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Power tool safety: Small variables can cause high risk


May 25, 2021
By Rock to Road Staff

Topics

Construction worker uses power tools to install a roof.

We tend to think of power tools as virtually indestructible extensions of ourselves. While it’s true that a properly cared-for power tool should provide years of trouble-free service, the key phrase is ‘properly cared for.’ Because, in truth, the internals of power tools contain delicately balanced systems that can quickly turn dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. The Power Tool Institute (PTI) warns that even the smallest variable, such as introduction of a third-party battery, can substantially increase the risk of tool failure, fire damage, and even personal injury.

At the heart of the power tool system is the relationship between the tool, its battery, and the battery charger. Each manufacturer has its own unique control circuitry that allows the system to communicate properly. This is what controls critical functions, such as cell balance, energy levels, flow of energy in/out, and temperatures.

It is most likely that a third-party battery will not be compatible with the energy demands of the system.

Introducing a third-party, knock-off, or counterfeit battery can choke off system communication. Without the system’s ability to communicate during use, tool operators run the risk of lower performance and a shorter life from the tool. The third-party battery can also overheat, reducing its life or even causing complete failure. In the worst-case scenario, a knock-off battery can cause the tool’s motor to burn up if it starves or pushes too much current through it. These batteries can catch fire on the charger (and have) when cell temperatures are not properly monitored and managed.

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The original manufacturers’ batteries use cells with proven designs, strict quality control, and longer-lasting capacity.

For more information on safe usage of power tool batteries, visit https://www.powertoolinstitute.com/pti-pages/battery-safety.asp.