Hitachi C7UR - Retro Power

Hitachi corded circular saws have had a reputation for robust construction, power, and reliability that stretches back for decades. I still see 20-year-old examples of these tucked into the back of builders’ vans now.

Perhaps they aren’t used as often due to the cordless revolution, but they will be called upon as a back up, when a seriously demanding job is in the offing, writes PETER BRETT.

What are the USPs of the C7UR?

The USPs are few and quite simple, and perhaps betray a little of what I mentioned above. There are still times when mains power is needed, not only for a more powerful mains motor, but also for the extra speed of cutting.

Cordless is perfect for boards and such like, but sometimes the slow feed rate of a cordless motor cutting roof timbers, for example, simply will not do, as it holds up the job.

Power and Speed – the Main Features

The brushed motor on the C7UR features 1800W of power and a high RPM of 6,800 – so it is not only powerful, but fast. Compared to smaller and brushless motors we are becoming used to, it feels like a brute.

There is a definite torque kick when you press the trigger, and the noise level feels old fashioned as it runs. However, there is no doubt that the speed and power make for very efficient cutting.

One of my tests was cutting slices off a piece of 50mm thick brown oak. The motor didn’t slow at all – it simply sliced on through. It was even easier on some treated 50 mm thick softwood rafters.

However, I do miss some features I have got used to – I would like a motor or blade brake to stop the blade quickly after releasing the switch. This is perhaps where the role of the lower blade guard comes into the equation – see below.

The trigger switch arrangement is unusual too. There is a well-textured loop handle, with a space for a forefinger only.

The rest of the fingers fit into a separate aperture behind it, while the thumb goes over to meet the forefinger. The switch is a simple click for ‘on,’ and then release for ‘off’.

There is no safety release button or lever that is commonly found on circular saws - mains or cordless - these days. I pondered this a while, because the arrangement feels a bit retro.

The fact the forefinger has to find its own specific place to find the ‘on’ switch, helps to keep all intentions with the saw deliberate. It also helps there is a large and well-placed auxiliary handle in front of the main one.

For good guidance of the cut it is used a lot, and that helps keep both hands well clear of the blade.

As standard, the saw comes with an 18-tooth TCT 185 mm diameter blade. The blade has large gullets for clearing waste quickly and is also only about 2mm thick, so the resulting thin kerf also aids speedy cutting.

There is also the very nice feature of a powerful dust blower right over the cutting line, that helps keep it clear and visible.

Back to Base

Like many of its other saws, Hitachi has decided to use a solid alloy baseplate. At about 4mm thick it is rigid and squarely accurate, and there are eight countersunk screws to attach the saw and its adjustments, so that they don’t move.

They are therefore also easy to service. On the front and right hand side of the base measurements are marked in inches, betraying the fact the larger market is the US.

My guess is they will rarely be used by British and continental workers, except as a rough guide. A simple steel fence is included, with the kit for basic guided cuts.

Guarding the Blade

Another important feature is the cast alloy lower blade guard. This is robust, and the strong coil spring ensures that it quickly springs back to cover the blade at the end of a cut, thus partly answering the query I had above, about the need for a blade brake.

There are a couple of options here that need to be decided. Out of the box, a longer lever is fitted as standard for raising the lower blade guard.

It reaches fully to the top of the fixed upper blade guard, and therefore is easy to reach. It also keeps your fingers well away from the blade. Safety First indeed.

The downside to this is that the dust port on the upper guard, carefully designed to deposit a long, neat pile of dust alongside the base while cutting, can also be very messy, especially if it is a little windy on site.

For users who need good dust collection, they have the option of attaching the robust dust spout, (one screw only needed) that does indeed up the dust collection game quite considerably. When attached to an M-class extractor, there is not much cleaning up required at the end of a working day.

But in order to attach the dust spout, the longer guard-raising lever needs to be removed and replaced with a smaller one.

The downside is that when you need to lift the guard to start a cut, your fingers are closer to the blade – not dangerously close, but needing-to-be-careful close.

Adjustments

When it comes to adjustments the C7UR is spot on. Depth of cut and blade mitre angles are all achieved with cammed levers that are large enough to work easily and lock positively.

A nifty arrangement on the angle setting allows users to select 45 degree cuts, but if you need to select angles of 45 to 55 degrees, simply click the stopper out of the way and select the angle on the well-marked quadrant.

Blade changing is quick and easy via the hex key kept on the body and the spindle lock on the front of the motor, and I did appreciate the handy cable holder at the base of the main handle.

This helps to control the cord and prevent it accidentally going near the blade while cutting.

Why Choose the C7UR?

I suspect this saw will appeal to trades for the same reasons that older Hitachi models did. It is robustly built, powerful and simple to operate, as well as having the virtue of having a long service life – for example the brushes are located for easy replacement.

