Using DeWalt Tool Connect: The Definitive Guide
Connected tools are no longer just a Milwaukee thing. DeWalt is the second (and surely not the last) to push into the field of smart tools with user control and customization. But is using DeWalt Tool Connect as easy as they make it sound? And what can you actually do with it?
Those are great questions. I have three of the new connected tools, a handful of connected batteries, and a Kyocera DuraForce Pro, so let’s see what kind of trouble we can stir up.
Also see our video review of DeWalt Connect.
Using DeWalt Tool Connect: What Can it Do?
Let’s start with what you can actually do using DeWalt Tool Connect. The three tools I have are the DCD797 compact hammer drill, DCD997 premium hammer drill, and DCF888 impact driver. I also have four Tool Connect 5.0 aH batteries to go along with them.
DeWalt Tool Connect Battery Function
- Battery Charge Status: You get the same 3 LED light indicator that you find on the battery. It would be great if it were precise enough to give you a charge percentage. It’s still nice to quickly check your packs to see which ones are ready to go and which ones David used but didn’t put on the charger.
- Battery Temperature: The temperature displays in whole degrees Fahrenheit. For users outside the US, you should find it in Celcius.
- Battery Enable/Disable: With a quick tap, you can disable the battery if it’s in range.
- Last Seen: See the date and time the battery last connected to a DeWalt Tool Connect app is displayed by default. To view it on a map, you’ll need to login to the Tool Connect Inventory Manager.
- First Pairing Date/Firmware Version/Hardware Version: All of this information is static on the home screen.
- View Instruction Manual: If you’re in a bind, one tap takes you directly to the manual in the app. You can pinch to zoom and scroll around.
- Lending Details: A quick glance if or to whom you have lent the battery
- Enable/Disable: Again, one tap can disable or enable the battery.
- Disable if Out of Range: One tap will disable the battery if it leaves the range of your phone.
- Lend: Allows you to set a date, time, and name of who you’re lending the battery to. You can also choose to get an alert at the end of the lending period. The battery shuts down at the time you select.
- Unpair: If you need to relinquish ownership of your battery, unpair it to give the next owner control through Tool Connect.
You can turn on or off alerts for the following conditions:
- Low Charge
- Charge Complete
- Out of Range
- High Temperature
On all three tabs, there’s also a button to identify the battery. When you hit it, the battery will blink blue on its front indicator.
DeWalt Tool Connect Tool Function
- Battery Charge Status
- Last Seen
- Version Data
- Diagnostic Data
- Instruction Manual
- Lending Details
Most of the information here is identical to what you get with the batteries. The difference is your temperature is more subjective, using words like Excellent, rather than specific temperatures. Diagnostic Data gives you first pairing date, backup cell charge status, total runtime, trigger pulls, and last shutdown.
- Disable if Out of Range
Four of the settings in the actions tab are the same as the batteries when you’re using DeWalt Tool Connect for control. What most users are looking for is the Tool Settings menu. This takes you into the tool controls and is where you can customize your settings. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Four Modes: Home, 1, 2, and 3. Home is preset to maximum speed and LED light settings. 1, 2, and 3 are customizable.
- Speed Control: Set the speed for each mode with a 50 RPM interval.
- LED Brightness: Set the percentage of full LED light output with a 10% interval.
- LED Delay: Set how long you want the LED light to stay on after you release the trigger from 0 – 60 seconds (5-second interval) or 0 – 20 minutes (1-minute interval).
With the speed settings, you’re just telling the tool what the top end is for a full trigger pull. You can see what it will be in gears 1, 2, and 3 on the premium hammer drill (or 1 and 2 on the compact) as you slide the bar along. Each mode on the impact driver ties to a mode button without having a separate gear switch.
What’s noticeably missing are torque settings. Since you’re essentially setting positive stops with each mode, you’re limiting your torque to where it is at the same RPM when you feather the trigger. Is this a deal breaker? No, but it is a key difference between DeWalt and Milwaukee.
- Low Charge
- Out of Range
You’re missing a couple of alert options in charge complete (no need for it) and high temperature. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’d like the high-temperature alert when I’m working on more power-hungry tasks. Realistically, the tool should shut itself off if it gets too hot, but I like having the option to be a bit more proactive.
Like the batteries, there’s an identify button on all three tabs. When you hit it, the mode lights will cycle blue. It works great for me as an individual, but tool crib managers might prefer it to trigger the tool’s LED lights instead.
DeWalt Tool Connect Inventory Manager
It’s possible to write a book on using DeWalt Tool Connect Inventory Manager, so I’m just going to hit the highlights here.
- Add any brand’s products to keep track of (no tracking data without the DeWalt Tool Connect Tag)
- Location data down to a specific address set (map point is pretty accurate) with address, city, and zip code along with last seen date and time
- Edit tool name, category, assignee, assignment end, product info (including purchase data), notes, and custom fields
- Select as many or as few data categories as you want to see on the homepage
- Create and divide tools into separate categories
- Location creation to assign tools with address and mapping information
- Create worker list to assign tools to with phone number for contact
- Export list data report
- Unpair tools
For the individual user and smaller crews, the biggest benefit comes in the form of mapping data so you can see where your tools are or Tool Connect last connected to them. For larger construction firms, it can be a very helpful tool for crib managers to keep track of tools and maintenance schedules more efficiently.
Using DeWalt Tool Connect: How difficult is it?
The most challenging part of using Dewalt Tool Connect is actually connecting the tools. It took a few tries before I got the first one to connect with the app. I shut off the Bluetooth on my phone then turned it back on and they all connected very smoothly. This is not unusual for my phone, so it’s more than likely on its end than DeWalt’s. The app gives you easy instructions along the way so you know what to do. It’s really just a matter of taking the time to do it.
The only issue I ran into for control was the impact driver. I kept getting a message saying I couldn’t change the setting while it was in precision driving mode. After switching modes to home and restarting the app, we started getting along again. Each of the menu items is easy to see, find, and change in my opinion. So on a scale of 1–10 with 10 being easy as pie, I’d give Tool Connect an 8 for overall ease of use experience so far.