A Battery is a Battery is a Battery

I thought I would talk about an important and frequent issue that concerns many DIYers: Power and Power tools.

As we know, power is supplied to tools by common 110V AC from the wall or from batteries.

We’ve recently seen major advances in battery technology. Specifically, rechargeable lithium-ion battery improvements have provided cordless usage on many common DIY tools. When’s the last time you remember using an AC corded drill for a common household task? And, the power pack lithium batteries are often interchangeable between different tool types.

However, let’s not forget the good ole closed cell alkaline disposable battery. These power cells have existed and have been part of our lives since, well, forever.

When buying a common disposable battery, DIYers have a choice to either pick up the bargain “no name” brand or the big brand name battery. My advice… Don’t skimp.

I have found that there are very few things that will drive a customer to the edge of despair faster than his or her stud finder not working correctly when needed. A very high percentage of the time, all it comes down to is an old or weak battery. While answering customer service calls at Zircon, I often hear “But it’s a good battery! I tested it on a volt meter!”

Some devices, such as smoke detectors or remote garage door openers draw a slow current from closed cell batteries. A fresh new battery can last a year or two. However, other battery powered devices draw a substantial amount of current from the same battery and hence, won’t last as long. Also, devices such as a stud finder, won’t accurately operate with a weak or border-line battery.

The MultiScanner i520 uses a 9-Volt battery and features two stud scan modes, metal scan, and a dedicated AC scan mode.
The MultiScanner i520 requires a 9-Volt battery and features two stud scan modes, metal scan, and a dedicated AC scan mode.

Often, most folks do not think about the quality of the battery they place inside an important tool needed for a critical task. “Hey, if the battery works in the remote control, it’s good, right?” Answer: Sometimes, it will work in your stud finder, but not always.

Do yourself a huge favor. When you need to use a closed cell disposable battery powered tool, buy a new brand name battery with an extended expiration date. It seems like the most obvious thing. But believe me, it’s not. Your blood pressure (and your doctor) will thank you.

To learn more about how your battery is performing, visit my blog, “How is Your Battery?”. Join me the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at 11 am PST for Zircon’s #diytrends Twitter  chat. Engage, learn and share!

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Tom is a user experience expert and Customer Service Manager at Zircon. He provides personalized training, education and service to high tech and hardware tool customers worldwide. All with a smile, to boot!