But is it also faster cutting and more powerful than its predecessors, and therefore it fits the current preoccupation with productivity and efficiency.

Aimed at: Pros and demanding amateurs, because it is well priced and tough

Pros: Fast cutting and powerful, strong and reliable

Why buy?

  • Tough
  • Reliable
  • Well priced
  • Quicker cuts
  • Easy adjustments
  • Cable holder for safer use
  • Big stable base

www.hitachi.eu

Hitachi NT1865DBSL Brushless Straight Finish Nailer

Hitachi NT1865DBSL Brushless Straight Finish Nailer

There have been quite a few projects I have worked on where the use of a good finish nailer would have been great – especially one not limited by a cord or a compressor.

Many of the finish nailers I have tried, either cordless or corded have worked well enough, but I have always had the feeling that if they drive a nail well, then the ‘wind-up’ before the nail hammer struck was too long. Or if the reaction to the trigger was quick, then the nail driving was unconvincing. It is therefore so good to use a cordless machine that drives the nail instantly, as soon as the trigger is pressed, with the ‘clunk’ of authority that tells you that the nail is well and truly driven home. This Hitachi will convince its users that it is completely up to the job, and I am sure that it will gain many satisfied users. Certainly, if reaction to this tool in the US so far is reflected in the UK, then Hitachi UK will have to work hard to keep up with demand.

Some of the effectiveness of this nailer must be due to the fact that it uses one of the latest Hitachi brushless motors. Generally more efficient, quieter, more powerful and maintenance-free due to being sealed units, brushless motors have been the other side of the Lithium Ion revolution by allowing Li-Ion battery packs to deliver more runtime, etc, because of their relative efficiency.  So look forward to up to 1500 nails per charge on the compact 3Ah battery packs supplied with the machine, as well as smooth operation and less maintenance.

Hitachi NT1865DBSL Brushless Straight Finish Nailer

Picking it up straight out of the box the Hitachi follows the design pattern of other nailers with its big top cover and driving head with a handle and nail magazine attached. With a 3 Ah battery it weighs in at 3.3 Kgs so is neither too light nor too heavy. It needs a bit of weight to minimise recoil, but also needs to be light enough to use all day without you becoming fatigued. However, even after a few minutes of handling it is clear that Hitachi has done quite a lot of homework on this design. The operating handle is well designed with good rubber gripping liberally, but sensibly, placed. The handle is small enough to get a good hold on it for either left or right handers, and there are other strategic bumpers of rubber placed over the body so that the tool can be put down safely or even sustain a few bumps without damage.

The nail magazine is largely made of rugged plastic that is both light and strong. Loading it with nails (it will take 16 Gauge straight nails from 25mm to 65mm long) is very simple – simply pull back the spring-loaded nail feeder, push down the lever to allow the nails to slip by and then release the nail feeder where it applies a delicate pressure to the nail strip to ensure a gentle feed. The nail strips have fifty nails per strip and this nailer will hold a couple of strips – easily enough to be getting on with work without too many interruptions.

Hitachi NT1865DBSL Brushless Straight Finish Nailer

The business end of the nailer – the all-important hammer pin and nose mechanism - are strongly made in cast metal and plastic. I particularly liked the optional round plastic nose on the end of the firing head. It is mounted on two sprung metal columns that have to be pushed at least 12 to 15mm down onto the work for the trigger to fire – this makes it hard to accidentally fire the nailer. Secondly, the plastic nose gives you a sort of target to aim at where the nail should go, so it was easy to be more accurate in placing your nails, and it also protected the workpiece from damage. If I used this machine regularly I would be tempted to keep this cap on permanently.  

I actually never needed to remove the nose cover for real to unblock a nail stoppage, despite using all of the nails that were sent with the test machine (firing nails effortlessly into a fencepost can be quite therapeutic as well as being called research) but when I did it, just to check how to do it, the process is simple and involves pushing the lock lever forward which unhooks the nose assembly, revealing the stuck nail.

Setting the depth for nail driving is done via a knurled wheel on the nose – it takes a bit of trial and error depending on timber hardness and nail size but is not difficult to do.

Safety with nailers is very important and the instruction booklet is comprehensive as well as very careful to point out the safety requirements when loading nails or unblocking a nail stoppage for example. You really can’t say you didn’t know.

On the back inside of the operating handle is a little display panel that informs the user of several things. First of all, in the middle is the power switch. Once a battery is installed, this is where the tool is turned on or off. Next to this is a battery indicator switch that shows via a couple of LEDs what the state of the battery is – if it blinks at you then it is time to recharge the battery.

Finally, there is a mode switch to select single or continuous firing modes. Continuous mode is great – just push the machine into the workpiece and it fires – it makes for very fast work.

