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Old 13-10-2010, 19:07   #16
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Well then, this has been wonderfully helpful. I expected nothing less.

While I am inexorably attracted to the convenience of cordless, I sometimes forget that these tools tend to have a shorter lifespan, not to mention that of the batteries. They are amazing, to be sure, the power and durability are unprecedented, but I attempt to obtain things that will be lifetime usable. My grandfather was a machinist who built many of his own tools. My father still uses many of them, and there is no reason to suspect that the generation to follow mine won't find them useful as well. I'm 31, and this lesson of DIY and quality still rides hard in the face of so much that gets labeled "durable" today but wont last even 10 years. The bar, I think, has been lowered.

Ok, enough proselytizing. I have my cordless drill and it is great. I don't think I need to consider cordless for anything further. Corded should live longer and I already have a large battery bank aboard, a giant floating power pack I don't think any tool manufacturer can equal regardless of the latest technologies (though the latest advances in lithium-ion are very noteworthy).

This leaves me with one question: I have not yet needed to invest in a quality inverter. This seems like a good time to do so. What qualities should to be considered in an inverter such that power tools and a heavy duty sewing machine won't go thirsty?

Many thanks.

-Brian
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Old 13-10-2010, 19:10   #17
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Old 13-10-2010, 20:10   #18
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DeWalt 18V system. Hands down. Ask any professional.

Bill
Doesn't happen very often but I disagree with you Bill. Makita Lithium Ion batteries and tools are stronger and tools are lighter then Dewalt.
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Old 13-10-2010, 21:06   #19
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We have a 2000W xantrex modified sine wave inverter, which is overkill for the sanders, saws, grinders, sewing machine, TV, etc., but will also run the heat gun and the shopvac. If I sand away for 8 hours, it takes about an hour's motor time to top the batteries back up.

We have two cordless drills--a 12v which I know I can wire to the boat if its batteries die, and a Milwaukee 28v right angle drill, which can grind the winches as well as make holes. I use the big inverter to recharge the Milwaukee battery packs, but find that a 150 watt inverter is more efficient for the smaller things like the 12v drill, cell phones, computers, etc.
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Old 13-10-2010, 22:41   #20
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G'day, Brian, I have a 13 year old Heart (now Xantrex) 2500 inverter / charger, still going strong. I use it to run our fridge/freezer on days that I don't use our 8 kw genset, so you might not need one as large. The larger charger helps to get the amps back in our 760 amp AGM house bank, while minimizing the genset time. Cheers.
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Old 14-10-2010, 05:40   #21
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This leaves me with one question: I have not yet needed to invest in a quality inverter. This seems like a good time to do so. What qualities should to be considered in an inverter such that power tools and a heavy duty sewing machine won't go thirsty?

Many thanks.

-Brian
We have an Invertek 1500 true sine wave. Runs everything that we ask of it.

Agree with a previous post about using a small plug-in inverter for some small jobs like charging a phone.
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Old 14-10-2010, 05:47   #22
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Here's what you do: Before you leave take a nice board and drill a bunch of nice holes in it. Make a few power saw cuts around the edges. Power sand it real nice on both sides. Stow it in a locker somewhere. These are the holes and cuts and sandings you can use while cruising. Leave all the power tools at home. Skip the huge inverter. Go cruising. Forget about those projects. They'll be there when you get back someday.

Seriously.
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Old 14-10-2010, 06:17   #23
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Some tools and/or appliances don't run perfectly off a modified sine wave inverter (TV's and electric fans can make a constant buzzing sound, some other household electronics can get wonky, etc..). True sine wave inverters are more expensive, but their availability is steadily improving.

Personally, I've never had problems with my modified sine wave inverter affecting systems or appliances in a seriously negative way, with the only real issues being the buzzing sounds I indicated above. But I have heard some stories about them wrecking sensitive gear.

That's about all I'd contribute to this. My answer to the posed question was to get corded tools, and then 150' of extension cords. This way I can plug into any outlet on the boat, and still make it to the top of the mast with room to spare.
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Old 14-10-2010, 06:40   #24
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I've been amazed at the lack of self-discharge in the Lithium-ion Makita stuff... they're still strong after many months in storage. My not-so-old Hitachi Ni-MH kit dies in a few days.
I agree 100% with this...they are amazing at holding a charge when unused, and the recharge time for the drills I have (2) is in like 20 minutes.
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Old 14-10-2010, 07:02   #25
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I agree 100% with this...they are amazing at holding a charge when unused, and the recharge time for the drills I have (2) is in like 20 minutes.
Me too. The drill we have is the Makita. Any time that I need the drill, it has a charge and runs great.

We recently used it to buff the topsides. I had to change the battery about 3 times. In the amount of time that I would use one up, the other was charged completely.
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Old 14-10-2010, 07:29   #26
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I use corded tools because you are not supposed to leave the battery in a discharged state for long periods of time. They recommend using the battery at least once every two to three weeks which isn't likely in the winter months.
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Old 16-10-2010, 14:44   #27
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I have a DeWalt cordless drill (14V I think) that I have had for 15 years or more. I replace the batteries (I have two). Other than drilling one or two holes in a project I used corded tools for everything except work up the mast, where the cordless goes up with me.

Based on what I see from others on the dock and professional colleagues I'll probably replace the DeWalt with a Makita next time the batteries don't hold enough charge.
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Old 16-10-2010, 15:27   #28
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DeWalt 18V system. Hands down. Ask any professional.
+2. And the same batteries that power the drill and the reciprocating saw also power the vacuum and the searchlight.

My only corded power tools are an orbital sander and a dremel tool.
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Old 16-10-2010, 15:34   #29
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Old 16-10-2010, 15:34   #30
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I have a 14v cordless drill that I love.

but today was on another boat helping drill some stainless steel and his was corded... had the engine on to run the inverter etc.

SS probably needed the corded drill as there was a lot a holes (need new bits before we finish)


ON a boat you will always love a cordless drill. If you really need a corded drill for one job you can always buy a cheapie for $20...
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