April 27, 2009

Ridgid LCDPak and MiniPak for the SeeSnake

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Ridgid recently increased the capabilities of their SeeSnake with the release of two new monitors for the system. The big selling point on these two new items seems to be the fact that they can be powered by both standard AC or with Ridgid's 18-volt li-ion battery. This feature obviously translates into a much greater degree of portability and ease of use.

The LCDPak is the larger of the two new monitors. It's got a 10.4" color LCD display with 640x480 resolution and ten levels of light adjustment. The LCDPak can run for about five hours on two 18-volt batteries, but can also operate for a shorter time on one if need be.

The MiniPak is a smaller version and can also be run off of both power sources. It has a 5.7" color display and only takes one battery to get to the five hour mark.

Keep in mind that these monitors are part of the SeeSnake system and aren't necessarily sold with the SeeSnake camera hose. They are also high-powered pieces of digital equipment and are priced accordingly. As stand-alone items, the LCDPak and MiniPak retail for $2,600 and $2,000 respectively. It ain't cheap, but that's not to say it's not handy either (hellooo double negative). We've played around with both the Ridgid and Milwaukee hand held versions of the inspection camera and quickly saw how these larger models could be helpful. They're not really items for the homeowner, but someone in the trades could put them to good use.

MiniPak at Ohio Power Tools
LCDPak at Ohio Power Tools

Here's a video with more information on the LCDpak:

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

March 25, 2009

Porter-Cable Introduces Seven New Cordless Tools

In May of this year, Porter-Cable is adding seven new tools to their cordless catalog. They're also releasing two new 18-volt lithium-ion batteries (which we covered here). With one exception, the new tools are all 18-volt and they're going to be sold without batteries or chargers, which will be available separately. We discussed the possible advantages and disadvantages of this set-up here.

The oddball tool in the seven tool release is a 12-volt impact driver that is powered by a Ni-Cad battery and comes with a charger and two batteries.

The run-down on the tools is as follows...

From the press release:

Impact Drivers
pc_impact_driver.jpgPORTER-CABLE introduces two new 1/4-inch hex impact drivers, available in 18-volt (PC18ID) and 12-volt (PC120IDK-2) configurations. The 18-volt impact driver also is available as part of a lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), while the 12-volt impact driver comes standard as part of a NiCad kit. The impact drivers offer high-torque output, virtually eliminating kickback, thus allowing users to take-on heavy-duty fastening applications for extended periods without fatigue.

With a heavy-duty impact mechanism, the 18-volt and 12-volt impact drivers can deliver up to 1,600 inch-pounds and 1,400 inch-pounds of torque, respectively, at 2,800 blows-per-minute (BPM). The impact block is cold-forged to provide maximum durability.

At 6-1/2 inches, the impact drivers fit into tight areas not accessible to larger impact drivers and drill/drivers. To achieve the shortest length in their class, the impact drivers utilize a high-output, compact motor. The impact drivers incorporate a variable-speed trigger to provide a smooth power curve for maximum control across a range of applications and an on-board LED work light to illuminate dark areas without compromising battery run-time.

The 18-volt impact driver (PC18ID) will be available for a suggested retail price of $69.97 (batteries and chargers sold separately). This impact driver also will be available in an 18-volt, lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), which contains two standard lithium-ion batteries, a lithium-ion fast charger, a screwdriving bit, a belt clip and a storage bag, for $199.00. The 12-volt, NiCad impact driver kit (PC120IDK-2) contains two NiCad batteries, a one-hour NiCad fast charger, a screwdriving bit and a storage bag, and will be available for $139.00.

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March 24, 2009

Porter-Cable Rolls Out Nine New Tools and Two New Batteries

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Porter-Cable is in the process of rolling out a number of new tools, both corded and cordless, as well as two new battery platforms. Over the next couple days, we're going to be checking out the new tools, but here, we're going to take a look at the batteries.