An extra layer of safety is added by the addition of another on/off switch on the handle. This is deeply recessed to avoid being switched accidentally and it does mean that careful users will always show that they are ready to use the machine intentionally and it helps keep little fingers from fiddling and unintentionally firing the nail gun.

Another feature on the body is a reversible hook for hanging the machine on a handy rafter or whatever. The hook itself can be folded away so that it does not catch.

Packed with features as it is, the Hitachi NT1865DBSL cordless nailer will, in my view, be purchased for one thing only – its sheer performance. With an instant response to the trigger and proper nail-driving power it’s a gutsy tool that will deliver again and again.

Aimed at: Professional second fix carpenters, shopfitters, etc

Pros: No trigger lag, powerful enough to drive a 65mm nail, light and very effective. Try one – amazing!

Hitachi C9U3 – The Site Workhorse Reshod and Ready

Aimed at: demanding pro site carpenters who need a capable and hardworking saw.

Pros: big powerful, more sophisticated with a facility to collect more dust if needed.

 

Hitachi portable circular saws are renowned as the workhorses of the site. Tough, robustly made and expected to cut to the limits of spec when required - i.e. often. I have lost count of the numbers of battered Hitachi saws I have seen on various sites, but their owners always swear by them. The last one I observed was being used by roofers to cut fibre cement soffits and it was being worked very hard – but I was too polite to ask if they had fitted the correct blade!

The Hitachi C9U3 is a replacement for the C 9U2 and is definitely a sleeker and more modern take on the old one, and just a little bit heavier too. No doubt the extra weight is accounted for in a few extra features on the C9U3. So the changes are not just cosmetic – Hitachi has uprated the saw to make the genuine improvements needed for a newer model.

My first impression of the saw is that it is a bit of a monster – it weighs 7.2 Kgs all up. But it does handle well and with good balance, so the weight does not feel onerous. It is now common, thank goodness, to have a cast alloy base on saws like this and the Hitachi version is strong and rigid and with a big flat ground base that sits nicely on the work. It is finished in a dull grey alloy colour, like the upper and lower blade guards and it is genuinely smart looking and has the promise that it will be hardwearing too. A rigid base is easier to work with since it does not flex and makes cutting and saw adjustments more accurate.

Two other features of the base are the adjustable cutting line guides and the blade perpendicularity adjustment. The first of these is easy enough to use – it is just in the front of the base and is adjusted to the cutting line by unscrewing it and then resetting. At this point I should also mention that the side fence is attached to the front of the saw here. The side fence is made from pressed steel, but is more robust than some I have seen, so it will perform under pressure. It has milled slots on the back of the bar for extra grip as well as metric and imperial measurements on the top of the bar, so some accuracy must be expected from it.

More important on a site saw is that the blade should be perpendicular and that it should return to right angles when the users sets it back after an angled cut. Under the base, a grub screw can be adjusted to set the blade at right angles using an engineers’ square. Inaccuracies can creep in on site saws like this, so it is handy to be able to zero it occasionally.

The motor housing and handles are made in the familiar green Hitachi ABS plastic and both handles have generous black rubberised overmoulds to provide grip and some protection from vibration. Included in the kit, is an extra black plastic front handle that can be located underneath the main front handle with a single screw. This provides the user with a grip a little further away from the blade guards, but also lower in centre of gravity terms. This will help in difficult cuts where it is necessary to give a bit more push to the saw.

Both upper and lower blade guards are made from a well finished grey alloy and they are substantial and rigid to provide good protection from the 235mm diameter 20 tooth TCT blade. There is a substantial black riving knife to help prevent binding in the cut and the lower blade guard has a nicely gauged spring loading that is easy to use at the start of the cut as it is pushed into the work, but provides enough snap to get the blade covered asap after the cut is finished.

The upper blade guard also doubles as a dust collector and dust blower. A smallish vent at the back of it spews out a lot of dust when the saw is at full throttle. As we would now expect, there is a dust collection option. A strong black plastic spout can be attached (one screw) over the dust vent. This spout is ribbed so that a standard dust collection hose can be fitted over it. More importantly, with a decent vacuum dust collector attached, the amount of dust collected is very good – not much is left lying around. But you will still have to clean up later because there is no such thing as 100% dust collection on this type of portable saw.

If you do decide to use the dust collection spout you also have to change the little handle that lifts the lower blade guard. The original handle is large and keeps your fingers well away from the blade, but the dust spout handle is a lot smaller so you need to take a bit more care to keep fingers safe.

Just on the front of the upper guard a small plastic hump directs air from the motor fan directly over the cut line so that it remains dust free and easy to see – I do like this feature very much, perhaps I am getting spoilt?

Height and angle adjustments of the blade are really easy to do and the mechanisms for each adjustment are strong. I particularly liked the blade height adjustment arrangement because the substantial knob handle that sticks out under the main handle is easy to reach and grips strongly when tightened so that there is no danger that the saw will suddenly plunge down deeper into the cut. Another nice little touch is the cord holder function under the handle – this allows the user to loop a bit of the cord around the holder so that it can be kept out of the way when cutting.

