Mar 142012
 
Chicago Electric Cordless Screwdriver

Chicago Electric Cordless Screwdriver

OK, I admit it, I thought I couldn’t go wrong buying a $10 dollar cordless screwdriver.  Yeah, nice idea – but not so much.  My backup plan, in case the screwdriver really stunk, was to adapt the parts into a robot drive motor.  As a robot wheel drive this screwdriver might not be a bad buy.

As a power screwdriver this model kinda stinks.  It’s rated at 4.8 Volts / 180 RPM and comes with a 6V / 300mA charger.  The motor / gearbox does not generate a lot of torque.  However, the worst aspect of the screwdriver is the charger.  Both the charger and the screwdriver get very warm after a day on charge.  Not good.  In other words, you can’t just leave the screwdriver on charge for days on end.  What a waste of energy!

HFT Screwdriver

$10 HFT 4.8V Screwdriver

Given the screwdriver stunk as a screwdriver, it only seemed right and OK to rip apart the brand new screwdriver to see if option B was going to work.  Below are some findings from the teardown:

  • Of course, the batteries are cheap-o Ni-Cd 600 mAh.
  • The gearbox, which is a nice planetary two-stage, needs to be mounted in the case to stay together.  Without the case screws, there is nothing holding the motor and gearbox together.
  • To use the motor / gearbox in a robot much of the original housing around the motor and gearbox would need to remain.  The housing would be needed to hold the motor and gearbox together.
  • While the front of the screwdriver looks made of metal, it is not.  The gearbox is all plastic except for the sun gear on the motor.
  • Testing the motor on my power supply I found the motor does not even start to try to turn until 1 amp of current is flowing!  Not the most efficient motor / gearbox combo.  After a little break in, I found the minimum motor speed / current was 1/2 Volt and 1/2 Amp.  So, just to free-wheel, the motor / gearbox consume a 1/4 Watt of energy.  Not great.

So, bottom line, not the best choice for either option A or option B.  In hindsight, I should have known that a $10 cordless screwdriver was going to stink!

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