Porter-Cable isn’t known for their advanced battery technology – particularly when it comes to knowing how much charge is left. They seem to be taking that into account and have released an 18V Battery Status Indicator (PCC580B). The 18V Battery Status Indicator is a very simple, very inexpensive tool that lets owners and users of Porter-Cable’s power tools to check the battery charge status quickly and easily. This is one way in which you can avoid slapping in a dead battery and climbing up that ladder – only to realize that you need to clamber back down and get a fresh one.
Porter-Cable PCC580B 18V Battery Level Indicator Features
The Porter-Cable PCC580B 18V Battery Status Indicator features a 3-segment LED that “shows” the current charge. I put that in quotes because a 3-segment LED is hardly informational. It certainly gets you in the ballpark and lets you know whether you are grabbing a fully-charged battery, but it would be nicer to see a more delineated readout (4 or 5 bars) or even something with a numerical status. After 15 seconds, the LEDs will turn off automatically to avoid draining the battery.
The Porter-Cable battery status indicator is clearly Porter-Cable’s “punt” for putting out batteries that don’t include a feature that we all but consider standard now: charge level indicators. It’s good that Porter-Cable is catering to all of the installed batteries that don’t feature this function, but we have to wonder if this doesn’t speak to their reluctance to add indicators to future batteries. I mean, the fact that this tool even exists is, in a way, a constant reminder of a deficiency in their current battery designs. It just doesn’t seem practical to want to check each battery before you bring it out. No, this type of tool seems more in line with a consumer-level product than one geared for professionals. Hopefully, future Porter-Cable batteries will render this obsolete and the product will be something for use with your legacy batteries – it’s certainly cheap enough to pick up for that purpose alone.
The new Porter-Cable PCC580B Indicator is compatible with all Porter-Cable 18V sled-style batteries, including Lithium-ion and NiCd batteries. It will be available beginning in November 2011 at Lowe’s, Amazon.com and dealers. It will sell for around $10. It also comes with a 3-year limited warranty, 1-year service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.