Makita Tools - tech related since I use them on my 200 (1 Viewer)

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CharlieS

CharlieS

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For anyone that uses Makita cordless tools, I learned a quick hack that can let you run the newer batteries with the older tools.

Your method may vary, not responsible, probably voids warranties, do at your own risk, blah, blah, blah.

I have a pile of Makita 18v LXT tools that I gathered over the years, and this year I went from a gas chainsaw and string trimmer to Makita cordless kits that came with extra batteries. In the process I got like 8 new 18v LXT 5 AH batteries. I was psyched because figured that meant I could use them on both the new tools and the old tools - the batteries are what seems to die on these cordless tools.

But wait a second, not so fast... Makita in their infinite wisdom (and probably some solid engineering reason - they'd never do it to force us to upgrade tools, nah...) made it so the new batteries won't plug into the old tools.

WTF? I was on a trip and went to use my cordless impact wrench on some nuts, and to my bewilderment, the battery wouldn't seat in the old tool. Grrrr. Luckily I had hand tools.

Fast forward to the other day when another of my 3 AH LXT batteries died, and I went off to the Google machine and typed "makita lxt old tool new battery". Up came several videos with hacks to let you use the newer 5AH batteries with older 3AH LXT tools.

It turns out that there is a plastic nub molded into the battery mount on the old tools that prevents the battery from fully engaging, but if you remove that nub, the batteries work fine. Cool...!

So I'm doing this to my old tools so I can use all of the new batteries. Thought I'd pass this along so fellow 'mudders could do the same if they want to.

Just replacing my 1/2" cordless impact with a new version would have been $250+, and it'd cost in the thousands to replace all of my otherwise fully functioning Makita LXT tools. That's money better spent on gas and dog treats.

Who knows if this is going to be bad for the tools, or make them blow up; do it at your own risk. There are some indications that this nub is related to not letting you overload the tool, but that's a chance I'll take.

Side note, my electric impact wrench, reciprocating saw and angle grinder had this nub, but my drill and impact driver did not. I haven't checked the other tools.

This was a quick 3 min hack job with a razor knife:

CFA60A2E F6E8 4430 B2EB 3C038AC2B0E8
CE14C655 2D1B 4C08 ACBE 5788B6CFD584
DA85420D 1B67 4EB9 83C5 5F4E68AD337D
 
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radman

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Nice, thanks! I’m a 18v makita fanboy as well, but I generally prefer the smaller batteries 2.0/3.0Ah since they are lighter and more compact.
 
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CharlieS

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I just ordered a LXT ratchet (bare tool) so suspect I'll end up getting into the smaller batteries too. The old 3.0 Ah and new 5.0Ah seem to be the same form factor - size, shape, but I didn't compare them too closely. My 3.0 Ah Makita batteries are long dead, and I've been using Amazon copycat batteries for a while.
 
CharlieS

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That's like asking how many motorcycles are too many, or how many cruisers are too many, the answer is always one more than you currently have. lol
 
e9999

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is that difference between tools somehow related to that Star that is stamped/printed on some of the tools and batteries?
 
CharlieS

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is that difference between tools somehow related to that Star that is stamped/printed on some of the tools and batteries?
Yep. The star is on the newer system that doesn't fit the old tools (unless modified). There are a couple of ways to identify them, I don't have it handy, but I saw it on google, the star is one of the ways. The new ones have a battery indicator and monitoring system.
 
radman

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Yep. The star is on the newer system that doesn't fit the old tools (unless modified). There are a couple of ways to identify them, I don't have it handy, but I saw it on google, the star is one of the ways. The new ones have a battery indicator and monitoring system.
my new 2.0/3.0Ah batteries have the indicator and monitoring, but they fit all my hand tools. maybe it's just the 5.0 that has the nubbie?
 
CharlieS

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my new 2.0/3.0Ah batteries have the indicator and monitoring, but they fit all my hand tools. maybe it's just the 5.0 that has the nubbie?
Could be.

The nub is on the tool side of the old tools, not the new battery or tools. It just prevents full engagement of the new 5.0 Ah battery in the old tool.
 
e9999

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I'm thinking that Makita probably decided that this was a good move as in tools failing would be worse PRwise than batteries not fitting. Probably a tech reason for it.
 
CharlieS

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Maybe, but if you do some googling around, it has pissed off and pushed away a lot of formerly loyal makita customers and probably done a fair amount of brand damage, especially in the trades. They probably could have mitigated the damage with a good communication plan and a tool trade-up program, but instead chose to ignore it, and not even arm their customer service and distribution network with talking points.
 
e9999

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well, if there were a lot of people upset about the batteries not fitting and nobody noting tools failing after the hack, then they screwed up indeed.

If the nubs are on the old tools, that means that they put those there long before the new batteries were available, probably on the anticipation that some later batteries would give out too many amps. Maybe that was even unneeded given new battery designs. But I can't say I would be that upset with them given that other brands have switched to more incompatible battery designs, this nub is hackable, and it sounds like some of the new batteries fit anyway. It would be sort of like being upset with them for developing 40V tools now. Can't really blame them for that. Although TBH I will be annoyed if they don't put out batteries that can do both 40V AND 18V and fit on BOTH lines of tools. But probably too much to expect...
 
CharlieS

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Ok. Just passing it along. It saved me from spending a crap-ton of money buying a bunch of new tools, so it made me happy.
 
KLF

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All of my older Makita tools have been de-nubbed for years and still see a lot of use with newer 5 ah batteries, no ill effects.
 
e9999

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I imagine that nub issue also means that the 5Ah batteries have a different mount configuration than the lower capacity ones if the latter fit. Did not expect that. What's the difference?
 
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I have done this as well - Just know that the non-star tools can pull the battery down below where they should - so when you get to one bar left, pull the battery for charging.
 

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