Professional power tools have been rapidly evolving for the last decade, just take a look at your local tool shop for all the evidence you need. The corded bays have begun shrinking and the cordless range is constantly expanding. The speed at which batterypowered tools are advancing is phenomenal. Since moving from NiCd chemistry to the Lithium Ion chemistry manufacturers have been scrambling to squeeze everything they could out of these battery packs to give end users what they need. The evolution has grown in recent times from 10.8V to 14.4V and settled at 18V. Manufacturers moved from creating more powerful tools to increasing runtime, and so began the ‘Amp/Hour’ story. Spend any time at a trade night and the first thing users want to know is, ‘How many amps and how long does it run for?’
The benefits of going brushless are also closely linked with runtime. By reducing friction within the tool a brushless motor provides two key things: cooler running temperature and increased power. With XR FlexVolt DEWALT has redesigned its brushless motors to deliver even more power and runtime than previously thought possible.
A mixed bag
The power and runtime available from 18V tools has been a great aid to trades, increasing their productivity and output. There is a limit, however, to the power that 18V can deliver, regardless of the size of the battery you attach. This has meant tradies have had to run both a cordless range and a corded range. Tighter EH&S/OH&S in recent years has meant corded tools carry a raft of restrictions such as test and tag, trip hazard compliance, overhead stowage and the availability of power onsite. DEWALT has seized upon this opportunity and begun relentlessly pursuing the cordless jobsite enter XR FlexVolt: the world’s first convertible battery pack allowing users to use the same battery across the 18V and powerful new 54V range. This allows the user to complete previously corded applications with the new DEWALT XR FlexVolt range.
How it works
For all intents and purposes the XR FlexVolt pack is an 18V/6.0AH battery pack, with one major advantage. If you take the battery and attach it to one of the new 54V Brushless XR FlexVolt products it automatically converts itself into series to deliver 54V of phenomenal power for a cordless unit. In 54V mode the battery is 2.0AH and DEWALT doesn’t shy away from that. It’s run time tested the range and can attest that this battery easily outperforms any 18V/6.0AH battery. Working with the numbers it’s easy to see how XR FlexVolt achieves this. To complete the same application an 18V battery needs to draw three times the amps out of the battery, thus sacrificing runtime. The 54V product not only draws less current out of the battery but also completes the application in a shorter time due to its extreme power. The benefits of this are twofold. Drawing less current produces less heat within the battery and allows for greater run times with lower amperage batteries. Another great feature of the XR FlexVolt pack is the 15-cell configuration, allowing the load to be distributed across a greater amount of cells and meaning the run time in 18V mode is superior to conventional 18V/6.0AH batteries.
• Volts(V) x Current Draw (A) = Power(W)
• 18V x 30A = 540W • 54V x 10A = 540W
For all the conveniences 18V brings it’s limited to light, and some medium, workloads. FlexVolt allows users to access high-power cordless tools without sacrificing runtime or running a dedicated high voltage line of tools. Think of the FlexVolt range as a V8 engine and the 18V range as your standard four cylinder. While economical and versatile on a flat road, once you need more power to drive up a steep hill the V8 is always going to deliver more power than the four cylinder, regardless of the size of the four cylinder’s fuel tank. Word from DEWALT is that its 9.0AH FlexVolt battery is coming in April, along with wave two tools, and with that it’ll further cement the brand as the most innovative, forward-thinking and tough power tool company in the game.