Makita 18v Li-Ion
BL1830 - Lithium Ion Battery
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Read the findings of our research below.
The sheer volume of emails and calls about this battery together with the dozens of faulty ones being off-loaded on eBay has prompted us to look in solutions for the repair and recelling of this model.
- The battery is a poor design
- A solution is being researched.
- Outcome - Unfortunately not feasible to repair.
- Stocking alternative replica's.
- Update: A supplier of replacement PCBs has been found - trials with these refurbs will take place when the first batch arrives.
- Update 10/05/11: Unfortunately stock of parts has been delayed by nearly 3 months - reliable supply channels are sometimes hard to find! This battery research will be worked though to conclusion even if the outcome is that it is not viable to repair these batteries. I see there are still hundreds of 'dead' ones for sale on ebay, shame on Makita this should have been a product recall.
- Update 09/06/11: A new approach, researching the 're-setting' of the microchip in the circuit which currently locks out these batteries. Still very early days with this! Also source of high quality Samsung Li-Ion cells has been found.
- FINAL VERDICT 18/07/11: There are certainly no quick fixes for these batteries. The cost of new quality cells and unavailability of replacement circuits makes a repair unfeasible. The route I would advice to get your tools up and running is replica or compatible battery packs. People wary of the replica tag should think, they can't be much worse than the real thing! I have tried some of these replicas and they do seem fine.
- UPDATE 29/04/12: Makita Re-Design - It was brought to my attention that a newer generation batteries have had a circuit redesign. This is denoted by a 'STAR' logo on the top and bottom of the battery casing. It remains to be seen if the new design is a better effort!
- BEWARE OF CHEAPER REPLICAS: I had seen some very cheap replicas on eBay and bought some to inspect. Unsurprisingly the cells inside are very low grade and even looked previously used. They had a note stating they could not be charged in the original Makita charger this is a good indicator that the replica is low grade.
- Advice: If you purchase new batteries remember don't let them deep discharge - charge every few weeks.
My new battery is dead already?
As it stands testimony from the contact I have had states the battery does not last more than 50 - 60 charge cycles (if you are lucky!)
Makita make some quality tools so don't get me wrong but they have over-engineered this battery to the point it self-destructs.
The battery is made up of two components a bank of Li-Ion cells and a Printed circuit board (PCB).
The cells are self explanatory the purpose of the PCB in most Li-Ion batteries is to protect against overcharging, overheating and deep discharging all of which damage Li-Ion cells and can cause them to become hazardous.
Makita have designed this battery with all these features plus more, there is a microchip which will monitor how many charge cycles the battery has had and constantly collect data from it. Futuristic stuff if a little over the top. The intelligent circuit will also detect a faulty battery and after 3 failed charging attempts it will disable the battery permanently. Now this is a safety first approach and if you look up the dangers of Li-ion batteries you will see why.
Here is where it all goes wrong.
The intelligent circuit inside the pack needs to be powered, and it draws its power from the very cells it is monitoring.
The basic design flaw is that the circuit is wired to be powered by only one of the many cells in the pack. The PCB draws a constant although small current from that single cell. If the battery is not used for a few weeks then that cell will deep discharge causing a weak link in the bank of cells, the pack then fails in the charger.
Now who is to know that if they try to charge the battery 3 times in this state they will permanently disable it? Human nature is think, why is it not charging let me try again.
So if you use your tools every day you might have been lucky enough to have avoided this by charging them regularly.
Where do we stand
We are no longer researching the repair of these batteries, replica replacements are the cheapest easiest route to get your tools up and running.
Please see the summary above for conclusion of research.
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