In 2003 Bosch was the first power tool manufacturer to produce cordless tools powered by lithium-ion technology. This laid down a marker in the industry which would set fire to a revolution; smaller batteries, lighter weights, longer run-times.
Now, in 2016, most of us wouldn’t consider a cordless tool unless it was powered by lithium-ion batteries. And Bosch set the way. Of course, lithium-ion batteries aren’t precious about how, where and when they’re charged, leading to some interesting developments on that very notion; how we charge our cordless power tool batteries.
So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Bosch innovate on the lithium-ion battery model by releasing wireless charging technology, and new lithium-ion batteries to go along with it. We announced this on the Toolstop blog early last year, and you can read our report – and our analysis on the new technology – here.
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Contactless – The Future of Charging?
At the moment, all cordless power tools require the battery to be removed from the tool and then inserted on to a charger. This action, repeated dozens and eventually hundreds of times during the life of the tool, exposes the contacts on the battery and tool to dust and dirt, which in turn degrades the quality of the connection. A poor connection means less efficient charging.
Wireless charging is sometimes refered to as “contactless” or “induction“, and because of how the technology works the battery remains fitted to the tool, the charge being received into the battery by the induction technology.
In practical terms, this means you don’t have to remove the battery from the tool to charge it, protecting it from the dirt and dust present on the jobsite. You’re also saving time, admittedly mere seconds, by not having to remove the battery and reattach it once it’s charged up. However, those seconds add up to minutes and then hours over the course of a year.
Also, while you’re using the tool, each time you place it on the charging station it’s topping itself back up, a key benefit of how lithium-ion packs handling charging. This means your tool is always getting juiced between uses.
And that’s an overview of what could be the future of cordless power tool charging. However…
Bosch comes along with some tweaks, improvements and surprise developments in the wireless charging technology, so…
This system of charging your batteries means you can work uninterrupted for longer because your cordless tool is continually charged by being placed on the charging station. And while this idea is especially great for when you’re working in a kitchen, for example, or in a workshop, Bosch has pushed the envelop and released a raft of accessories that will allow you to charge your tools in your van while you’re going to and between jobs, and even within their L-Boxxes.
- Bosch HOLSTERSET Wireless Charger + Holster and Car Charger Adapter. Pictured above, the Holster can be mounted to all vertical and horizontal surfaces in the vehicle, and the 2 m long cable enables it to be conveniently connected to the cigarette lighter. Arrive at the job, grab the charged up tool, you’re ready to go
- Bosch Wireless Charging L-BOXX Bay 230 V-AC Professional. Pictured below, the bay is compatible with every L-Boxx 136 and all you need is a special inlay to use contactless charging. Your compatible tool, along with a spare battery, will be charging while you drive, and it’s supplied with the necessary invertor that plugs into your van or car’s 12v cigarette lighter. Slide it out of the racking – if you use it – and your tool is ready to move onto the jobsite
Both of these accessories have moved Bosch’s wireless charging technology from the type of jobs where you’re stuck in one location all the time to now suit tradespeople who are truly mobile, working in and out of their vans.
Bosch Professional Wireless Battery Charging – Your Questions Answered
What about the battery in your car or van, will it discharge while you’re charging your Bosch tools?
No. The inverter and the WLC car charging station have a battery protective circuit. This eliminates the possibility of discharge. Most cars switch off the power supply to the cigarette lighter when the engine is switched off. The charging procedure therefore begins when the engine is started and ends when it is switched off.
Is the lifetime of a Wireless Charging battery shorter than that of a conventional battery?
No, Wireless Charging batteries have the same lifetime as conventional batteries. The unique “Care Charging” technology ensures that short charging sessions do not strain the battery. The battery lifetime is independent of the type of charger.
Is the charging station sensitive to water, dust or dirt?
Bosch Professional Wireless Battery Charging – What Tools Are Available from Toolstop
The full range of compatible tools and accessories available can be seen here, and we’ll be adding to the list as time goes on. Here’s a few examples – click the link to see the best price:
- Bosch GSB18V-LI, GDR18-LI: The GSB18V-LI has a headlength of a mere 195mm, but gives you 25,500bpm and up to 60Nm of torque. The compact GDR18-LI has the shortest headlength in its class (just 138mm), and provides you with 130Nm of torque and 3,000bpm. The twin pack comes in an L-Boxx with two 2Ah batteries and the GAL 1830 W contactless charging plate
- Bosch GSB18VLIW 2 Speed Mid-range Combi Drill: already a hugely capable combi drill offering up 1,700rpm, 25,500bpm and 67Nm of torque, it’s bundled up and L-Boxx with a wireless charging inlay, mounting frame for charging and the GAL 1830 W wireless charging bay. And of course, two 4Ah wireless CoolPack batteries
Could 2016 be the year where we see the concept of wireless charging for our lithium-ion cordless tools become mainstream? Will other manufacturers follow Bosch’s lead into this technology?
We’d love to hear your thoughts – along with any questions you may have – in the comments section below.
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