Both of the new batteries are 18-volt lithium ion, which are built in such a way that they're backwards compatible with all older model 18-volt Porter-Cable tools. Porter-Cable already has a compact 18-volt li-ion battery on the market, which they released last year, but these two new ones offer longer run-times (at a heavier weight). They're sort of a momma bear and poppa bear to the existing baby bear.

It looks like Porter-Cable's plan is to release the batteries and tools separately. Because in the standard cordless tool kit, the batteries are equally as expensive as the tool, this is going to allow the user to save some money. It's a particular plus to the weekend DIYer, who can buy say three or four cordless tools at short money and only invest in one battery/charger kit (as opposed to paying for all those extra batteries). It poses a problem though for the tradesman who is going to be giving his tools constant use and will need all of those extra batteries kicking around. Porter-Cable's solution to this problem is to offer two new combo kits, which come with the tools as well as batteries and a charger.

From the press release:

LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLX) The LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack holds 18-volts of power in a pack weighing less than one pound. Available for a suggested retail price of $69.97, the PC18BLX is ideal for drilling, driving screws and other applications where a lighter weight and compact size are preferred. The LX battery pack has a 1.3 amp-hour rating.

EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLEX)
The EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack stores twice the power capacity of the more compact LX battery pack, doubling the run-time on a single charge while weighing 20 percent less than the PORTER-CABLE 18-volt NiCad battery pack. With this extended capacity, the EX battery pack is ideal for heavy-duty applications that require high power or longer run times such as projects involving extensive sawing or hammerdrilling. The EX battery pack has a 2.6 amp-hour rating and will be available for a suggested retail price of $89.97.


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February 27, 2009

Hitachi 10.8-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review

hitachi_rt_ang.jpgProbably the most interesting tool in Hitachi's new 10.8-volt lineup is their new right angle impact driver. We're pretty sure that this is the first right angle impact driver in any of the new micro lines of tools, which is why we were interested in checking it out and seeing how it holds up to both it's larger cousin, as well as finding out what kind of niche it can carve for itself in the world of tool functionality.

First, like Hitachi's mini-reciprocating saw, the ergonomics are off the charts. Again, the crazy Spiderman design, which we've been critical of in the past, gives it all the right bulges in all the right places (well, we never thought we'd ever write that sentence), making it a very easy tool to hold and maneuver into tight spots, which you'll likely be doing with the right angle feature.

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February 26, 2009

Skil Twist 4.8-Volt Screwdriver

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We noticed the Skil Twist the other day while researching our post on their iXO3. The Twist has similar functionality to other low-voltage screwdrivers with the hinged body, but the difference here is that the handle twists instead of folding. The tool also has the general pug-nosed look of Skil's iXO series, and this body-type allows for getting in some tight spots.

Judging from our impressions of other low voltage Skil tools, our bet is that this little guy works fine and that the 4.8-volts is enough to handle any light-duty tasks around the house. It costs about $30 which is about half the price of the Milwaukee and roughly the same as a similar Black & Decker model.

It's also worth noting that, unlike the Milwaukee, the Skil has an on-board battery, so the only charger needed is an a/c adapter that plugs directly into the tool.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 25, 2009

Ryobi 12-Volt 4 Piece Power Pack

ryobi_12_volt_kit.jpgWith the 12-volt craze in full swing, it was just a matter of time before Ryobi came along and filled up the shelves of Home Depot with a multi-piece kit for short money. And here it is: the 12-Volt 4 Piece Power Pack. At a glance, this kit looks very similar to their 18-volt kit, launched in the fall of '07, and our guess is that it will be just as popular.

The 12-volt kit comes with a drill/driver, a circular saw, a flashlight, and what they call a hybrid saw, which is a small reciprocating saw that uses jigsaw blades. We're all for the drill/driver, the hybrid saw, and the flashlight (probably the most used piece of our 18-volt kit), but we're a bit skeptical on the circular saw. We've found that 12-volt tools, while very useful, aren't all that powerful, so we have to wonder what the cutting capabilities are on this one. From what we've read, the blade only goes to a depth of 1" so it's obviously not going to handle any framing material, but it might be nice for small pieces of trim, 1/4" plywood, etc.

