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Dewalt Flexvolt - cordless tool system

 
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Dewalt has come out with a terrific cordless system called flexvolt. This is a general overview about what makes this different from other tools.

Battery switches from 20v to 60v depending on the tool. Recipro saw, chainsaw, grinder all run at 60v. Power is as good as corded tools in most cases. Drills and most other tools stay at 20v.  Those dont have to be "flexvolt" tools. This helps with costs to complete a full compliment of tools. You may already have some.

In the 20v category, getting the "max" line comes with brushless motors. This should give longer reliable service.

Now that 60v is available, they make a chopsaw and table saw. They run off of 2 60v batteries for 120v used. Brillliant but pricey. 

The battery charger holds 4 batteries and charges all 4 at same time. When the batteries are charged, this 4 pack unit is now a power source. You can plug a corded tool into it with the same power as plugging into an outlet at home (120v 15amp). 

I built my rocket cookstove with the system. This included cutting 1/4" thick 6" round pipe into lengths with the grinder. You couldnt tell me it wasn't cordless. 

When you look at a battery system that can work on hand power tools (the norm), stationary tools (chopsaw, table saw) and gas tools (chainsaw,  masonry cutting saw), it can easily be THE system to fit ALL needs on a homestead. The only missing tools are a weedeater and a mower. Hopefully that will be resolved soon.

Cordless just got hardcore. 

Here is a quick video about how the battery switches volts, which is the key to the system:
https://youtu.be/NlJZL3ZrIwo

I will review each tool on its own, applying the appropriate acorns per tool.
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Wayne, nice review.

I have seen the flexvolt system myself.  Personally I am not in the DeWalt line, but the I agree that the flexvolt system is very impressive.  In my opinion, the mist innovative aspect is the charger that becomes a power source with batteries!  

I have to ask, how do tools handle with a 60 volt battery attached?  I am especially thinking of tools like a drill.  I am in the Ridgid line (sorry, not trying to steal your thread here) and when I finished off my basement, I was doing a lot of drilling, especially drilling into the cement floor and putting in tapcons.  I had a 4 amp hour battery on an 18 volt drill, but even after using it all day, I could not run the drill down past the 1/2 mark--and I really worked that drill.  I am just curious if you would use a 60 volt battery on a drill when the much smaller ones work all day.

Thanks for starting this thread,

Eric
 
wayne fajkus
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The 60v comes in 6, 9, and 12ah versions. No, they are not needed on the drills but can be used on them. The drills came with batteries so no use using the bigger batteries on them. The flexvolt batteries and chargers will work on all non flexvolt 20v tools and batteries. The 20v only will not power the 60v tools of course.

EDIT: THE BATTERY CHANGES TO 20V ON A 20V TOOL AND TO 60 ON A 60V TOOL. You are not running 60v on the drill. In fact, to make it airplane legal, there is a red cap that slides on that locks it into 20v for legal reasons. I think that it pushes it into and out of parallel/series wiring to accomplish this. Pretty brilliant imo.



 
Eric Hanson
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Wayne,  

I did not know if you had some exotic, extremely heavy-duty drilling (coring in cement for instance) that would warrant a 60V drill.  I agree with you that the 18/20V batteries are perfectly adequate for most drilling activities.

I assume that the main use for the flexvolt system would then be for portable table saws and miter saws.  I guess it would also be handy for metal grinding as well, though I have to admit that I have an 18V grinder and I was surprised by what it could do with a 4 AH battery.

Anyhow, it is a cool system and would love to hear your various projects on which you have used it.

Eric
 
wayne fajkus
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I give this grinder 10 out of 10 acorns

DEWALT Flexvolt 60v grinder

Price is not unreasonable when compared to an equivalent corded brushless grinder (tool only, no battery).

I have put this to hard use. I experienced no slowdown when applying pressure.  I could not tell the difference between it and a reputable corded grinder. Compared to my old cordless grinder (craftsman c3 19.2v) this flexvolt is a beast.  Its rated for 4-1/2 to 6" which gives a great variety of blades to use.

I cut 6" round pipe (1/4" wall thickness)
I used a wire brush to refurbish a cast iron pot
I used a grinder (thick wheel) to shape metal, clean up metal.

In all cases it performed like corded.

It has a brake which goes to full stop much quicker than a corded or cordless grinder not equipped.  Its not full stop quick, but it is quicker than without.

