There’s nothing worse in a woodworking shop than to reach for one of your power tools only to find a dead battery. If you have no equivalent hand tool, your project will stop dead until you can connect it to a battery charger and wait for a full charge.
We’ve noticed a number of woodworking bulletin boards with postings about problems encountered with the DEWALT FLEXVOLT Battery. Those complaints range from “won’t charge” to “won’t charge fully” to “won’t hold a charge.”
As woodworkers usually do, many respondents offered suggestions and gave advice based on their own experience. Some seemed helpful, others just lamenting the same issue.
We’ve written about batteries in past articles, including DEWALT FLEXVOLT batteries, and you’ll find some of them here, here, and here.
Let’s discuss their batteries and then troubleshoot them for you.
What Are DEWALT FLEXVOLT Batteries?
DEWALT’s batteries are from their FLEXVOLT line. They are lithium-ion batteries that are designed to specifically fit the DEWALT line of power tools.
Lithium-ion batteries are a relatively new technology, having replaced the nickel-cadmium battery technology that preceded it. Their advantages are they are easily recharged and contain cells that easily configure the battery voltage. Those cells include 1.2 volts, 1.5 volts, and 3.6 volts, and when assembled, they can constitute batteries of between 3.6 volts and 48 volts.
The advantage of higher volts is greater torque-turning power. To give you examples:
- A voltage of between 4 and 8 volts is sufficient to turn your cordless screwdriver.
- A voltage of between 12 and 18 volts is likely enough for almost any need around your home.
- A voltage of 20 volts and up is for heavy jobs, with the understanding that higher voltage will mean larger and heavier battery packs.
Each power tool manufacturer makes its own battery packs that are designed to fit well and tightly in the battery slots of its power tools. This ensures that the power tools will work effectively and efficiently. It also means the power tool manufacturers want you to use their batteries, so there are often compatibility issues with batteries from competitors in the industry.
DEWALT uses its FLEXVOLT system for its power tools. The advantage of the FLEXVOLT system is that it automatically adjusts voltage when more is needed for the task at hand.
What Are The Complaints About DEWALT Batteries?
DEWALT is a well-respected and solid brand of power tools, but notwithstanding that, complaints about their batteries have arisen and seem to persist. These complaints fall into one of three categories:
- DEWALT battery is not charging. Not being able to charge, or at least not seeming to be able to charge, is the most frequent complaint. There are several reasons why this might be the case, but the first thing to do is check the battery terminals.
Cleaning the terminals may solve the issue for you. But, if not, make sure you are fitting the battery into the charger properly and fully. Finally, make sure you are using the correct battery charger.
All of these suggestions are, of course, obvious and logical first places to look and consider.
- DEWALT battery charge is not lasting too long before it needs to be recharged. It is not productive to “top off” a charge. Let the charge be spent, although not fully. If you let the charge become totally spent, you can damage the battery.
After you’ve spent much of the charge, remove it from the power tool and allow it to come to room temperature. Then, assuming you’ve already checked the terminal, insert the battery into the charger and let it charge overnight.
If, after that, it still is not holding the charge for you, the battery is likely damaged or has reached its life expectancy. In this case, and unless it’s a fairly new purchase, you’ll likely have to replace it. If it is a fairly recent purchase, the battery may be faulty, and you should contact DEWALT for a replacement.
- DEWALT battery is simply not working at all. Whether damaged or spent from long usage, if your battery is just not working at all and won’t recharge or hold a charge, it’s time to pony up the money for a new one.
Just to be sure it’s the battery, though, try your spare battery on the power tool. (Yes, you should always have a spare battery for just such occasions.) If the spare works fine with your power, too, then you know it’s the battery.
They have finite lifespans, just like everything else. Repairing a spent battery is not an option, so the only choice you have is a replacement.
What If It’s a User Error?
In technology, that is a common problem. Sometimes it’s not the computer – it’s the person using it. It’s the same with batteries.
The DEWALT user manual is a very helpful resource and should be read and followed. Doing so can solve a lot of problems before they even arise. This might be one of those instances.
Just in case it is, we found a very helpful video that addresses complaints about DEWALT batteries that we found on a number of bulletin boards. In the video, some user errors are noted, along with the steps to cure them.
As you saw in this video, he followed or at least mentioned some of the diagnostic steps we recommended to you earlier in this article. He also reminds us that there are useful lifespans to batteries, that dead is dead, and that sometimes they simply need to be replaced.
Between this article and that video, you have proper diagnostic and remedial steps to follow and take with your DEWALT battery. Again, always have a spare battery for these kinds of occasions. You don’t want your project to come to a dead stop while you wait for a battery to charge or for a battery to convince you it needs to be replaced.
It might not save you money, but it will save you upset and delay in completing your project.