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Every battery and power tool are different. There are many environmental factors that can affect the run time, how you use your power tool, how often, type of project and more. You will want to look at things like the amp hours (AH) on the battery itself (typically, the higher the amp hours, the longer the battery will last). You can use the following formula to help give you an idea of how long the battery will last:
Amp hours = number of amps x number of hours
Amp hours / number of amps = number of hours
When it comes time to charge your power tool battery, the actual charge time will vary. For example, lithium ion batteries tend to charge very quickly. Your charger should have an indicator to let you know how when the battery has reached a full charge.
Before you switch from a NiCD to NiMH, or vice versa, check your power tool user manual to ensure your tool is designed for multiple chemistries. Although your power tool charger may charge different chemistry batteries, your power tool might not accept the new chemistry. It is best if in doubt to check your user manual or contact the manufacturer to find out the technical specifications of your model.
There is a belief that you can recondition your old nickel based battery. Nickel based batteries will crystallize after a period of time and use. Some people say that you can break up the crystallization by running the battery at a very low volt (.5V or less) over a long period of time and doing this over and over a couple of times as the battery drains. However, this process can take a long time and has not been scientifically proven to work, so in most cases, your best bet is to replace the old battery.
There are several things you can do to help extend the life of your battery. When not in use, store the battery separate from the power tool. Place the plastic protective cap on the battery terminals. If the contacts touch a metal surface you could receive a shock or it could cause a fire. Store in temperature controlled environment, not too cold or hot, room temperature is sufficient. Lastly, once the battery is fully charged, remove the battery from the charger.
There are several steps you can take to help you get maximum performance from your power tool battery.