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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:25 am 
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I needed a replacement heavy-ish duty 18v combi drill and I went for the DeWalt DCD995. This is a bit of an upgrade for me so I was starting afresh in the range, but it must be said that there really wasn't much in it with other similar level brands. The price and range of other tools in the 18v XR system and the qualities of the li-ion/slide batteries just suited my own preferences slightly better.

So the brushed 985 could make better financial sense at the moment, but rightly or wrongly I thought the longer run-time of the 995 brushless version may slightly offset the extra cost through reduced battery wear/cycles over its life time. And TBH... I'm perhaps a bit biased against brushes/commutators as they are the main thing that has caused issues for me with motors in the past - aside from asking too much of underpowered ones, anyway. It remains to be seen if electronics will work any better, but seems worth a try.

I've had it for a few weeks now, and it must be said I'm well pleased so far. The first thing I noticed is that its really quite nice to hold and use; its maybe a tad stockier looking than some (though not all) others but then I guess thats reasonable as it is quite short and compact (surprisingly so for the power/torque it can deliver), so its a very good balance of power and manoeuvrability. It also feels nicely balanced and that probably makes it feel lighter than it really is; you're just holding it as you want it, rather than trying to persuade it to stay pointing in any particular direction. In fact the ergonomics are quite good all round for me; it may be compact but I've probably got average sized hands and there is fair room to spare.

On paper its only slightly more powerful than my last 18v Li-ion drill, but the way it delivers that power is more relentless - obviously it slows under load but it takes a lot more than I've previously experienced before it begins to feel like its having any particular problem; 22m auger bits (through CLS studding, and joists etc) are easy, 32mm also okay, 16mm in masonry no problem (though in harder masonry it still doesn't drill as quickly as a decent SDS), and it managed 22mm in dense concrete block - albeit used gently - which is out of spec. Its similarly good on the smaller stuff too, though if i was doing lots of small (screw-sized) drilling at a reach or overhead or in very small spaces then light/medium duty drills could be easier.

My use has been mostly with the 4ah batteries but I also have a 2ah battery and it wasn't notably less powerful, perhaps a tiny bit at most (I believe some smaller capacity batteries are said to have higher internal resistance). Battery duration is quite good, I wouldn't say it was utterly astounding compared to brushed drills but nor do I think DeWalt are massively exaggerating it, they do seem to last noticeably longer between charges than I'm used to with brushed drills (albeit of different brand). The charge indicator on the new slide/li-ion batteries is really quite useful, especially as (unlike ni-cads with their 'memory effect') you can choose to re-charge when you want, without needing to completely flatten the battery. The in-built wizardry does stop work before the batteries become too deeply discharged, which is good (though perhaps there's no protection if left unused for too long, not sure). I believe that they can also protect against over-excesses in currant drain but I'm happy to say thats not over-sensitive, as it didn't cut in whilst doing the 32mm auger work even with brief jams. I haven't tried the batteries in especially hot or cold environments yet though.

So in conclusion I'm happy and even though its a bit of a step up in price from my usual brands (like ryobi) it does seem to reflect that in use. If it continues to perform for a reasonable lifetime then I'll be a convert. Its really only an unusually short lifetime and/or poor customer service which would put me off it now, and so far I can't judge those.

Cheers
Kev


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:56 pm 
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Realised that I forgot to mention a couple of things:

The various torque settings for different screw sizes are selected as normal, with a rotating collar (that also includes drill and hammer drill settings). But the way it works behind the scenes is different; rather than a mechanical clutch that slips at the set level, the 995 cuts power electrically instead. I'm growing to quite like that, its certainly quieter, but it was quite disconcerting to start with!

The other thing is something I don't like though. The gearbox's 3 speeds/ratios are selected with a slide switch, but its a little stiff and so when it moves it tends to jerk from 1-3 and 3-1. I wouldn't say it was 'difficult' to select the middle/second gear as such, but it just takes a bit more care and attention than I would like to give it. Perhaps it will become easier when it wears in a bit.

