Friday, May 25, 2007

I can't stop myself...

The tool addiction continues unabated.

Actually, it should be sated for a little while; this one wasn't so much a new tool, as it was replacement of an unsatisfactory one.

A couple months ago I bought this Craftsman drill:

Just as a general household drill; not for any real heavy duty work or anything. I was going to buy a decent Makita, De Walt, Porter Cable etc... but their replacement batteries are $90, and don't last much longer than the Sears Die Hard batteries... plus the battery alone is the price of an entire new Craftsman drill with two batteries.

So, it was either buy a drill for $90 with two batteries that'll probably last two years, and then go back and buy two more batteries for $25 each in two years; or buy a $180 drill with two batteries, and have to buy $180 worth of batteries in two years...

Yeah to me, it's not worth the extra for the expensive drill. With a pro, using their drill 10 hours a day, absolutely, pay for the magnesium cased drill. You're going to kill the batteries fast no matter what, and the drill will last through 5 sets of batteries. For me, I'm going to kill the batteries before the drill.

Only one problem: I discovered while driving about 240 3" deck screws over the past four days, that under heavy use at high torque, one of my batteries was discharging at an excessive rate, and not recharging to full capacity.

That's a bad thing. In an older battery thats jsut normal behavior as it dies; but in a new battery it could mean leaking and/or catching on fire etc...

Also, the drill has this "auto chuck" feature, that seems a bit fragile, and makes the chuck work oddly. I'm pretty sure much more heavy use and I'd break it.

Anyway, I'd used the drill rather heavily for several months, and I didn't think I could return it; so I went down to sears to go and buy a new battery. I also figured, hey, I'll buy another charger so I can keep both batteries charged at all times (the chargers have a trickle mode so it's safe to leave them on the charger full time).

I get down there, and the batteries are the normal $25, plus $30 for the universal fast charger; for a total of $55...

... oooor, they have this electric impact driver:

...which COMES with two batteries and the same charger, all of which are compatible with my existing drill; and it's on sale for $100. $80 for two batteries and a charger, or $100 for two batteries, a charger, and an impact driver.

So yeah, I bought the impact driver.

Now, here's where the REAL tool addiction shines through though. After I bought the driver, I mentioned to the sales guy that one of my drills batteries wouldn't hold a charge, and that I didn't like the auto-chuck. He tells me that I can't get a refund on the other drill, but that they'll exchange it for me no problem.


So I head back home, grab the old drill, pack it up, and head back to Sears looking to exchange it for a better drill.

Only the same problem exists with the Makitas of the world with the batteries, so I want to stick with Craftsmans; plus I just got the impact driver, so I want to stay with the same battery set.

... Ooooor, I can exchange them both and get a drill/driver, or the higher end drills etc...

So I decide that's what I'll do; I'll just exchange them both for $190 in store credit and get a $190 drill, or maybe a $120 drill and a couple extra batteries etc...

They've got this 1/2" Drill/Driver for $120:

It comes with two batteries and a charger, and then an additional two battery and charger set for it is $75.

That solves my drill problem, but honestly, I want an impact driver anyway; and the drill/driver thing doesn't work out as well as having two of them. I mention this to the sales guy, and lo and behold, they have this Combo Kit:

It has the same drill/driver they sell on its own for $120, plus an impact wrench, a trim saw, a recip saw, a work light, and a rather nice heavy duty tool bag for all of it; and all using the same 19.2 volt Die Hard battery and charger system. Even better, it's normally $239, but it was on sale over memorial day weekend for $180 (they also have a kit with just the two drivers that lists at $160, on sale for $120, but it wasn't in stock).

So yeah, I picked up the combo kit; which was handily covered by my store credit; and just to make sure I've always got power I grabbed the charger and two battery kit to go with it.

I tested it out, and I can't stop the motor on either the drill or driver driving deck screws into 1" thick Brazillian Ipe wood; even in high gear; a test most drills, even high end drills, will fail; so I'm happy.