But was the C9U3 a workhorse? Well I ran it repeatedly through some damp 100x75mm tanalised timber without it so much as a change in motor note. I moved on to some very dense beech and then some old and very twisty elm. Again no problems. In my view, this new version will build a reputation of its own as a robust and accurate site saw that will keep Hitachi aficionados happy and will also gain lots of new fans too. 

 

 

Hitachi Power Tools launches extra battery offer on KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB two-piece kits

Hitachi Power Tools has launched a battery redemption promotion, with an extra 4.0Ah battery free, when redeemed on purchase of selected KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V cordless two-piece kits. 

The offer is valid on a limited number of KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V cordless two-piece kits, which feature a sticker on the case and redemption leaflet inside. To receive the extra battery, the customer simply has to complete the redemption leaflet, attach the sticker and post it to Hitachi with the proof of purchase.

The KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V kits includes two 6.0Ah Lithium-ion batteries, two stackable cases and the UC18YSL3 superfast charger, which offers an outstanding 38 minutes charge time on a 6.0Ah battery, and an incredible 26 minutes for a 4.0Ah battery.

“This extra battery redemption promotion means there is even more reason to choose the tougher, faster, more advanced KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V two-piece kits,” explains Simon Miller, Brand and Product Manager for Hitachi Power Tools.

Hitachi’s three-year warranty is also available on the tools when registered online within four weeks of purchase, meaning trade professionals can be assured of long service and peace of mind.

For more details on Hitachi Power Tools visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

Hitachi C18DBAL Cordless Circular Saw - 6Ah and Saw = Magic Performance

Aimed at: pro users or anyone that needs a really good cordless circ saw. 

Pros: powerful, accurate, and easy to adjust- with all the modern electronics to guarantee effiency. 

Hitachi power tools have always had a reputation for rugged build and solid performance and I think, have been unjustly overlooked in some quarters. Possibly this might have been because of their quirky detailing and “individual” presentation, but every Hitachi owner I have ever spoken to will refer to the solid reliability and long working life of their Hitachi tools.

With the launch of the Hitachi 6Ah battery pack earlier in the year, a number of cordless tools that can take advantage of them were launched simultaneously. I tried the 136Nm DV18DBXL Combi Drill and risked broken wrists trying to get the most out of it – but it sure underlined the power on tap from the new brushless motors and 6Ah battery packs. And no-one could complain about the sophisticated restyling and ergonomic handling of it either.

So the chance to get my hands on the C18DBAL cordless circular saw just as I was about to start my annual spring activity of cutting hardwood planks into more manageable sizes for furniture making, was well timed.

Although available in what is becoming the “compulsory” plastic stacking boxes, I was happy to get the saw in its “naked” form – without batteries and charger, for the review. For end users this is a great way of saving money and space – there are only so many batteries and chargers that we can accumulate before we have enough.

Just by picking it up users will realise that a lot of work has gone into the design of the tool to make it robust, easy to handle and very functional. For example, the main handle is covered in black grippy rubber overmould with the bottom part of the handle dimpled for extra grip. There is a handy black knob handle for the left hand to grip onto for providing a steady guiding influence on the cut.

Another good feature is the rubber “bumpers” provided on the left hand side of the motor and battery housing. These allow the saw to be safely sat on its side rather than on the blade cover, which may risk blade damage.  

Just underneath the handle right on the centre of gravity, is the surprisingly compact motor and just behind that, the robust slides for the battery pack. This system of battery mounting works well, as well as concentrating the weight at the bottom of the saw. I largely used the 6Ah battery pack for my review, but the Hitachi mounting has full compatibility with all Hitachi slide-type battery packs – and these go back some years.

One of the main reasons why Lithium Ion has finally been “tamed’ as a reliable power source, is that engineers have managed to build in sophisticated electronic controls on motors, chargers and battery packs to prevent overheating and deep discharge, as well as allowing optimum times for battery charging. The Hitachi system is completely up to date and uses some of the most reliable battery packs available today, so it delivers punchy power for every charge, as well as ensuring that battery packs last as long as possible.

There are a couple of nice additions to this saw that users can either ignore or use, depending on their tastes. Directly under the main handle is a small panel of indicator lights. Press the battery icon and it will show the state of the battery charge. Press the middle switch and the user has the option to select a bright LED worklight that illuminates the cut line when needed. This turns on automatically when the motor trigger is pulled and goes off after a short time when the motor stops.

There is also a “silent” mode that can be selected. This allows the motor to run at reduced revs and more quietly when it is not under load, but as soon as the blade engages with the workpiece, full power kicks in.