The really impressive thing about this kit is how much it's being sold for. Home Depot is practically giving them away for the irrationally low price of $119. The Bosch and Milwaukee drill/drivers alone go for that kind of cash. Our experience with the Ryobi 18-volt kit was that it was great for around the house activity and light contractor work and even though we did discover some longevity issues when pressed too hard, the low price made it more than worth the purchase. Our guess is that this little kit has the same characteristics, meaning it's a great way to get your hands on a full collection of nice 12-volt tools and not break the bank (just don't drop them off any scaffolding).

At Home Depot

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 10, 2009

Skil iX03 Palm-Sized Screwdriver

Skil_ixo3.jpgSkil has just released the iXO3, the third version of their popular palm screwdriver. To us, there were no apparent changes between version one and two, leading us to believe that there was some sort of battery upgrade, but this time, Skil has added on a removable right-angle attachment. We like this addition and think that it adds greatly to the appeal of the tool, particularly given it's small size. The ixO3 is only 3.6 volts so it's not going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting, but for around the house stuff like tightening drawer pulls, minor electrical work, and assembling toys and furniture, it should work great. All of these tasks mentioned are also places where the right-angle feature could be useful as well.

Unfortunately for all you iXO and iXO2 owners, it looks like the iXO3 is outfitted with a special chuck to accept the right angle attachment, so it doesn't look like there's the opportunity to retrofit the piece to the older models.

The iXO3 costs about $40, which is actually less expensive than the previous models without the right-angle attachment.

At TylerTool

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 9, 2009

Hitachi CR10DL 10.8 Volt Lithium Ion Micro Reciprocating Saw - Review

hitachi_recip_in_case.jpgIn early January, we announced that Hitachi was expanding their 10.8-volt line with a new flashlight, a right-angle impact driver, and a micro-reciprocating saw. Of these, the micro-recip saw and the Right-Angle Impact Driver interested us the most. We were happy to get our hands on the tools and have been testing them out for a couple of weeks. Here, we're going to give you our impressions of the micro-recip saw and in the very near future, we'll go on about the right angle driver.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hitachi CR10DL 10.8 Volt Lithium Ion Micro Reciprocating Saw - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 30, 2009

Craftsman NexTec Auto-Hammer - Review

autohammer.jpgThis little fella hit the stores just before the holidays as part of Craftsman new NexTec line ("next technology?"). We got our hands on one a few weeks ago and have been testing it in a variety of situations and here's what we thought...

If we had to classify the Auto Hammer, we'd say that it's a battery-powered palm nailer. The functionality is the same; the piston within the sleeve that pounds the nail with a series of hits, in this case, up to 3600 impacts per minute, which is actually more than most, if not all, palm nailers. The Auto Hammer also has a magnetic head that can hold any nail up to 7/16" wide. There's also a little LED that lights up the work piece. The tools in the NexTec line are all powered by a little 12-volt li-ion battery. Now, on to how the tool actually performed...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

January 8, 2009

Hitachi Expands 12V Li-Ion Line with Reciprocating Saw, Right-Angle Impact Driver, and Flashlight

hitachi_recip.jpgHitachi_right_angle.jpg
With all of the big tool companies releasing 12-volt tools with the speed and frequency of machine gun fire, we were wondering when Hitachi would start really blowing out their own line of micro tools. Looks like we don't have to wait any longer because joining their current Driver Drill and Impact Driver are a new mini-reciprocating saw, a flashlight, and a right-angle impact driver.

To quote the press release:

ArrowContinue reading: "Hitachi Expands 12V Li-Ion Line with Reciprocating Saw, Right-Angle Impact Driver, and Flashlight"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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