Cross-Brand Adapter Makes for Blended Battery Family

Even though he’s a faithful DeWalt cordless tool guy, [Richard Day] admits to a wandering eye in the tool aisle, looking at the Ryobi offerings with impure thoughts. Could he stay true to his brand and stick with his huge stock of yellow tools and batteries, or would he succumb to temptation and add another set of batteries and chargers so he could have access to a few specialty lime green tools?

Luckily, we live in the future, so there’s a third way — building a cross-brand battery adapter that lets him power Ryobi tools with his DeWalt batteries. [Richard]’s solution is a pure hack, as in physically hacking battery packs and forcing them to work and play well together. Mechanically, this was pretty easy — a dead Ryobi pack from the recycling bin at Home Depot was stripped down for its case, which was glued to a Dewalt 20-v to 18-v battery adapter. The tricky part came from dealing with the battery control electronics. Luckily, the donor DeWalt line has that circuitry in the adapter, while Ryobi puts it in the battery. That meant simply transplanting the PCB from the adapter to the Ryobi battery shell would be enough. The video below shows the process and the results — Ryobi tools happily clicking away on DeWalt batteries.

While [Richard] took a somewhat brute-force approach here, we imagine 3D-printed parts might make for a more elegant solution and offer other brand permutations. After all, printing an adapter should be easier than whipping up a cordless battery pack de novo.

15 thoughts on “Cross-Brand Adapter Makes for Blended Battery Family

      1. More so, the “20v” tools max out at 20v as 5x 18650’s fully charged with no load will read over 4v.

        Personally I like the distinction as it allows for easily communicating whether you are referring to the older “18v” line or the new “20v” line.

        But people are going to get bent out of shape over anything, no point trying to correct/explain.

      2. *Looks at his DeWalt drill with its 18v lithium battery pack*
        Nope, 20v is pure marketing BS. They’re sold as 18v in the UK (and probably europe) because that’s the packs nominal voltage. You can bet if they sold them as “20v” instead of “20v MAX” in the US there’d be a slew of false advertising claims.

  1. I like the 20V better since they have the meter built into the battery. Dewalt has great customer service with the adapters also as I called in when one of mine stopped working within the warranty period and I wound up calling a couple months later because I was off the grid on the farm and on the road and they still mailed me a free replacement.

    This is interesting and neat. Great article and video.

    Now to look into Ryobi tools if need, as I was looking at Milwaukee at one time to hack an adapter and found the discrepancy between the battery logic circuit being internal versus external with the Dewalt and looks like Ryobi. Wound up working on the 120V 9A Portland Harbor Freight Electric Chainsaw portable inverter deep cycle battery pack. Sweet and great find on the wife.

  2. This is yet another hackaday.io useless article. There are, BTW, dozens of 3D printed models in thingiverse to adapt almost any battery to almost any device (if voltages are compatible, and yes… 20 V DeWalts are really the same as 18 V everyone else’s).

  3. …Made a couple of these a year or so ago to run Black & Decker tools ..Nothing fancy ..Works Great ..EZ fix for any tool.
    ..Seems to be a lot of taking about this and that ..it’s not rocket science.

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