I used the saw mostly for cutting 45 and 50mm thick oak and beech and I soon came to appreciate the solid cast alloy base and guarding of the blade, as well as the spring-loaded bottom blade cover.

The base is very rigid with straight sides so it is easy to use with a guide rail if needed.

Other controls are simple and effective too. A clearly marked depth of cut quadrant is easy to set via a cammed lever that make adjustment quick, easy and secure. With a depth of cut of 66mm at 90 degrees and 45mm at 45 degrees the saw has enough capacity to deal with “second-fix” carpentry needs, and could probably take on some “first fix” applications where portability is a requirement.

Setting angles for angled cuts is again very easy as the two angle quadrants are part of the robust cast base and all that is needed is to unscrew the fixings (no tools needed) and set the angle. As is the case with all portable saws, if you want perfect angles, make sure you have an angle finder with you for the settings, because the markings on the quadrants are only guides. But what is good, is that there is an adjustable grub screw that can be used to set perfect right angles from base to blade should that become necessary.

Safety-wise this Hitachi is advanced. It has an electronic motor brake that stops the blade within seconds once the trigger is released. It also has an electronic kick back prevention system that monitors blade speed in use and will stop the motor if it feels like the blade is binding in the cut. I really needed that a couple of times when I was cutting up some very twisty elm that seemed to move with every cut I made.

There is an optional dust collection nozzle that can be attached to the top of the main blade guard and both main and sliding blade guards are strongly made and operate effectively.

After using this saw for several days cutting a variety of timber and boards I came to like it – a lot. And I found that my site mate reached for it very often too. The combination of cordless motor, 6Ah battery pack and advanced electronics coupled with a really solidly made body meant that it was a safe and versatile workhorse of a machine that embodies the tough and reliable image of Hitachi.

For more information on Hitachi Power Tools, please visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

 

Hitachi DV18DBXL Combi-The Torque of the Town

Amied at: Professionals in all trades who need a drill with really serious levels of torque for BIG drilling.

Pros: Excellent ergonomics and loads of torque and a 6Ah battery too, for longer working times.

This torquey Combi drill from Hitachi is a brand new, “from the ground up” development, although it would be hard to tell that from just its external appearance. The two key developments on it are the use of a “biggest ever” 6Ah lithium ion battery pack, which is actually the same size and weight as the 5.0ah pack, and a competition-busting 136Nm of “torques”, as Jeremy Clarkson would say.

I have already had a comment from a tradesperson who sniffily told me that trades didn’t need that amount of torque, but I disagree. I seem to have had a few situations recently where I could have done with quite a lot more torque from my drill! For example, using a 75mm hole saw through a bit of 20mm thick hardwood. You may not need the torque often, but when you do, its nice to know its there. Also, with all that torque on tap, the drill seems to work more quietly and responsively – but maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

A quick run down of the Hitachi DV18DBXL proves that the innovations are largely internal – its functions and controls follow a very familiar pattern. The speed sensitive trigger is large enough for a gloved finger and the forward/reverse function is via the push through switch above it.

Behind the quality metal- bodied 13mm chuck, the large collar for changing torque settings is large and easy to grasp and therefore easier to adjust. It has 22 torque settings as well as drill and hammer modes. A slider switch on top of the ABS body casing selects slow or fast motor speeds.

But I think that what users will notice is the very ergonomic handle that the drill boasts. I think it is genuinely comfortable to hold and provides very good grip, especially at higher torques. My feeling was that the designers have made the grip a bit smaller and slightly more hand-shaped to give the level of comfort needed.

Below the handle there are several important features. Not least of these is the 6Ah battery pack, which has a flat base so the drill can be stood on it.

The rails for sliding the battery packs are robust and the battery slides easily on them. The spring-loaded buttons for releasing the battery pack operate positively as well.

On the base of the handle is a bright LED light aimed at the chuck. This switches on and off automatically, and is definitely not a gimmick or “me too” as anyone working in the semi dark or in enclosed spaces will tell you.

Just behind the light is a battery charge indicator so that users can know when to charge up.

There is the customary reversible belt hook too, probably only usable if you have a proper weight-bearing belt round your waist.

The small RFC logo on both sides of the motor housing stands for Reactive Force Control – a posh name for a sophisticated safety clutch. Basically, should the drill bit or whatever, become stuck in the material, the RFC electronics will cut in and stop the motor before the operator breaks a wrist or fingers (with 136Nm of torque on tap it is best to be wary)

The electronics will also cut in to protect the combi from heat build up, battery overloading and deep discharge, as well as maximizing the torque usage, speeds etc of the new brushless motor.

What was a big surprise for me was that this Hitachi combi comes with a 37cm long auxiliary handle. This handle screws into either left or right hand side of the alloy gearbox housing on the front of the tool. The “hand” end has an ergonomic handle with big flanges to prevent hands from coming off it.

