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3M Airstream Battery Rebuild

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Dave Fritz, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Jul 24, 2008
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    Location (City & State):
    Montfort, Wisconsin
    My battery died and I was all set to have a friend replace it with a lithium ion battery as shown by Alan Zenreich when my friend up and moved far away. Today I took it to a battery place and they weren't sure they could get it open to replace the batteries. Has anyone successfully had one rebuilt and if so where did you go? Any current recommendations for a lithium ion battery replacement? It seems they change overnight.
     
  2. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    Feb 20, 2013
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    Location (City & State):
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Is that the same as a Racal Airmate 3 ? I think it might be. I replaced the NiCad battery 4 years ago and don't recall any difficulty in replacing the battery - check the manual. I ordered the battery from Interstate All Battery Center and paid $90 (much cheaper than Airstream). This may not help because I know you want a lithium ion battery.
     
    Steve Fairbairn likes this.
  3. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Jul 24, 2008
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    Location (City & State):
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    Actually that's helpful. I took the battery to an interstate battery location as well. I've had them rebuild DeWalt batteries and they deliver them to my friends garage on the truck which is nice. My battery looks different however, they were worried about getting into it without breaking the case. If they can get in they can replace them. http://airwareamerica.com/520-01-02r01-battery/
     
  4. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Mar 19, 2016
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    Location (City & State):
    Haubstadt, Indiana
    I have the NiMH version and thought my battery was dead. I took it to Batteries + and they said the same thing about getting it apart. These dp come upon Ebay sometimes at a good price.
     
  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, the 3M battery can be rebuilt, but the only caveat is that the rebuilt battery won't be certified as intrinsically safe ... which would only be an issue if you were working in an industry subject to MSHA and OSHA regulations such as a coal mine. Somebody posted a thread here several years ago. They found a business that rebuilt batteries and they replaced the four "D" size Ni-Cad cells with ones that were basically equivalent in mAH rating. I think that you would be able to open the battery pack with an X-Acto knife to break the seal between the top and bottom. The Ni-Cad cells that you need are the type with solder tabs. You might be able to talk the people at Batteries + into doing the job for you if you can convince them that it doesn't need to be intrinsically safe.

    I don't think that the Li-Ion batteries are the best option for the Airstream mainly because of voltage mismatch. The Ni-Cad battery provides approximately 6.3 volts initially at full charge and 4.8 volts near the end of charge. A Li-Ion fully charged cell voltage is approximately 4.2 volts and 3.4 volts at cut-off. There are some Li-Ion power packs with a built-in voltage regulator to provide 5 volts output which I believe is what @alan Zenreich used. My only concern about that type of power supply is that the output voltage is at the low end of the normal operating voltage range for the 3M AS-400 Airstream. Also, since I now live with neck pain I don't care to add weight by mounting the battery on top of the helmet. I don't know how difficult it is to locate a suitable power pack. I think that the particular model Alan used is no longer available.
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    No it's not the same battery.
     
  7. Robert Lyons

    Robert Lyons

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    Nov 29, 2009
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    1
    Location (City & State):
    St. Albert, Alberta
    I have had my 3M battery packs rebuilt several times. I live in Canada so they were rebuilt by “Battery World”. They cut the top of the case off, there are four D size NiCad batteries inside along with some electronics. Once the D batteries are replaced the top is then glued back on to the case using hot melt glue, you can see the glue line in the photo. I have never had a problem with the top coming off. You have to be careful that they only just barely cut through the case. Cost me about $50 Canadian
     

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  8. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    How are your batteries holding up? My are still going strong.
     
  9. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Thank you so much Bill and Robert for the information. I suppose a lot depends on the individual technician too. Not all Interstate Battery locations are the same any more than all Batteries + are. I did give them a call this morning with the information you provided, hopefully they'll feel they can do it. Good information on the lithium ion replacement Bill. Thanks again.
     
  10. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    Location (City & State):
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    I have several Airmate 3 units. I cut off the top of the case with a utility knife and take it to Batteries and Bulbs. There are three NiCads inside that they replace for $28.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.

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