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Thread: corded vs battery power tools at remote site???

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    Default corded vs battery power tools at remote site???

    Here is a question about power tools for cabin building/other building projects at a remote site with no electric power.

    Do you find it better to use corded or battery powered tools at a remote site? In either case, a generator is required equipment. As I see it, one can either use corded, 120 volt AC powered tools plugged into a generator that runs all the time, or one can use battery pack tools and only run the generator to charge the batteries. I wonder which consumes less fuel or produces less wear on the generator.

    Also, what size generator would be required for each use?

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    A 2000 watt generator would do fine and using cordless will go much easier on the generator and use less fuel, have several batteries on hand though.

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    So...a 2k gen with battery packs but not corded tools, or a 2k gen for both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    A 2000 watt generator would do fine and using cordless will go much easier on the generator and use less fuel, have several batteries on hand though.
    Exactly how we did it, 2000 watt Honda generator and 4 lithium dewalt batts, worked great.
    BK

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    I say both. We built 95 percent of our home with a Makita 18v drill and saw. But a cheap back up electric drill and skilsaw comes in awful handy when you run out of battery and still have work to do. Especially with more than one person sharing a few batteries. Winter temperatures make a big difference too. Best purchase I made when building my house was a Paslode butane framing nailer.

    if you are building constantly, the generator will pretty much be running the whole time anyway I found. I can't remember exactly, but I think I was getting a couple dozen or 30 2x6 cuts on a charge so we pretty much had a battery charging full time. The gen run time is mox nix...IMO.

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    +1 to what dkwarthog said. I used a cheap Ryobi kit for most of my cabin, but sitting around, waiting for batteries to charge while listening to the hum of the Honda 2K is the pits.

    Particularly with the circular saw and recip saw, they ate through batteries faster than I could charge them, even with 6 batteries. At one point, while cutting 2x12's for my stairs with the circular saw, I ran out of batteries, and I got so frustrated, I made the 3 hour round trip to town to buy an electric skil saw... batteries were still charging.

    That being said, on days where all I needed was the drill and light trimming with the circular saw, it sure was nice to do a whole day's work with no generator running.
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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    We started with a ryobi 18 volt and quickly went to dewalt 20v lithium. The generator barely ran and charge time is measured in minutes vs. hours.
    We had back up corded tools but never used them.
    BK

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    I didn't have power lines to my home when it was built (yet) so was informed by my builder he needed a decent generator for his power tools. I ended up finding a great price on a 9 hp honda generator attached with the Themal Arc welder and grabbed it. I've used both the gen for backup power during power outages and even welded a few things around the garage with it over the last many yrs. Glad now I went that route. Something you might want to think about?
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    Well it souds like all I'm lacking then is the generator. I built a tent platform last year using the cheap ryobi 18v one plus set. The circ saw puked during the first project. (The plastic housing for the arbor cracked and the blade went wobbly.) Since then, I've been switching out to all Milwaukee tools. (I went with the 12v due to weight as it fit my needs working in an aircraft hangar at the time.) Because I bought "kits" rather than "bare tools" I have three charges and six batteries. (I still have a Ryobi jig saw, drill, sander, and flashlight that I'm basically "use till it pukes" and not replacing batteries etc.)

    I was thinking on buying coded stuff from now on for this project, but I think you all are probably right about fuel use and charge time etc. Besides, I do have a corded circ saw and drill (Crafstman and B&D from the 70's-my late father's stuff) that I could use as a back up.

    Thanks for the input. I kinda needed to know as, right now, Milwaukee is giving away a free battery with every tool kit purchase. (Can you say, new sawz-all?)

    Oh yeah, and my girlfriend's dad has the butane powered nailer. (Which, comically enough, he received as a gift shortly AFTER, he finished building his cabin, so it's never been used.)

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Your most economic route is going to be corded tools, both in purchase price and energy use. Each time you convert energy you loose some of it to heat, and making electricity to charge a battery than discharging it in a tool is less efficient than running a corded tool to the generator. I'd say a good skill saw, jig saw, 1/2" drill and a screw shooter would serve you well.
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    I used both corded and cordless tools when building my cabin...they both have a place.
    When you are cutting 6 x 12 glue lam beams with a cordless tool.....a corded bigfoot saw does a faster and better job.

    An air compressor for rapid power nailing (16d, 8d, 14 gauge) can not be beaten by any cordless tool (14 gauge staples with a 3/6 pattern)...

    I used a 3000 watt to run everything. Have and use both...they all have a place in building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otternorth View Post
    I used both corded and cordless tools when building my cabin...they both have a place.
    When you are cutting 6 x 12 glue lam beams with a cordless tool.....a corded bigfoot saw does a faster and better job.

    An air compressor for rapid power nailing (16d, 8d, 14 gauge) can not be beaten by any cordless tool (14 gauge staples with a 3/6 pattern)...

    I used a 3000 watt to run everything. Have and use both...they all have a place in building.
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    One thing you might consider is precutting your materials in town. I have all my rafters, studs, floor joists, headers etc precut to minimize the time spent and amount of cutting on location. I'll still have my generator to run the nail gun, but a few 2x cuts can be handled with a sharp handsaw pretty easy


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    They both have there place ,the cordless are nice for small quick jobs corded tools are nice because you are not constantly charging batteries ,nothing more frustrating than having your battery go dead when you have one more screw to drive.

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    Haven't done it, but I would be inclined towards corded tools and run the generator while I am working anyway.

    At the end of the day, shut down the generator and have some peace and quiet for dinner and evening.

    I know battery technology has come a long way. In the 1980s when I was running tools A LOT battery tools were hopeless for doing a days work, but handy for minor chores.

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    When I built my cabin, I used both corded and battery powered. When making long cuts with my beam saw, corded was the only way to go. Some of the small jobs the battery powered worked much easier than stringing a cord around. I think having both on the job site is the way to go.

  17. #17

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    Be careful about charging your cordless tools. These chargers aren't just wires and terminals. THere are sensitive electronics in there and their power requirements are more that just "put juice on it". I once had a cordless charger hooked up to a cheap inverter on a big battery. The power fried the electronics in the cordless tool charger. I have an old school generator with a big Briggs and Stratton motor. It's noisy as a 747 on takeoff, but I scored it for $50. Anyway, I haven't tried running a charger off of it. I have heard these newer hondas are the way to go for running any type of electronics. My old fashioned cordless saw runs on sandwiches, so I don't have to worry about overloading it's circuits. :-)

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    That's funny Steve! I burned out a 12v Makita charger that had a cig plug by charging it in my truck. That was a head scratcher..

  19. #19

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    I used both cordless (rafter framing) and corded with a generator for big cuts. I also made a lot of use of the cordless type of tools that Steve mentioned running on sandwiches. Mine were ran on Vodka, so there was some waste associated with them.....
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    If you are building with logs and driving log screws I'd at least want a corded drill along. FWIW, 5 gallons of fuel will keep a Honda 2000 eu genny running a really long time.

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