I confess that I thought that the length of the auxiliary handle was a bit over the top when I saw it, but when I started testing the torque available from the combi, I realized that there would be times when I would need it.

Unfortunately, because of the demand for sample tools to test, I had a relatively brief window in which to try it out, but I did my best. In the past I have found that some drills I regularly use are unable to drill holes in hardwood when using the three-fluted spiral “speed” drills on the market. In fact, I have often managed to stall a drill bit into the material just past the pilot screw. No such trouble with the Hitachi DV18DBXL – it eats such stuff for breakfast. I drilled 25mm diameter hole after 25mm diameter hole, through 30mm thick, dry and hard oak with the drill not even breaking into a metaphoric sweat. It really has so many guts that you will like having the long auxiliary handle to help control the torque effect.

While it might not look like it because it retains the current Hitachi look and livery, the DV18DXBL is in fact a deliberate move into a new era of drilling by Hitachi.  Using a new and powerful brushless motor and a 6Ah battery pack, there is a focus on compact power that uses the latest electronics to deliver maximum performance for the end user while reducing energy sapping heat from both the motor and battery packs.

The pairing of the 6Ah battery packs and brushless motors maximizes power and run times without the expected extra weight – the new battery packs weigh the same as the “old” ones. Hitachi also assures us that there will be full compatibility with every “slide battery” from 1.5 to 6Ah, and that chargers will be similarly compatible. Charge times will of course vary from old to new, with the new battery packs expected to charge in about 35 minutes.

But even better is that Hitachi intends pricing for the new drill to be VERY competitive. We users will not know the exact pricing details until the launch of the drill in February – but I am sure it will be a pleasant surprise.

For more information on Hitachi Power Tools, please visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

Hitachi UR 18DSDL Site Radio -Wedge Shaped Sound

Aimed at:- Anyone who needs a tough radio – mostly site pros I guess.

Pros:- Bluetooth, phone charging and good sound and lots more.

Dedicated worksite radios are now quite common. Thank goodness.  The old paint-and-plaster-splattered, slightly out of tune, and usually very loud, radio tuned to Radio 1 is now nearly a thing of the past. The wonders of Bluetooth, MP3 players and new broadcasting technology mean that site workers have no excuses for poor sound quality and endless audio rubbish. Workers and clients can breathe a collective sigh of relief. In fact I had a client come over and examine the Hitachi a couple of weeks ago because he did not believe that the sound he heard (some Bob Dylan if you must know) was coming from something that he didn’t recognize as a radio.

I am rather taken with the shape of the Hitachi UR 18DSDL  - it is a bit like a Hitachi Black and Green cheese wedge trapped inside a wedge shaped cage. This not only looks very modern and “designer” but clearly the outside cage provides some bump protection, an assortment of ways to carry it and a stable base on which it can be sat. Even on a dirty and dusty worksite, only the cage will be in contact with the muck. 

Modern listeners have become fussy, so it is not enough to simply have a radio – lots of other features have to be included too. This radio has to be set up like any other electronic device like a phone or tablet. Time to head for the instructions!

Probably the key thing here is fitting the backup batteries into a small compartment contained within the main 18v battery compartment at the back of the radio. It is a bit of a fiddly job, but once done should last a long time.

A standard 14.4 or 18v Hitachi battery is probably the most common power source for the radio on site. All you need to do is open the back compartment and slide it in on the rails provided.

There is also a mains adaptor provided with the kit should you run out of battery and are lucky enough to have mains power on site.

Now you can set the time, date, alarm, sleep etc etc settings using conventional computer logic. Anyone used to setting up a tablet or phone or games console would be very familiar with this process. To tell you the truth I wondered about all the settings – it is just a site radio isn’t it? But a short poll amongst a few friends soon showed me. Apparently you never know when you might need these functions, so better have them than not.

The radio can receive DAB, AM and FM bandwidths, so users should have all they need, including listening to England (hopefully) winning the cricket on Test Match Special or on Five Live.  There is a choice of manual or automatic station selection and users can then select presets so that they can go to the stations they want very quickly. The folding antenna on the back of the machine can be adjusted for the best reception.

Digital radio can be very sophisticated and a good listening experience and this Hitachi has its DRC (Dynamic Range Control) system that can make quieter sounds easier to hear when the radio is used in a noisy site environment.

Equally, bass and treble can be adjusted to suit, so there really is no need for distorted sound whichever station or method you are using to listen.

I am a happy iPod user, and I love the idea of having only my choice of listening on hand, especially when I am on my own in the workshop where my choices won’t affect anyone else. The Hitachi is capable of playing back from smartphones, MP3 and other devices. Some devices small enough (like iPods) can be fitted into the front of the radio. Simply open the front cover and adjust the ratcheted holders left or right to hold the device securely. It took me only a few minutes to set up my iPod to play via Bluetooth through the radio. Simply select Bluetooth mode on the radio and on the device, and enable them to pair before listening!