Cheers
Kev


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Hi Kev,
thanks for an honest and down to earth review.
I too am tinkilng with whether to get one,just to try the brushless tech and get the 4.0 ah battery system.
thing is,i cant justify it,as i have the DCD925 and 4 DE9180 Li-ion batteries,and loads of other XRP tools.
However, i still "want" one,and will wait for the slightest excuse probably to get one,lol.
I can then slowly start adding other bare tools to the new system over time.
I hope yours continues to serve well,and keep us updated with its progress.

Cheers,
Hammer Chewer.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:11 pm 
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Thanks HC. Its early days yet so not much more than first impressions, but I'll try to remember to add anything that comes up as I use the drill more.

Yeah, it doesn't seem to do anything yours can't already do, or any better, so I doubt you'd see any major difference by upgrading, mainly just a bit more run time. Its hard for me to compare directly, as my last drill was a completely different brand, but I'd say the run time probably has more to do with the batteries capacity and less to the drill itself.

Cheers
Kev

EDIT: although... I have discovered you can play tunes with the motor speed/pitch :-)


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 8:20 pm 
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Minor update: I just noticed the screw-driving settings are accompanied by an automatic slow start. Its a nice touch, though I don't know if its massively useful; I'm so used to controlling start speed using the variable trigger that I didn't even realise it was there. I suppose it could make repetitive jobs a bit easier, if the tool is able to take care of the subtleties. I may be too set in my ways to trust to it by now though!

Cheers
Kev


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 11:09 pm 
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Hey, Kev,
just came across your messages, t's been a while now since you posted them, hope you still look at the forum.

I too fancy the DCD995, having had one of the older DeWalt drills for about 10 years now which has been faultless, the batteries died last year but I got a pair of 3rd party 3Ah metal nickel hydride on Ebay very cheaply, which has given it a new lease of life. However really fancy the brushless technology.

I couldn't really justify the price of a 4 or 5 Ah kit, but today, I picked up the lower power 350W DCD795 with 2 x 2Ah batteries, charger and box in Screwfix for £127 ( I had a 15% voucher )

I can pick up a DCD995 bare unit for around the £100 mark, which would give me one drill for heavy stuff, and one for lighter duties for quite a reasonable price, I see you said you have run yours on a 2Ah battery, do you recon its worth using the 995 with only a 2Ah battery? it won't be used for continuous work!
cheers, and thanks...Pete
ps, been looking at DeWalt prices in the States, wow they're cheap!


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 12:15 am 
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heeelllooo and welcome doorcutter :welcome: :welcome: :welcome:
suspect the origional problem has been solved but as you say aftermarket batteries can be great
that aside modern drills can be more efficient and use less energy :huray:

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 10:52 am 
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Hi Pete,
Yes, I'd say the DCD995 can be sensibly used with 2ah Batteries. They perhaps offer a tiny bit less umph than the 4ah ones but IMO you wouldn't notice that unless you're pushing it quite hard. The 4ah batteries are already quite light, so the 2ah ones don't change the balance of the drill too dramatically either.

So its mainly just the run time that you lose out on with smaller batteries. The brushless motor helps efficiency but of course its quite a powerful drill so if you're doing heavy stuff with it then it would be able to drain the batteries faster than your 795. Looking at the relative powers, presumably in up to about half the time for heavy jobs.

Since buying the drill I've used it for all manner of things associated with renovating houses, and also some metal working. There are obviously still times when (say) an SDS or core drill are needed, but the 995 has completely replaced my corded percussion drill. The only annoyance is that these days the metal chuck tends to need tightening a second time quite often, as though initial drilling causes something to settle and loosen.

Cheers
Kev

EDIT: just seen the price of the 995 kits, much more expensive than when I bought mine! Though I see they now have 5ah batteries included instead of 4ah so thats perhaps why; it looks like (at least at screwfix) the extra 1ah adds 50% to the retail price of individual batteries over the 4ah size.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 11:38 am 
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doorcutter wrote:
ps, been looking at DeWalt prices in the States, wow they're cheap!

