far. Just a coincidence? We replaced the 400W with 800W inverters and everything is OK so far but the 400W should have been fine.
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|DRC| Wartex






Tuesday, July 20 2010, 23:32:28 #43040     


The DC9310 typically draws 100 watts but when you insert a battery it draws more for a second. Also most cheap Chinese inverters are lying about their nominal power. A 400 watt labeled inverter cannot provide more than 160 watts continuous power.

I don't understand why not just buy a dc9319 and cut out the inverters completely, save money and gasoline?
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