Some devices will need either an L cable or straight cable to connect with the radio; both are cheap and easily available.

Smartphones and other small devices can also be charged via a USB cable connection to the radio in every other mode except AM mode. As long as the volume isn’t past 21 level, charging should take place.

There is a lot more to like about this Hitachi apart from its practicality. The two big speakers on each end of the radio provide good quality sound in stereo, where possible.

The wedge shape is quite compact and makes it easy to place the radio in a position where it is stable and not that easy to knock over. I found that I could run the radio for several days before I needed to recharge the main 18v batteries that I used. In the workshop, with easy access to mains power, it made sense to use the AC adaptor.

Just about everyone I asked commented on the quality of the sound. It is great to have the adjustments for bass and treble so that both music and speech radio sound good and are easier to hear.  Having all the radio options, FM, AM and DAB, means that you can have the sound quality and the stations that you wanted. Some of my clients thought that was a great idea – especially the more elderly ones to whom slightly out of tune Radio 1 was not their favourite!

The control panel is logical and easy to use, providing lots of options for the way in which to use the device. All in all, I think the Hitachi UR 18DSDL is a well thought out, well-designed piece of kit that I am sure many Hitachi users will adopt wholeheartedly. Adopting a battery platform these days means that brand loyalty is a major part of deciding which bits of kit to buy, so I think it might be a shame if this radio doesn’t get more of a following. Oh well, there is always the mains adaptor option! 

 

Click here for more on Hitachi, inculding  Power Tools reviews, such as the CV 18DBL Cordless Multi ToolCS Chainsaw.

For more information on Hitachi Products within the Tool Trade, please visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

Hitachi launches Brushless Rotary Hammer range with best in class demolition performance

Hitachi Power Tools has launched their AC Brushless Motor Rotary Hammer series for drilling larger holes – all with maintenance free brushless motors and an optimized hammer mechanism for the fastest drilling speeds and highest demolition performance in their class*.

The DH40MEY, DH45ME and DH52ME Rotary Demolition Hammers have advanced features designed to reduce maintenance and increase durability. Constant speed control technology makes sure no demolition power is lost under load, and the continuous operation function keeps the tools running even when the trigger has been released, making for easier chiseling. Drill bits can be mounted with a single push, the variable speed control can be changed at the touch of a button and the large trigger and mode select switch are easily accessible.

The Rotary Demolition Hammers also feature rugged Aluminium Housing, making them perfect for those tough demolition and material removal jobs. These mains powered tools provide high drilling performance, even with extension cables, and they are even compatible with petrol generators, thanks to Hitachi's unique compact and high efficiency inverter circuit.

The range of hammers has a low vibration rear handle; in addition, the DH40MEY incorporates Hitachi’s User Vibration Protection (UVP) system to minimize vibration and increase operator comfort and safety.

Also part of the Hitachi range, the powerful H90SG Heavy Duty Breaker features an Aluminium Housing Body for extra durability and the Hitachi UVP system, which restricts the tri-axial vibration to only 7.7 m/s2. Weighing in at 32kg, the breaker has an impact energy of 70J and a full load impact rate of 1000bpm.

With Hitachi’s three-year warranty also available when registered online within four weeks of purchase, trade professionals can be assured of long service and peace of mind.

For more details on Hitachi Power Tools visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

Hitachi CV 18DBL Cordless Multi Tool - Brushless and Li Ion

Hitachi CordlessIt seems that, suddenly, cordless multi tools are everywhere. Maybe because each manufacturer has its own Li Ion battery platform, they all have to have one so that their customers won’t miss out on tool choice. But the bar for multi tools is now so high that reputable brands simply have to have a good product in their ranges. Not only does it have to be good, it helps if it is unique in some way in order to distinguish it from the competition.

This multi tool was delivered to me in a simple cardboard box – a so-called “naked” tool. With most big manufacturers having battery compatibility across their range of tools and Ah, it is cheaper and more efficient. After all, how many chargers and battery packs does one need?

Hitachi ToolA quick word on battery compatibility – this CV 18DBL will accept all current 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and 5 Ah battery packs from Hitachi. The advantage of using smaller battery packs is obvious – they are lighter and make the tool easier to handle, but also there are some jobs for which the weight and bulk of a bigger 5 Ah battery pack is not required. Cutting small components and detail sanding are two jobs that spring to mind where bulky power or endurance is not required.

I have small hands so I look for slim bodies and lightness in many of the power tools that I use regularly. While it does not appear to be the slimmest on the market, the Hitachi fits my hand nicely with the black rubber overmould sparingly and efficiently placed for good grip. It has a very efficient brushless motor that has several advantages – it uses battery power better and runs more quietly. With no brushes to wear out and a sealed motor unit the inevitable dust produced while using machines will not wear out a commutator ring or clog a field coil. Brushless motors are usually slimmer and smaller too – hence the slimmer body for me to grip.