I am blown away by the nut that holds the blade. Its worth adding a pic or link and suggest converting all grinders to it. The edges are knurled and thick enough so a wrench can grip it. The 2 holes on the face (to use the spanner) are hexagonal. A supplied allen wrench is all that is needed to remove it. I have busted my hands up several times trying to use pliers to remove the skinny smooth nut from makita corded or my c3 cordless grinder. This is a big "little" deal.

The ONLY negative is i wish the allen wrench would store in the tool. Thats not enough to delete an acorn because in most cases, no tool is needed to remove the nut.

Check this out at Amazon.com
DEWALT DCG414T1 60V MAX 1 Battery FLEXVOLT Grinder with Kickback Brake Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H9BLGD2/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_uHpnCbA5G2AC9

Here is an equivalent nut. It shows what i suspected.  It is self tightening. There is a positive stop when you tighten it. At that point it is fully locked. Other styles continue to torque down without saying "hey, I'm locked, you can stop now ". Faq indicates it will work on 4-1/2" grinders.

Check this out at Amazon.com
Superior Electric LN5811SL 5/8-11" Thread Grinder Self Tightening Quick Change Lock Nut for 6" to 9" Grinders https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5OR7D6/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_V1pnCbW0236VZ
dewalt-angle-grinders-dcg414b-64_400_compressed.jpg
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wayne fajkus
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I give this saw 10 out of 10 acorns when comparing to a cordless saw. I give this 9 out of 10 acorns when comparing to a corded saw. Its very close.

DEWALT Flexvolt 60v 7-1/4" circular saw


My past cordless circular saws were either too small bladed (5-3/8) to fully cut through a 2x4, or they lacked the torque on bigger blades to keep the blade spinning. Both were big enough issues to go grab some cords and run a corded saw. Not the case with this one.

Blades have evolved so much and i may edit my acorns when comparing against a corded saw. It is so close to being equivalent.  The only concern is toothed metal blades that can cut through steel. I am not sure this will handle it, but i may be pleasantly surprised also.

For cutting wood it does the job solidly.  My guess is any wood you cut with a corded saw, you can cut with this. 4x4's, hardwoods, etc.

The only magic on this compared to other saws besides brushless(corded or cordless) is a brake which slows the blade down faster when trigger is released. Nothing fancier than that. Just a good saw ready to get the job done.


Check this out at Amazon.com
DEWALT DCS575B FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Lithium-Ion Brushless 7 1/4" Circular Saw (Bare Tool) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H9BLSW6/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_O7pnCb2M6Q6RH


dewalt-circular-saws-dcs575b-64_400_compressed.jpg
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I was also very enthused about the flexvolt products. A genius idea, I thought.

I have a few, and am no longer very happy with most.

My grinder quit 11 months in. Lightly used. 3 months to get warranty replacement.

I am SHOCKED tonsee enthusiam for the nut on the grinder. The allen key is awful. Temp changes can leave the nut so tight the allen key will fail... several times rhe only way to get the damned thing off was a big vise... not helpful in a cordless tool! Why can it not use the far superior regular double-insert grinder wrench, like my $25 corded cheapo grinders? Which incidentally have both done 50x as much work without issue despite being loaned to people who leave them in the rain...

The circ. saw doesn't quite track straight. Run the guard up a straightedge and the blade will manage to drift a bit.

The chainsaw bar lock loosens off. It was good for 1.5 years, now I'm constantly retightening or throwing the chain. The oiler went from way to much, to constantly clogged.

The blower is damned underwhelming compared to other similar blowers, but at that point I was pretty invested in the platform.

The dewalt work lights are awful, bad quality blue-tinted LEDs.

My biggest complaint is the batteries. one died entirely, days out of warranty. The rest have degraded far too fast.

They do not cut off in time, ie the low voltage shutoff is set too low, sor they get overdrained; accordingly, the battery life declines much faster than it ought to. On top of that the 2/6AH batteries have far less than 2/3rds the life of the 3/9AH in the serious tools; the cells used can't handle the amp draw so you lose massively to the peukert effect.

I complained to the tools manager at the local box store when he pitched me on another yellow tool. He told me 'the early batteriess had problems, but they've fixed that.'

Since I had hundreds of dollars in 'early problem batteries' and Dewalt did nothing to replace them, this wasn't really a selling point for me.

