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He Adapted 20-Volt Batteries To 18-Volt Tools
Kent MacDougal, Yonges Island, S. Car.: “About 10 years ago I bought four 18-volt tools from Porter Cable – a reciprocating saw, drill, circular saw, and flashlight - along with 2 NiCad batteries and a charger. I used the reciprocating saw and drill more than the circular saw and the flashlight. However, the batteries on those tools died, and I missed them. Then I bought a 20-volt lithium battery package from Porter Cable, which included a drill and an impact driver with 2 batteries and a charger. But I still missed my old 18-volt tools.
“Because of changes made by Porter Cable, their 18-volt and 20-volt batteries are not interchangeable. The 18-volt battery plugs into the tool with four tabs (all negative) and one slot (positive), while the 20-volt battery has four slots (three negative and one positive). Both batteries have a spring-loaded latch that secures it to the tool.
“I took apart one of the old 18-volt batteries and soldered leads to the battery’s positive and negative contacts. I separated the battery case by removing 6 screws, and then pulled out the batteries and cut them free. They were attached to the 4-tab, 1-slot plug. I soldered 6-in. long jumper wires to the positive and the main negative, and crimped on electrical blade connectors. Then I glued the one-slot plug into the top half of the battery case.
“I used a dremel tool to cut off the bottom half of the battery case, and made sure the case’s spring-loaded catch would still engage by form fitting the 20-volt battery to the latch and spring assembly. Then I reattached the spring-loaded latch by screwing it onto the back of the battery case.
“I used plywood to make a horseshoe-shaped carrier that screws onto the 20-volt battery and slides into the rails on any of my 18-volt Porter Cable tools. I used a box cutter to mortise 4 hexagonal nuts that flush mount into the carrier and JB welded them in place. I attached the negative and positive contacts, slid the 20-volt battery onto the carrier, and inserted machine screws through existing holes in the battery case to put the assembly together.
“To use a 20-volt battery on an 18-volt tool, I just slip the carrier onto the 20-volt battery and then hook up the positive and negative wires to the 18-volt battery.
“While it now takes longer to switch out the batteries, I have all my old tools back, and the extra 2 volts provided by the 20-volt battery makes them sing!
“I can still use 20-volt batteries in 20-volt tools by disassembling the carrier.”

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1