The rubber overmould extends right over the head of the machine where it might get bumped and there are also two inlaid rubber bumpers on the rear of the machine on each side of the battery housing that will protect it when it is laid on its side.

Hitachi Tool VC18DBLAlso at the rear of the machine is the milled grey oscillation speed control wheel that shows 5 speed settings and an A for automatic. If automatic is selected the motor will revert to 15,000/min when not loaded and it will be quieter with less vibration, making it easier to place the cutting edge of the mounted tool more accurately onto the work. Once the cutting tool is engaged the machine automatically picks up to 20,000/min if needed, or remains on the 15,000 setting if the electronics detect that the extra oomph isn’t required.

Migrating to the business end of the tool is the locking lever for whichever cutting blade or sanding system the user chooses. Some of these levers can catch out an unwary finger by snapping closed quickly. However, I am pleased to report that the Hitachi has a very civilized system that operates positively and the spring loading only lasts to the point where the lever is vertical to the body, so it doesn’t snap down at all. Great news for me!

The Hitachi multi tool is also unique, I think, in having a collar lock on the attachment ring. This means that if the locking lever is released, the accessory blade will not fall out with the accompanying tool shaft – possibly falling onto and damaging a delicate surface or behind somewhere unreachable?

Hitachi Hand Tool

In order to release the cutting tool, the collar is just pulled down and rotated to the unlock position, where the tool shaft is released.

Although some might say it is unnecessary, I liked this system because it enabled the accessory to be located firmly and accurately.

A small square LED light on the front of the machine comes on immediately the machine is switched on and provides an area of diffused light right where cutting blades in particular might be working.

On/off is selected via a decently sized slider switch behind the lever lock. It is well recessed to avoid accidental operation and does not require any thumb athletics to make it work.

I was sent a range of cutting, sanding and slicing blades to try out. These were all of good quality, made in Europe and fitted tightly onto the attachment ring. The ring enables accessories to move at 30-degree steps for easy positioning onto difficult work angles. As I would expect from a reputable manufacturer like Hitachi, the CV 18DBL performed well on all the plunge cutting, flush cutting etc tasks I tried. With an overall length of about 312mm including battery it will fit into smallish spaces such as kitchen cabinets if necessary.

Hitachi Cordless Multi Tool

The delta sanding option also intrigued me – it is very efficient and the delta sanding head has better hook and loop than many, but it doesn’t have a dust extraction system. On some multi tools, the dust extraction can be a mixed blessing as it sometimes obscures the work area and doesn’t work very well. On the Hitachi, I wonder whether dust extraction has been sacrificed in order to have the locking collar option. When I used the Hitachi to sand some wooden window frames the dust didn’t appear to be a problem as I was outdoors and I did use a properly fitted, decent quality dust mask to do the job. Perhaps the best solution?

I am sure that many of Hitachi’s loyal users will welcome the addition of the 18v and 14v multi tools to the Hitachi range because multi tools can do jobs that others can’t – and easily and quickly too, so it makes sense to have one in the tool box. With a very healthy range of speeds from 6,000 to 20,000/min, a compact size and low weight (2 kg with 18v battery pack) and with noise and vibration well controlled the Hitachi feels up to date and robust.

Aimed at: Professional woodworkers and high end DIYers

Pros: Compact and efficient. Quiet motors and good dust extraction.

Get Your Trade Ready with the Ultimate Solution

Trade Ready Solutions, the complete package solution first announced in 2014 by Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle solutions in partnership with Hitachi Power Tools and Bri-Stor Systems, has been updated to include new van models, racking systems and tools with the addition of new vehicle signage.

Included is a choice of four Hitachi Power Tool packages which are covered by a three year warranty and a free tool refresh after three years, keeping jobs on track. Each pack comes with multiple cross-compatible batteries with all batteries and tools stored in stackable tool boxes for complete safety and professionalism.

To secure and store these tools, Bri-Stor Systems offer and supply five exclusive racking packages designed for trade professionals such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians and builders. Packages include angled, multi-shelf and shelf-and-box storage solutions, all of which are designed, produced, installed, tested and warranted by Bri-Stor in the UK.

For 2015, two new van models are available for immediate customisation; the Ford Transit Connect and Transit Custom, but almost all other makes and models are available to order through the offer.

Simon Miller, Brand Manager at Hitachi Power Tools, added: “Our tougher, faster and more advanced power tools, combined with market leading service backup and lengthy warranties are an unbeatable offer. Being able to access all of these with a vehicle, racking and graphics for one monthly cost is a fantastic proposition to trade professionals of all disciplines.”

More information on vehicles, tools, racking and signage options can be found on the dedicated website, www.tradereadysolutions.co.uk

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