You've got to remember that in the USA prices are always quoted without any state sales tax or local surcharge applied which vary from zero in Delaware up to almost 12% in Arkansas (with the local surtax applied) with most being in the 9 to 10% area. Add 20% (our VAT rate) and the prices become a lot less attractive on many products IMHO

From a trade perspective one thing I don't like about the DW kit is the battery charge time - on a 5Ah 18 volt battery it's about 90 minutes vs. the 44 minutes I get on equivalent Makita Li-Ion kit. I'm pretty sure this is down to Makita (and others) having designed their batteries with cooling holes and their fast chargers with fans to keep the cells cool whilst charging. In effect for continuous use of my DCN692 1st fix nailer I'm starting to feel that 3 x 4Ah would have been a better choice than 2 x 5Ah......

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 11:58 am 
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Yeah, even the 4ah dewalt batteries can take about an hour or more. For most general work a pair is enough to keep me going easily, but for heavy continuous use there could be down-time waiting for the charger. I partly got the additional 2ah battery for that reason, and partly because the batteries are also sometimes shared with an impact driver; theres always one free that can be on the charger. The charge indicator lights are surprisingly helpful in managing them, too.

I read somewhere that higher charge rate reduces the life of any such batteries, but whether its better to have a slower rate and so need more batteries at once or a faster rate and so have to replace them sooner I've no idea. Probably it depends on how heavy/continuous your use is, though if its heat related then a fan would seem to make sense (if its easy to clean dust out of it, anyway).


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Kev888 wrote:
I read somewhere that higher charge rate reduces the life of any such batteries, but whether its better to have a slower rate and so need more batteries at once or a faster rate and so have to replace them sooner I've no idea.

In trade use I've generally had 3 years or so out of my batteries - all types: NiCd, NiMH or Li-Ion - the chemistry used seems to make little difference to the life span. In point of fact it used to be a lot more common to "cook" batteries from time to time on the tool through overwork (e.g. drilling 150mm holes through composite roofs with a hole saw, using any recip saw on hardened old timber beams for more than 5 minutes, etc) because until a few years back few tools had decent battery protection circuitry built-in. That's all changed, but even the best-maintained Li-Ions will degrade over time and lose charge and most cell manufacturers will admit that the maximum life is around the 800 to 1000 charge cycles but battery performance is rarely specified for more than 500 cycles (so 3 years in trade use seems reasonable on Li-Ion). Just like your mobile phone battery, there is a limit to lifetime

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:17 pm 
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Thanks guys for the response, I've just picked up the 795 this afternoon, wasn't in stock when I bought it yesterday, first impressions on opening the box was, Oh my god I've bought a toy drill!, way way lighter and smaller than my trusty old DC725, however, I just tried it against the old one (400W brush motor) drilling 25mm holes through 3inch beech with an auger bit, and surprise, it out performed the more powerful one, I guess that technology's moved on since I got the 725, and the brushless motor is more efficient anyway. The 995 must be really awesome, with an extra 250Watts of power!

I take your point about the sds drill, just been fitting skirting boards to engineering brick walls, the battery drill really struggled, but the sds went through like butter, mind you, I think the quality of the drill bits are way superior on the sds format, even the cheep ones.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how it lasts compared with the old one which is built like a tank.
cheers...Pete


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 7:31 pm 
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Good stuff! I'm glad you're happy!

Yes, the brushless technology is definitely a step in the right direction, as well as the longer run time it deals with overload a bit better too so IMO you get more umph and less extreme demands on the battery when things start to struggle. At the mo its a bit more expensive but I can see most cordless tools going that way eventually. The batteries are also a big step forward over previous technologies in most cases, albeit slightly more fragile and reliant on the in-built electronics to protect them.

The 995 mechanically speaking is built with heavier duty and longevity in mind all round, and as I wanted only one drill thats what I went for. But yours seems like an utter bargain; most of the stuff I do (wall plugs, screw holes, cable holes and so on) would be well within its capability. I wonder if perhaps much of the time I'm wearing the 995 out on jobs that the 795 would hardy break a sweat over... having both could make sense in the long run.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 7:53 pm 
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Yes, it seems to be fine, and I think perhaps I'll stick with it at the moment, ( he say's trying to convince himself !! ) it'll probably do what I need to do, and with the SDS for really heavy stuff.
Certainly worth getting decent tools, I've got a couple of cheepo lidlyaldi drills, they're ok for screwing up plasterboard and light stuff like that, but don't really have any power, though for under £20 I s'pose you can't go wrong really.

Really do fancy the 995 though!


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