Am I locked in to EGO?

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I just bought a bunch of different EGO items which I haven't fully tested but so far am happy. I am wondering though how much I am locked into EGO when the batteries ultimately fail. I assume batteries that will work with these tools are only made by EGO and that if 3 years from now EGO has moved on to bigger and better batteries and wants to charge me 3 times as much for the old battery model that this will be my only choice (other than replacing all the tools I bought). Is that right? Is anyone else concerned about this? 
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snowguy

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Posted 3 years ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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I'm not concerned.

If I had bought into a competitor's product line and then saw Ego's stuff and how superior their battery technology is, I might be worried that they would go back to the drawing board to be more competitive.

Without an ounce of hesitation I can say Ego is so far ahead with their battery technology that I can't see them needing to change anything any time soon.
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David HD, Champion

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Agreed!
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snowguy

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you mean you agree with my original post and are concerned? or you mean you agree with Blue Angel and are not concerned? 
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David HD, Champion

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I agreed with Blue on his statement, as I too owned EGO 15" trimmer, and back pack blower.  No one product is perfect, as we all know, but for now, I have no issues with EGO and their power tools.

In the UK, Honda partnered with EGO and offer a "full line" of power tools using EGO battery technology and power tools (see link below).  Therefore, I don't think that Honda would partner with EGO without due diligence on their part ... but I know, never say never right?

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-graham-god-intervened-nov-8-stop-atheistic-progres...
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Great point, DHD... I keep forgetting about the Honda partnership. Considering Honda is one of, if not THE, highest regarded power equipment companies out there, that confidence cannot be overstated.
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Deleted

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Overall i believe you need not worry about the battery. In essence the only updates in reality the batteries will face is a L.i. cell with more capacity... Higher output or faster charge time. That being said ego should technically only have to swap the cells and electronics inside the shell...but overall should be able to keep the design they currently use. That means 3 years from now when cell capacity has doubled or tripled... Maintaining the current shell design means you'll still be able to use them on first gen machines. That's the horse I'm betting on at least. I can only imagine ego using tesla made cells from the gigafactory.. Having a battery the size of the 7.5ah but with 15 or 22.5 ah capacity. That would be incredible.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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In the immediate future I can see a 3Ah compact 1P battery based on LG's new 3000 mAh cell (or whatever Samsung or Panasonic releases to compete with it) that replaces the 2.5Ah pack.

With a change to 20700 cells I can see a 1P battery just slightly larger/heavier than the 2.5Ah pack but offering 3/4Ah capacity and better high draw performance. This pack, in my opinion, would be the solution for commercial users and the smaller handheld tools, including the chainsaw for climbing applications.

The 20700 cells will also allow for a 2P battery to replace the 5Ah pack with 6/8Ah capacity and similar high draw performance to the current 3P 7.5Ah pack but with a more compact size.

A 3P 20700 pack may not work from a size perspective (may require too large of a cross section), but if it could work we'd see 9/12Ah packs with so much discharge potential as to support a whole new scope of tools... think current 2000W Ego snowblower running at full power on a single battery. Throw Ego's Peak Power dual battery arrangement at it and you're talking 4000W (over 5hp!) with all the goodness and torque of electric.

Maybe a 12Ah triple/quadruple battery Peak Power arrangement would start getting into riding mower territory. :-)
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Harry

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I believe that your concern is valid, however it should have been obvious to you that when you bought equipment with proprietary power sources, that you were locking yourself into that company for the live of the product. I doubt that there is a sufficient volume to interest any third party in producing replacement batteries.

That said, it appears that EGO is making everything backward compatible as far as the batteries are concerned. At least for now. Plus there are a few third parties who are in the business of refurbishing Li-ion batteries, i.e. replacing the batteries cells in the case. Not sure if they have the capability to do the EGO batteries right now, but that may evolve as EGO products become more common. Plus the EGO batteries have a 3 year warranty for what that's worth.

A more important consideration for me is the lack of a viable maintenance and repair capability. Right now the only solutions are to contact EGO for advice and DIY or to use Home Depot. This board has numerous stories on the long wait times for HD service. HD appears to be interested only in selling, not servicing the EGO equipment as all they can do is send it off and wait many weeks for repair/replacement.

Although I am satisfied so far with my 21" SP mower (except for lack of a decent vacuuming capability which MAY be resolved with the promised "high lift" blade early next year), I am not going to purchase any more EGO equipment until I see am improvement in the repair capability. Everything will eventually break and need service.



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Bill Dougherty

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If Ego sales continue to stay strong I'll bet that aftermarket batteries will become available. Quality may not match up but will likely be cheaper. Lots of examples out there ... Laptop computer batteries for one.
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SueLW

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Batteries will eventually fail or have less performance with any cordless products. 
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matt.mackinnon

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I have a different take on it.  Take a look historically.  the first mass battery operated tools ran at 6v NiCd and they were underpowered didn't last very long.   They were soon doubled the power by upgrade to 12v and better NiMH that lasted longer but the battery technology wasn't the best.  Then came Li and another bump to 18v.  Those specs have been pretty much the standard for power tools for the past 12+ years.   Only Dewalt went out and made their own 24v line to sell to Contractors with the promise that the battery would last longer.  It is also bigger and heavier, so it is questionable if it really does give any boost to performance from being 24v or if its just a larger battery.

Dewalt now has the 60v that they are using for larger power tools like a TableSaw and a MitreSaw that will require more torque power than a drill.