The good?

My dewalt drill, impact driver, cutoff tool, and impact wrench have all been fine. None are flexvolt, but work with the batteries. the Milwaukee and Makita equivalents I have used are sometimes better, and never worse...

The flexvolt chop saw is AMAZING, and I do not think it has any competitors yet.


If I win the lottery I will replace all my yellow tools with Milwaukee... except the chop saw.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Eric, I have only flexvolt batteries for my dewalt tools. they're a bit on the heavy/clumsy side, but the idea was I'd have a ton of runtime for the tools that really need it, and use the same batteries in all the smaller stuff.

The heavy/clumsy aspect doesn't really tens to bug me, but the plan doesn't really work thst well because the 2/6AH batteries have a pathetic runtime on the chainsaw and pretty poor on the blower.

I mean, if the 3/9 would give me a dozen cuts in a decent  sized tree, the 2/6 is probably going to give 5 at best.
 
wayne fajkus
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Dillon, i hope to have better results but time will tell. On grinders, my shop has 9 corded grinders that see work everyday. I probably buy 50 a year. Its terrible. Im switching from makita to dewalt "brushless" in hopes of seeing more life out of them. We require variable speed.

The nut seems like a great improvement. My installers  can change from cutting wheels to core bits several times a day. While i think its great, they may tell me otherwise as more of them go into service. Most of the time we change blades with no tool, so in the rare situation  a tool is needed for it, pliers are easier to find than the included spanner wrench. This nut gives options. It also looks like this nut has a clutch, so that if the blade gets stuck, the blade stops turning. Im not 100% on that, but thats the only reason i can think of for it having that floppy bit of metal on the backside. If that is correct, ill call that a positive.

 
Dillon Nichols
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I hope you have better luck as well! With that sort of churn you should be in a much better position to speak authoritively about the grinder in a year or so.

The flexvolt grinder does claim to stop if it binds; generally the cutting disc will just blow instead but it workseems sometimes with thin discs and pretty reliably with grinding wheels or thick discs. The motor cuts out rather than the disc staying put while the motor runs, so I doubt that's a clutch on the nut...

Making the nut grippy is great. It's the Allan wrench that makes me crazy...

Incidentally it was after one of these 'safety shutoffs'  that my first grinder never turned back on...
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:Dewalt has come out with a terrific cordless system called flexvolt. This is a general overview about what makes this different from other tools.

Battery switches from 20v to 60v depending on the tool. Recipro saw, chainsaw, grinder all run at 60v. Power is as good as corded tools in most cases. Drills and most other tools stay at 20v.  Those dont have to be "flexvolt" tools. This helps with costs to complete a full compliment of tools. You may already have some.

In the 20v category, getting the "max" line comes with brushless motors. This should give longer reliable service.

Now that 60v is available, they make a chopsaw and table saw. They run off of 2 60v batteries for 120v used. Brillliant but pricey.


Wayne, you mention you have a shop with corded hand-held equipment, and also that the new max line of DeWalt tools have brushless motors.  I'm assuming you're not off-grid, but do like the brushless system a lot (for the longevity reason).  Is that mainly it?  Or possibly that away from your shop, in the field, you've previously been reliant on a generator?  ???  

I have my way that fits my own circumstances, but don't expect it to be anybody else's preference...  I'm just curious.

wayne fajkus wrote:Check this out at Amazon.com
DEWALT DCS575B FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Lithium-Ion Brushless 7 1/4" Circular Saw (Bare Tool) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H9BLSW6/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_O7pnCb2M6Q6RH


I did go to that page.  Following on my comment/question above, eight lbs for the grinder seems like it could get tiresome.  My heaviest corded grinder is about five lbs.  Just wondering how you feel about this weight aspect?
 
wayne fajkus
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I don't know yet if the brushless dewalt will outlast the makita cordeds we have been running. Brushes are easy to change, i think its the bearing that has been going out. I looked at a tote full of dead grinders and thought i should try something new. 20 gallons of dead tools....

At work its all corded except drills. At home i like the convenience of cordless. 17 acres, no telling where the next emergency or project will land.

Im not offgrid but it is a hobby. Maybe some day. As an example, I have an offgrid building with chickens and turkeys. 2 solar panels, battery bank, and rainwater collection is in that building. Add a solar water heater and mass heater, i could move in.
 
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