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Planned Obsolescence



I have a very nice DeWalt battery powered drill model DW929K2 that I have been using for ten years. The model number is superfluous after ten years. DeWalt has probably created and sold over a hundred new models since then.

My problem is the two 18 volt ni-cad battery packs that it came with are now in their final days. One won’t charge at all. I consider that no shame after all this time. The shame is the drill itself is still in great working condition.

So what to do? I went to the DeWalt web site and looked up the battery model DW9098. They show me a picture of it but it is marked “obsolete”. That’s nice, however they offer no replacement battery model number. It’s a dead end. I think they want me to buy a new drill motor with new non-obsolete batteries. Is that their plan?

Luckily and unluckily, this is the age of the Internet and a person can check out anything from the comfort of their home computer screen. Yep, lots of people selling batteries as replacements for the DW9098. But prices vary from $29.99 to over $100.00 each. The difference being in the battery chemistry and the amount of charge they will hold. The “correct” price seems to settle in at just under $50 each. There are a lot of gotcha’s in battery selection. Some look the same but are not. Example, some of the new batteries have three terminals in the connection plug rather than two.

I am not going to get into the messy details, but I discovered I needed to be very careful in battery selection.

I can actually purchase nearly the same DeWalt drill package (batteries, charger and motor) for just under $100.00 new (DC970K-2 @ Amazon) at the low end of the many selections available. It looks like a nearly exact replacement except I suspect the batteries may have 1/2 less capacity. Battery capacity is NOT listed. The replacement batteries for my old drill are nearly the same price as this complete kit. One option is to buy just one battery for my old drill.

One battery is very likely all I need in home shop use. It’s a valid consideration. I do like having the spare handy as it is not good practice to recharge a hot (from heavy use) dead ni-cad battery, best to let it cool down first.

Since I have only used the drill in shop and home work, not industrial or all day construction work, I figure the motor brushes and other electrical parts are probably in good shape. I’ll go with a new battery, actually two new batteries.

I found some high capacity ni-cad batteries at just under $40.00 each so if I only get eight more years from the drill, The cost will only be $10.00/year and I will be 74 years old! Maybe it’s just me that’s getting obsolete…

1 comment to Planned Obsolescence

  • Dan'l

    I received the two batteries last night. Actually I retrieved them from my mail box. They had the third terminal in the plug but it is thin enough and part of a molded in plastic barrier so it didn’t interfere with charging or insertion into the drill body. Result, they are fully compatible with my old drill.

    Wow! What an improvement in speed and power. Just like brand new…