EGO has the 56v and it's batteries are also large enough to power a larger motor required for outdoor tasks like mowing and snow blowing.   They are nice enough to use the same battery for the smaller motor items trimmers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers as well as mid sized motors like their chainsaw.  

Now look back to the historical drill.  it took really a tripling of power from the 6v to 18v to get a large enough improvement to really be noticeable.  Sure there were some smaller bumps along the way like the 7.2v drill the 14v drill.. but you notice these are order of magnitude higher jumps.   If you did a jump like that with EGO you would need to be up at full mains power voltage (but in DC) and that just is not likely to happen.  Where EGO can make moves forward is more than likely into better motor technology and efficiency.

So am I afraid that EGO will change standards in the next 3 years,  No.  But only time will tell.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I like your approach!

I would mention though, similar to cordless drills, the first battery lawn mowers were powered by 12V and 24V lead acid batteries. By that standard, Ego's 56V platform is a 2-5x jump in voltage, so we could assume a similar level of maturity, no? :-)

Another thing to consider with battery technology evolution and voltage is the voltage drop under load, or how much power a battery can supply. This is where the jump to Lithium Ion really paid off, because the static voltage of a battery means nothing if that voltage drops by 50% with the tool under load. Li-Ion batteries are incredible in that respect compared to NiCad and NiMH batteries.

For example, if I was just starting to buy power tools today I would probably skip the 18V tools and stick with 12V. Today's 12V tools are almost as powerful as the 18V tools from 10 years ago (which left the 12v tools of the time in the dust), and they are much more compact. For homeowner type projects they're perfect. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the power of my 18V Makita tools, but for most of the things I do the power in my 12V Milwaukee tools is enough.

With the enormous size and capacity of Ego's batteries combined with how they can now run multiple units in parallel (snowblower), I doubt we'll see a need for a higher voltage system from Ego for a long time, maybe never considering the required power levels needed for small/medium OPE.
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Harry

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Matt & Blue:

I read an article by a battery "expert" a few months ago that 56-60 vdc is a sweet spot for Li-ion batteries used for portable equipment considering cost, weight, run time & life time. A key word there is "portable". So, I'd concur that we're unlikely to see anything that represents a major change from EGO battery technology/products for a few years, perhaps longer. 

If I get 5 years out of my 21" SP mower/battery, I'll be happy. My last gas mower lasted 35 years and finally got retired when I could no longer find parts. But I still miss it during leaf season as the EGO doesn't suck up the leaves like the gas mower did. Hopefully, the high lift blade will help.


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Blue Angel, Champion

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Harry, I would love to read that article if you were able to post a link to it!

Also, barring any unexpected glitches, if these Ego batteries are treated reasonably well I can see getting far more than jus five years out of them. As always, time will tell! :-)
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Harry

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Blue,

I don't remember where the link was and I didn't save it. Just remembered the info given all of the issues that appear to surroundi the EGO batteries. Sorry.

Five years is my minimum expectation. If the battery is treated well, it certainly could last longer. I'll be starting my second cutting season in March and will be monitoring the battery for reduced run time. So far, it seems to be working at 100% capacity.

Time to go cut the grass again.


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Jacob

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Ridgid had a 24v lithium line. Called max select. 18 and 24v compatible tools. They discontinued the 24v batteries. That sucked. But they did it due to weight i believe.
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(a)Typical Engineer

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I have an Apple Macbook Pro 15" from 2007-ish, the Li-Po battery went out a long time ago, but I never replaced it.  But last week, instead of buying an Apple one for $99, I bought one for $20 (shipped) off Amazon.  Is it made to Apple's high standards, probably not.  But I can get a few hours of use and not be plugged into the wall.

Will Ego raise their prices over time; I doubt it as that would be to their own detriment.  And their Chinese suppliers at some point will offer "3rd party" battery options.  If there is a demand, the market will supply.

Here's a YouTube video about the "law of diffusion of innovation" (Jump to 11:00, the link didn't  work correctly):

(Edited)
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snowguy

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Thanks everyone. In my case i felt like there was a risk but was willing to take it. Appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on this.
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matt.mackinnon

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I think the only big risk is that in 3-4 years that some new battery technology will come around that was not thought possible right now and re-write what is possible.  Will that make what you have right now un-usable.. who knows.  I have found from my own personal experience that sometimes the sure thing right now turns out to be one of those I wish that I'd have waited moments.  Though I have had about as many if not more, I wish that I would have jumped onboard when I had the chance moments too.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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The farthest I can see into the future right now is based on what Tesla is up to. They are producing a new cell format that is larger; 20700 (20mm X 70mm) vs today's 18650. They have about 30% higher capacity and slightly higher current ratings, but are based on the same 3.6V Lithium Ion technology. As far as I know the BMS circuitry would be similar (or maybe even the same?) as what's being used currently.

There are literally DOZENS of new battery technologies under development so anything is possible in the future. Having said that, as long as the total battery voltage stays the same they could still be used in the current tools, maybe just a new charger would be necessary.
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(a)Typical Engineer

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Consider what people have done with NiCd/NiMH, hacked them over to Li-Ion.  Regardless of what technology becomes available, people will find a way to make it better.

The current Ego line appears to be based on 2000 mAH and 2500 mAH cells, yet we know that the physical form factor of the 18650 allows up to 3400 mAH, waiting for someone to "upgrade" a 2.0/2.5 to "3.4" via a cell swap (granted, it will not have the PMC [phase change material], or maybe it will since it's just some magical stuff enclosed in shrink wrap. =)