Li-ion weatherproof?

Chilehead

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Stockbridge, GA
I've been on the fence about purchasing a few pieces of lithium-ion-powered equipment. I use an open utility trailer so all of my equipment is exposed to the elements 24-7. Gas-powered equipment holds up fine to these conditions, but what about li-ion? Can the equipment/batteries handle constant UV rays, high heat/humidity, extreme cold, heavy rain, sleet, and still perform reliably like gas-powered items day in and day out for years? Stored in a garage, they'll last for years, but what about real-world conditions like I just stated?
 

Brucey

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Upstate NY
The Stihl backpack battery units like the AR3000 have a rain cover that can be zipped on, the more recent AR2000 L and AR3000 L batteries appear to be waterproof without needing the baggie:

However these units cost up to $1400 for the AR3000 L and harness, so definitely not something you would want sitting out on the trailer when not in use.

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AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
It will vary by the design of the tool, but most would be vulnerable to getting moisture into the area that the battery fits to the tool. Eventually you probably would have problems of corrosion causing poor connections and possibly shorts between connectors. That might be reduced by keeping the battery and tool contacts well greased with a conductive grease (and not a grease identified as a dielectric grease because those are insulators, not conductors).

And electric tools are going to have switches that are potential points for moisture intrusion, and those probably cannot be protected by grease.

As Crazy 4 grass said, electric motors are also an issue. Typically they are designed to allow airflow to keep them from overheating, and airflow means potential water flow.

I think one would want a weather proof storage box for electric equipment.
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
It will vary by the design of the tool, but most would be vulnerable to getting moisture into the area that the battery fits to the tool. Eventually you probably would have problems of corrosion causing poor connections and possibly shorts between connectors. That might be reduced by keeping the battery and tool contacts well greased with a conductive grease (and not a grease identified as a dielectric grease because those are insulators, not conductors).

And electric tools are going to have switches that are potential points for moisture intrusion, and those probably cannot be protected by grease.

As Crazy 4 grass said, electric motors are also an issue. Typically they are designed to allow airflow to keep them from overheating, and airflow means potential water flow.

I think one would want a weather proof storage box for electric equipment.
You hit the nail on the head. Electric motors need airflow and airflow openings are potential water entrance points.
 
OP
Chilehead

Chilehead

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Stockbridge, GA
Some really good info here--thanks, guys! I was wondering about the whole airflow thing. I use my li-ion drills and saws all the time for home projects, and they get hot pretty quick. I know if they reach a certain temperature, they shut down until they cool off even if I have a full battery. I think I am going to steer clear of li-ion and just stick to 2-stroke for my handhelds until some more innovation to fix these issues comes around.
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
Some really good info here--thanks, guys! I was wondering about the whole airflow thing. I use my li-ion drills and saws all the time for home projects, and they get hot pretty quick. I know if they reach a certain temperature, they shut down until they cool off even if I have a full battery. I think I am going to steer clear of li-ion and just stick to 2-stroke for my handhelds until some more innovation to fix these issues comes around.
Yea I think the only realistic route at this point is go with an enclosed trailer.
 

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